Mike Simpson refuels on his journey around Puerto Rico. Photo: Will Taylor
Mike Simpson liked Puerto Rico. So he decided to paddle around it. “It’s a perfect square and isn’t that big and I just thought I should paddle around it,” he told us.
Last Sunday, March 2, Simpson finished doing just that, along with local Puerto Rican paddler Meldrick Velez, who originally planned to paddle with Simpson for a day or two and ended up completing the 278-mile journey with him.
It wasn’t without its challenges: extremely rare wind directions, harsh currents and big, messy seas set them back a number of times as they continued on their trip. What was originally expected to be a 10-day paddle ballooned to sixteen. Simpson is no stranger to these setbacks though, and adapted accordingly thanks to the help of Velez’s family, local paddler Pablo Cabral and a host of other local Puerto Ricans.
Meldrick Velez and Simpson launch for a 35-mile day on the water.
The plan was originally to paddle east out of Condado Lagoon in San Juan and wrap around the island until they returned to Condado Lagoon in 10-12 days. The reality quickly caught up with them with harsh headwinds for the first two days and big swells on a series off offshore reefs didn’t let them round the corner on the northeast side of the island at Loiza. In a game-time decision they decided to head down the coast where the wind would be over the shoulder. They would come back to complete this stretch another day.
I met up with Simpson and Velez 11 days into their journey. They were back in San Juan, the biggest city on the island, resting and recuperating for the completion of their journey. Simpson’s foot had filled up with lactic acid the day before and they’d been hit with an extreme west wind on the west side of the island—something that only happens a couple times a year. It was time for a mental and physical break.
During their rest I got geared up and packed with help from local shop Velauno Paddleboarding. The next day we paddled out of Condado Lagoon—the second time for Simpson and Velez—and headed west across the north side of the island. I found out first hand what the others already knew: the waters around Puerto Rico are not gentle, especially on a board loaded with all your camping gear. A 20-25 knot over-the-shoulder wind picked up along with stout backwash coming offshore, making riding bumps more challenging than it already is. We did 23 miles that day—a short one by their standards—and slept in hammocks on the beach in Puerto Nuevo with mosquitoes buzzing in our ears.
The team finishes the day strong.
Four days later, Simpson and Velez paddled 20 miles of glassy waters over offshore reefs and between offshore islands to finish their 278-mile journey where they’d run into the impassable reefs off Loiza. Velez’s family was waiting to take them to celebrate. Their mission—broken up by wind and water conditions and facilitated by the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and its hospitable people—was over. The only question was what to do next.
Check out SUP magazine’s Gear Guide, on newsstands May 9, for the full feature on Simpson and Velez’s adventure.
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Photo: Peter McGowan
From flatwater socialites to downwind warriors, SUP instructors are key to learning how to standup paddle. In honor of our upcoming Beginner’s Guide, hitting newsstands March 28, here’s a look at some of standup paddling’s top instructors in your region.
Jimmy Blakeney is a teacher and an athlete. He grew up skateboarding and snowboarding and then, while he was in college at Virginia Tech, discovered kayaking. Blakeney went pro soon after, eventually winning a US National Freestyle Kayak Championship in 2003.
During his decade-long career as a whitewater kayaker he received his American Canoe Association certification and started teaching. While he transitioned out of his whitewater career, Blakeney, 40, taught school and paddling at numerous kayak academies as well as at a public high school. He also took up SUP.
“When I was first exposed to SUP I was like, ‘Whoa, this is the perfect combination of the two things that I love: it’s a boardsport and a paddlesport,’” Blakeney says. “I was really intrigued and got on board and started to get into it.”
Not long after, Blakeney opened the SUP school New England Paddlesurf. He also developed a SUP-specific curriculum with the ACA.
“Teaching something and doing it are two completely different things,” Blakeney says. “There are plenty of people that can SUP way, way better than I can. But I put quite a bit of time and effort in trying to figure out how to break it down and teach it.”
Now based in Rhode Island, Blakeney is the product/marketing manager at BIC SUP, which isn’t exactly teaching. Yet he can’t help himself. Blakeney arguably put together the best one-stop online video page consisting of 17 videos for learning how to SUP, covering everything from choosing the right board to getting out into the surf.
He’s taken all his lessons from paddling and teaching and tries to distill them for his video series.
“It’s about what you can take out, not what you can add,” Blakeney says, echoing French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery. “As a beginner it’s so hard to absorb when you have this huge dump of information coming at you. So I try to break it down into bite-size pieces that you can absorb so that you can build on skills.” —WT
For other options nearby, checkout the following:
• Paddle Board Rhode Island
• Peter Pan Surfing Academy
• The Kayak Center of Rhode Island
This article originally ran in our 2013 Beginner’s Guide. Look for more profiles in our upcoming Beginner’s Guide on newsstands, March 28.
For more information, visit: Jimmyblakeney.com
Click here for more SUP Instructors Near You.
Photo: Ned Johnson
Standup paddling for college credit sounds too good to be true, but at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. students are receiving credit toward their undergraduate degrees for hitting the water.
Ned Johnson and partner David Rose of Paddleboard Orlando and Palm Paddleboards have been teaching the SUP class since its first term in January 2013. After holding SUP events in conjunction with the college’s intramural sports department for a few years, students suggested the director of the athletic department consider the addition of an SUP class. Shortly after, Johnson and Rose—who are certified SUP instructors through WSUPA, WPA, PaddleFit and ASI—were named adjunct professors, and had a full class of 25 wide-eyed students enrolled in a semester-long course, eager to learn standup skills.
The one-credit class helps students to fulfill the college’s graduation requirements of two P.E. credits. The SUP class meets once a week for about two hours, where they learn proper stroke technique, water safety, and how to perform various turns.
“Our first couple classes are on land and in a pool at the college,” says Johnson. “We have to consider safety, so we have a swim test and always start our students paddling from the edge of the pool deck while they learn the basics of stroke technique. We really try to stress the importance of safety [on the water] to our students, so we always practice assessing risks, getting back on the board after falling, and how to help save your paddling partner—because you should always paddle with another person.”
Once students have a better grasp of basic standup paddling skills, the class moves locations, meeting at Lake Virginia on the edge of Rollins’ campus. Because Lake Virginia is part of Winter Park’s chain of lakes that spans 2,781 acres, students are able to build mileage while honing their standup skills.
“The college sits on a chain of lakes interconnected by old logging canals, so we’ve been able to build up to five-mile paddles,” Johnson said. “The first two terms, we met twice a week for an hour, but we decided to change our schedule this term because after unloading boards and whatnot, there’s just not enough time for the students to be on the water. Now that we meet for longer, I’m shooting for our class to build up to a seven-mile paddle by the end of the term.”
Because Johnson and Rose have a rental location nearby, they provide all the necessary equipment for each class. Students paddle the partners’ 10’6 to 12-foot recreational boards and have the option to challenge themselves on displacement boards once they’ve nailed their skills on the rec boards.
At the end of the term, just like any normal college course, students must take a final exam. The exam is broken up into two parts: an oral, on-land test and a water test.
“The land portion is done orally in pairs, and in the water they must demonstrate a correct forward stroke, back stroke, ability to stop quickly, and three turns: a sweep or c -stroke, a cross bow turn and a pivot turn,” says Johnson. “They must also demonstrate paddling from the knees, prone paddling with a paddle, and how to fall. They have the option to perform a water rescue with their partner too.”
Photo: Douglas Nelson
When the term concludes, students have the option to take higher-level SUP classes outside Rollins College, through Johnson’s Paddleboard Orlando. With a new, nearby lakefront location in the works, Johnson is hoping to draw in more students to further their SUP skills with events like dolphin and manatee paddles, day tours, and NOCQUA night paddles.
Beyond the obvious perks of being an adjunct professor of SUP, Johnson says the class is rewarding because of the enthusiasm of his students: “This is probably the only class where the students all show up early and don’t want to leave.” —Shari Coble
For more information, visit: Rollins.edu, PaddleboardOrlando.com
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Noah Yap surfs like a man, even if he’s not 18. The young ripper from Kihei, Maui has grown in the last year and it’s showing in his solid turns turns and the spray that’s coming off of them. Check it out in our new RIDES vid.
For more RIDES click here.
Photo: Rick Dahms
From flatwater socialites to downwind warriors, SUP instructors are key to learning how to standup paddle. In honor of our upcoming Beginner’s Guide, hitting newsstands March 28, here’s a look at some of standup paddling’s top instructors in your region.
Seattle’s Art Aquino is serious about downwind SUP. His website is called Downwind Warriors, his nickname is “Road Warrior” (he often spends 12-hour days driving after downwind runs) and he travels to Maui a few times a year.
But before this reincarnation, Aquino, 46, could hardly do anything active. He’d been out of boardsports for six years after blowing a disc in his lower back snowboarding and was spending most of his time sportfishing on Puget Sound. He fell in love with the water but felt restless and unhealthy. Then he discovered SUP.
“I took (a neighbor’s) board out and I was like, “Wow, this doesn’t hurt my back,” Aquino says. “It was an amazing experience, kind of like being reborn. I now have ten boards in about three different places.”
Aquino hasn’t looked back. He retired from his position as creative director at Zumiez in 2005 and is able to follow his passion full-time.
“I started flatwater paddling (in 2009) and by the end of the summer I was basically like, ‘What am I going to do now?’ I started downwinding.”
Downwind paddling usually consists of a shuttle, paddling from one point to another with the wind. The wind creates bumps or windswell, which can be surfed on longer boards. Aquino is dedicated to diffusing the sport throughout the Pacific Northwest. He participates in many of the regional flatwater races and is actively spreading the downwind gospel. He also puts on his Downwind Warriors race series on the weekends. Part of his motivation for teaching is to get more partners for downwind runs.
“You stomach the first time, going, ‘What am I going to do here?’” he says. “As soon as you turn that corner and the wind is at your back and the waves are opening up way out in front of you it’s a surreal thing.”
He says he currently has a queue of five or six paddlers waiting for lessons when the wind blows. Aquino sends out a mass text when it starts to kick up on the Puget Sound—he can see the water from his house—and the first person to respond gets a one-on-one lesson.
One of those people is Joel Yang, a 37-year-old industrial engineer, who took his first downwind lesson from Aquino.
“I took one class with the guy and was totally stoked,” Yang says. “He’s one of those crazy nutballs that can easily infect you with the kind of stoke that he has.”
Aquino himself learned from the best: he’s attended Kalama Kamp and had instruction from Jeremy Riggs and is bringing that dedication and passion to the Seattle area. He’s not alone. Aquino quickly rattled off a handful of obsessed paddlers that are always watching the wind and waiting to sneak away from whatever other obligations they have.
“He really leads the charge on the downwind stoke,” Yang says. “He’s demystifying (downwind paddling) and making it accessible to everyone.”
For other options nearby, checkout the following:
• Surf Ballard
• Bellingham Kite Paddle Surf
• Big Winds (Hood River)
This article originally ran in our 2013 Beginner’s Guide. Look for more profiles in our upcoming Beginner’s Guide on newsstands, March 28.
For more information, visit: Downwindwarriors.com, 206.356.0023
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Santa Cruz is a serious hub for surf culture in California, and, in recent years, SUP culture as well. Located on the Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz is home to redwood forests, an abundance of wildlife, and killer point breaks. Its beauty is unmatched. Here, Scott Ruble, owner of Covewater SUP, speaks of integrating SUP into this surf community and the growth he’s seen in recent years. —Rebecca Parsons
SUP mag: Tell us about your background.
Ruble: I’ve been surfing since high school and worked in the surf industry for about a decade. I was introduced to standup by a friend in 2008. He was an old surf buddy and had just gotten back from Hawaii. He called me up and said, ‘Dude! Have you tried standup paddling yet?’ And I said, ‘No.’ So, he found a couple boards, came down to Santa Cruz, and we went out paddling.
By the end of that year, I got my hands on a used 12’1’ Laird. A year later I drove down to Santa Barbara’s Blueline and bought a Paddle Surf Hawaii. By late 2009, I’d done a couple races and was rigorously surfing SUP. I went on a walk with my wife one day and was like, ‘There’s no standup paddleboard availability; you can’t find them, and you can’t get them. We should open a shop.’ And we did. We opened up the shop in April of 2010.
Photo: Scott Ruble
SUP mag: Tell us about the history of Covewater SUP.
Ruble: When we first opened, our boards were eleven- to twelve-feet and weighed thirty pounds or more. A lot of the paddles were fixed length and aluminum. When I look back now, it was junk, but at the time, that’s all there was.
It was exciting when we opened the shop; the SUP community in Santa Cruz came to the grand opening. We felt like it was a big deal. Now when we look back on it, we had maybe fifteen boards for sale in the shop and another fifteen demos. That was mind-blowing. Now we’ve got well over 100 boards. SUP has definitely come a long way in Santa Cruz—there’s exponentially more people doing it now than in 2010 when we opened. We’d like to think we have a lot to do with that.
SUP mag: What about Santa Cruz makes it an awesome place to SUP?
Ruble: Santa Cruz is on the Monterey Bay, which is part of the greater Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It’s a very special place because of the wildlife: you’ve got tons of sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, elephant seals up the coast, cormorants, dolphins, and we get a lot of whales coming through. For those who like to surf their standup, there’s also a plethora of fun, accessible, point break waves that are perfect for standup. It’s really got everything you could ask for in terms of a Pacific Ocean setting for standup paddling.
Photo: Jarrett McPeek
SUP mag: Tell us about the retail side. What types of boards do you carry?
Ruble: We carry everything. There are so many different boards that we look at and we think, ‘That’s the perfect board for Customer X,’ or, ‘That’s the perfect board for Customer Y.’ Whether it’s a guy who just wants to flatwater paddle with his family, or a woman who wants to race, or someone who wants to surf, there are a billion different customer profiles and a billion different boards that are going to be just right for them. I like to have not only one right board for them, but maybe three so that they can really choose the perfect board, right down to micro-level.
SUP mag: What boards are popular in your shop right now?
Ruble: We have some really nice downwind conditions here, particularly north of Santa Cruz county, so people who have been standup paddling for awhile start saying, ‘Hey, what’s this downwinding about? That looks fun.’ So, popular boards right now would be the SIC Maui downwind boards and SIMSUPs.
SUP mag: Do you lead tours?
Ruble: We do a tour of Elkhorn Slough, which is a slough down towards Moss Landing, about 25 minutes south of here. It’s a really rich, marine bio system. It’s very tidally influenced, so you can ride the tide into the slough and then ride it back out. It’s teaming with birds, leopard sharks, bat rays, and all sorts of neat things.
SUP mag: Do you sponsor any athletes?
Ruble: Yeah, we have a team of local people that we sponsor. There are about seven people on our team. They’re just good people, good ambassadors for the sport, and really strong paddlers.
SUP mag: Do you support any charity groups?
Ruble: Like any shop, we get lots of requests for donations. It’s a hard position to be in because you really want to support and lend help to each one of them, but unfortunately you’ve got to pick and choose. So, we do lots of gift certificates and free rentals for various groups that come to us. But in terms of annual ongoing support, we donate to Surfrider, Sea Odyssey, Surfaid, Save Our Shores, and Coastal Watershed Council. These are organizations that we really believe in on a personal level and that are also are closely tied to the interests of standup paddlers.
For more information, visit: CovewaterSUP.com
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Photo: Erik Urdahl
Most people don’t realize they have incredible SUP river resources right down the street—most towns and cities have rivers in the Class II range running right through them. Discovering moving water and how to paddle down it safely doesn’t have to be a big mystery. Here’s a simple guide to accessing your “Town Run”. —Dan Gavere
Contact the locals. Local paddling shops (SUP or kayak) are great resources. If you don’t have a local shop, look online and/or ask around around to find a local paddling group. Most towns, event if it isn’t large, have some sort of paddling community. You need to know the rules, regulations, and access points. Ask questions. Paddling an unknown river with minimal knowledge is a sure way to get into trouble. Many town runs have parks and bike paths next to them so doing a “scouting mission” by foot or bike is the easiest way to see it first. If you don’t want to use a set of cars, bikes also make great shuttle vehicles. Locations like Steamboat Springs, Colo., on the Yampa River, the Clark Fork of the Columbia in Missoula, Mont., and the Potomac below Great Falls in Washington, D.C., are great examples of town runs.
Use a leash. One of the most common questions in whitewater SUP is, ‘How do I safely use one?’ The first thing to note is that a leash should never be worn around the ankle or lower leg. This could create a potentially fatal situation should your leash snag on anything with you unable to reach it. However, using a leash properly—in conjunction with either a rescue vest with a quick-release system, or a waist belt with an easy-to-reach quick-release system—can be a safe and convenient option if you fall off your board.
Watch for hazards. Any moving water has potential hazards. Logs, weirs, low-head dams, rapids and debris should all be avoided. Local message boards can be excellent sources of information about hazards that may exist. One harder rapid or particular hazard on a town run doesn’t mean you can’t paddle it. Oftentimes the stigma of one hazard affects people’s conception of it; most often the hazard can be easily portaged or even run using a “sneak” line (the route making a rapid easy). But most town runs are generally on the easy side, meaning just small, pool-drop rapids with lots of recovery time after.
Get better. Peel in and out of every eddy by carving on your downstream rail. Ferry across the river and back. Spin on your tail. Try surfing small waves. An easy town run is also an easy way to improve. Basic maneuvers need to be mastered in slow-moving water before tackling bigger rapids, so take your time and learn it the right way. Many of the same maneuvers and concepts will translate directly from kayaking to SUP. For instance, “LDS”: lean down stream. This is an important term that describes the technique of leaning into a turn while entering or exiting an eddy, or really, attacking any river feature. Enjoy yourself. That’s what town runs are for.
This originally ran in our Spring 2012 issue.
Look for our 2014 Beginner’s Guide on newsstands March 28.
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Anyone can do it anywhere, that’s what makes standup great. The sport continues to grow because new runs, new breaks and new tours are being explored daily by new paddlers like you.
If you’re looking for a Mecca, a place where you can immerse yourself in learning to paddle—or take your paddling to the next level—the following stops are a must. —Will Taylor
Who doesn’t want to go to Costa Rica? You might hear the jaded local complain that it was “better 20 years ago,” but that doesn’t change what it is: a warm-water paddling paradise.
That counts doubly for Nosara, located on the northwest coast of the Guanacaste province. The area is home to some of the most consistent beachbreak on the planet including Guiones, a soft, playful, beginner-friendly wave that has surf 300-plus days a year right in front of town.
A civic association in the 1970’s made reforestation a priority, specifically the coast. The result is a 200-yard band of untarnished forest stretching away from the high-tide line. The jungle is filled with monkeys and iguanas and dotted with cafes, hotels and bars hidden from view as you paddle past.
High End: Experience Nosara is a peaceful enclave (10 guests max) tucked 800 yards into the jungle away from the beach. It’s a perfect place to unwind and paddle until you’re a zombie. The resort offers weeklong SUP instruction packages with video review, guest instructors and lessons tailored to their students’ abilities. If you want peace and paddling, Experience Nosara gives you that and more.
Budget: Buena Vista Villas offers something many places in Nosara don’t: a view of the surf. Perched on a hill in the jungle, the Villas are secluded, quiet and peaceful. They offer kitchens for those who like to save cash and cook for themselves. Rent a board at Coconut Harry’s Surf Shop right next to the beach with an ever-evolving collection of SUP boards and lessons.
Photo: Julio Segura
Sayulita is a classic Mexican town. Once a sleepy fishing village, it’s become a destination for expats and wandering surfers. Add SUPers to that list. This area (including Punta Mita 30 minutes to the south) offers more waves than you can shake a paddle at. Beginner offerings are about as friendly as you can find: long, lazy pointbreaks in warm green water and protected, beautiful coves. If you want a little more juice, hire a panga (fishing boat) to take you on a surfing safari up or down the coast. For exclusive flatwater paddling, book that boat to Las Islas Marietas, a remote, offshore wildlife sanctuary. Only 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta and rated one of the safest towns to visit in Mexico, Sayulita is a place to paddle in peace.
High End: Sayulita is a destination where people come to visit and never return. If you’re into paddling and/or surfing that chance is at least doubled. Punta Sayulita, a real estate development, was built with that in mind. The members-only (property owners) estate hosts the Punta Sayulita Longboard & SUP Surf Classic annually, drawing standup figureheads like Chuck Patterson and Gerry Lopez. They also offer SUP lessons and guiding by a highly trained staff. If you’re not looking to get permanently lost in Mexico, check out Playa Escondida, a peaceful beachside resort with a private beach outside of town.
Budget: Book ahead to snag one of the six rooms at the inexpensive Petit Hotel d’Hafa, located on the corner of the plaza in downtown Sayulita and only a two-minute walk from the beach. In the evening, take a drink to the roof deck to soak in the Mexican sunset as the town square comes alive. Look up Wildmex for high-quality SUP lessons and expeditions. You really can’t go wrong, though, as most of the SUP instructors in town are International Surfing Association-certified (Punta Sayulita sponsored a certification for local teachers) and most of the shops carry a wide array of SUP boards.
Photo: Chris Aguilar
If you haven’t thought of Tampa Bay as a SUP desto, pull up a map. See that giant lobster-claw of water pinching into the west side of the state? You’re looking at endless flatwater paddling opportunities, the occasional downwinder and sometimes, elusive Gulf of Mexico waves.
The Tampa Bay area offers some archetypal Florida experiences, which include paddling through mangrove barrels or going face-to-face with manatees and baby sharks. Once you’re off the water there’s plenty to see. For ethnic flavor, head over to Tampa’s Latin Quarter, once called the “Cigar Capital of the World.” Indulge in some paella, café con leche, or a hand-rolled cigar. You’ve earned it.
High End: If you’re into paddling with your dog and staying at a Florida classic, look no further than Loew’s Don CeSar Hotel. Built in the 1920’s, The Don offers beachside accommodation and a dog-friendly environment (think doggy placemats and bowls on arrival). Urban Kai Stand Up Paddleboarding give fitness, SUP 101 and paddle surf classes. Instructors will carry cameras so you can brag—with proof—to your friends back home.
Budget: Stay on St. Petersburg Beach with a room at the family-run Bon Aire Resort Motel and be sure and try a burger at Sandbar Bill’s in the motel. It’s an ideal spot to try out SUP surfing for the first time in the small waves. Have Tampa Bay SUP bring you your rental board and paddle with their mobile SUP rental. They also offer beginner lessons and regional tour drop offs: put in at a pre-vetted touring location and they meet you when you’re done or guide you along the way.
Photo: Darrell Wong
Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing and Maui, the Valley Isle, is the birthplace of modern SUP. SUP icons Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama and a host of others took to the windswept waters with paddles in hand and never looked back. You know the rest.
Although it’s the windiest island in the Hawaiian island chain, there’s more than enough paddling for beginners. Downwinding is the Maui staple (see the Maliko run and its premiere event, the Olukai Ho’Olaule’a) but there are plenty of flatwater and surfing opportunities here as well. Don’t be surprised if you run into one of your SUP heroes from any generation headed out for a paddle: Kai Lenny, Slater Trout and Connor Baxter all call Maui home. There are countless reasons they do.
High End: Lumeria Maui, only a 20-minute drive from Kahului International airport on the north coast of Maui, specializes in creating a peaceful and adventurous time on their six-acre compound. Not only do they offer SUP lessons, but also yoga, massage and cleanses, all included in the price of your stay. The architecture is also unique: it was originally plantation housing for sugar cane workers but has been remodeled into luxury digs with a historic feel.
Budget: Ma’alaea is a great place for good weather, protected coves and reasonably priced accommodations. Stay at the Aston Maui Lu, a quiet resort located on a 28-acre coconut grove. A few miles down the road is Kihei proper and Kalama Beach Park, where you can rent a board and paddle across the street from the beach and launch into calm waters. If you want specialized lessons, try Action Sports Maui for beginning to advanced lessons.
Photo: Shane Harder
The North Shore of Oahu is the holy ground in the surf world. Nowhere is as steeped in myth, history and legend as this seven-mile stretch of coast. Every winter, both the Standup World Tour and the surfing World Championship Tour swarm the “Seven Mile Miracle,” turning it into the most game-changing length of beach in the surfing world.
But don’t be intimidated, there’s something for everyone. There are plenty of protected coves with small or no waves. If you need a day off, head up Waimea Valley for a mile-and-a-half hike to the waterfall for a freshwater dip. Then get back to the ocean.
High End: Turtle Bay Resort, located on the pinnacle of the North Shore, is probably the most surf-savvy of any resort in the world. Not only do they sponsor elite events but they also make it easy for new paddlers to get their dip on, offering a complimentary SUP demo in Kulima Cove in front of the hotel every afternoon. If you’re hooked—or just want to try out a new board—cross the hotel lobby to Hans Hedemann Surf School and choose what type of lesson you want and what equipment you want to ride.
Budget: Surfing’s Mecca has no shortage of the storied—and pervasive—surf bum, so doing the North Shore on a budget is a good option. Stop in at Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Surratt Surf School. When you’ve had enough for the day, lay your salt-crusted ears on pillows in a private room at the Backpackers Vacation Inn & Plantation Village around the corner from Waimea Bay, the original big wave.
Photo: Will Parson
Smorgasbord: that’s the word that comes to mind when we think about paddling San Diego. Mission Bay, San Diego Bay and Carlsbad Lagoon all offer calm, beautiful paddling. There’s also that little body of water called the Pacific Ocean. If you want to get your paddle in both flatwater and the ocean, this is the place.
San Diego is as SUP-friendly as cities get, with a smattering of paddling schools from fitness (Brody Welte’s PaddleFit) to women’s-only (Surf Diva). The weather is almost always pleasant (65 to 80 degree highs year-round), plus, there are around 50 craft breweries to choose from when your muscles give out. What more do you need for a week of learning to SUP?
High End: If you’re looking for the quintessential place to stay in San Diego check in at the Hotel Del Coronado. With a Victorian design and red-shingled roof the Del Coronado has been a beacon on the California coast for over 120 years. Yes, it is right on the beach. Head over to Surf Diva (don’t worry: they’ve gone co-ed after their women’s-only beginnings) for SUP lessons, a SUP bachelorette party or summer family camps.
Budget: For a more downhome experience, look up 2 Stand Up Guys. It’s all in the name; Matt Poth and Ryan Judson are two guys who love to paddle. They’ll get you stoked too, by meeting you for your lesson at any body of water you’d like to try out (they recommend Carlsbad Lagoon for first-timers). After lessons, loosen up at the hoppin’ Pearl Hotel near semi-tropical Shelter Island. Self-described as a “lively hotel” there are poolside movies, a retro bar and food deals. Don’t go overboard, though. You’re here to paddle.
This article originally ran in our 2013 Beginner’s Guide.
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Photo: Marko Notar
At 17 years old, Manca Notar has become a strong contender in the Women’s Standup World Series, placing atop the podium alongside names like Annabel Anderson and Angie Jackson. The beautiful young Slovenian has sweet smile but Manca is as focused as any European paddler on the world stage today.
Photo courtesy of Naish.
What’s the SUP scene like in Slovenia?
I have to admit that SUP is not really big sport in Slovenia at the moment, but I’m happy to see it growing. We have some individual racers, but not many SUP races. The majority of people are traditionally involved with winter sports.
Tell us about your training regimen.
My dad is also my coach and he always takes care of my training and he always makes it something special. I never visit fitness centers, all workouts I do are in nature. I always try to push my own limits and get better. Also, it’s all about having fun.
You had impressive finishes over the past year at some high profile events and you’re 17. What’s it like being on the podium as one of the top standup paddlers in the world?
Yes, I’m 17. Standing on the podium among the best standup paddle athletes in the world is really an amazing feeling. It’s hard to describe. I always feel honored and it’s some kind of approval that I’m on the right way.
Where does your motivation come from?
I usually set myself a high goal, sometimes it’s too high, but I always work hard to reach it. And if I fail, I try to learn something new from it and I try not to repeat it again in the future. This high goal motivates me all the time. I think I’m inspired also by our Slovenian Olympians. They have done a great job this month, bringing home eight medals and that just gives me more power to reach my goal. But I know that I couldn’t have done it without my parents, who are supporting me from day one.
Where’s your favorite place to SUP?
Actually I have two favorite places. The first one is my home. At home I train more on flat water and in cold conditions in wintertime, but I also wear bikinis in summertime. I love paddling on our lakes surrounded by Alps. Especially in wintertime it’s really beautiful experience. And we also have seaside, which is also good for training. My second favorite place is Maui, Hawaii. I love doing downwinders and Maui is perfect place for it. I usually do downwinders with my Naish teammates, so I always learn something new. And the scenery is absolutely stunning.
Who would you like to race against in the future?
SUP is really fast growing sport and it would be awesome to have more young girls and guys competing from Europe.
The wind is back DW’er. from DavidJohn on Vimeo.
Catching a good downwind glide is one of the true joys of standup paddling. Apparently, the wind near Melbourne was absent for some time. It has now returned, much to the joy of Australian downwind guru David Peterson and his home-made POV camera mounts. How’s that side angle?
For more downwind action, click here.
Mo Freitas is still 16. He’s been our radar for a long time and we gave him the Rookie of the Year prize at our SUP Awards for his various performances last year. But in this new video clip from his home breaks around the North Shore of Oahu—which he edited himself—he steps up his game again and shows us why he’s one of the best out there on a standup surf board.
Oh, and the dimensions on those boards? 8’1″X23″, 6’11″X23″ and 7’2″X23″. Kids these days.
For more Mo Freitas, click here.
We’ve seen dogs standup surf and even a goat catching some rides on an SUP, but we never expected to see a little Hawaiian piglet out sharing waves at Sandy Beach on Oahu. The paddle surfing pig, Kamapua’a, first showed his swim skills when he fell in a pool. Owner Kai Holt decided to take ‘Kama’ out in the surf and they haven’t looked back since. Check out the video of the paddle surfing pig from CBS:
Click here for more Videos.
All Photos: Waterman League
Brazilian Caio Vaz just took the 2014 Sunset Beach Pro title over Kai Lenny, Zane Schweitzer and Keahi de Aboitiz in rough, choppy conditions at the world-famous beach.
The SUP magazine breakdown of the finalists at the fifth anniversary edition of the Sunset Beach Pro.
With his win at the Sunset Beach Pro, Caio Vaz just sent a warning shot across the paddles of every surfer on the Standup World Tour: he’s here to win. Vaz, who took second place in the title chase last year, came out strong, surfing powerfully and drawing clean lines through Sunset Beach’s powerful bowls despite less-than-ideal conditions for the final day.
Before the contest we wrote, “Don’t let his constant smile fool you, Vaz wants that title. He should definitely be considered a contender when he paddles out at Sunset.” He obviously did more than contend.
Kai Lenny, the three-time Sunset winner, was hot on Vaz’s heels in the final but couldn’t come up with the scores he needed in the sloppy, disorganized surf in the final. In fact, Lenny almost lost out in the semifinals to charging Tahitian Poenaiki Raioha (who we also predicted would do well) but Lenny pulled some last-minute magic and got the score to tie Raioha and advanced with a higher single-wave score. Even though runner-up is a strong season opener, Lenny isn’t happy with second place finishes. Expect him to have fire in his eyes in Brazil.
Zane Schweitzer also came out hot from the off season, easily taking honors as the sharpest backside surfer in the event, surfing Sunset like it was two-foot beachbreak. Schweitzer’s competitive fire seems to be blazing at the moment and if this event is taken as an indicator, he’s going to be a dangerous draw in every single event of the 2014 schedule.
Keahi de Aboitiz has made his mark as a kite surfer (he’s a two-time world champ) and free-surf standup paddler. Although this wasn’t his first Standup World Tour final (he got fourth at Location X in 2012), this is a big result for him. Aboitiz is a preternaturally-gifted athlete and it’s only a matter of time before he strings together consistent results. Watch for his casual style to leave a lasting impression on this year’s tour.
Check back for more World Tour coverage on SUPthemag.com.
Kai Lenny, Connor Baxter, Kody Kerbox and Zane Schweitzer. Together, they’re the present and the future of the sport of standup. They’re the first performance generation, they’re the top racers in the world and they’re all from the same place: Maui. During the Sunset Beach Pro, tour director Tristan Boxford sat down with the boys and talked about competing against your friends, respect in the lineup and the upcoming performance film, “The SUP Movie.” The video is long, but there are gems in there. Check out Schweitzer’s rap near the 50-minute mark. Classic.
Mantle Photo: Tony Freitas
Click here for the Maui Boys in action.
Photo: JP Van Swae
Standup paddling’s rewards are many, from seeing the coastline to playing on your local river to surfing breaks only accessible with a paddle in hand. But before you can paddle, you have to stand. Good news: it’s pretty simple. The two most important elements to getting up on your board? First, make sure you’re on a stable SUP, at least 30 inches wide and 10 feet long for your first try. Second, just have fun. That’s what this sport is about.
Climb on the horse. Get on the board, knees on the deckpad, paddle resting across the front of the board, perpendicular to your chest. Make sure you’re in the middle of the board, with your mid-section over the handle. Get your hands evenly spaced under your shoulders on the paddle as it rests on your board. Feel the board for a second. Take a couple of deep breaths. You’re on the water.
Get on up. Slowly put one foot on the board, then the other, keeping your knees bent in an athletic position with one foot on either side of the hand-hold. Your dogs should be shoulder-width apart. Breathe and relax. You’re up.
Get moving. As your standup board planes it becomes more stable. If you’re feeling wobbly, take a couple of strokes while on your knees to get some momentum and help the board plane. Then try standing. Or, as soon as you stand, get a few strokes in to get going and stabilize your ride. Again, if you feel wobbly, the best brace is the forward stroke. Your knees are your shock absorbers so stay athletic and loose. Try a few flatwater paddling sessions before moving to water with current or exposure to wind or waves. Most importantly, just have fun. Your life has just been changed. Go get it.
Rob Casey contributed to this write-up, which originally ran in our 2013 Beginner’s Guide.
To learn more Skills, click here.
The Standup World Tour’s Turtle Bay Pro saw awesome performances by some of the top paddle surfing females from around the globe. After two days of fierce competition on Oahu’s North Shore, Nicole Pacelli of Brazil took home her second Turtle Bay Pro win in as many years.
With 18 ladies competing in four rounds of stacked heats, the Standup World Tour women brought excitement and progressive paddle surfing to the North Shore’s Kuilima Point. Tuesday saw great conditions for the finals, with light trade winds, sunny skies and a building swell. Pacelli went head-to-head with fellow Brazilian Aline Adisaka, Hawaii’s Sophia Tiare Bartlow, and California’s Candice Appleby in an intense first finals heat of the year. In the end, Pacelli took the win with a five-point lead over second place Candice Appleby, with Bartlow finishing third and Adisaka rounding out the top four places.
“I’m so happy,” Pacelli told Waterman League. “The waves are good, but I don’t know – sometimes a big set came and everyone was washed out. So, I’m happy to get two good waves! It was perfect. I caught my best wave of the contest. All the girls are ripping!”
With a big first win under her belt, Pacelli will be looking to continue the streak as she heads home for the next stop on the 2014 Women’s Standup World Tour, the Brazil Pro Grand Slam, scheduled to begin March 29. “I think sometimes in my home country I have more pressure because I’m Brazillian and everybody is cheering for me when I’m in the water,” Pacelli said. “But it’s nice. I like to surf there. I think it’s going to be one of the best stops.”
Stay tuned as the World Tour men battle it out at the Sunset Beach Pro.
Check out the gallery from Day 1 here.
For more information, visit: WatermanLeague.com
Click here for more on the Standup World Tour.
Photo: Waterman League / Stephan Kleinlein, OceanBlueSky Productions
Last weekend’s Sunset Beach Pro trials saw 34 men compete in four- to five-man heats with overhead conditions that improved throughout the day. The top two finishers from each heat advanced to the Main Event, where they’ll go head-to-head with the Standup World Tour athletes as early as Wednesday, February 12. Check out the top eight competitors advancing to the Main Event, as well as the assortment of imagery below. And, don’t forget to tune into SUPtheMag.com for live coverage and event updates.
• Bernd Roedigger (HI) 12.17
• James Casey (USA) 10.47
• Monnier Manutea (TAH) 10.33
• Toby Cracknell (USA) 9.93
• Fisher Grant (USA) 9.56
• Kainoa Texiera (BRA) 9.3
• Kieran Grant (USA) 8.26
• Anthony Vela (USA) 6.87
For more on the Standup World Tour, visit: WatermanLeague.com
Click here for the Turtle Bay Pro and Na Kama Kai gallery.
Photo: Waterman League
Despite the stormy conditions looming over Oahu’s North Shore the past week, the World Tour women and Na Kama Kai kids took to the water at Turtle Bay’s ‘Pool Bars’ break on Monday for a fun opening day of the 2014 Standup World Tour. Check out the gallery below and tune in to SUPtheMag.com to catch the females’ first finals showdown of the year.
For more, visit: WatermanLeague.com
Click here for more on the Standup World Tour.
Photo: William Gayle
Mike Simpson, is a man of missions. He’s paddled up the East Coast, over 2,000 miles from Florida to Maine in support of the Wounded Warriors Project. He’s done 420 miles (with 10-12 portages) on the Connecticut River from the Canadian border to the Long Island Sound. He’s navigated his standup the entirety of the intricate and island-riddled coast of his home state, Rhode Island. And he’s hauled down the Big Sur coast from the town of Big Sur to Cayucos in big seas. Now Simpson, 44, has his sights set on circumnavigating Puerto Rico. SUP magazine will be meeting up with Simpson to document part of his journey for the print edition. We caught up with him as he readies himself for his epic journey.
How are things going?
Well, it’s not an adventure until things go wrong. I’m on the ground in Puerto Rico now but there are hiccups with shipping company and I’m having problems getting my board from what I call ‘prison’. I’m gonna bail her out on Monday. Before we leave I’m having a friend from the south side put in a fin box.
But I went for a paddle yesterday in town and we’re going to try and chase some waves down this weekend. I’m still in the process of down-shifting from uptight East Coast mode to laid back Puerto Rico.
What makes this mission different than your others?
I think it’s the unknown. I think SUPing this style is really heady, it’s mental. I’ve paddled enough on the North Shore of Puerto Rico to know about the reef passes that pop up in front of you and you have to go inside or outside of them. I also know there will be a 114 mile upwind section of the trip. The Puerto Ricans tell me to do the north side then drive back and do the south side so I don’t have to do the upwind. But from my backcountry skiing and backcountry camping, I figure it’s part of the whole thing. You’re taking what Mother Nature’s giving you and getting it done. I know I’ll be going up wind and I’m fine with it. That expectation makes it easier. Then there’s the self supported part of it: I don’t know where I’m sleeping but I have general ideas on the chart. But on a trip like this there are angels everywhere. You think you’re having a horrible day and you pull into the beach and a fisherman invites you up to his house for dinner or points you to a better beach around the corner. I like the unknown.
Why Puerto Rico?
Last winter I came down here a couple times, once for Paddle Royale and once after. I fell in love with Puerto Rico and met a bunch of people that took me under their wing. I came back later for another month and surfed and paddled. It’s a perfect square and isn’t that big and I just thought I should paddle around it. It was really wanting to see this island nice and slow just like the ancients would, no itinerary, carrying all my gear. There are beautiful places that people never get to see.
Photo: Benjamin Thouard
Tell me about your board.
When I brought it up to Patrice, our shaper at BIC, he said lets shape a board for it. We sat down at Outdoor Retailer last August and we came up with a beautiful 17.5-foot design. The unique part about it is Patrice shaping a board this size. He hadn’t really stepped into that realm before. He liked the board so much he shaped one for himself. He didn’t change anything. This board has plugs for strapping and we’ve put texture on the deck and scalloped out the deck so my bags sit a little bit lower and don’t slide when I get hit by waves. That’s huge. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stop to rearrange bags. I also went a little bit wider; I’d rather have stability so I’m not as fatigued and can take a little bit more weight. I was shocked by the stability. I don’t want to be in the water.
How does it downwind?
It’s awesome. I was riding bumps, two-foot or three-foot only, but it was effortless. I was really, really stoked. It’s a tucked in pintail and it picks up every little bump. Getting used to the rudder, which we’re prototyping, is a little difficult. I’m also having a friend on the south side put a fin box in case the rudder fails.
So you’ll be camping the whole time?
Yep. I have a hammock, tarp, bug net and total lightweight sleeping back. Usually I sleep in a hammock on a trip like this. I did that the entire 2,000 miles and four months when my buddy Will Rich and I did SUP The Coast from Key West (Florida) to Portland (Maine).
Well, we’re stoked to get on the water with you.
Me too. Looking forward to it. Time for me to go paddle and then chase some waves.
Kai Lenny, everybody's Sunset Beach Pro favorite doing what he does best. All Photos: Waterman League
The Sunset Beach Pro isn’t just the first event of the Standup World Tour. It’s also the most prestigious single-event title in SUP surfing. Sunset Beach is often called a “large playing field” as the wave is shifty and the beach tends to catch swell from different directions, making it a centerpiece of Oahu’s North Shore — seven miles packed with some of the most dynamic surf breaks in the world. It’s where performance is measured. For the past four years this event has lucked into pumping swells and favorable winds, making for some of the most memorable SUP surfing competitions in our young sport’s history. This year, the forecast looks good but not quite as pumping as it has in years past. The following are SUP magazine’s picks for the 2014 Sunset Beach Pro.
Smart money says Kai Lenny will win this contest—for the fourth time. The guy is a competitive machine and currently holds the titles from the Standup World Tour, the Standup World Series and the Battle of the Paddle. He’s got a champion’s fire burning in him and those who know champions know they like nothing more than to keep the fire stoked. Not to mention that Lenny looks completely comfortable out here, jamming turns and weaving through barrels. Regardless of the size, Lenny will be hard to beat.
Robin Johnston does not get enough credit. The Oahu local has been runner-up here twice (2011, 2013) and is hungry to do one better. The regular-footer has a solid forehand and the technical skills to make that a reality. If the waves aren’t as epic as they have been over the past few years, expect Johnston’s local knowledge to get him to the money rounds.
Robin Johnston showing his local knowledge, and flair.
Maui-boy Kody Kerbox is young, he rips and he got third here last year. He’s also the offspring of legendary waterman Buzzy Kerbox. But the young Kerbox has the flair, precision and panache of SUP surfing’s new generation that throws down big moves in big waves. If his video parts and performance from last year here are any indication, Kerbox will make his presence known at Sunset.
The Brazilian contingent on the World Tour just seems to grow stronger and stronger each year. Caio Vaz led that charge last season, taking second three contests in a row for a runner-up end-of-year ranking behind Kai Lenny. Don’t let his constant smile fool you, Vaz wants that title. He should definitely be considered a contender when he paddles out at Sunset.
The only other World Champion besides Kai Lenny since the advent of the Standup World Tour, Leco Salazar can never be counted out. Although he’ll be on his backhand at Sunset, Salazar’s surfing is tack-sharp and fast, a good match for the shifty, bowly and unpredictable waves at Sunset and his third-place finish overall in 2013 will have him fired up coming into this year.
Leco Salazar will bring his strong backhand to Sunset.
Another backhand maestro to watch for. Schweitzer has been feasting on big, toothy, Maui waves during this unusually busy Hawaiian winter and will be fit and ready to rage come contest time. His easy-going, high-fiving manner is not an act, but pull Schweitzer in a heat draw and you’ll wish you hadn’t. His high-paced, futuristic attack and ability to find barrel sections will be a factor in this contest. As with anyone surfing on their backhand out here, finding success will come down to winning the position battle and making sections.
The Tahitian Raioha is only 16 but you wouldn’t know it by how he surfs. Born and bred on heavy reef waves, Tahitians are the most comfortable people in Hawaiian waters behind Hawaiians themselves. Not only that, but Raioha got fourth here last year and made another Standup World Tour final at Sapinus in 2012. Youth and talent, a dangerous combination.
In the past four years of this contest, the goofy-foot Lizarazu has never gotten worse than fifth. That should speak for itself. But, Lizarazu also won the 2011 Sapinus Pro in Tahiti in absolutely pumping surf and got second on the World Tour in 2010. The Frenchmen’s game thrives in big waves so his performance may falter if the conditions aren’t epic, and Sunset was his only event last year so we’ll see if he makes it. While he may not be a household name in the U.S., if he shows up, he’ll definitely be a factor. He might be too busy charging surf like this, though.
This Australian ripper is due for a big break. He’s been in the top ten the last two years on the World Tour and although he’s never had a big showing at Sunset, he has the skills to do so. His turns are always executed in critical sections and he’s fast on his front side. If he’s going to have a big year—and we think he is—Sunset will be his coming-out party.
Sean Poynter going for a little head dip.
Another guy that’s due for his big break. We don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say that Poynter is among the most technically sound surfers on the tour. He puts in the time training and surfing and has been inside the top ten for the past three years (taking second to Lenny in 2012). Poynter is as fierce a competitor as we know and one of these days a switch will flip and he’ll become the man to beat. That day could come this weekend.
Australian Dave Muir is our big boy pick. Muir charges hard and has a concrete-solid stance, which matches well with thumping Sunset. He’ll definitely make some rounds—especially if it’s big—but we’ll bet he loses in the later rounds to the high-performance assault of the young guys.
Another Oahu local, Freitas is comfortable on big waves and shreds small waves, which should match the variable forecast. Freitas is also a proven winner, winning the 2012 Ubatuba Pro and the 2013 US SUP Tour at Huntington, both against the best in the world. And he’s 16. If a youngster is going to do well in this contest, it’s this guy (he’s one of our dark horses).
Perkins is the only non-World Tour paddler to have won this event (and the only person besides Lenny) and he’s taken fifth twice. The Oahu native and member of the Hawaiian Water Patrol is a two-time ASP World Longboard champ and is the man when it comes to longboarding Pipeline, so he knows how to compete and knows how to charge. The younger guys are more performance-oriented but Bonga is a solid pick that will make it far in the draw and has serious potential to take the whole contest.
Check SUPthemag.com for the live webcast and updates on the contest.
Photo: Imenso Pix
With its pristine coastline, clear water, rivers, and caves, Portugal’s Algarve region is a paddling paradise. Sebastian Wolff of Extreme Algarve, is giving both tourists and locals a different view of the region with paddle trips, while also spreading the SUP bug with startup clubs and multiple events.
SUP mag: Tell us about your background.
Wolff: I was born in South Africa, nowhere near the ocean. After spending 11 years in the big smog of London I decided that London life was not for me. My better half, Michaela, recommended that I do something I love.
As a result, I enrolled in a surf coach course and went on holiday to Morocco. After deciding that was what Michaela and I wanted to do, we went back to work, gave notice, and the following January were driving down the French coast with surf guide in hand, looking for somewhere to set up. We inadvertently ended up in the Algarve, as for me being African, the weather was a major issue and I couldn’t handle the terrible winters of the UK, France and northern Spain.
SUP mag: How’d you get into the SUP market?
Wolff: The purists will hate me for this, but I guess I really added SUP as a time-filler for when there’s no wind, or, for clients who might want a less exhausting option to surfing. We also wanted to be the first real provider of SUP in the Lagos area, so it was a kind of business move too.
After doing a lot of research, I hooked up with Tina from Starboard in Lisbon and she helped me choose boards for our school. I had no experience in the sport, so I booked an ASI accredited SUP instructor course and flew out Steve West and his lovely wife Mandy.
SUP mag: Tell us about the SUP scene in Portugal.
Wolff: The Portuguese scene is growing rapidly. Everyone involved is super enthusiastic and keen to promote the sport. Joao Maya, Tiago Silva, and Tina Sahl, as well as Rui and Nuno from SET clothing are great ambassadors and are putting their heart and soul into promoting SUP throughout the country.
Look out for the Berlenga Ocean Challenge, a 15-km downwinder from the Berlenga islands to the mainland—it’s a brilliant event, even if you’re not competing. There’s also a great race across the Tagus River, and a circuit of six or seven competitions nationwide. We’ve had big names such as Steve West, Sean Poynter, and Susanne Lier all doing courses and clinics, and this year we look forward to having Will Anido from downunder doing courses in Peniche.
Last year we got two new SUP schools just in Lagos. Locals like Anne de Jong and Tiago are doing great things through SUP as a way for a healthier lifestyle, along with nutrition and SUP yoga and I believe Tiago is actually training Sean Poynter for this year’s events.
Tina from Starboard is also awesome and set up the Beyond Boards team, which I will be competing with this year.
SUP mag: Tell us about your location.
Wolff: The Algarve is one huge outdoor playground and a paradise for paddling. Our lodge is a few minutes from the town center and 20 seconds from Praia Porto de Mos Beach, where we paddle in the summer, and Meia Praia beach, the town’s main beach.
Lagos is surrounded by grottos and caves, so, our clients get lessons in perfect conditions with absolutely stunning scenery. All lessons include a trip through the caves and stops at secluded beaches for snorkeling, sun bathing and exploring. If we get a bit of swell, no problems, we drive 10 minutes down to the kite lagoon for glassy, flat water with different scenery.
One of our favorite trips is the west coast river trip. We make our way through extremely dense vegetation. Otters, wild ducks, huge fish, and an ancient water mill are a few visual treats along the way. We also do a sunset snorkel trip at this huge cave on the south coast.
SUP mag: What type of customers do you have?
Wolff: Our clients are mostly beginners that have never been on a board before. We’re slowly starting to see people book only SUP holidays and it’s awesome to be able to give someone a complete SUP experience.
SUP mag: Tell us about the services or classes do you offer.
Wolff: We offer one-on-one and group classes, and a solid lesson covering everything from safety to turning. Prior to any of our tours I’ll make sure the guys at least get a lesson. The surf lessons are a lot more advanced and I’ll never take anyone who hasn’t had at least a day of paddling flat water—there’s a lot of things to take into account, and we take safety seriously.
SUP mag: What other events are you involved with?
Wolff: This September we’re arranging a BOP-style race and long distance event. As far as I know, we don’t have anything like this in Portugal, so we’re hoping it’ll be popular. The long distance race participants might encounter our famous Nortada (northerly wind) on the return journey, so it could be quite spicy.
Myself and a couple of surf schools have set up a not-for-profit surf club for local kids, called Algarve Nippers, and we’d love to tie a SUP club in with this. As well as taking local kids surfing for a nominal fee, Algarve Nippers also take disadvantaged kids surfing for free.
SUP mag: Tell us about the shop’s plans for this year.
Wolff: Tania Nesbitt from the ASI has helped us with a lot of surf school-related issues, and through the ASI, we’ll run two SUP instructor courses a year at our lodge.
Our association, Algarve Surf Maritime Activity Association (ASMAA), has come a long way in creating a fair surf license for surf schools in the Algarve. We’ve been working closely with the Maritime police, who issue the licenses, and are pretty close on getting a proper license for SUP schools.
Tom Longhurst and myself are looking at paddling the length of the Algarve for charity, and to make people aware of the proposed oilrigs going up along the coast. The real bad news is that they’re looking at fracking. With the Algarve being a sustainable energy provider’s dream come true, we do not want our country and coastline ruined.
For more information, visit: ExtremeAlgarve.com
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In celebration on the fifth anniversary of the Waterman League Sunset Beach Pro, we put together a little sampler of some of our favorite moments from the past couple years of competition for this special edition of RIDES. The waiting period starts tomorrow. Get psyched!
For more RIDES, click here.
Photo: Jason Kenworthy
It’s easy to let post-workout regimens fall to the wayside. But, your post-workout regimen is really important to your fitness. If you don’t do good to your body after working it, you shouldn’t expect to feel great next time you hit the gym or water. Use our five post-workout do’s after your next training session and begin reaping the benefits. —SC
Rehydrate: It’s simple, but rehydrating can’t be stressed enough. The average adult body is about 50 – 65 percent water and most of us don’t consume enough fluids to begin with. Not all fluids are equal- always reach for water, or, if you’re a salty sweater, replenish with a sports drink (most have some sodium) with a lower sugar content and sans caffeine.
An easy way to figure out how to rehydrate is to weigh yourself before and after you workout, drinking 24 oz. of water for every pound lost during training. Also, check out the situation in your toilet; your urine should be pale yellow if you’re hydrated. If it isn’t, you’re most likely dehydrated. Every body has different hydration needs, so monitor your urine to determine whether or not you should make changes to your fluid intake. Bonus benefit: rehydrating post-workout will also help cool your core temperature so you won’t be steaming hours after.
Stretch: We always hear about how important it is to stretch before a workout because of injury prevention, but it’s just as important to stretch after, too. Your body will naturally fatigue and feel sore because of the lactic acid produced during your workout, but stretching while the muscles are still warm will help to reduce both. Bonus benefit: stretching helps increase circulation, which you’ll be grateful for as you age.
Reflect: Often overlooked, reflecting upon your workout can help you recognize where you are in your training program or in achieving a goal. Reflecting post-workout also helps you understand why your session felt great or awful, and will help you to make changes for better workouts in the future. So, next time you’re ready to hit the showers, take a few minutes to think about and acknowledge both the positive and negative aspects of your workout, as well as what you’ll do to have a more successful workout next time. Bonus benefit: reflecting will help you wind down and feel centered, for a healthier, happier you.
Track: Do it old-school style in a notebook, get a fancy gadget, or download an app on your smartphone, but track your workouts one way or another. Knowing what you did in past workouts can help you make better training choices for future workouts, gives you a reference point for your next workout, and allows you to see the progress you’ve made. Keep it basic and just record workout details including results and how you felt before, during, and after, or, you can take your tracking further by including weight (before and after, which helps with the first “do” on our list), gear used, the previous night’s sleep, and injuries, as well as conditions and location if you were out in the elements. Bonus benefit: when it’s tough to motivate before a workout, you can take a look at the progress you’ve made so far and will feel prompted to continue working toward your fitness goal.
Refuel: After working out, make sure what you consume is worthy of going in your body because even several hours after working out, your muscles are still refueling. Carbs and protein are always the best combo, as you’ve likely burned a significant amount of carbs during the workout and will need protein to repair, maintain, or increase muscle mass. Bonus benefit: if you’re too tired to prepare a healthy meal post-workout, you can take a shortcut and grab a nutrition bar or whip up a protein shake.
Click here for more Paddle Healthy.
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Ryan Helm, an American expat living in Punta Sayulita, Mexico, holds the distinct honor of being the best finless standup paddler on the planet, as shown in our newest RIDES We Love video. Enjoy.
For more RIDES click here.
Rainbow® Sandals is proud to announce the Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle® for 2014 at Salt Creek Beach on October 4th-5th, 2014. After maximizing capacity in 2013 at Doheny State Beach, we moved the event three miles north to the beautiful coastline of Salt Creek Beach. Having the Battle of the Paddle® at Salt Creek will allow us to have a larger Standup Paddle Expo, new and challenging race courses, more parking, and a stadium arena layout for spectators.
The Battle of the Paddle® has grown in participation from both competitors and exhibitors every year. Last year we filled the beach with 171 exhibitor spaces. This year we will be able to facilitate a total 300 spaces. The beach at Salt Creek is larger and flatter, and stretches twice as far as our previous site.
Salt Creek Beach
Salt Creek is one of the most beautiful beaches in California, located just south of Laguna Beach. The unique geography allows people to look above the expo area and watch the action in the water from everywhere at the event, including event registration.
Concierge shuttle service is provided free of charge to all spectators, competitors and exhibitors, direct to the event site. Shuttles will transport from parking lots at Dana Hills High School, Strands Beach Park and Salt Creek before, during and after.
We are excited to exhibit courses we designed for all races. The Elite Race will showcase better surfing and exciting carnage. In case of large surf we’ve devised alternate courses for the Open and Kids race that are safe for all levels of paddling. The Distance Race will provide new and scenic vistas from Salt Creek to Laguna Beach and back.
For more information, visit: BattleofthePaddle.com
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Photo: Jim Brewer
Noah Yap is among the talented pack of paddle surfing teens produced in the waters of Maui. He’s not just another grom out there, he’s a standout grom with serious standup skills. In a 2013 interview, Noah told us his goal is, “to be the best ever.” We think you’re well on your way, Noah.
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Longboarding is an art. The most talented riders make moves like cross-stepping and nose-riding look as simple as walking down a sidewalk. Anyone who’s tried it knows this isn’t the case.
In this video, talented French standup paddler Xavier Leroy carves, cross-steps, nose-rides and makes it all look effortless. Inspiration for your next session.
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Mantle Photo: Moonwalker Photos
After years producing one of the most beloved events in the sport’s history at Doheny State Beach in Southern California, Rainbow Sandals and event director Barrett Tester have decided to relocate two miles up the Pacific Coast Highway to Salt Creek for the 2014 showcase, slated for October 4-5. Salt Creek is a county-run beach tucked into a beautiful cove between Dana Point and Laguna. We sat down with Tester to address concerns from the greater SUP community regarding the new location.
SUP mag: So there’s been talk of problems between your event and the State Park. Is that why you’re moving the event?
BT: We prefer to keep the story about the Battle of the Paddle and not anything negative. Honestly, we think it’s a great move to take the Battle to Salt Creek. It’ll keep the event vibrant and now we have a chance to offer some very challenging, exciting and scenic courses. The BOP is a concept and format that can work well in many locations. We’ve had very successful events in Hawaii and Brazil. And now there is the possibility we might be in Asia soon too. Moving to Salt Creek also allows us to showcase the beautiful Dana Point coast which we want to do because the City of Dana Point provides us with great support. Salt Creek is a jewel among beaches in Southern California and I think those that come race the BOP this year will agree.
SUP mag: So talk about Salt Creek as a venue.
BT: Salt Creek has always been on our radar. One of the things that has always been a concern with the event at Doheny is parking and we feel we have a better situation at Salt Creek. There’s a paved lot at the top of Salt Creek that’s $8 per day. And there’s another lot at Strands that’s free. We’re going to provide concierge shuttles all through the weekend and make this event first-class. We know people are concerned about that but we’ve grown out of the Doheny spot. It’s a better situation in that regard.
SUP mag: Salt Creek is set down, away from the road which makes it beautiful but it also hinders access for athletes and exhibitors. How do you plan to address that?
BT: The beach layout is bigger, and wider than at Doho because the beach has been reducing there because of sand migration. There’s a grassy level just above the beach with a great viewing area where we’ll have exhibitors, a beer garden and people will have a great vantage point to view the race much better.
For exhibitors, we’re going to have a shuttle service utilizing utility vehicles and trailers to get exhibitors in and out. We’ll also allow exhibitor’s box trucks to go down the ramp. We’ll be coordinating it all with the County. For competitors, getting equipment down to the beach, they’ll be able to go down, unload then go park and get a shuttle back to Salt Creek.
SUP mag: “Creek” is one of the best high-performance waves in Orange County. It can get pretty thumpy if there’s a combo swell in the fall. Are you concerned about that?
BT: We’re pretty excited. We have a new, revised elite race and Salt Creek holds the cards for a much more technical race that will be super exciting. We plan on utilizing the break to showcase these amazing athletes. There’s a certain amount of danger but that’s what the BOP is. Safety is still a maximum concern. We’ll utilize the Orange County lifeguards and be able to employ some of our own too. For the elite race, it’s a big plus. And the distance race should be stunning. The course will go from Salt Creek to Laguna Beach and back.
SUP mag: What about the open and kids’ and races?
BT: The kids’ and open race are key. The beach is large and stretches for nearly a mile and there’s Strands Beach on the south side of point. We’re permitted to be able to utilize the whole beach to find good start and end locations, depending on the surf. We will have to adapt but we’re all experts in understanding surf forecasts and we’re going to come up with a solution if there’s an overhead combo swell. We’ll have Plan A, B and C and will have a response for safety and to control the amount of paddlers hitting the water. As race organizers and lifeguards, we’ll make certain decisions to make sure it’s enjoyable for everyone.
Salt Creek Beach
SUP mag: So culturally, Salt Creek isn’t really a SUP destination. Any plans to work with the locals?
BT: We’re all Orange County locals so we understand that situation. We know Salt Creek is a sensitive spot. We plan to talk to locals and work with them. We’re not going to completely take over the beach. In between the races the water will be open. We definitely want to work with the locals to mitigate problems. But again, Salt Creek is such a scenic and beautiful beach and we’re really excited about that.
The paddle stroke is everything in standup paddling. The pros work on their technique constantly; you can get as technical as you want with yours. The most important thing to remember is to be comfortable. Don’t overdo it. If you feel pain or off-balance, slow down. A great way to practice your stroke if you can’t get to the water is to use a pool or a friend’s hot tub. Stand next to the edge, feet shoulder-width apart and practice these tips.
Stance: Staying loose is really important. From your shoulders down, your whole body has got to be like a big spring: feet parallel, knees bent. Your legs are your shock absorbers, reacting to current and bump in the water. Be comfortable and remember to have fun.
Reach: Place the blade next to your board about four feet in front of your toes with your lower arm extended, using your top hand as a guide. Reach only as far as is comfortable during your stroke. Be sure and keep the elbow of your top arm close to your head to avoid shoulder stress.
Catch: After reaching as far as possible, place the blade smoothly (think no splash) next to your board.
Power: The power phase of your stroke starts where you plant your paddle. Pull smoothly through the water, bending at the waist with the stroke ending at your feet, and no farther. If you pull past your feet it’s wasted energy that will actually slow the board down.
The perfect stroke is 90 percent body and 10 percent arms. Your reach and power come from twisting your body at the hips, torso and shoulders, using your core to drive your stroke through the water. With your blade placed, uncoil your body using the big muscles of the core and again, bending at the waist. You’re pulling yourself through the water and the blade stays stationary. Keep the blade as close to the board as possible. And try to look where you’re going, not down at your feet.
Recovery: Once the blade gets to your feet, start your recovery. Try feathering the blade or dropping the shoulder of your top arm, twisting the power face away from the rail, that smoothes out the release and helps the paddle move aerodynamically back to the catch. Remember to extend your reach. There is no rush. You’re not racing so take your time and dial in your stroke. And we probably don’t need to remind you: have fun.
Rob Rojas and Chase Kosterlitz contributed to this stroke tutorial, which originally ran in our 2013 Beginner’s Guide.
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The inaugural Women’s Standup World Tour set the standard for female paddle surfing last year with epic performances by ladies from around the world. For the first time, Waterman League crowned a female World Champion paddle surfer, Brazil’s Nicole Pacelli. With the kickoff event of the 2014 season just around the corner, and names like Izzi Gomez and Olivia Piana hungry to take more event wins, expect to see some major high-performance paddle surfing and ladies stepping up their wave-riding skills.
For more information, visit: WatermanLeague.com
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