SUP’s Top Videos of 2016
As Instagram posts of SUP Santa begin to disappear from our news feeds, it marks the end of another year in the world of standup paddling. In a year that will be talked about for a long time, our sport experienced revolutionary progression. From hot new trends to groundbreaking news, 2016 pushed standup paddling to new heights. We saw drone footage surge from novelty to the forefront of professional video edits, while the rise of 4K video allowed us to see every paddle stroke and water droplet in striking clarity. From feature-length surf movies to breathtaking encounters with wildlife, 2016 had its fair share of memorable multimedia. So let’s look back upon the top five SUP videos from the past year.
Aerials, barrels, torque-laden turns–this is not your stereotypical standup paddle surf session. Instead, it’s a 30-minute demonstration of SUP surfing at its most progressive level. In case you’ve been wondering just how far SUP surfing has advanced in the past few years, this feature-length surf film from Paddlewoo’s Erik Antonson should clue you in. The film features nine of the world’s best standup paddle surfers pushing our sport to new frontiers in Costa Rican paradise. What’s more, its all completely free to watch. This trailer will give you a small taste of the action, but for the full film, head over to the Paddlewoo website and sign up. Then for another memorable surf edit from 2016, watch the Vaz Brother’s New Age III.
Last winter, Mother Nature’s wild child–aka El Niño–turned our favorite playground into a non-stop, big-wave machine. From pumping surf in California to massive slabs in the Canary Islands, it was a season that won’t soon be forgotten. But we couldn’t mention El Niño without acknowledging one of the most memorable big-wave seasons in recent North Shore memory. Maui's famed Pe'ahi was going off all winter with skyscraper-sized waves that most of us could only gawk at from behind a computer screen. But for an elite (and very brave) few, it was what they had waited for all year long. Standup paddlers including Kai Lenny, Connor Baxter, Nicole Pacelli and others paddled into the lineup and began catching what would be known as the biggest waves ever paddled into. It’s a sight to see and showcases our sport at its most extreme level.
If standup paddling down Class IV or V rapids sounds crazy, well, that’s because for many of us it is. Huge eddies, overhead wave trains, hidden rocks and logs–the list could go on and on about the challenges of whitewater. Nevertheless, a select group of river paddlers, including Colorado’s Spencer Lacy, are out to push the boundaries of whitewater SUP and redefine what’s possible. In this SUP Magazine original edit, we present a compilation of Lacy’s best runs of 2016. Bodacious, badass, bonkers–no adjective does this video justice, just take our word for it and you’ll see what we mean. Then once you’re in the mood for more whitewater SUP, check out a few other radical river edits from 2016 including this one, that one, and–oh yeah–definitely can’t forget about this other one right here.
Perhaps no video made a bigger splash in 2016 than that of Kai Lenny introducing us all to magic of SUP hydrofoil. It was the one minute and thirty seconds that sent shockwaves through our entire industry. The mini-edit features Lenny doing a downwind run on Maui’s famed Maliko Run. Except this was no ordinary run, the Red Bull athlete uses a hydrofoil to effortless glide from bump to bump, all the while his board is lifted a few feet out of the water by an underwater wing. Since this video was released back in April, several other downwind foiling videos have been released, including this POV edit from Connor Baxter. Other notable downwind videos from 2016 include a 50 knot downwinder in Greece and a helpful downwinding tutorial from Chase Kosterlitz.
As many of us know, one of the best parts about standup paddling is the ability to get up-close views of marine wildlife. Birds, fish, dolphins, whales, seals, you name it and paddlers have encountered it. But what happens when the roles reverse and the animals decide they want to get close to you? That’s exactly what transpired in this memorable video of an orca whale stalking an unassuming standup paddler. It’s a heart-stopping encounter that serves as a reminder that when we paddle, we are entering their home and it’s their rules. Other memorable encounters caught on camera included a SUP surfer and spinner shark colliding in mid-air and one paddler coming across three whales and a pod of dolphins.