Inside a Sweet SUP Ride

Photo: Greg Panas

Photo: Greg Panas

Inside a Sweet SUP Ride

Bill Griffin’s relatives from New York always ask if he’s still surfing.

“I’m not dead yet,” he replies.

Following a shoulder surgery seven years ago Griffin discovered that prone paddling his surfboard was too painful. Rather than miss surf, Griffin hopped on a ten-foot standup and acclimated. Now he’s a regular in the lineups around Florida and still travels in search of waves. Griffin is currently recovering from intensive radiation treatment for oral cancer but says he is starting to feel strong enough to get back on the water.

1. 1987 El Camino Custom

When I learned to surf on Long Island I always had an El Camino. My son owns an auto business and decided he’d get me this truck and fix it up. We picked the checkers design from Vans sneakers. It’s way more comfortable for access then a regular pickup and the racks are only shoulder height. It’s got a little pep in it too. It’s definitely a head turner.

2. Neilson 8’4”

Tom Neilson shapes out of Cocoa Beach and I’ve ridden his boards since I moved to Florida from New York in ‘87. Tommy’s been shaping since 1962 and is from Florida and I like to give a little local support. We brought the tail in on this one because the last one was nine-foot and the tail block was too wide and I was losing a lot of speed off the bottom.

3. Starboard 8’5” (Behind)

This is the best board I own, nice and high performance. If fits the way I ride. It’s got good stability but it still has plenty of maneuverability. We deal with a lot of wind here and you need something with more stability.

4. Swim Fins

I grew up in New York and originally I was a body surfer. I’m 65 now and try to stay in shape so I body surf. I’m a retired fireman from Martin County, so I’ve always been into being fit.

5. Handplane

I’ve only used it a little bit. I’m not very proficient with it but I keep it in the truck. It’s just another tool for the surf.

6. Kettle Bells

I got certified in CrossFit in Santa Cruz in 2003 and that’s what I stuck with fitness-wise. I do drills, I might walk off 50 yards and I’ll put one kettle bell at each end and do 10 reps of squats and do 10 overhead swings and jog back so I do everything: aerobic and anaerobic.

7. Paddles

I’m not much of a flatwater paddler. A lot of guys down here have flatwater raceboards and different paddles. Whenever I paddle, I prefer to stay with the same gear so I keep my feel for (my equipment) in whatever water I’m on.

8. Miles

When it’s flat I put Miles on the front of my board and we might go paddle for an hour, hour-and-a-half. Miles is four and he’s pretty attached to me. Whenever there’s no surf I take him to the beach. He chases me when I do my workouts. He’s kind of famous from being on the beach and the water so much.

9. Juice

I get this juice from my buddy’s juice bar. I drink it for energy. I don’t know what’s in it but I love it. He’s got a good product.

This article originally ran in our 2014 Gear Guide as “Inside the Ride.”


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  • like_them_racks

    Would love to know how those racks are mounted in the bed of the camino. Love that setup. Does the author know, or anyone else?

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