Dropping In With Standup Paddler Daniel Kereopa

Photo: Cory Scott
Photo: Cory Scott

Daniel Kereopa

Raglan, New Zealand


You ride many crafts. What’s special about standup?
The challenge! I always get asked the questions, “Can you get barreled? Can you do an air? Can you surf a SUP like a short board?” The answer is yes, but SUP is unique in its own way. I combine the skills I’ve learned from waka (New Zealand canoes) and surfing and mold it to how I like to ride SUP. This has led me to designing my own boards.

How has it changed your approach to surfing?
I am experiencing more about surfing through SUP and it feels good. I’ve learned new ways to approach a wave. Using my SUP has also been helpful when paddling to outer reefs and expanding my knowledge of waves, especially coming from my surfing roots on the potato chip-style boards I used to ride when I was a grom.

Does standup feel like a natural progression of your ocean life?
For sure. When you spend your whole life around the ocean it doesn’t matter what you ride as long as I honor the ocean and everything in it and be the best I can be because of what the ocean has given me.

Any big SUP goals?
I want to compete on the Standup World Tour. Show the world some New Zealand culture. Annabel Anderson proved that she has the skills and determination to be the best in the world. I can too. I am going to show the kids of NZ that when you believe in your dream anything is possible.

What’s New Zealand like for SUPing?
New Zealand is surrounded by ocean, harbors, inlets, lakes and rivers. There has been a huge focus on flatwater paddling and flatwater racing. Obviously, that’s not all we have. If you have the time, New Zealand has the water to paddle on.

How are SUPers treated there?
Let’s be honest, around the world some surfers don’t like SUPing at all in the surf and they’ll speak their minds. It’s the same here. If we look past the angst that’s there, SUP paddlers are very happy people and love to share the stoke.

You’ve charged some pretty heavy barrels on a standup.
I always like a challenge so I really wanted to confirm in myself that a SUP can be ridden in waves you typically would only see shortboarders in. The results were awesome. I was able to take off earlier and deeper and had the ability to weave inside the tube. It felt amazing. I made only one or two barrels but it was so much fun. When you get smashed on your SUP you will come up laughing. If not, someone will be laughing at you! —WT


This article originally ran in our Summer 2013 issue.

Click here for more From the Mag.
For more Features click here.