I’ve felt the first chills of Autumn this past week so have resolved to get in as much time as I can on the water. Not surfing, not sailboarding, not even sailing – Stand Up Paddleboarding! What I love about this sport is the combination of technique, endurance and elegance. I get into a rhythm with my stroke and it becomes meditative. I do a fair bit of paddling in the open ocean and this really gives me perspective on the scale of nature and how tiny we humans really are. Exhilarating!
I’ve been aware of SUP for a few years now – and I remember all those great old 1960s movies of Hawaiians, upright and proud on the waves around Maui in Hawaii. Then all that incredible footage of surf legends David Kalama and Laird Hamilton riding the largest ocean wave ever recorded – when they took to SUP, I know something was up. Kalama and Hamilton began surfing long boards in the breaks, using the wind to glide out while standing up. Then they introduced a paddle, and since that moment its broken up into a few variations. There’s SUP Surfing, as the name suggests, riding the break a little like surfers do. This is done on smaller, more agile boards including anything from small long waves to big wave stuff. Either way, not for the feint hearted!
SUP Cruising on flat water, no wind, quite social, medium sized board. SUP Exploring – anything from cruising around coastal bays, lakes, rivers and whatnot. SUP White water, is literally going down the rapids on an inflatable SUP. Total hard core! There’s SUP Downwind, SUP Flat water racing, SUP BOP (Battle of the Paddle) involves racing from the beach, out through the waves, around a mark and back through the surf. It's like a demolition derby, sur mer.
I have seen the future, and it’s looking SUP.
SUP Flatwater Race