With the immense progress standup paddling has made in the past few years, it’s easy to forget that our sport is still young. Unlike surfing, whitewater or outrigger paddling, there isn’t a generation of athletes that have lived an entire life practicing the art. But, as SUP continues to flourish, the first generation of groms to grow up with paddle and board are maturing and writing their own history- becoming legends that future generations of paddlers might strive to emulate. In SUP magazine’s new series, Grom Talk, we get to know the first generation of paddlers lucky enough to grow up in the SUP lifestyle.
Maui boy Noah Yap is a progressive paddle surfer with more tricks than a magician. The kid rips and is only getting better. —SC
How did you get into SUP?
My dad had a few friends who were doing it and they loaned us boards. I just loved it and wanted to get more into it and ride waves.
You’re known for your paddle surfing skills, where do you get your style?
I definitely got my style from my dad. When we were just starting out [paddle surfing] he was ahead of everyone else. He had a great style to his surfing and I wanted to surf just like him. All of my friends shortboard or bodyboard, so I try to incorporate some of their different tricks into my surfing.
Growing up on Maui you have a lot of kids around that are great paddlers and paddle surfers. Where do you fit into that scene?
I really don’t see or fit into a scene. Most of my time I’m with my bodyboard and shortboard friends surfing wherever the waves are good. I’m usually at surf spots where I am the only standup surfer and that’s okay because it’s about having fun and enjoying the surf. Oh yeah, I guess there is a scene most times with people trying to stop me from standup surfing…haha
Where do you expect the sport to go as it continues to grow?
Standup surfing is growing fast, but not as fast as standup racing. I’m happy about that because it means more waves for me. The future is wide open and as boards progress, the level of surfing will progress. I want to continue to impress my uncles and friends in the water to show them that standup surfing can be another form of enjoying the surf. I want to get their mindset off the thought that only old men like my dad standup surf! No matter what, the most important thing is to give respect and then you get respect in the water.
What are your plans for the next year?
For the next year I want to continue to grow the vertical side of my standup surfing with more in the pocket surfing, on rail surfing, and pushing the air side of standup surfing. Big trips I’m planning on taking I’ll keep secret for now. And win some contests? Yeah, that sounds good. I can’t wait for winter to hit some vertical slabs, secret sandbars and more. I also want to get plenty of pictures and videos pushing my limits.