Lizzie Carr celebrates the completion of her paddle down the Hudson River. Photo courtesy: Fanatic
Environmental activist Lizzie Carr has become the first person to successfully paddleboard the navigable length of New York's Hudson River -‐ a 275km journey from Albany in from New York State to the Statue of Liberty.
Lizzie, who paddled for up to nine hours a day for eight consecutive days, confronted unpredictable conditions throughout her journey. The incoming Hurricane Florence brought gusts of wind up to 30mph with large swells along the East Coast. This, coupled with intermittent thunderstorms, torrential downpours, strong currents and commercial shipping traffic on a river that spans 3.5 miles at its widest point, makes this feat of endurance all the more impressive.
Lizzie, a passionate environmental advocate who founded the Plastic Patrol initiative in the UK following a cancer diagnosis that prompted her to take up paddle boarding to recover, took on this challenge to bring attention to the issue of plastic pollution, ocean health and, more broadly, climate change.
En route Lizzie conducted a series of citizen science activities to develop a better understanding of water quality on the Hudson River. She collected water samples for micro plastic analysis and hosted a series of beach cleans for local communities that were attended by more than 100 volunteers and supported by REN Clean Skincare.
Lizzie says, "Paddle boarding the Hudson River was an incredible way to explore and experience New York but it didn't come without its challenges. It was physically demanding and mentally draining with each day throwing up new obstacles to navigate. This journey wasn't just about the thrill of adventure and because there was a much bigger purpose at play I was even more determined to see it through."
The USA is one of the world's largest consumers of single use plastic and it's estimated that 90,000 pieces of microplastic per square kilometer were found floating in the Hudson River in 2017.
Lizzie and the beach clean volunteers collectively photographed and plotted more than 2000 examples of plastic encountered along the Hudson River, pulling into an interactive map she developed (www.plasticpatrol.co.uk/map). The map currently houses more than 50,000 crowd sourced examples of plastic logged across 18 countries globally.
Lizzie continues: "I am thrilled to have brought Plastic Patrol to the USA and start gathering really interesting and important data on the types of plastic we are finding, where it is situated and which brands are most prolific offenders."
"Gathering and plotting photographic evidence is a really powerful way of building evidence against the brands and manufacturers responsible for creating it and what better place to end this challenge than in the heart of New York City where a lot of these companies are based."
Lizzie is working in partnership with Riverkeeper and Hudson River Park to compare and analyse data collected. Carrie Roble, Director of Science and Stewardship at the Hudson River Park Estuary Lab said: "The Hudson River is one of the largest estuaries in the United States, making it a significant place for Lizzie to highlight how microplastics are impacting the world’s waterways,”.
Carrie continues, “The Hudson River Park Estuary Lab began researching the concentration of plastics two years ago and is finding far too many of these tiny plastics in the Park's waters. With Lizzie’s help, we’re able to examine other parts of the river, better assess the scale of the problem and start developing solutions supported by science. The Hudson River estuary is as unique as it is valuable, and the health of its ecosystem deserves our commitment to reducing pollution in these waters."
Lizzie concludes: "By tackling the problem at from the root - inland where 80 per cent of marine debris starts - we can really make a difference. I was overwhelmed by the positivity and support I received from locals on my way. I was joined on the water by people who had been tracking my journey online and others stopped on the shoreline who cheered me on. It was incredibly motivating and really illustrates how much people care about the issue."
See more from Lizzie's journey via the hashtags #plasticpatrol #savethefuture #thehudsonproject and via her journey tracker at www.lizzieoutside.co.uk/live-‐tracker/
At age 17, world champion standup paddler Fiona Wylde was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It was the type of news with potential to devastate a young paddler's career.
Three years later and the Hood River, Oregon native's SUP career has only accelerated.
"There's the saying, 'If it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger,'" Wylde says. "I believe that having diabetes has kept me on my toes. It keeps me in tune with my body and makes me appreciate the things I can do."
Hood River local Fiona Wylde on her way to victory in the Double Downwinder at the Columbia Paddle Challenge. Photo: Lorenzo Menendez/Flux Photography
Since the diagnosis, Wylde went on to win an overall APP World Championship title last year, an honor recognizing her combined victories in international SUP surfing and racing. She's mounted podiums at some of the biggest elite events around the world, and she's won the Columbia Paddle Challenge downwind race the past two years running.
At just 20 years old, Wylde is unanimously considered among the best female SUP athletes in the world, a reputation she earned all while wearing a glucose monitor during races and maintaining a stringent diet throughout her travels.
"Honestly, having diabetes hasn't changed my life drastically," Wylde says. "I still live my life as I did before. There are some days when I wake up with really high blood sugar and I feel like I've been hit by a truck, but those are the days when it's most important to get up and do something active. Exercise always makes me feel better."
With close monitoring of her blood sugar levels, Wylde continues her active lifestyle unfazed. She still paddles, rides bikes, eats healthy and competes. She travels as much now as she ever has, and the disease doesn't stop her from taking SUP trips halfway around the world at any given opportunity. Wylde says now, the biggest difference is in the planning.
"In order to travel, train, or do really anything, I need to make sure I have all of the proper medication and food in order to be healthy enough to do what I want to."
20-year-old womens SUP star Fiona Wylde doesn’t let Type 1 Diabetes stop her from taking on life’s greatest thrills. Photo courtesy of APP World Tour
On the water and in races, that translates to packing fast-acting sugar supplements in her hydration pack and wearing a glucose monitor called a Dexcom, a device that checks her blood sugar and tells her the status through an app on her Apple Watch. When she travels, she brings along enough insulin, test strips, needles and lancets to last two or three times the length of each trip. The trickiest part about staying healthy, Wylde says, is in her diet because she needs to be extra careful about sugar intake, a measure made more difficult--especially when traveling--by her Celiac Disease.
"I've always tried to eat healthy and that hasn't changed other than regulating my sugar intake," Wylde says. "The biggest changes came when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease because now I need to stay away from wheat, barely, oats and rye like the plague. Luckily we live in a time where gluten-free products are readily available and I've found plenty of substitutes."
Wylde shows off her diabetic travel kit. Photo courtesy of Black Project SUP and Fiona Wylde
Wylde's battle with disease may be constant, but it's only fueled her fervor for doing the things she loves. Of all the challenges involved with diabetes, the will to give up or even slow down is not among them for the young champion.
"Paddling has proved to me that if you have a dream, you should follow it," Wylde says. "Type 1 diabetes has taught me to never give up on that dream. You might have to figure out a different way to do something, but don't ever give up on the things you love! "
Watch: Fiona Wylde Paddling at home in Hood River
Two women complete the first SUP circumnavigation of Mallorca
Meet Yuka Sato: Japan’s Rising Womens SUP Superstar
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Occupation: Co-founder SUP Colorado, musician, festival organizer
Answer: "A river-rescue knife. I feel naked without it because I use it for anything that comes up unexpectedly. Otherwise I'm a minimalist; I take nothing but the absolute essentials."
Hometown: Centennial, Colorado
Occupation: Owner of AKZ Land Paddle co.
Answer: "Waist-mounted PFD. It's passive and comfortable to paddle with. I like it for the freedom."
Hometown: Tahoe City, California
Answer: "Extra zinc and a very light, cotton button-up long-sleeved shirt for sun protection. Being a fair-skinned gentleman, I don't want to get fried."
Hometown: Doylestown, PenNsylvania
Occupation: Sales Manager
Answer: "The Astral Sea Wolf PFD is not too cumbersome and allows me to store lots of gear. It also has the quick-release belt for running whitewater."
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Occupation: Writer and Jewelry Maker
Answer: "I have lots of fun paddling with my dog so I use a doggie PFD with a handle. It makes it super easy to get her on and off the board."
Hometown: Minturn, Colorado
Answer: "A 12-volt pump for inflatables is a game-changer. It speeds up the whole process of getting on the river and you can give it to other people to help them out."
Word on the Water: Biggest Fashion Faux Pas in SUP?
Word on the Water: Where Will SUP be in Five Years?
Whether you’re old or young, fit or fat, serious about the sport or just looking for a new way to have fun, standup paddling is a healthy hobby with something to offer everybody. The basics of SUP are as approachable as they are empowering, and a little know-how can take you places you never imagined--geographically, physically, mentally and otherwise. From exercising without a gym to expanding your social life, the lifestyle advantages of standup paddling extend well beyond the obvious. Here are five reasons to give it a try.
As opposed to just about any other sport on H2O, you don’t need to put your body through the ringer to learn how to SUP. While there are plenty of nuances to proper SUP technique, the learning curve is gentle and the fundamentals are easy to pick up.
Paddling in the Chicago River may not be for beginners, but it is an amazing experience. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
No matter your age, your experience or your fitness level, if you can stand, chances are you can standup paddleboard. And unlike surfing, it won’t take you months of wiping out before you start to have fun. We recommend starting with a flatwater tutorial on a large, high-volume board.
Watch: Beginner SUP Tutorial
At one end of the spectrum, standup paddling can offer a workout to challenge even the fittest athlete. At the other end, it can be performed with very little physical exertion at all. But no matter your speed, exercise is achieved with minimal impact on joints, which is a major benefit for elderly folks or people suffering from tendon/ligament issues.
SUP is an excellent low-impact exercise. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
Sort of like swimming, the fluid, rhythmic motion of flatwater paddling puts very little stress on the body’s connective tissue. Unlike swimming, you can stop to rest without sinking. The combined effect of fluid movement and the ability to go at your own pace makes SUP a perfect option for people who need exercise without the oft-associated joint aches.
Read: The Many Muscles Used During a SUP Stroke
Most peoples’ daily routine moves fast and the stresses of work, family, finances and civilization at large have a way of gradually wearing on our mental states. Exercise and time spent in nature are remedies to ward off these effects, but making time for both can be tricky on a busy schedule.
SUP offers a twofer here--as much as it fills the body’s quota for physical activity, it also provides an extremely therapeutic immersion in nature. Stroking silently across the water invites a rare opportunity to be present and peaceful on a level that can otherwise be difficult to achieve in our busy lives. It’s virtually guaranteed that you’ll exit the water with a calmer, more capable mind state than you had going in.
Standup paddling is an individualistic experience if you want it to be, but it also inherently leads to new connections, paddling partners and friends. Around nearly every waterway exists a clan of people who paddle in it, and the active, endorphin-flooding nature of SUP attracts a positive, fun-loving crowd.
Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
A quick Google search of “SUP groups” in your area can reveal communities of SUP racers, SUP yogis, SUP surfers and SUP cruisers ripe for you to join, often leading to new friendships both on and off the water. Plus, standup paddling makes an impressive first date. Give it a try and you’ll see what we mean.
Sunrise from the beach is among the most beautiful sights the world has to offer. But sunrise from the middle of a glassy lake or stroking among offshore kelp beds is about as serene as an earthly view can get.
The vantage achieved by SUP--looking back at your home beach, cruising past private or protected land, watching the birds dive and the fish jump--is a truly unique experience. And because SUP allows a paddler to access the nooks and crannies that are inaccessible by land, opportunities abound to not only see life from a different perspective but to experience places you might otherwise never see.
Skills: A Step-by-step Guide to the Perfect Stroke
Top Five Places to Paddle this Fall
A SUP Expedition on Nepal’s Gandaki River
Editor’s Note: Annabel Anderson dominated the Elite Women’s division in both the Distance and Technical races at #PPG2017 last year en route to her first Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life title. While Anderson has been sidelined from SUP competition this year by both an off-season surgery and a recent skiing accident, she recounted her victorious run last year and revealed that if not for her “village” of a support system, she might not have even made it to the start line.
Words by Annabel Anderson
3rd Time Lucky – Or Was It?
It's not like I've had a lack of end of season outings in Southern California. I've had seven of them in succession.
Each year I've made the end of season pilgrimage to the Doheny State Beach showdown (not forgetting the one-time deviation to Salt Creek). From BOP to PPG, that three letter acronym has represented what mattered most to the insiders of the SUP world when it really counted.
You either think you have the goods to have a crack at the pros, or you want to experience what a paddle battle on steroids is really like.
As I was getting ready to leave California last fall, SUP Magazine editor Will Taylor asked me if I would like to jot down some notes on what it was like to "finally crack" the Pacific Paddle Games.
Photo: Lorenzo Menedez
It wasn't that I hadn't 'cracked' the season ending finale weekend, I'd done that twice over at the Battle of the Paddle becoming the first person ever to win both the technical and distance races back-to-back. But for the past two years, I had failed to crack the top step of the Pacific Paddle Games overall podium.
In the moments and days following the PPG mayhem, my thoughts and focus was about as far from celebration as you can get.
Months on the road means layers upon layers of logistics and planning. Thoughts and actions are always focused on what is about to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. It's almost as though I’m too scared to look back at the moments of the weekend, possibly for fear that they didn't actually happen or that somehow they weren't quite real.
As I look back on that final weekend of September and of that season-ending weekend at Dana Point for the past seven years, there is a sense of familiarity in what happens in the aftermath of the annual Super Bowl of SUP.
As the presentations wind down and sun starts to set over the Pacific, you'll find me schlepping gear across the sand. I'll still be wearing the same gear that I put on when I woke at early-o'clock that morning and there's a high possibility that I'm still running on the two cups of coffee I had for breakfast and possibly a post race beer if someone was kind enough to plant one in my hand. You see by this stage in the day, anything wet and cold is going to be appreciated.
Between the barrage of celebratory embraces from friends and strangers alike, the focus and intensity that I approached the weekend with remains the same. Unlike many, my boards and gear will not move themselves and I won't relax until I know that I have everything off the sand and back at wherever I've bunked down for the weekend. Trust me, the pack down is close to the most challenging part of the weekend.
What it does offer is a few precious moments of solitude. A chance to collect and gather my thoughts as I traipse multiple loads of gear out to the parking lot. It never really 'feels' any different. It’s one part relief that the season is now over, one part numbness that only comes when you're emotionally spent and one part relieved that the relentless months of competition, travel and logistics now take a welcomed break for a few weeks.
In the days that follow, I'll take myself to an oasis of home away from home with good friends who live just inland. As is customary, we celebrate not the result, but the end of the summer as we chew the fat and turn our focus and attention firmly towards what the waves are doing for the next few days. The summer may be over, but the logistical tasks of getting home always loom large.
Photo: JP Van Swae
You see, this is how my post-event plays out regardless of the result. I get so wrapped up in what's about to happen that I fast forward past what the actual result may have represented. Maybe it's because I tend not to get too wrapped up in the results, or maybe because I'm a one-girl band who has honed the ability to pull off the unthinkable and love the challenge of competing across multiple sports in different parts of the world.
This is the reality. There are no parents, there are no managers, there is no team.....but there is a village. A village of good friends and great mates alike who are always there to lend a hand, offer a hug and will always love you and be there regardless of the result. There is no entourage, this is old school. For the love of doing, the love of challenge and the love of sport.
If there was a month of the year that was going to test my ability to travel, prepare, compete and roll with the punches, it was the September of 2017. The fact that I even made it through August still blows my mind.
With the ISA Worlds in Denmark, a quick trip to Maui via Los Angeles, a work contract across Southern California, Battle of the Bay in San Francisco and the SUP Awards and Pacific Paddle Games in Dana Point, I was stretching the bandwidth of what was humanly possible.
Had I committed to too much? The answer was likely yes. Did I really have any time outside of travel and competition to get any real workouts in during September before the final showdown? No. Was I running on adrenaline? Highly likely. Did I stop to think and comprehend everything that was going on? Absolutely not, if I'd thought too much about the sheer magnitude of what I was undertaking, anyone in their right mind would have talked themselves out of it.
But hey, I seem to have a habit of throwing myself in the deep end and I was in way over my head.
Coming out the other side, reaching the top step of the PPG podium was not about winning, it was metaphorical about taking a major step in the game of life - having pulled off the unthinkable in not just September but all year long.
Against the odds, I rose to the occasion regardless of what was thrown my way.
New Board, No Problem
They say that you should never pull out or try anything new the day of a competition (let alone a major one) but in the true spirit of 2017, I threw that whole rule book out the window, not because of choice but absolute necessity.
Having my board broken on the way to the ISA World Championships in Denmark forced my hand on this one. A quick patch-up job in Cold Hawaii got it through the ISA Worlds and Battle of the Bay but knowing what can happen at the season finale, I didn't trust it to go another round in the bull ring of racing.
Having pre-empted that the damage may have been at the severe end of the scale, Brian Szymanski had already ordered a blank just in case. If there is one guy in the wider surf industry that can pull a trick at the 11th hour, it's this guy. And when I talk about a 'village’, this is the kind of 'village’ that I'm referring to.
Rolling into Encinitas eight days pre-PPG, he saw the damage and immediately got to work. Two days pre-PPG, we sanded and painted the fruits of that work and Pink Lightning emerged from the legendary doors of Ding King. Not just a board but another Szymanski masterpiece that was ready to go to battle.
There was no time to figure things out, only to roll with the punches and focus on the task at hand.
Mates Before Stickers
If there was one thing that resonated about 2017, it was taking the risk to do things differently.
To go it alone and sticker-free takes courage, a leap of faith and the village of good mates who have got your back. When it came to winning, it wasn't about what it meant to win on a personal level, it was about what it meant to be able to deliver for the 'village' that had all played a part in making it happen.
From doctors Tierney and Goines who had strapped up my knee from the meniscus I'd torn at practice on Friday afternoon to the Chings and 404 Ohana, the legends of the North County Paddlers, Brian Szymanski, the locals of the South Bay and North County who have become my family away from home and all those who have supported me from afar and in absentia – most likely screaming at their computer screens watching the live stream, crossing fingers and toes that I remembered to count after infamously miscounting in the biggest brain fade of my life last year.
You see, PPGs and 2017 wasn't about what it meant to me, it was about what it meant to all those who had my back, helped, cheered and supported from near and afar.
And like the way these things usually play out in my world, when it's all said and done, it's less about the results and more about the stories.
Annabel on what it was like to lose #PPG2016 in gut-wrenching fashion.
Annabel Anderson on gender equality in SUP.
New York, NY, — City Paddle Festivals, a participatory three-stop Standup Paddleboard experience and celebration that connects some of the world's most high profile Cities (London, New York, Paris), hosted a massive number of fans and athletes for a day of unforgettable SUP experiences, live music and an action-packed New York SUP Open, the second stop of the APP World Tour.
The New York skyline set the backdrop to this one-of-a-kind race. Photo courtesy of APP World Tour.
New York SUP Open Race Recap
The day started off with the Men's and Women's Pro races of the New York SUP Open. The world's top-ranked SUP athletes competed in choppy, high-traffic conditions as they made their way from the starting line at Brookfield Place, around Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, then back to the start/finish line after a grueling upwind paddle along the Hudson River.
Both heats kept fans on the edge of their seats as Arthur Arutkin of France, Michael Booth and Travis Grant of Australia were battling for the lead for the majority of the race, as were Americans Candice Appleby and Shae Foudy in the women's race. In the end, Arthur Arukin took 1st place with a time of 58:23 followed closely by Australians Travis Grant and Michael Booth for 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.
Arthur Arutkin took home the win in the Pro Men’s Division over Travis Grant and Michael Booth. Photo courtesy of APP World Tour.
In the women's, Candice Appleby broke away from Shae Foudy to take the win with a time of 1:11:54. Foudy locked in the 2nd place finish and 2017 World Champion Terrene Black took home 3rd place with a time of 1:13:28.
Following the Men's and Women's Pro competitions, the Pro-Ams took off on the same course in hopes to qualify for next year's APP World Tour, with Jeramie Vaine and Louanne Harris taking 1st in the Men's and Women's respectively. Shortly afterwards, the amateur competitors completed their bucket list paddle around the Statue of Liberty, marking the last race of the day and the beginning of an epic celebration at New York's City Paddle Festival, with Alex Pinto from Brazil and New York City local Noriko Okaya taking victory.
Candice Appleby claimed the win over teammate Shae Foudy in the Pro Women’s division. Photo courtesy of APP World Tour.
City Paddle Festival NYC Kicks Off Day of SUP Celebration
Following the New York SUP Open, athletes and fans alike packed into the festival grounds to enjoy everything the Festival has to offer, including live music performed by Mo Freitas (who is also currently ranked 2nd overall in the APP World Tour), SUP demos in the pool, DJ sets and food and drinks provided by Red Bull, Brew Dr. Kombucha and Kona Deep. Throughout the day, youth SUP clinics were held in the APP's on-site demo pool where teens and children of all ages got to experience the sport in an incredible urban setting.
Kids got a taste of SUP in the safety of a pool. Photo courtesy of APP World Tour.
"It is always a beautiful sight to see the best of the best in SUP connect with their fans and those passionate about the sport," says Tristan Boxford, CEO of the Association of Paddlesurf Professionals (APP). "Today we saw the world's best SUP athletes, aspiring professionals and the next generation of the sport's leaders come together to celebrate their love for SUP and share their enthusiasm in such an amazing environment," continued Boxford.
The New York SUP Action Continues All Week
The distance racing portion of the New York SUP Open came to an end under bluebird skies this Saturday, but the action continues on Tuesday September 18th as the Pros prepare for a dramatic Sprint Racing elimination through the surf, right at the heart of the City of Long Beach at Hurley Surf Club, powered by Skudinsurf.
Mo Freitas, live in concert. Photo courtesy of APP World Tour.
Following the Sprint Race, the 2018 APP World Surfing Tour kicks off from September 18th through the 23rd. This event will also be held in Long Beach, the east coast's most iconic surfing destination. The Main Event will consist of the Top 24 Men and Top 10 Women in the World based on the 2017 World Tour Rankings, with an additional 8 Men Wildcards and 4 Women Wildcards being awarded to stand out competitors from across the globe. This event, as well as the Sprint Racing Elimination, will be broadcast live at www.appworldtour.com from September 18th-23rd.
In addition to the sprint and surf competitions, the APP is proud to sponsor a 5.5 mile downwind paddle benefiting the SURF FOR ALL Foundation. The paddle will start from the tip of Long Beach and finish back down at the APP World Tour venue in Long Beach, which will be held on September 22nd. For more information on the SURF FOR ALL Downwind paddle, please visit www.newyorksupopen.com or enter directly by CLICKING HERE.
The Sprint Elimination Race and 2018 World Surfing Tour Kick-Off can be found at www.appworldtour.com
More information on the City Paddle Festivals can be found at https://www.citypaddlefestivals.com/ and specific information on the New York stop is https://www.citypaddlefestivals.com/newyork (www.newyorksupopen.com)
The SUP Awards is just around the corner and while we can’t wait to celebrate at the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games After-Party, just exactly who will claim the sport’s most prestigious awards is still anyone’s guess. Voting tallies have been razor-thin thus far, but there’s still plenty of time to support your favorite athlete and cast your vote now. And while voting remains open for the Top 3 Male Paddlers, Top 3 Female Paddlers and Top Expedition, we are excited to announce that we have opened voting to a fourth category: Movie of the Year.
We have two excellent films in the running this year and both represent the spirit and passion that runs thick through the SUP community at large. Check out their trailers below and then make sure to VOTE NOW.
This documentary film from Piper’s Angels Foundation goes behind-the-scenes of the 2018 Crossing for a Cure – an 80-mile open ocean SUP crossing from the Bahamas to Florida that raised over $280,000 for families and individuals battling cystic fibrosis. The founder of the event, Travis Suit, began doing the crossing in 2013 after his daughter, Piper, was diagnosed with the progressive genetic disease. The film includes emotional interviews, footage of the crossing and an inspirational message about overcoming great challenges.
VOTE NOW FOR MOVIE OF THE YEAR
In 2014, Marine veteran Will Schmidt took on a challenge that had never been completed on a SUP: to paddle solo from Canada to Mexico. “Through My Eyes” documents his journey down the Pacific Coast, through cold water, rough seas, a rougher coastline and even a Coast Guard rescue. The trip covered 1,386 miles and took 58 days and benefitted Wounded Warriors as well as raised awareness for veterans suffering from PTSD, anxiety and depression.
Summer is on its way out and while paddlers will surely miss those long, sun-kissed days on the water, we turn now to the season of equal splendor in different expression. The turning of the leaves and brisk breezes foreshadow the adornment of nature’s most festive attire: autumn.
It may be a little cooler, but with a few extra layers and some tips on where to travel, paddling in fall is spectacular. Here’s the scoop on five destinations sure to make your fall SUP outings as good as any season’s.
Seattle’s Lake Union, just before the fall color sets in. Photo: Rob Casey
More than 40 percent of the Greater Seattle Area is covered in water. Not surprisingly, this proximity has given rise to a healthy community of local paddlers and outfitters, making the region one of the the country’s most hospitable standup paddling destinations (save the winter weather). Whether flatwater cruising beneath the I-90 bridge on Lake Washington, paddling through the Ballard Locks or SUP surfing freighter wakes on Puget Sound, the area offers myriad opportunities for every type of standup paddler.
— Endless Ways: Exploring Key Largo By SUP
Come October, the lush hue of the Emerald City turns a wash of apricot, flaxen and crimson as the area’s endless symphony of trees--Japanese Maples, Scarlet Oaks and Mountain Silverbells not the least among them--shed a sea of pastel across the land. While you may be able to see your breath hanging in the air during autumn here, the added layers of paddling attire are a minor price to pay for the awe-inspiring views from just about any offshore vantage. Between the natural aesthetic of teeming fall foliage and the quintessential shoreside urban intricacies (punctuated with attractions like the Space Needle and Gasworks Park), autumn paddling in Seattle rivals that of any destination in the world.
Editor’s Tip: If you only have one day for the water there, swing by Urban Surf for a cheap rental and hit Lake Union. It will not disappoint.
In fall the lush green tones of Colorado’s conifer forests resting beneath snowcapped peaks are spotted with golden leaves of the state’s largest aspen grove. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
If you’re looking for a less urban, more elevated paddling adventure this fall, Colorado’s Ruby Mountain Range lends a fix to satisfy any outdoor enthusiast. Located north of Crested Butte on the eastern edge of the Rugged Wilderness above Kebler Pass, the verdant green conifers that dominate summer’s tone give way to the golden leaves of enormous aspens come fall. Home to the largest aspen grove in the state and riddled with secluded high-alpine lakes of crystal blue snowmelt, the Ruby Range is among the ripest backcountry paddling and day-trip destinations at altitude.
You can set up camp on the shore of Lake Irwin with amenities for $16/night, a perfect launch point for paddling and hiking the surrounding wilderness. Irwin is stocked with rainbow trout so don’t forget your fishing pole (and license), and if you’re an advanced mountaineer, you might attempt a summit of Mount Owen, the range’s tallest peak towering more than 13,000 feet above sea level. Just be sure to check the weather before setting out; with elevations ranging from 8,000 to 13,000 feet, the Ruby’s snowcapped skyline can get uncomfortably chilly in autumn, albeit beautiful.
Editor’s Tip: Stop off at Old Irwin Cemetery on your way out of the range to wander among the tombstones of the old silver mining camp to get acquainted with the area’s fascinating history first-hand.
Lauren Bobowski and Dane Shannon paddling through Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Photo: Ryan Salm
For paddlers looking to really get out there this fall, the aptly named Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) is a famously remote fishing, paddling and boating destination that straddles the border of Minnesota and Canada, home to at least a thousand pristine lakes and streams that provide more than 15,000 miles of paddling trails.
— Oahu Camping Options for the Budget Traveling Paddler
Less crowded with tourists and mosquitos than the summer months but with more moderate (but still stunning) weather, autumn is an ideal time to visit this isolated geographic marvel. Covered with a thick, green vail of pine, fir and spruce laced with yellow poplars and red maples, sightings of moose and deer, eagles and osprey, beaver, otter, mink, lynx, black bear and even the occasional timberwolf are not uncommon from the waters of this glacier-carved terrain.
Be sure to map your route carefully and take along an experienced guide and GPS rescue tracker as the area boasts little to no cell reception. Do it right and you might not want to leave…at least not till winter.
Editor’s Tip: Pack efficiently for the Boundary Waters as portages between waterways is equally as abundant as paddles across them.
Exploring the limestone cliffs along the south bank of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga. Selfie-photo by Aaron Black-Schmidt.
The city of Chattanooga might be the country’s most fun name to say, but it’s not called the “Scenic City” for nothing. Lining the banks of the Tennessee River in close proximity to wilderness areas like the Tennessee River Gorge (known as ‘Tennessee’s Grand Canyon) and Prentice Cooper State Forest, autumn sees the habitat of more than 1,000 varieties of trees, plants, grasses and flowers deliver it’s most spectacular shades.
In addition to the area’s natural offerings, paddlers visiting Chattanooga will also find a healthy dose of history at riverside stops like Bluff View Art District and the Williams Island State Archaeological Park, a protected island on the city’s outskirts once home to a range of Native American tribes. The bluffs of Prentice Cooper State Forest and Signal Mountain offer breathtaking views of the river gorge and the city, so be sure to bring along your hiking boots.
Editor’s Tip: For an easy and eventful afternoon outing, rent a board from L2 Outside, put in at Ross’ Landing and paddle east to watch climbers take on the rock wall beneath the restored 19th-century Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge.
One of many remote campsites along the Maine Island Trail that paddlers can experience all to themselves. Photo courtesy of Maine Island Trail Association
America’s first designated water trail, the Maine Island Trail, is a 375-mile route connecting 200 wild islands between New Hampshire and the border of Canada. Property along the trail is owned by a combination of private landowners, conservation organizations, and federal, state and municipal agencies, with plenty of waterside camping options throughout. Whether you’re looking for a quick wilderness getaway not too far from civilization or a monthlong off-grid expedition, the Maine Island Trail has something to offer. Beach your SUP at legally accessible points along the trail (make sure you beach it well; tides here commonly rise and fall 10 feet) and venture into the picturesque landscape of untouched wilderness Maine is well-known for.
The trail is lined with primordial kelp and its shorelines offer thick beds of fallen Spruce needles to cushion your campsite. It’s not uncommon to have the place all to yourself, save the bald eagles, osprey, ducks, eiders and gulls that comprise a large percentage of the island’s population. Also home to mackerel, pollack, stripped bass and a variety of other saltwater species, fishing is one of the most popular activities among paddlers.
Editor’s Note: The stretch from Stonington to Merchants Row is among the most stunning, spotted with roughly 60 pink granite coastal islands, many guarded with glacial ‘erratics’ called Devil’s Marbles.
Video: Paddler and Pup Explore Scenic Maine
Fall Foliage Foray (courtesy of Canoe & Kayak Magazine)
Paddle Town Profile: Portland, Oregon
This story originally appeared in the 2018 Summer Issue.
Words by Jack Haworth • Photos by Aaron Black-Schmidt
You heard about Maria.
The Category 4 hurricane wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and brought the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico to its knees last September. She was a mistress of destruction whose 155 mph winds and 30 inches of rain dismantled infrastructure and left millions without electricity or running water for months.
But what about the other Maria? The real Maria? The elderly woman who shared the storm's name? The one who experienced those violent winds and torrential rains--and the one who dealt with its impact on her home, her island, and her people?
It was only there, at Maria's house, where I grasped the reality of this hurricane that I had heard so much about. Mainstream news reports did not match the despair I heard from paddlers I talked to on the ground. Six months after the storm, the resolve of this humble namesake character, and those who came to her aid, made one thing clear: The only way to understand the island's post-disaster motto, Puerto Rico se levanta, or Puerto Rico rises, was through the lives of the people rising from the wreckage.
Maria's house sits high in the lush green mountains overlooking the brilliant blue ocean. From that vantage, I watched as two paddlers from disparate backgrounds, Albert Lash, a big-wave surfer from Rincón and Father Kevin Gabriel Gillen, a Dominican friar from New York City, helped this "forgotten woman."
For months, the 'real Maria,' a devout Catholic with crosses, rosaries and religious pictures adorning her wooden walls, waited helplessly in a leaking house, teetering on the edge of its foundation with no access to running water or electricity. She lived in this state of squalor for six months, until Lash and Gillen literally answered her prayers. Gillen secured a donation, and, after connecting with Lash through a mutual acquaintance, the Rincón local and the sharp-witted friar put together a team of 10-15 paddlers and surfers. They took on Maria's house armed with hammers, saws, concrete, roofing materials, paint and extra supplies.
"It's a blessing," Lash told me as his crew worked fervently around us, the cacophony of construction nearly drowning out our conversation. "This woman had figurines of God inside her house and I think that's what held it together."
Left: A team of paddlers and surfers brought together by Rincón's Albert Lash work to repair the roof of a local woman, Maria, who shared the same name as the destructive storm. Right: Maria poses inside her humble home alongside a wall of religious images which Lash believed help keep her house standing in the six months after the storm.
Lash felt a responsibility to help the community where he was born and raised. And it was in this community where he found his own success. Lash runs Rd.2 Happiness, a surf and SUP school with three rental shacks on various Rincón beaches. He also recently opened a new restaurant, called El Patio. But his new ventures weren't immune to the common hardship of the storm: months of no power, no water and the destruction of his three beach shacks.
"I'm a human being and I like to help," said Lash. "After going through so many things with this storm, I said, 'Albert, you are going to keep going and this is will make you better and better every day.'"
He's put that thought into action, not only rebuilding two of his own shacks, but also helping restore around 20 homes in the mountains, including Maria's.
"After the storm, she thought nobody would come and help her," Lash translated as I spoke to Maria. "With these people here she feels blessed. She can't even explain and the tears go down her face with how happy she is."
I quickly discovered that Lash's selfless action to help those less fortunate was common among many business owners in Rincón. But it was not the first time this quintessential Caribbean surf town perched on the northwest coast of the island had surprised. In 2014, Rincón won SUP Magazine's inaugural Paddle Town Battle ahead of much more obvious hotbeds of the sport, signaling that the community of just over 15,000 was home to some of the most impassioned standup paddlers on earth.
It was here where we spent three nights at Villa Playa Maria, a resort that hosts watermen's retreats throughout the year located right on Rincón's most famous beach, named--no kidding--Maria's. Once the hurricane hit, the Villa's owners not only opened their doors to provide locals with access to their water cisterns and generators, but they also set up a GoFundMe account that raised $40,000. Owner Russ Scully used that money to buy 210 water cisterns and teamed up with waterman and frequent visitor Chuck Patterson to deliver them up into the mountains to those in need.
Pioneering local SUP paddler Adrian Garcia understands the plight of those living in the mountains better than anyone. He was raised there, "upstairs" in the projects, by a mother who was everything to him, but could not read or write.
"When you live in the projects, people put a stamp on you," said Garcia. "But I found an escape in the ocean to shine by my own."
As a kid, Garcia came down to watch tourists and locals surfing at Wilderness Beach, a remote right-hand reef break surrounded by lush jungle and towering palm trees in the town of Aguadilla. He began by fetching tourists' surfboards from the urchin-covered rocks for small tips, before taking up bodyboarding. He began competing around the island at 14, and after finding success, got the opportunity to compete around the world for Puerto Rico.
Adrian Garcia launches skyward while SUP surfing at his home break, Wilderness Beach in Aguadilla. R: Garcia smiles after a three-hour SUP surf session, only his fourth in six months due to his relief work with FEMA.
"It's beautiful, man. Every day I pray to God for the way he saved me and put me in this," said Garcia.
Now 41, Garcia leaned against his truck after a three-hour session at Wilderness, his warm smile and genuine personality drawing several old friends over to say hello. He was one of the early adopters of standup paddling in the region and it was evident in the lineup. While I was content to carve across the face of the pristine head-high peelers, Garcia was smashing lips and busting airs. But despite this deep-rooted love for the ocean, that particular session was only his fourth in the past six months.
Garcia was in San Juan when Hurricane Maria decimated the island's infrastructure. With roads blocked, communications eliminated and food scarce, Garcia lost 26 pounds and spent over two weeks wondering whether his family on the other side of the island was alive or dead. An orthopedic assistant by trade, he volunteered to help the National Guard and was eventually hired by FEMA to deliver water, medicine and food to those in the mountain regions. What he found was utter devastation.
"People were crying for food," said Garcia. "I didn't sleep for a few days after what I saw. It was unreal."
While the official death toll in Puerto Rico was listed at 64 for months after the incident, Garcia questioned that. His count was no less than a hundred. He explained how hospitals were shut down because they were filled with bodies; workers forced to evacuate and the Army arriving to remove the dead.
According to Garcia, and reports by the Center for Investigative Journalism and The New York Times, the true death toll was likely over 1,000.
Editor’s Note: This story was published in our summer issue which hit newsstands in late June. In late August, the Puerto Rican government accepted the findings of a study from George Washington University and formally raised the official death toll from 64 to 2,975.
After witnessing trauma on that scale, Garcia could not bring himself to surf. His conscience would not allow it. Plus, the storm had wiped out his entire quiver of boards.
"As a waterman, surfing for four days in six months has changed my life completely," said Garcia. "But I can't go out for now. I want to sleep knowing everything is more normal, that babies are not suffering."
Garcia, getting (more than) a few before heading back to more important work.
Garcia is not sure when he will return to the water for good, but on that particular late April day he rode waves, laughed with old friends and revisited his home beach, where, for a few moments, everything felt normal.
Normal. It's a word that carries with it a connotation of basic, mundane and even boring. Yet for the 3.4 million American citizens living on the island of Puerto Rico, normal was what they yearned for and worked tirelessly to achieve. Perhaps no place was this desire for normalcy more apparent than Rincón's Villa Cofresi Hotel.
It was Semana Santa or "Holy Week" during our visit. Gleeful screams filled the hotel lobby with kids frolicking by the pool while hearty laughter bellowed from adults enjoying cervezas at the bar. The atmosphere felt decidedly normal as I chatted with the husband and wife owner-operator duo, Tito Mendez and Sandra Caro.
Caro's parents bought the waterfront hotel in 1965 and expanded it to 12 rooms to host surfers competing at the famous 1968 World Surfing Championships, the contest that put Rincón on the map as a surf destination.
"This was the hotel that started everything in Rincón," said Caro. "The history of Rincón starts here." The hotel has expanded to 120 rooms, every one of them booked for the weekend we were there. Things felt normal, but the road to get to that point was anything but.
Husband and wife duo Sandra Caro and Tito Mendez own and operate the Villa Cofresi Hotel, home of the famous Rincón Beachboy SUP race. Unfortunately, the race had to be cancelled this year after Maria stole the beach in front of their hotel. R: Further up the beach in Rincon, evidence of the Maria’s aftermath is still widely seen.
The couple explained how the storm had lashed the hotel and caused extensive damage to many rooms, flooded the lobby where we were sitting, eroded the sea wall and most alarmingly, ripped off a roof that landed in an empty parking lot, 200 meters away. Despite the damage, they jumped into action immediately.
"The wind was still blowing and we were already working," said Mendez.
Their quick action allowed them to get building materials before they were all taken, a move that saw them officially reopen their doors on December 8. But off the books, their doors were open well before that, just not for business.
"We rebuilt but we also helped our community," said Caro. "This hotel was like the center of town, people came here for everything."
They explained how their conference room was transformed into an impromptu warehouse for the hundreds of different necessities donated by friends in the States, and how they cooked daily for 400 to 500 people for nearly five months.
Unfortunately, there was one item the storm took that could not be replaced: the beach in front of the hotel. The lost sand is an issue only Mother Nature can remedy.
"This hurricane was like no other, so it's taken longer for our beach to come back," said Caro. "We're praying it comes back because otherwise we'll be in big trouble."
The missing sand forced them to cancel their famous Rincón Beachboy SUP race for the year. The race usually takes place in front of the Villa Cofresi with the after-party held at the hotel's bar. The race is a labor of love for the couple; the grassroots event grew from 70 competitors into one of our sport's premier events that now attracts a field of over 350. Last year Mo Freitas won. This year was supposed to be the 10th anniversary.
"It was a heartbreaker for us to cancel this one," said Mendez. "But we have no beach, there is no way."
Atlantic power arrives in Western Puerto Rico.
The origins of standup paddling in Rincón are not unlike many other ocean communities. When Mendez and other locals saw clips and articles of people like Laird Hamilton standup paddling into big waves in Hawaii, their first thoughts were, "We gotta try that," Mendez said.
Before long, he had a SUP and was charging waves at Tres Palmas, the fearsome big-wave spot in Rincón that he had been prone surfing for decades.
Beyond the surf, Mendez and his friends began SUP racing. And just like that, the Rincón Beachboy was born.
The community eagerly embraced standup paddling from the start, and it's easy to see why: SUP was another way to experience the ocean. This broader passion dates back before any of today's surf culture existed. It's a point of pride that Rincón local and avid waterman Thomas Kosmall made while talking about his origins in the sport.
Kosmall, in his element.
"What I always say is that people have been paddling here for thousands of years," said Kosmall. "Our approach is new but a Taino (native) village was right here, I guarantee you they were canoeing those waves out there."
I had just finished SUP surfing with Kosmall and his waterman partner-in-crime, Carson. The man's first name is Greg, but no one calls him that. Carson is a transplant, a self-described Texan lake rat with a fascination for riding waves, who moved to Rincón after his first trip here in 1991.
"I was renting a little shack right on the beach, it didn't even have running water," said Carson. "I was like a pig in shit, I came here just for a month but then I fell in love with it."
Carson, on a ‘baby’ wave at Tres. He is also the owner of Taino Divers in Rincon, giving folks a travelers a much more safe look at what lies beneath.
Carson fell in love with the culture, the waves and the people. He would eventually open up a dive shop and link up with Kosmall, spending the next 25 years embracing the culture based on the ocean and charging waves, no matter the craft.
The two invited me for a dawn patrol session at Tres on Good Friday. The waves were "small" that day, as in eight- to ten-foot faces small, but I was buzzing with adrenaline while paddling back out after catching a bomb by my standards, a "Baby Tres" wave by theirs.
These two had earned their spots in the lineup from a lifetime spent keeping the stoke alive by trying new sports and finding different ways to experience the blessings of Big Blue.
While the ocean may be their sanctuary, Rincón is their home. A home that was badly broken last September and one the community has worked tirelessly to put back together.
Carson recalled how everyone in Rincón pooled their resources and started working to clear roads, fix pipes and simply survive. And they had mostly succeeded; by the time I was there six months after Maria, the town of Rincón did not feel anywhere near the disaster zone I expected to find. While the lack of assistance from the federal government and mismanagement by local government officials had left other parts of the island in rough shape, Rincón had largely recovered.
"We just need vacationers and tourists down here," said Carson. "Them being here puts money back in the economy and that is like doing relief work. Just drink beer, that's all you got to do!"
On our last night in Puerto Rico, the lights went off in our motel room as a blackout hit our San Juan neighborhood. The darkness only lasted a few minutes before power was restored, but it forced me to reflect on living a few months in the dark. It was a futile effort. Puerto Ricans faced challenges the rest of our country knew nothing about. As of this writing, 20,000 Puerto Ricans are still without power and major blackouts continue to darken the island.
Editor’s Note: Since this article’s publication in late June, the Puerto Rican government announced in August that power was fully restored to the entire island.
The majority of Americans gathered only a few statistics of the destruction ticking across 24-hour cable news headlines, the media's version of the hurricane that detaches us from the daily fallout for actual people. Folks like Carson, Kosmall, Garcia, Lash and Mendez. Their stoke for the ocean and appreciation for their community fuels a determination to return it to that great benchmark of 'normal.' But despite all their work, it's not enough. They still need help.
Training session with Dave R: Evidence of Maria’s destructive power are still visible everywhere.
Not necessarily the type of backbreaking help that put real Maria's mountain abode back together, but the help Carson was referring to. Just being on the island, drinking beer in their bars and discovering the rich natural beauty that runs thick through the people, the land and the sea.
"The bloodline is European, African and Tainos and it made a beautiful race," said Kosmall. "In spite of everything, the flame of the Puerto Rican people has never been extinguished."
Welcoming arms, and waves, abound in Puerto Rico.
He's not exaggerating. The Puerto Rican people are authentic and welcoming in a way that's far different from the rest of the country. It's not a quality to be measured with statistics or simplified in a news clip; it's only something you can know if you go.
A week on the Isle of Enchantment certainly dispelled any and all of my preconceived notions. In their place was an inspired sense of hope for the island, and a deep respect for a people who projected camaraderie, welcomed me into a passionate water culture and willed themselves back to normalcy by living up to their mantra: Puerto Rico se levanta.
How SUP communities in Houston, Key West and Puerto Rico dealt with 2017’s hurricanes.
SUP Travel Destination: San Juan, Puerto Rico
First-time Open Technical racer at #PPG2018? Four-year veteran? Anything in between? We made this video for all of you. With tips straight from Race Director Anthony Vela’s mouth, we want you to be prepared to have your best Technical Race yet at the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life.
So check it out and we’ll see you on the beach October 6-7 for #PPG2018!
Race course maps.
The paddlers have spoken and we listened.
Once the final stroke has been taken and champions crowned at #PPG2018, the biggest weekend in SUP will close with a bang at the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games After-Party featuring the SUP Awards with doors opening at 6:30 on October 7!
While the SUP Awards has traditionally kicked off paddling’s biggest weekend, many paddlers requested that we have an after-party for the Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life. Well, we’re giving you what you want! The entire SUP community, including the sport’s top pros and leading industry members, will have a proper chance to cut loose and celebrate after a hard-fought weekend of competition and fun.
In addition to honoring the top paddlers in the sport during a SUP Awards video presentation (don’t forget to VOTE NOW), there will be live music, free food and a complimentary beverages throughout the evening.
Join the pros on the red carpet. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
In another exciting change for this year, everyone who registers to compete at #PPG2018 will automatically get a free ticket to the afterparty. For those who won’t be competing but still want to hang, we are selling general admission tickets for $25 pre-sale and $35 at the door.
The event will be held outdoors at Doheny State Beach (the same location for #PPG2018). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7:00 p.m.
Parking at Doheny State Beach costs $2/per hour if you do not have a California State Parks pass. You can pay at the kiosks in the lot. Please follow all State Park regulations.
A portion of the proceeds from the Pacific Paddle Games After-Party ticket sales will be donated to support the Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association (DSBIA), our official non-profit charity partner "dedicated to the protection of the park's beaches, facilities, marine refuge and its historical, cultural and social stories.” One of our generous event sponsors, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, will be matching the donation up to $2,500.
We'll see you at Doheny State Beach October 7!
Get your tickets now!
Vote for your favorite paddler in the 2018 SUP Awards.
While the market for backpacks is crowded, our gripe has always been that very few are well-equipped for the day-use standup paddler. While hydration packs are great, those are generally just good for drinking water and little else. Whereas larger, zippered backpacks may have space to carry more gear, you can’t trust those bags with items such as expensive electronics should the bag go for a swim. A host of conventional roll-top drybag backpacks were the only way to go for paddlers wanting to tote a load on their backs for the day--until YETI released yet another game-changer.
Last year, the purveyors of premium coolers began their foray into the dry bag market with the celebrated release of their zipper-closure Panga dry duffels. This year, the company built on that success with the release of YETI's Panga Backpack. (3.9 lbs., $299, YETI.com)
We spent the last few weeks putting this bag through the wringer in both saltwater and freshwater environments, and it stays true to YETI’s reputation for ultra-durable — and pricey — gear, withstanding whatever abuse we could throw at it.
The beauty of the 28-liter Panga is its versatility to handle whatever the situation calls for. The multiple rigging points and watertight Hydrolok zipper — the same burly zipper used in drysuits — allows it to function similar to a larger day-touring dry bag that you would tie down to your deck, but one that offers simple access and none of the purging, rolling or clipping associated with conventional dry bags. While back on land, the over-built straps allow you to schlep precious gear comfortably on your back, a welcomed option for paddlers who are used to having cargo weigh down their boards during portages.
We did have some initial apprehension about putting expensive gear like a DSLR camera or iPhone into a zippered backpack strapped onto a SUP. But after a couple spills into the drink, the zipper lived up to the hype and our gadgets remained dry. One note here, the heavy-duty zipper takes a solid pressure/yank to completely close, so be sure to double-check that you haven't allowed water an open pathway to your gear.
Constructed with a molded back panel and thick walls that hold its rectangular shape, the bag allows generous room for storage inside. This includes an internal mesh pocket and a molded sleeve that fits a laptop. And staying true to YETI's roots, the Panga's insulated walls and ice sleeve nestled in the pocket allow this do-it-all backpack to even double as - you guessed it - a cooler that fits up to two 12-packs of beverages. The bag can’t be overstuffed like a soft backpack due to the stiff construction material and zipper but that’s a minor trade-off for its other advantages.
While this bag is unquestionably built to last (we never came close to causing any noticeable wear and tear during our test period), we found it's not really meant to be worn while paddling long distances. The burly design and constant arm movement from paddling caused some unwanted friction, so we'd recommend using this as a deck bag for those longer paddles. However, this discomfort was nowhere to be found once we hit terra firma. Even against bare skin during longer hikes or portages, the Panga fit comfortably and gave us no irritation.
So whether you are looking to keep your items cold or dry, carry gear on your board or back, the Panga Backpack from YETI offers a strapped solution to please every paddler.
Interview by Rebecca Parsons
Saltwater is nature's medicine. It's good for your skin, your mental health and it helps fight inflammation. It also has incredible benefits for individuals battling cystic fibrosis.
In 2011, Travis Suit's daughter Piper was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Once Suit learned of the incredible benefits of saltwater, he set out to raise awareness and money for folks battling the illness. Alongside three friends, he paddled ninety miles from Bimini to Florida in 2013 and raised $15,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Piper Suit was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2011. Photo: Lori Griffith
Three years later, Suit launched the Piper's Angels Foundation in an effort to support families battling cystic fibrosis. Crossing for a Cure celebrated its fifth crossing this summer and the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been raised in the process. We caught up with Suit to learn about the challenges of living with CF, the amazing benefits of saltwater and future plans for the organization. -RP
Can you tell us more about cystic fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is a progressive genetic disease with no cure. It affects 1,600 families in Florida and 30,000 in the U.S.. The presence of a defective gene causes an over-abundance of mucous production in the organs, which leads to disastrous complications such as recurring lung infections and limited nutrient absorption. Cystic fibrosis has a wide range of severity depending on the genetic variation; however, most CF patients experience chronic issues from birth and are on a regimented routine of breathing therapies and drug treatments every day to battle the symptoms.
Piper’s father, Travis Suit. Photo: Talia Schizzano
Why is the ocean and saltwater so good for people with CF?
The ocean, and saltwater activities in general, are so beneficial for CF patients because of the sodium chloride (table salt) that is in the air and water. When breathed into the lungs, it helps to hydrate the lining of the lungs, provide better airway clearance and reduces overall infection rates. Salt is a natural antibiotic and salt-laden air permeates our airway and lungs. There is also the psychological benefits of enjoying time in a fun, positive environment.
Why did you choose SUP as a way to raise money/awareness about CF?
After learning about the saltwater connection to cystic fibrosis, I was looking for ways to get Piper out on the water more frequently. Paddleboarding was a natural fit. The further I got into the sport, the more I realized the potential for doing endurance challenges that would really test your limits.
The long crossing begins before dawn. Photo: Lori Griffith
I saw guys out in Hawaii doing long distance paddles between islands and realized we could do that here in Florida. In the summer of 2012, two Miami-based watermen, Bill Whiddon and Thaddeus Foote, accomplished their Bimini to Florida paddle and it became clear this could be a great opportunity to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis.
Tell us about Piper's Angels.
Piper’s Angels Foundation was a dream that began early on after seeing the challenges that many CF families face day in and day out. It's not always easy for families with CF to access saltwater environments, so one of our goals was to launch a ‘Salt Supply’ program. The program provides a network of saltwater-access providers to help these patients change their lifestyle in a more sustainable and positive way.
The Suit family reunited at the finish line. Photo: Lori Griffith
It was also very apparent that CF families can experience financial hardship at many times throughout their life--we wanted to provide financial grants as a shoulder to lean on during times of need. We are very fortunate that the Crossing For A Cure has amazing sponsorship support which allows 100% of the funds raised by paddlers to go directly towards supporting the families we work with.
How much money were you able to raise through this year’s crossing?
What is Piper's involvement in the crossing?
Piper always joins us in Bimini for the Crossing--she loves the Bahamas. She is also always there to greet us at the landing. She has mentioned many times that she wants to paddle in the crossing one day, possibly on a relay team. She’s a super powerful little human being and I believe she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to, so it would be very special to see her paddle in the future.
Travis hopes one day Piper can join him for the crossing. Photo: Lori Griffith
Plans for the future of the organization?
We are laser-focused on growing our programs globally to reach as many CF patients and families as possible. Our aim is to continue to build the Crossing For A Cure into one of the most prestigious paddle challenges and races in the world, which will allow us to make a bigger impact in the CF community.
The Florida county that pioneered Special Olympics SUP events.
9th Annual Tyler’s Dam that Cancer Raises $800K.
KEY WEST, Florida Keys -- Paddleboard enthusiasts can join Special Olympics athletes from around the United States Friday through Sunday, Oct. 12-14, for competition and camaraderie during the seventh annual Stand Up Paddle Invitational in Key West.
More than 100 Special Olympians are expected to strive for personal best in the fully inclusive paddleboard races, beach run obstacle course and other challenges.
Presented by Special Olympics Florida-Monroe County, the event is designed to appeal to paddlers of all ability levels as well as nonpaddlers seeking island-style family fun. Started in 2012, it helped Special Olympics Florida launch stand-up paddling as a sanctioned sport.
The weekend's activities are to begin at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, with an athlete's reception at The Salty Angler, 1114 Duval St. Participants can pick up their race packets, enjoy a taco bar and mingle with the Special Olympics paddlers.
Saturday's highlights include the 4:30 p.m. Parade of Athletes starting at La Te Da, 1125 Duval St. Athletes are to march their official torch, called the Flame of Hope up Duval Street escorted by law enforcement Guardians of the Flame. Spectators are invited to observe and applaud marchers as they proceed to the Southernmost Beach Resort where Duval Street meets the Atlantic Ocean.
A welcome party with appetizers, dancing and opening ceremonies awaits race participants and their guests at the resort.
The main race day is Sunday, Oct. 14, with events scheduled from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Key West's Smathers Beach, fronting on the Atlantic Ocean beside South Roosevelt Boulevard. Athletes can enjoy adapted races for Special Olympians, unified relays and an open paddleboard race with a beach run obstacle course designed by race director Sue Cooper.
Special Olympics Florida-Monroe County offers year-round sports training, competition and health services at no cost to Florida Keys children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Words by Christian Shaw
The morning broke amidst flashes of lightning and cracks of thunder. It was not so different from last year, with morning squalls forecasted to break way for clear skies, but the storms persisted.
Seaport Manhattan and the East River take on a unique character during a solid storm, setting the stage for a grueling 25-mile paddle around New York City. Why do a few dedicated individuals torture themselves for the past 12 years, pitting themselves against the precipice of their own abilities?
Chugging along with humble excellence, SEA Paddle NYC has raised nearly $3.5 million to get people on the water from all walks of life and areas of need. That's what keeps people coming back year after year. Some of the familiar faces each year come from long distances, like Max Montgomery who travels from Santa Cruz, California and runs the organizations that the event supports (Best Day Foundation & Paddle 4 Good).
Photo courtesy of SEA Paddle NYC
This year there were some amazing performances in the elite division, but our hat is off to the charity paddlers for the grace with which they accepted the tough decision organizers had to make to keep everyone safe after thunderstorms delayed the race start. This race is highly current dependent and if you don't make it out of the East River before the tidal switch, life gets hard and the start time of the race is carefully planned to account for this challenge.
Our CLIF Bar relay team started with the elite field, keeping pace along the East River, paddling hard to make Hells Gates (convergence of the East River and Harlem River), but as the river narrowed along the West Channel past Roosevelt Island, the current started to really pick up. Following the metronomic strokes of Annie Reickert up the channel was hard work. When we finally switched up paddlers within sight of Hell's Gates, the current was clocking 5.5 knots and rising. The pace felt glacial, save for the occasional glide on a standing wave.
Needless to say, this experience validated the tough decision made by the organizers earlier in the day. A number of paddlers even in the elite division needed to be plucked from the fast-moving waters and the team was working with limited support boats due to the morning squalls.
Shortly after switching paddlers we circled back to tow Nick Kostallas, who's jet ski had been immobilized. We found a sheltered creek and after dragging the ski onto a floating dock, we managed to cut a big piece of thick greenhouse plastic out of the impeller.
The hydration plan put together by the SEA Team with help from Plastic Tides, CLIF and Pathwater worked without a single plastic bottle and paddlers prepared really well for the event.
The day cleared nicely for the elite paddlers, with a fast final run down the Hudson on a stiff current. The grit displayed in the final hour characterized the entire event and as another successful year came to a close aboard the Cornucopia, conversation towards next year was already buzzing. We certainly know where we'll be.
2018 SEA Paddle NYC Results
Words by Rebecca Parsons
New York is home to a long list of historical, must-see sites. The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Brooklyn Bridge, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Wall Street, just to name a few. The only downside of a trip to the Big Apple is navigating the crowds and traffic in order to feast your eyes on all it has to offer. But what if there was a way you could tour the city without having to deal with the crowds?
Cue Manhattan Kayak & SUP.
Photo courtesy of Manhattan Kayak & SUP / Doron Resheff
Manhattan Kayak & SUP was born in 1996 and has served as NYC's premier kayak and SUP outfitter ever since. Founder, Eric Stiller grew up on the water, working summers with his dad in a bustling kayak shop. After earning a degree from the University of Colorado, he attempted to circumnavigate Australia by kayak in an effort to satisfy his adventurous spirit. After completing the trip and penning a book about his adventures, Stiller planted his roots in The City of Dreams and opened shop as the first kayak instruction and touring center in NYC.
Fast forward to the early 2000's and Stiller caught a glimpse of SUP via photos of Laird Hamilton in Outside magazine. The sport caught his intrigue and in 2009, standup paddling was added to the agenda.
"NYC’s sheer size, scale and history cannot be matched," says Stiller of the urban paradise. "When you add the long range history of the city and its importance in the Revolutionary War and in starting America as we know it, it has a magnificence all its own. There is no more impressive urban paddling on the planet."
Photo courtesy of Manhattan Kayak & SUP
At Manhattan Kayak & SUP, they take full advantage of the beauty and history the city has to offer. Located on Pier 66 on Chelsea Pier overlooking the Hudson, the company offers a number of different tours, suited for paddlers of varying skills and ability levels. Among the most popular tours are their Sushi Dining Tour, Statue of Libery Tour, George Washington Bridge Tour, Verranzo Narrows Bridge/Coney Island Tour, and the Red Hook Brooklyn Dining Tour. On their website is a detailed description of each tour, as well as the ability level required for each.
"Paddling at three or four miles per hour allows an intimacy that other boats can’t match and that city walkers would not see," says Stiller of touring the city via SUP. "It is amazing to take 50 strokes out into the river and have so much spaciousness and relative quietness."
Despite its beauty, the Hudson doesn't always offer calm conditions. Stiller compares paddling on the river to trail running as opposed to walking on the sidewalk--it’s rewarding but also challenging. To combat the somewhat trying conditions, staff at Manhattan Kayak & SUP are ACA SUP 1+2 certified (or higher) and have logged countless hours on the water. Among the experienced staff members are Julieta Gismondi and Louanne Harris, better known as the Atlantic SUPer Girls - who completed a four-month, 1500-mile SUP expedition last year.
At Manhattan Kayak & SUP, they're all about the experience. The stillness of the river, the background noise of the city and a mountain range of skyscrapers blends together to create a paddling experience unlike anything you've experienced before. While beachfront and wilderness landscapes may be the first thing that come to mind when you think of SUP, it's nice to mix it up with some urban paddling every now and again. Perhaps it's time to add Manhattan to your paddling bucket list.
Atlantic SUPergirls complete 1500-mile SUP expedition.
Word on the Water: The Challenges of Paddling in the City.
In case you haven’t heard, the Galapagos SUP Adventure is a nine-day luxury standup paddle vacation in the Galapagos Islands coming up November 30 through December 8. The best part? You’re invited! Guests of this one-of-a-kind SUP expedition will be able to escape into a land teeming with marine life existing nowhere else in the world. It’s a rare place on earth that feels frozen in time from an era long past.
To help you get a better sense of what this incredible adventure entails, we selected a few highlights from the trip’s dreamy itinerary. With only two spots left, time is running out to secure your spot on this trip of a lifetime. Sign up now!
Your journey in the Galapagos Islands will fittingly begin where Charles Darwin landed his HMS Beagle back in 1835. You’ll start out by hopping on SUPs and paddling along the coast of San Cristobal. As you pass the likes of pelicans, sea lions, sea turtles and various nesting sites along the rock coast, we’ll continue along the coast to Darwin Bay, where you will have the ability to explore the site where the HMS Beagle landed when Darwin first arrived to the Galapagos.
You’ll feel the wind in your hair during a short speedboat ride to visit Playa Ochoa and then continue to Isla Lobos. From there we will paddle along the beautiful coastal bays and beach coves of Isla Lobos. That same afternoon, we’ll take a boat ride to a world-class snorkeling site, Kicker Rock, the final remains of a tuff cone rising almost 500 feet out of the ocean. You’ll get the opportunity swim and snorkel amongst both reef fish, nesting birds and impressive but harmless shark species including hammerheads, Galapagos, Silky and Black tips.
After a quick flight over to Isabela Island, Dream Retreaters will be able to standup paddle along the coastline and explore its many coves, islets and mangroves -all home to the endemic Galapagos penguin.
From there, we will continue on to paddle through the many small islets known as Las Tintoreras, where participants will gawk at the hundreds of marine iguanas, reef sharks, scenic beaches and lava formations.
While we love paddling, some of the islands’ natural wonders are only accessible on land. Not to worry, GDR attendees will also be able to go on both hiking and biking excursions amidst the immense natural beauty on Isabela Island.
The easy bike ride will pass through a number of ecosystems, including white sand beaches, mangrove forests and a lava tube cave. Spot giant tortoises, flamingos and other wildlife and birds on the way. The ride will end at the Muro de las Lagrimas – Wall of Tears – a wall built by prisoners when the island was a penal colony.
After a relaxing afternoon spent lounging on Isabela’s white sand beaches, attendees will travel by car the following morning to Sierra Negra. At six miles in diameter, this crater is the second-largest active caldera in the world. From there we’ll go on a gorgeous hike through vibrantly colored mountaintops full of sulfur deposits, fumaroles and lava formations. After enjoying the panoramic views along the perimeter of the caldera, the group will traverse through the vast lava fields of Volcan Chico and eventually arrive at a lookout featuring breathtaking views reaching north of Isabela.
After another speedboat ride to Santa Cruz Island, we will paddle and explore the unique landscape near Punta Estrada and Divine Bay. Paddling along towering lava walls, we’ll be able to peer below our feet at the rays and white-tipped reef sharks in the serene, turquoise water. Meanwhile, above the surface we’ll be able to paddle next to fearless blue-footed boobies, lava gulls, herons, sally lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas perched along the cliffs.
That afternoon, the group will head up the Santa Cruz highlands to El Chato nature reserve, home of a giant species of Galapagos sea tortoise. Here you’ll have the magical opportunity to walk amongst these gigantic, gentle giants, some of which could be up to 175 years old! You’ll round out your hike by walking through lava tunnels formed by hot magma. And as an added bonus for you treasure hunter out there, rumors say pirates once hid gold stolen from Spanish ships in these caves and channels.
The following morning, our group will take a short hike to the spectacular Tortuga Bay, home of one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. The soft, white, fine sand and pristine turquoise waters will make for a most beautiful day at the beach. Our SUPs will be waiting for us at the cove on the far side of Tortuga Bay where we’ll have the opportunity to paddle around a mangrove ecosystem and lava rock formations to see rays, baby sharks, herons, shorebirds and marine iguanas.
Sign up now!
More information about this once-in-a-lifetime SUP adventure.
Check out the full itinerary.
Photos from our Maui Dream Retreat.
There are very few examples in which procrastination leads to a better outcome. Registering for #PPG2018 is no exception.
With less than a month remaining until the most anticipated weekend of the year, there is no better time to put the paddle down and register for the 2018 Pacific Paddles Games presented by Salt Life. That’s not just bluff and bluster either, signing up by Friday (9/14, the $25 discount has been extended) will not only save you money, but it will get you on the VIP list to standup paddling’s hottest new after-party!
Photo: Lorenzo Menendez
#PPG2018 is the ultimate arena for paddlers to test their abilities against the best in the business. But just like any major race, not everyone on the start line will pay the same entry fee to get there.
For those that sign up by this Friday, they will save $25 on their #PPG2018 registration fees. With fees going up in just a few days, there’s no reason to delay any longer. Not only will signing up allow you to focus on what really matters - training and preparing for the big race - but it also puts extra money in your pocket to treat yourself with a delicious meal or frothy beverage following your race. A total win-win.
Free Entry to the #PPG2018 After-Party
While saving $25 on registration fees is certainly nothing to scoff at, there’s another major reason to sign up. For the first time ever, Pacific Paddle Games racers will also receive a free pass to attend the #PPG2018 After-Party ft. SUP Awards at Doheny State Beach--including food and drink!
While SUP Magazine has traditionally held the SUP Awards party in the week leading up to PPG, this year we decided to move the party to Sunday night to celebrate both the completion of #PPG2018 and the SUP community’s accomplishments from the past year. You’ll have an exclusive opportunity to celebrate with the whole paddling community as we reveal the winners of the SUP Awards, including the coveted Top Male and Female Paddlers of the Year. With the pressure of the weekend already passed, this is a party you won’t want to miss.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up now for #PPG2018!
The second-annual Paddlesports Retailer brought the paddling industry together in Oklahoma City last week as a chance to catch up with friends, make new contacts and see what new products and improvements would be on the market for 2019. We were on the ground in OKC, picking the brains of manufacturers to bring you the best of the show. Here’s what we can’t wait to get on the water in the coming months.
The crew at Hala Gear always has some new innovation cooking. Enter their new patented DoubleStack technology that, well, stacks two different chambers on top of each other. The top one isn’t as wide as the bottom one, making for solid stability and float but a thinner rail in the water for better performance while surfing. It’s essentially an inflatable step-deck from surfing. Very smart--and we’re guessing it works well too.
It looks like Starboard has closed the gap between inflatable SUPs and their rigid counterparts like never before with their Airline inflatables. A cord runs from the fin box on the base up to the nose, around it and tightens down on the top of the deck. This, along with a sleek race design, means that you can travel the world with just an inflatable bag and still race, train and even go downwinding. Radical.
The Boardworks Solr line has some great options for those paddlers keen on the more mellow side of paddling, from yoga to calm water fishing to just plain cruising with the family. We especially liked the neoprene nose handle and the Honey Comb deck pad on the inflatable version (the Solr is available as a hard board or as an inflatable). Whether you go rigid or blow-up, each board comes with an adjustable paddle as part of the package, making it that much easier to just get on the water.
The Khimera offers two levels of protection for standup paddlers: a sleek, comfy flotation device that doesn’t restrict movement and a backup chamber that you can pull to inflate for added buoyancy. A great idea for paddlers in rough water that want an initial line of defense and some backup. Think scary downwinders, big waves or offshore solo missions.
Sea Eagle’s tried and true inflatable NeedleNose got an upgrade and it looks more efficient than ever. The nose is sleeker, the deck pad is now full length and the overall design has been upgraded. If you’re looking for a solid inflatable touring kit with a proven track record, check it out.
Pau Hana took their popular surfing and yoga SUP and made it inflatable. But more than that, they’ve taken inflatable technology to a new level. Made with 100% TPU and dropstitch technology, the inflatable Moon Mist is still tough but comes in at a super light 16.9 pounds and is markedly more ecologically friendly. A win for you and a win for the planet.
SIC Maui is pushing the RS Series (stands for Rocket Ship) as their flagship all-water boards, good for everything from racing to touring to downwinding. Years of team testing went into these boards and they look cherry. They’re also offering these shapes in inflatable versions for those travelers out there. Look for a full review on the rigid RS at SUPthemag.com here soon.
The Invert Trek series is built with one thing in mind: adventure. Tons of storage, dropped cockpit and tough construction make for a line of boards that will inspire you to push the limits of your touring life. We liked the 11-footer, perfect for smaller paddlers that want to wield their own craft both on and off the water.
The team at Badfish works hard and plays hard whether it’s doing first SUP descents, pushing the level of river surfing or doing self-supported camping missions. They made the Badfisher, a hybrid SUP, with both camping missions and fishing in mind. It’s covered in D-rings, has a water bottle holder, is super stable and is fully customizable for rod mounts, etc. The Badfisher is ready to slay your next adventure.
NRS continues their solid lineage of inflatable all-around river SUPs with the Quiver series. These boards have extra rocker, generous width and 20 PSI inflation limit, which means their ready for all your river running needs. And with a three-year warranty and double sidewall construction, it’ll take all the abuse that the rio can throw at it.
Hobie has always been good about encouraging people to get on the water, whether they’re sailors, paddlers or pedalers. Their Ascend Touring boards are a natural extension of that and boast diagonal dropstitch construction, S3 Stability Plate and smart handle placement - a perfect fit for both new paddlers getting on the water or experienced paddlers taking their touring adventures farther.
Werner makes solid paddles, period. Their new Apex Paddle is meant to be as top-notch as their other offerings while coming in at a reasonable price point for a premium paddle. The secret sauce is their power pocket, which they claim has great catch and power phases. It also comes with your choice of shaft, Classic (more flex, less power) and Tech (less flex, more power). Looks like another winner.
Best Gear from the 2018 Outdoor Retailer.
Interview by Sophie Grut
Entrepreneur and water activist Pascal Rösler completed a 63-day journey on the river Isar and Danube from Munich to the Black Sea. The goal of the two-month journey was to draw attention to the ever-growing pollution problem in our oceans and rivers and also to share his mission that we’ll be able to drink water from the Danube River again in 25 years. –SG
What inspired you to start Pure Water For Generations and where did the journey begin?
I grew up with avid windsurfing parents, so water has always been a big part of my life. During my banking career, I came across 'Let My People Go Surfing' by Patagonia founder Ivon Chouinard, which had a profound effect on me and raised a question, 'What did I really want to achieve during my time on Earth?' My dream was to start my own organization that focused on water. In 2016, during a paddle trip on Lake Sternberg, I had the idea to gather Euros for every kilometer that I paddled to help fund water projects worldwide.
Pascal Rösler raises awareness about plastic pollution with every stroke. Photo: Very Film
What triggered you to paddle 2467 kilometers along the Isar and Danube from Munich to the Black Sea?
The idea was born out of a dream to paddle this route and grow awareness around the need to protect our waters. Only a few decades ago it was possible to drink water from the Danube River. During an interview with Bogdan Verbina (President Federation of Organisations of Producers of Fish in the Delta), he stated that as a child he was able to drink from the Danube River. Fisherman always drank from where they fished, because the water from the lakes and rivers were clear and very good. However, that's not possible today.
When you're paddling long hours over many days – what keeps you motivated?
I believe that when we push ourselves to our limits, our challenges turn into some of the most incredible experiences in our lives. When you're paddling the best part of 8 to 10 hours a day and you can't drink the water from the river you're paddling on, this makes you realize that there is a much bigger problem at hand. So for me, this 2464-kilometer journey only marks the beginning of a much bigger quest that keeps me going.
What was the general feedback from locals you met along your journey?
Locals who have a connection to nature and are directly linked to the Danube were positive about the need for change and prepared to do whatever it takes. Many inhabitants along the river remember a time when the water was clean and drinkable, however they would never drink from it today.
A common sight these days along river banks. Photo: Pure Water for Generations
When I asked if they think the problem is reversible and we could drink the water again in 25 years, they confidently stated that this would be impossible. Sadly, polluted rivers and oceans have become the norm in people's minds.
From your experience of speaking with sustainability experts and researchers, can our rivers be drinkable again?
Absolutely - by changing consumer habits, taking waste and plastic out of our rivers and oceans, and ensuring the water is protected from the source. People need to understand the problem from the root and that it is within our power to change our habits and help clean our waters.
The bigger picture is that there isn't a strong enough focus on nature. The focus is still too much on business and fiscal gains. People who live in nature, grow their own food and live off the land understand the need to protect it. However, societies today are totally disconnected from nature and the reality is that we do not see what is happening around us and likely we don't really want to know about it.
Passing the Royal Palace in Budapest. Photo: Pure Water for Generations
What is next on the horizon for you?
For actions and decisions, I like to trust my gut and go with the flow. From September 2-9, I will paddle along one of the tributaries of the Danube – the Salzach - to keep raising awareness around waste and encourage a more sustainable way of using water resources.
Raising Awareness With Pure Water For Generations
Thanks to Pascal's journey to the Black Sea and donations received, a short film documenting the 63-day standup paddle excursion has been produced and aired in 25 cinemas across Europe, reaching more than 3000 people.
"People seem to get it and are genuinely moved by the 2467-kilometer Journey to the Black Sea, and I think people are realizing that we need to do something here. Plastic is now a social problem and nature is the only thing we have. It's completely in our hands to protect it.”
The Devastating Impact of Plastic Pollution
Watch: 800-Mile SUP Expedition Down the Danube
Interviews by Rebecca Parsons
Five weeks and counting until the biggest SUP event of the year, the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life. While that date is rapidly approaching, there's still time to sneak in some last minute training. Whether you're a rookie or a seasoned racer, it never hurts to gather some advice before the big day. To help, we've rounded up some pointers from seven of the best racers in the sport. Time to hit the water! –RP
Starboard athlete Michael Booth rounds the bases at #PPG2017. Photo: Georgia Schofield
I always love going back to Dana Point each year for the PPGs--the best of the best are there and the conditions are fairly unpredictable so you never know what you may get on the day. A tip is to not let yourself get over-awed by the situation and just focus on yourself and what you can control. Just go out there, do your best, and most importantly, enjoy it!
Study the course map and try to recreate the scene at your home break--put it into your training program once a week. You don't need all the buoys out, just use landmarks or set it into your GPS. Make sure you practice turning both ways and in the wave zone.
Zane Schweitzer is never all business, even at the biggest race of the year. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
Practice your beach starts, buoy turns and wave riding because being confident in those areas will set you up for success at the PPGs! I always do my best to keep hydrated and fueled up at least two days prior to race day because long days on the water and at the beach can drain you!
Southern California grom Jade Howson’s whips around a buoy turn at the PPGs. Photo: Mike Muir
Be careful of the drop off on the start, sometimes you have to leap a little to avoid hitting your fin on the rocks. When you’re in the surf zone, don’t stop and wait for a wave--if a set comes you'll get tumbled by the waves and that's never fun during a race. For the distance race, there is usually a wind going from north to south, so prepare for both up and downwind conditions, as well as side swell coming at you if the direction is right.
Bring a water pack as the heat can be brutal. Bring at least two leashes--usually there are heaps of people breaking them, so it’s better to come prepared and bring an extra one. I would suggest to come to the beach a few days early and [ride] the waves, it’s a pretty special wave and I find it easier to race after a couple of days of practicing at the actual race venue.
Shae Foudy is always a force to be reckoned with at the PPGs. Photo: Lorenzo Menendez/SUP magazine
Doheny provides the perfect venue for a challenging, yet forgiving surf course race that gives athletes the chance to explore their technical surf race skills. If there is a swell while the PPGs are held, then I would suggest going to play in the waves as soon as you can before the actual race day to get a feel for the break. A technical suggestion is when you are coming into a buoy that is inside the surf and there happens to be a wave behind you, make sure you get as far back on your board as you can and brace, even let the wave go in order to get around the buoy.
Look at the calendar and mark the date of the race. Make a plan to do the best you can do. If the race is 10 miles, train 15. You don't win the race on the date; you win the race when you're alone watching TV and you know you have to paddle!
Five mistakes to avoid at #PPG2018.
Five training tips for surf racing at the PPGs.
It’s that time of the year again: voting for the 2018 SUP Awards is open! The most prestigious honors in standup paddling are up for grabs and once again, YOU decide who wins.
The Awards, now in their eighth year, honor the top athletes, performances, expeditions, movies and philanthropic efforts in the sport. The SUP staff spent the past few weeks meticulously curating a star-studded list of nominees for Male and Female Paddler of the Year, as well as four incredible journeys that have earned nominations for Expedition of the Year. Now, the final and most important decision comes down to the votes of our loyal readers and followers.
Annabel Anderson won Female Paddler of the Year last year, will she repeat? Vote now! Photo: Christian Jung
The final results will be announced on October 7 — the final day of the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life. While we’ll release more details on this in the coming weeks, suffice it to say, the anticipation for the biggest weekend in SUP just went up another notch.
So support your favorite paddler and VOTE NOW for the 2018 SUP Awards!
In the meantime, follow SUP on Facebook and Instagram @supthemag for updates on SUP Awards voting. Use the hash tag #SUPAwards to join the conversation.
Winners of the 2017 SUP Awards.
With the SUP Awards upon us once again, we recently found ourselves reflecting back upon the years gone by. Seven years of recognizing the best and brightest in the standup paddling industry — from the legendary names that shaped our sport’s origins, to those ordinary paddlers who accomplished extraordinary expeditions. And while there are countless SUP Awards moments etched into our brains for years to come, we figured we’d revisit a few of our favorites. After joining us on our trip down memory lane, don’t forget to help write the latest chapter of SUP Awards history by voting for your favorite paddlers for the 2018. VOTE NOW!
A young Baxter receives his first Male Paddler of the Year Award at the Inaugural SUP Awards in 2011. Photo: Rob Zaleski
Nearly eight years ago, the SUP Awards were born inside of the historic San Clemente casino in Southern California. The goal was simple: gather the world’s best standup paddlers together for a night to both celebration and pay homage to their incredible achievements. The guest list was filled with legendary names like Gerry Lopez, Jamie Mitchell, Chuck Patterson and many others. However, the buzz from this raucous night came not just from the libations, but from the kid who wouldn’t be old enough to enjoy them for another four years. 17-year-old Connor Baxter took home the very first SUP Award for Top Male Paddler of the Year and while he didn’t know it then, he would go on to win the award four more times, including taking the honor last year.
"My legs are shaking," Baxter nervously uttered while accepting the award. "I'm stoked to see everyone here; it's a real honor. But it's weird to see everyone so dressed up."
Michele Baldwin’s mother, Ruth, accepting her late daughter’s SUP Award for Expedition of the Year.
While most moments at the SUP Awards are lighthearted and filled with lots of laughs and smiles. Others were more powerful and pulled at our heart strings. But perhaps no moment in SUP Awards history compares to what unfolded in 2012. Earlier that year, Michele Baldwin had completed a 700-mile SUP pilgrimage down the holy Ganges River. While this would be an impressive accomplishment by itself, Baldwin completed the entire journey while battling stage 4 terminal cervical cancer. While she passed away shortly after returning home, she won a posthumous SUP Award for Top Expedition of the Year. The award was accepted on her behalf by Michele’s mother, Ruth, who made an emotional speech about the power of standup paddling.
"Michele's goal was not just to be a person doing this, but to raise awareness," said Ruth Frazier. "It was a sacred pilgrimage. Your sport allowed her to prepare to die.”
The myth, the man, the legend: Laird.
One of our favorite parts about SUP Awards is that it provides an opportunity for paddlers of all different backgrounds to mingle. Ordinary paddlers, aspiring groms and paddling royalty all rub shoulders for one special night dedicated to our favorite sport. But arguably no paddler has been as instrumental for the growth of standup paddling as legendary waterman, Laird Hamilton. In 2013, the SUP Awards honored its most famous athlete by presenting Hamilton with a Lifetime Achievement award for his pivotal role in the pioneering and promotion of the sport.
"The energy in this room is what drives the sport," Hamilton told the packed house.
The man who crossed an ocean via SUP shares some words of wisdom with the SUP Awards audience. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
While standup paddling is still a fairly new sport, the incredible feats that paddlers have accomplished during its brief history are incredible. Legendary expeditionaries like Bart de Zwart — who is nominated for a SUP Award this year — paved the way with unthinkable feats of paddling endurance and bravery. But there has never been anything comparable to what Chris Bertish accomplished in 2017. The South African completed a 93-day, 4050-mile crossing of the Atlantic Ocean via standup paddleboard. Needless to say, the journey earned Bertish national news coverage and a SUP Award for Expedition of the Year. Bertish was on-hand to receive the award and gave a rousing speech about overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges.
“It's not what I did that was important, it was why I did it that was important,” said Bertish. "For 93 days I paddled across the Atlantic. We all have our own oceans to cross and they feel too big and insurmountable. How do we achieve them? One stroke at a time. Just focus on what's in front of you and stay focused. If you never give up, you can overcome any challenge, even the seemingly impossible."
U.K – Red Paddle Co has announced the launch of a revolutionary inflatable paddleboard. The Compact 9'6" on pre-sale now, is a full-sized SUP that folds down to half the size of a regular inflatable paddle board while not compromising on paddling performance. The smaller packed size gives paddlers the convenience of being able to easily carry it around town, jump onto public transport or store in the trunk of your car, with space to spare. The ultra -compact nature of the package also allows for storage within small cars, smaller apartments onboard boats and in your van.
Red Paddle Co, Co-Founder and CEO, John Hibbard says- "Our aim was to produce the most compact and transportable board in the world, without compromising on performance. It's been ten years in the making, the International Patent Pending Compact board uses Red Paddle Co's new PACT Technology™.
PACT Technology ™ is a material with a new weaving process which creates an extra-high-tensile thread matrix at the core of the board that is combined with a super-strong but malleable outer layer. This means the Compact board is as stiff and durable when inflated but can be folded down into a bag half the size of standard inflatable boards.
The Compact board comes as part of a full package including a newly designed backpack, revolutionary 5-piece paddle, Titan pump, leash and removable fins.
The innovation continues into the new backpack as Phil Hawthorne, Head of Design at Red Paddle Co explains, "Everything we do at Red Paddle Co starts with the paddler and how we can make their full experience better. The new highly engineered backpack for the Compact has unique levels of adjustability and comfort, plus incredible shoulder and back support." Hawthorne continues, "It's the most highly engineered SUP bag on the planet, applying approximately 53% less down force on the carrier's lower back, you can travel for longer in comfort." The bag also features customisable lumbar support and adjustable height features so is suitable for any size of paddler.
Creating a compact paddle was not an easy task the Red Paddle Team, but they have found the perfect solution: a five-piece paddle. As a result, it packs away perfectly, but it is still adjustable with no compromise on the water.
The modular design also means sections can be removed to create a paddle for smaller riders or kids, opening up the board package to be used by the whole family. The paddle is made of high-modulus carbon for extra rigidity, with a durable nylon blade. Plus, the blade of the paddle is laser etched, with no printing or transfers – meaning the design will stay on forever.
Completing the package, to fulfil their aim to produce the most transportable board on the planet, new click fins are used to enable fast secure fin attachment. The custom designed twin fins allow the Compact 9'6" to easily track through the water.
The Compact 9'6" is on limited pre order now while stocks last, through www.redpaddleco.com, with products being shipped November 1st. General release nationwide from November. RRP $1899 USD & $2199 CAD.
Like any other investment worth your while, you get what you pay for when purchasing a standup paddleboard. An initial investment in a new board can set you back anywhere from $400 to $4,000 and beyond. So, how much should you pay for your next SUP? It all depends on what you're looking to get out of it, and of course, your budget. We'll break it down by the latter.
One great option for paddlers on a budget is the Body Glove Performer 11. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
If you're shopping on a budget and performance is not your biggest concern, there are plenty of options on the market in the $400 to $1000 range that might well suit your needs.
Between inflatable SUPs and mass-manufactured "pop-outs," there's a boundless market for paddleboards in the $1000-and-under range. If you're just looking for a knock-around board for the kids or an iSUP to use on your biannual camping trip, you might try hunting around Costco or another big box store. Full disclaimer: these boards are not typically made to last, but they'll do the trick if you're not worried about the long run. For a quality board that won't put you deep in debt, one option in this range is the inflatable Body Glove Performer 11, which can be found at Costco in its new 2018 layup for just under $400.
The first stop for budget paddlers is often Craigslist, where the market for pre-owned standup paddleboards is saturated and seemingly screamin' deals abound. But the pitfalls of this path are aplenty--it's all too easy to walk away from Craigslist with a lemon. Look out for poorly done repair jobs, cancer-bearing water logs and overpriced pop-outs disguised as low-priced performance boards.
Pau Hana founder Todd Caranto, practicing what he preaches on the new Endurance touring model. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
This is our recommended price-range for the vast majority of standup paddlers in the market for touring or surf SUPs. It may cost you the price of a jalopy, but the quality, comfort and overall performance achieved by most new boards retailing in this price range usually make up for the investment.
Whether you're looking for a bullet-proof inflatable, a reliable lake cruiser or an expedition board that won't break the bank, trusted brands like NRS, F-One, Hala Gear and Hobie all offer models available in this range that may suit your needs. For the most durable, performance touring/fishing/expedition SUP under the sun, consider the Pau Hana Endurance, new in 2018 and available through SUP's Gear Guide for $1,600.
Looks can be deceiving and the market for standup paddleboards is diluted with off-brand SUPs that look pretty on the shelf but perform poorly on the water. While there are mass-manufactured boards out there that do live up to their looks, there are an equal amount of poorly produced "pretty" boards that tend to fall apart all too quickly. When shopping for a SUP, always ask the key questions: where is it made? How is it made? What guarantees are in place that it will last, and if it doesn't, how will the manufacturer make up for it?
Not everyone needs a top-of-the-line standup paddleboard, but if you’re looking to be the fastest on the water like Connor Baxter, it sure helps. Photo: Lorenzo Menendez
Here we enter the realm of serious paddlers--racers, downwind savants, advanced SUP surfers and everyday paddling fanatics. If you can spare the sheckles, this is the price-range that will ensure you get a sled to maximize your performance, along with cutting-edge design and supreme quality.
Among our favored touring and race board models in this range are the Infinity Blackfish ($2,800) and the Starboard Sprint Carbon ($4,000). For performance SUP surfing, the Infinity Blurr v2 ($2,000) is an option we can also stand behind. And if you can't find anything in this range that truly tickles your fancy, talk to your favorite shaper about a custom job. Really, that's the best way to go.
If you're going to invest thousands in your next standup paddleboard, the key to success is in the research. The last thing you want is an expensive board that's too advanced for your skill level, or a high-priced SUP made for a different discipline than you're planning to use it for. Know what you're looking for, understand your limits, ask questions and hone in on a board that suits you, regardless of the price.
Rather than draining your piggy bank on a low-priced paddleboard, we recommend staying patient, saving up, doing the research and investing in a quality board--preferably hand-shaped--most often found at a higher price point. It'll last longer, ride better and generally fulfill your desires with less disappointment. -DM
For some of the latest and greatest SUP setups on the market, check out the Boards section of our 2018 Gear Guide.
SUP's take on the Pau Hana Endurance--the most durable standup paddleboard on the market.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of SUP Magazine.
Let's address this first: It rains a lot in Portland. But what locals are less apt to admit is that summer and fall in the Rose City are ridiculously beautiful. And with at least 13 renowned places to launch within 20 miles of downtown, it's an urban paddling paradise--and that's not to mention the countless options for day-trips.
Portland paddling begins with the Willamette River, which runs right through the heart of town. Check out Gorge Performance for rentals, lessons, repairs and inside info, walking distance from the river (they even rent dollies so you can roll your board).
Put in at Willamette Park and take a spin around Ross Island with houseboats, personal watercraft and kayaks all taking in views of downtown. If you're feeling feisty you can even keep going downriver and head under Portland's famous bridges. This stretch of river is also the site of the Rose City SUP Classic in early September. Many more stellar launch sites lie upriver, where paddlers gather for the spring's Willamette SUP Cup at George Rogers State Park. Heading slightly farther afield only yields more paddling adventures on the Columbia, Clackamas and Tualatin rivers. Downwind, whitewater, scenic touring: Take your pick.
You can't talk Portland-regional paddling without mentioning Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge, only an hour drive from downtown. Home to one of SUP's major national races, the Gorge Paddle Challenge, this wind funnel of a town has some of the best downwind paddling on Earth. Check out Big Winds in Hood River for rentals and beta on how to get the best bumps of your life.
Did we mention that the raw might of the Pacific is only an hour-and-a-half from west of the city? Great surf, forests plunging to the sea and historic seaside towns stack a lifetime worth of exploration onto the case for Portland.
Paddle Town Battle #8 Finisher: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Paddle Town Battle #7 Finisher: Auckland, New Zealand
Paddle Town Battle #6 Finisher: Tampa, Florida
Paddle Town Battle #5 Finisher: Washington D.C.
Paddle Town Battle #4 Finisher: Toronto, Canada
Paddle Town Battle #3 Finisher: Honolulu, Hawaii
PLAINVILLE, Mass. — Croakies, the original manufacturer of industry-leading outdoor retention products, today announces it has reached an agreement with the stand-up paddle community's biggest race weekend, the Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life (October 6 - 7, Dana Point, CA), returning as a Gold Level event sponsor and the exclusive eyewear retainer for 2018.
Partnering with the Pacific Paddle Games for the second consecutive year, 2018 will see Croakies with an elevated on-site and race presence, alongside an expanded retail experience. The Croakies pop-up retail shop will be open throughout the event weekend, offering participants and spectators an opportunity to shop the latest in Croakies®' assortment of outdoor retention products from neoprene, polyester, and coated stainless steel eyewear retainers to belts and dog collars and leashes made with webbing crafted from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
"Croakies is a natural fit for the Pacific Paddle Games," Will Taylor, Content Director for SUP Magazine, says. "Their sunglass retainers are a critical part of any standup paddler's on-water kit. Plus, their environmental products--such as belts made of recycled plastic bottles--fit perfectly with the event's sustainability efforts.”
In addition to providing all participating athletes with custom event-branded Croakies® to save their shades while out on the course, Croakies will be awarding all open category winners and Pro category podium finishers with customized Pacific Paddle Games belts complete with specialized gold, silver, and bronze buckles, respectively. Out on the course, the brand will be prominently displayed via the Croakies race buoy located near the start/finish surf zone.
"The Pacific Paddle games delivers a perfect opportunity to showcase our broad mix of products to the paddle sports community," explains Chris McCullough, Director of Consumer Brands for Croakies' parent company, Hilco Vision. "This event also draws a highly engaged audience whom we can educate more holistically about our brand, from our Made in America roots and comprehensive line of products engineered to save your shades across a wide range of activities, to our use of recycled materials in our production process, part of a shared global mission to eliminate plastic from our oceans."
To learn more about Croakies' latest collection of eyewear retainers and outdoor lifestyle accessories, and to stay up to date on upcoming events and promotions, please visit croakies.com.
Often imitated but never duplicated, the original Croakies were invented in 1977 by a local ski patrolman from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming. Today, Croakies is still proudly based in the mountains of the American West, with most of its production in Bozeman, Montana. With Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks as a backyard, the brand's inspiration remains unchanged: to create best-in-class retention products that inspire everyday adventure and provide comfort, style, durability, and functionality to active people of all ages. For more information about Croakies and its latest product line, please visit croakies.com or follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter using @croakies. Croakies is part of the Hilco Vision portfolio of brands.
About the Pacific Paddle Games
The Pacific Paddle Games are the largest and most anticipated events of the standup paddling year. Founded in 2015, the PPGs have attained record-setting prize purses, participation numbers and media coverage on the way to redefining how a SUP event can be run. Paddlers of all types from all corners of the globe gather in Southern California each fall to celebrate the sport, participate in top-tier racing and try out equipment from the best manufacturers in the industry. The goal is simple: get as many paddlers on the water in whatever way they enjoy. Join us on Octobber 6-7 for the biggest weekend in SUP! Get more info at PacificPaddleGames.com
All paddlers are invited to come together for a day of community on the water to support Team River Runner at Pints & Paddle for a Cause on Saturday, September 15 at the Mission Bay Yacht Club!
From never-ever, to just for fun or seasoned paddler, the emphasis will be on FUN versus speed and everyone is encouraged to join in.
For those who don't own a kayak or SUP board, we have you covered - rentals will be provided through Aqua Adventures if booked in advance.
Where: Mission Bay Yacht Club (1215 El Carmel Place, San Diego, CA 92109)
Why support Team River Runner? Since 2004, TRR's mission is to create an environment of healthy adventure by providing innovative paddling programs to assist with the recovery of for healing active duty and veteran service members through paddlesports.
For more info and to sign up, visit www.pintsandpaddles.org
Matt Tomaszewski, his wife and their 17-month-old daughter were enjoying a pleasant Sunday afternoon at his parents’ beach house in Seabrook, New Hampshire. Located an hour outside of Boston, the day was shaping up to be a relaxing escape from the stress of city life.
Then came the screams for help.
Six people had become caught in a riptide and dragged 100 yards offshore. With no lifeguard on duty, Tomaszewski made a split-second decision to risk his own safety and try to help the strangers in peril. So he grabbed a paddleboard and raced out to reach the group before it was too late.
Three people had managed to latch onto a floating object and were making their way back in, but the other three were still struggling in the large waves. Once Tomaszewski reached the trio, one man was already unconscious and a married couple were fighting for survival.
"They looked exhausted," Tomaszewski told the Washington Post. "And they were in shock."
Despite the couple’s fear, they assisted their rescuer as he attempted to get the unconscious man onto the board. Unfortunately, their attempts to save the man were thwarted by a large set wave that crashed onto the group and knocked the lifeless man’s body back into the water. It was a scenario that few of us will ever face, but Tomaszewski understood time was not on his side and with more waves coming, he made a decision.
"I looked at [the couple] and said, 'If you want to survive, you need to grab this board,' " said Tomaszewski.
After getting them on the board, he pushed the man and woman into a wave that carried them towards shore and safety. When he turned to look for the other man, he had disappeared. In a matter of seconds, Tomaszewski’s selfless act had saved two lives but also put his own in peril.
"The toughest decision I ever had to make was trying to send those people in," he told the Post. "I really had to think about did I have enough energy to get back myself."
Thankfully, he did.
Tragically, two other people would not. The unconscious man Tomaszewski attempted to rescue and that man’s wife both perished in the incident. However, had it not been for his heroic and quick action, the death toll may very well have doubled.
Back on shore, Tomaszewski found that the couple he saved were actually friends of his parents, who had kids of their own.
"I found out later that he has three daughters. He's a father. And I'm a new father," Tomaszewski said. "It's amazing to help him get back to his children. It was amazing to tuck Chloe in that night."
While under normal circumstances we never recommend separating from your board and suggest you always wear a leash and PFD, this paddler’s actions likely prevented a family from being torn apart — a split-second decision of unquantifiable magnitude.
The Distance Race at the Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life will test you. From dehydration, to pacing, to conditions, there are many factors to consider when taking on the six-mile course off of Doheny State Beach. Here are six tips to help you have your best performance yet!
The Distance race is at 8:30 am Saturday morning for the first time ever at the Pacific Paddle Games. Get there early to get registered, warm up and get to the start line by the mouth of Dana Point Harbor
The Distance race will consist of two, three-mile laps outside of the surf zone south of Doheny. Toward the south end of the course, there is chop and currents off of the Capo Reef to watch out for. We recommend checking that area out prior to race day.
Although the wind is generally out of the northwest this time of year, we've had an unusual amount of south wind during the PPG Distance races. Be sure to know what the wind will be doing during your race and how that will play into your two-lap strategy.
Although it's only six miles, the Distance race will test you. Find a hydration pack that's comfortable for you and train and race with it prior to the PPG. That way you'll be comfortable and hydrated on race day.
It's hard to contain your excitement on the biggest start line of the year. But have a race plan and stick to it. If you like to go out fast and then slow down to a pace that's comfortable, do it. If you haven't trained for that, we suggest starting at a comfortable pace, hitting your stride then finishing strong.
Landing on the beach can be one of the hardest parts of the Pacific Paddle Games. Be sure to assess the shoreline, the size of the surf and your strategy for removing your leash before your race so you can hit the finish line fast and in style.
See you at Doheny State Beach!
Bulky biceps and horseshoe triceps are awesome, sure, but contrary to popular belief among beginner standup paddlers, there are far more important muscles to a strong SUP stroke.
While Hulk-like guns are certainly helpful, proper stroke technique relies on a symphony of the body's muscles working together through each phase of the stroke. If you're doing it right, your back and core will actually be doing most of the work, which is a relief since those tend to be much stronger muscle groups than the arms.
If your arms tire quickly when you’re paddling, you’re probably doing it wrong. The good news is that problem can be resolved by transferring the brunt of your stroke’s resistance to the bigger, more powerful muscles of your body. Here's a breakdown of the main muscles involved in a proper SUP stroke and how you can use them to paddle faster, farther and with less fatigue.
Illustration: Todd Detwiler
While it may seem counter-intuitive, the main source of power in a proper SUP stroke is the core. Rather than relying on arms and shoulders to pull the paddle to you after the catch phase of your stroke, try twisting slightly in the chest and dipping your stroke-side shoulder to engage your oblique and abdominal muscles, using them to pull your body forward to the planted paddle. Note the combination of back and core involved in this technique, as both are engaged when it’s done properly.
A good SUP stroke involves hinging and twisting at the waist to pull your body toward the planted paddle, a technique that takes pressure off your upper arms and places the bulk of the effort on your back and core--two of the body’s strongest muscle groups. To fully engage your upper back (deltoids and trapezius muscles), keep your lower arm straight as you plant and pull your paddle and use your lower hand as a fulcrum for the leverage of the paddle shaft. Your upper arm should hinge slightly at the elbow and push the paddle grip forward, leveraging the blade backward toward your feet. If you're doing it right you’ll feel a squeeze between your shoulder blades and far less fatigue in your arms and shoulders.
To optimize your stroke technique and get the most power possible out of each muscle group, it's important to think of your shoulders as anchors between your power muscles (back and core) and your leveraging limbs (upper arms and forearms). Your shoulders should be constantly engaged as pivot points for the swing of your paddle, but not as primary power sources for the stroke themselves. That said, constantly lifting, dipping and pulling your paddle demands a lot from the shoulders and their strength will improve the performance of all other muscles involved in your stroke.
Accidents happen. And they can happen unexpectedly to even the most seasoned paddlers, and on any type of water. Sometimes it’s better to not look away, but rather, to take a second, closer look at what exactly went wrong. By examining the full situation, and determining the critical decisions involved (and their consequences), we can learn to make the choices that matter most. With that hope of helping paddlers make that next safe choice, we’ve been working in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard to present our new four-part Paddling Accidents video series. In each episode, we cast the spotlight on real paddlers recounting an everyday experience on the water gone awry that resulted in rescue. Survivors and witnesses alike relive difficult stories in order to share an important lesson.
In the third installment, Jill Lee recounts how she narrowly survives a squall on the west side of Maui. Lee paddled out with a paddling partner in their own individual kayaks for a day of snorkeling and freediving. When an unexpected storm blew in, they were separated. While her partner made it back to shore, Lee did not. Eventually, with her kayak taking on water from large waves and heavy wind, Lee decided to tie the boat to herself and swim for shore. After 11 hours at sea, Coast Guard officials reached her in knee deep water. She was severely hypothermic. This story is a reminder to not just paddle with a partner but have a plan should things go wrong.
— See more Safe SUP Choices
— Check out the Safer Paddling Series from our partners at Canoe & Kayak.
— Read more on SUP paddling safety
If there's one thing that standup paddlers can agree on, it's that headwinds suck. There's nothing more demoralizing than beating into wind chop, your board vibrating under your feet, your head down as you make negligible progress. If the wind is heavy enough, eventually you have to change course.
It's something that the staff at SUP is used to, both on and off the water.
In that vein, we are changing tack: our Summer Issue, on newsstands now, will be our last regularly published print magazine. If you are a current subscriber, the remainder of your subscription will be fulfilled with our legendary sister title, SURFER.
We know, it's rough news and a decision we did not take lightly. A number of factors led us to this point.
The way that you, our loyal readers, ingest media has changed drastically over the past five years. These days, for every print reader we have, there are four of you reading our content at SUPthemag.com. Our social followings continue to grow (combined 225,000+) and the demand for our videos is only increasing. Our commitment to our readers--to being standup paddling's title of record, to crafting and curating the sport's best editorial offerings, with inspiring stories, info and imagery from every corner of the standup paddling world--remains unchanged. That commitment to storytelling has just gone digital.
Speaking of change, the way that brands advertise continues to evolve as well. With the rise of online advertising, social media and sponsored content--all of which are easier for advertisers to measure from an investment standpoint--demand for print ads was dwindling.
Due to that changing tide, we need our staff to spend its time creating media for a digital audience. SUPthemag.com takes more and more time to fill with the best content in the SUP world on the most relevant channels, and it's something that we'll have more time to focus on moving forward. Expect more industry leading video, more instructional content and more in-depth gear reviews in the coming months.
We're not afraid of change; it has always been part of our DNA. Nine years ago as a Southern California SUP scene began its explosive growth near our offices then located in San Juan Capistrano, editors and publishers from Canoe & Kayak and SURFER collaborated on a 2009 launch that grew rapidly into a must-read quarterly offering. We continued responding to reader and advertiser demands with the addition of our annual Gear Guide, as well as providing the industry, the athletes, and our readers with a night to honor and celebrate the best our sport has to offer with the 2011 launch of the SUP Awards. When we had the opportunity to run a marquee SUP race, we stepped in and put on the Pacific Paddle Games, the most competitive event in the sport. This October 6 and 7 will mark the race's fourth birthday. When we saw opportunities for SUP destination camps, we started the Maui Dream Retreat, now in its third year, and are launching our Galapagos SUP Adventure with Southern Explorations this November.
While we'll mourn the loss of print, there is endless open water ahead of us. As the SUP and media landscape continues to change, so will we. The winds will be at our backs and we'll ride the bumps downwind. We'll continue to be, "The Voice of Standup Paddling," dedicated to inspiring paddlers both seasoned and new to get on the water, paddle in hand. We'll see you out there. --Will Taylor
Follow us @supthemag on social or at SUPthemag.com.
Surfing and California. For the past fifty years, the two words seem almost synonymous. The Golden State’s beaches are routinely packed with hundreds of thousands of people catching waves by any means necessary — longboard, shortboard, soft top, skimboard, bodyboard and of course — SUP.
So after decades of surf culture defining the California experience, it appears as though the state politicians have finally caught on. On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown officially signed AB 1782 — officially designating surfing as the state sport of California.
"I am stoked that surfing is now California's official sport. No other sport represents the California Dream better than surfing -- riding the waves of opportunity and living in harmony with nature," avid surfer and Democratic state Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi of Torrance said in a statement.
Surfing is just one of standup paddlers’ many options. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
While battling for waves of opportunity at a popular break may not exactly put you in harmony with nature, we appreciate the notion. But all kidding aside, the largely symbolic measure recognizes the important role that surfing has played in not only California’s culture, but also in its economy. Muratsuchi estimates that surfing generates some $6 billion for the state's economy — certainly not just a drop in the bucket.
The bill does pay homage to the roots of surfing in Hawaii, but goes on to clarify that since its import to California, “…surfing has been embraced by the state and many Californians have made important contributions to the sport as we know it today.” Contributions such as surf forecasting, wetsuits and the countless innovative board shapers — legendary names like Bob Simmons, Hobie Alter and Al Merrick — whose classic designs have shaped the progression of the sport.
Of course, let’s not forget that standup paddling has also taken a stronghold in the state. And while surfing may be designated as the “official state sport,” surfing is just one option for standup paddlers. And if the criteria for being crowned the “state sport” was based on best utilizing California’s incredibly vast natural resources, then wouldn’t SUP have been a stronger candidate?
Can your surfboard do this? Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
Just remember that SUP allows us to not only surf, but also to race, tour, downwind, run whitewater, fish, camp and explore every single body of water in the entire state.
So while we can also surf and enjoy the glory of AB 1782, standup paddlers will continue to find new ways to enjoy California and all of its incredible waterways.
San Clemente, Calif. – Today, the Surfrider Foundation announced the launch of a new brand identity with a reimagined logo and wordmark in celebration of its 34th birthday and historic milestone achievement of 500 victories. Since Surfrider's first iconic win in 1984 to defend Malibu's famed surfing break, the organization has worked to preserve the ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful network of volunteers. In recognition of more than three decades of coastal victories, the Surfrider Foundation has introduced a new logo that pays homage to the initial brand design and emphasizes the wave of impact that Surfrider is generating for the protection and enjoyment of the ocean and coasts.
"The launch of our new brand rollout is a tribute to the thousands of volunteers, members and supporters who have contributed to Surfrider's 500 coastal victories the past 34 years," said Surfrider's Marketing Director Eddie Anaya. "On the Surfrider Foundation's birthday, we're excited to debut a logo that honors our roots and embraces the future. This icon evokes a modern and visionary design sensibility as we champion ocean conservation for the next 34 years and beyond."
Since the organization was founded on August 22, 1984, the Surfrider Foundation has expanded into a leading nonprofit grassroots organization with more than 160 chapters and student clubs nationwide. The Surfrider network preserves the coasts through local, regional and federal campaigns that lead to victories, or outcomes that result in the protection of the ocean, waves and beaches. In addition, the Surfrider Foundation advances coastal stewardship through actions such as water quality testing, building community partnerships, beach cleanups and restoration events.
As a result of the Surfrider Foundation's efforts, the volunteer-led network has:
"As we celebrate our 500th victory with our new logo rollout, we extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported Surfrider's work over the past decades," said Anaya. "These victories belong to all of us and today, on our 34th birthday, we're honored to share this milestone and invite coastal defenders across the nation to join us as we tackle ocean conservation issues now and in the future."
For more information, visit go.surfrider.org/history or find your nearest chapter at surfrider.org.
About Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world's ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over a million supporters, activists and members, with more than 160 volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the U.S., and 500 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at surfrider.org.
You can’t escape the foiling madness. The pros are doing it, the seasoned vets are doing it, the groms are doing it. Why haven’t you tried it yet? Time? Money? Well, we can help solve for at least one of those.
The easiest and cheapest way to try out foiling for the first time is to convert one of your old SUP’s into a foil board. Here’s how to do it.
A normal short SUP should do the trick, say 8’6″. Most foilers recommend going as short as you can while still being able to stand on the thing.
In the video above, Evan chops his 8’6″ to 7″. That worked just fine for him but make sure your board has the appropriate width. The area of the foil will also make it more stable. We recommend cutting it off and letting the people who install your Tuttle Box (see below) glass it.
Tuttle Boxes are a tried and true fin box for windsurf and kitesurf boards, both of which put high loads on the box. Order one online.
This could certainly be done yourself but unless you have extensive experience with glassing we wouldn’t recommend it. Figure out where you want to place your Tuttle Box before you go in (watch the video directly above and read more here.
The bolts that come with your foil might not be long enough to reach through the Tuttle Box. If that’s the case, go to the hardware store and get some longer stainless steel replacements.
Finn Spencer flying off the coast of Maui. This could be you. Photo: Benjamin Kottke
You’ll have to remove part of your pad (if you use one) to install the box. The glassers will then cover that up with new fiberglass or other weave. Cover it up with new traction pad or, better yet, put a stomp pad on there so you can feel where your foot should be when you’re flying (you want your back foot right over it).
That’s it! Pull out your new foil, attach it to your box and go get addicted to the next best thing!
Lessons learned from foiling.
How to get up and going.
The fin of your standup paddleboard plays a big role in your on-water comfort, speed and overall performance. It’s the one replaceable part of your board that can dramatically change its performance–but understanding them can be tricky. But that’s why we’re here.
Having a fin that's well matched for the conditions and discipline–flatwater, downwind, surf, river, technical racing or distance racing–can make all the difference with tracking, stability, speed and maneuverability of your SUP.
Here's a breakdown of what fin type works best for each discipline.
Typically flatwater touring involves a bigger (10 to 14-feet), more stable (higher volume) board and and a longer, straighter fin to help cover distances as straight as possible.
Even for beginners stability is normally no concern on these boards, and since it doesn't require much turning, maneuverability also isn't an issue. The key in a good touring fin is the ability to track straight. Look for a longer model (10+ inches) that acts as a keel, with more surface area and a fairly aggressive rake (the angle at which it slopes backward; helps with speed and shedding debris such as kelp or grass).
For downwinding, SUP mimics a design resembling of the traditional longboard fin--a narrower, medium sized fin (seven to 10 inches) with an arched rake and a "shark fin” profile.
Featuring less surface area and a more aggressive taper, this design loosens up the tail of the board for quicker directional changes, which are critical to connecting bumps downwind, and allows for smoother transitions between rails going down the line.
Most SUP surfboards come equipped with at least three fin boxes. Unless it's an aggressive SUP shortboard, in which case you'll likely prefer three fins more akin to those of a traditional shortboard "thruster," the middle fin box usually fits a different fin type than the side fins. The center box will work with most longboard surf fins, so play around with a variety and dial in the design that works for you. A longer center fin will add more drive and hold but will slow down rail-to-rail transitions and overall maneuverability. For more control and grab in the wave face, add in two smaller surf fins on the sides. Changing up the length of the center fin in conjunction with the side fins will change the board’s performance characteristics more than you might think.
Inflatable SUPs are the indisputable best option for river paddling. They usually come with their own fins, whether they're permanently fixed to the board or pop-in attachments. Most inflatables come with rubber, flexible fins so they don't get damaged on rocks or by scraping the bottom. These fins bend and tend to perform much worse than fiberglass or plastic fins, but they're definitely better than no fins at all. The key is to find something that performs for what you’ll be doing the most of: will you mostly be running rapids (short and rubbery will be fine)? Have a lot of flatwater between whitewater sections (longer fins for better tracking)?
Technical racing--that is, racing on short courses with surf and/or lots of buoy turns--calls for a fin similar to the downwind design. For this you want something stable but also surfable and quickly maneuverable around buoys. Tracking is less important. Look for something in the eight to 11-inch range with a narrower profile, a sloped rake and a tapered posterior margin (the back of the fin) that will surf and maneuver well without sacrificing too much stability.
Straight and stable is the name of the game for paddling long distances, so here we return to a similar design to what we'd use in flatwater. A deeper-sitting fin works best both to keep the board tracking straight and to help with balance. With distance you're also less concerned with surf ability and turning, so look for a SUP fin with less rake (straighter up and down) but be aware of what kind of debris you'll be paddling through. The less rake, the easier it is to catch an annoying piece of trash or sea weed.
Now that you know what fin will work best for your SUP, get out there and see for yourself!
From the Mag: Finding the Right Fin Setup for Your SUP
Gear Hacks: Looking for a Leash
If everything goes according to plan, the wind should be the star of the show at the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge. In the week leading up to this year’s event, there was some concern when the wind laid down completely for a few days. Every paddler traveling from around the world was wondering: would it come back for race weekend?
They need not have worried. While wind is never a sure bet, Hood River’s famous westerly winds more often than not funnel through the Gorge at a ferocious clip through the summer time (and well beyond).
On Friday, race organizers made the call to run the downwind racing on Saturday and the course racing on Sunday. During the Paddle Challenge, pro racers do not one, but two, Viento runs up the Columbia River and their times are combined to determine the winners. And although the wind was howling it wasn’t easy.
Fiona Wylde, the hometown hero, who claimed her fourth Downwind victory at the Gorge Paddle Challenge and her third in a row by taking out both downwind runs by healthy margins, said that there was a lot of current and that it was flattening the bumps.
“Conditions were not easy today, it was kind of a grind all the way through,” she said. “But I love home and I’m very happy.”
Annie Starr Reickert, a 17-year-0ld Maui bump-chaser and surfer, came in second, putting her extensive knowledge of the Maliko Run to use in the Hood. Terrene Black continued her stellar year after winning her second Molokai 2 Oahu Championship a few weeks ago by taking third.
The biggest story of the weekend, though, was the startling sweep of the Double Downwinder by 16-year-old New Caledonian Noic Garioud. Garioud impressed us here last year but his win here in the most competitive downwind event of the year solidifies him as one of the world’s best bump riders.
“It was so much fun for the race,” Garioud said. “It was a bit hard at the start, everyone was in front of me. I just kept my power for the rest of the downwind.”
And Garioud’s not the only New Caledonian story: his fellow countryman and teenager Clément Colmas took second in the downwinders, bringing even more pedigree to the small island nation that international star Titouan Puyo put on the SUP map.
Last year’s champion Bernd Roediger, who’s spent extensive time chasing bumps in Hood River, rounded out the top three.
If Saturday’s action wasn’t enough, Sunday provided another surge of adrenaline. Pro racers had to compete in the “Hot Lap” format, where they can take a shortcut at one point during the race, at any time of their choosing. The course is not easy and the wind was blowing again, providing challenging upwind legs, speedy downwind slaloms and technical sidewind paddling.
Dana Point local Shae Foudy took her biggest win to date with a well-timed hot lap choice that put her ahead and kept her there. Floridian hammer Seychelle was able to take home second while Olivia Piana continued her most competitive year yet with a third.
On the men’s side, New Caledonia took another scalp, with Titouan Puyo in first place. Frenchman Arthur Arutkin took second and Kiwi Marcus Hansen took third.
Hood River is a magical place with a great community of paddlers and the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge shares that magic with the world. It’s worth a visit if you’ve never made it.
Thanks to The Paddle League for the coverage.
What it feels like to race at the Gorge Paddle Challenge.
1st: @noicgarioud (1:58:33)
2nd: @clementcolmas (1:59:58)
3rd: @bernd_roediger (2:00:33)
4th: @titouanpuyo (2:00:38)
5th: @lincolndews (2:00:41)
6th: @travenormous (2:01:25)
7th @conbax (2:02:01)
8th: @matt_nottage (2:02:37)
9th: @marcushansen4321 (2:02:53)
10th: @arthurarutkin (2:04:42)
11th: @vinmartins (2:04:59)
12th: @jake_jensen (2:05:17)
13th: @tomauber (2:06:09)
14th: @gcronsteadt (2:06:45)
15th: @enzobennett (2:07:24)
16th: @alexandre_bicrel (2:07:30)
17th: @tyjudson_ (2:07:41)
18th: @martin_letourneur (2:07:59)
19th: @martin_vitry (2:08:16)
20th: @chase_koster (2:08:51)
21st: Josh Riccio (2:09:56)
22nd: Boris Jinvresse (2:10:58)
23rd: Slater Trout (2:11:15)
24th: Ben Tardrew (2:12:06)
25th: Benoit Riviere (2:12:14)
26th: Paul Jackson (2:13:18)
27th: Harry Maskell (2:13:19)
28th: Takuji Araki (2:13:54)
29th: Tyler Bashor (2:14:06)
30th: Leonard Nika (2:14:14)
31st: Tiavairau Chang (2:14:21)
32nd: Mo Freitas (2:15:28)
33rd: Garrett Fletcher (2:16:00)
34th: Itzel Delgado (2:16:25)
35th: Trent Carter (2:17:48)
36th: Steve Walker (2:19:23)
37th: Eri Tenorio (2:20:39)
38th: Fernando Stalla (2:20:50)
39th: Slater Fleck (2:20:52)
40th: Lois Chardebas (2:21:46)
41st: Tim Warner (2:22:28)
42nd: Sam English (2:22:52)
43rd: Rodney Ellis (2:23:21)
44th: Steve Miller (2:23:58)
45th: Christopher Norman (2:24:10)
46th: Keaton Rose (2:24:32)
47th: Elijah Schoenig (2:24:52)
48th: Zach Rounsaville (2:27:45)
49th: Zeke Rose (2:27:45)
50th: Barry Wicks (2:28:38)
51st: Belar Diaz (2:29:51)
52nd: Fielding Pagel (2:30:02)
53rd: Matthew Abbott (2:32:40)
54th: Martijn van Deth (2:37:37)
55th: Dan Miller (2:44:53)
56th: Kody Kerbox (one run)
1st: @fiona_wylde (2:15:38)
2nd: @annie__starr (2:19:10)
3rd: @terrene_black (2:20:37)
4th: @amandine_chazot (2:21:38)
5th: @aprilzilg (2:22:04)
6th: @seychellesup (2:22:25)
7th: @angiesup (2:22:34)
8th: @shaefoudy (2:25:16)
9th: @oliviapiana (2:28:07)
10th: @jadehowson (2:28:54)
11th: @yu_ka.17 (2:30:04)
12th: @applesteeze (2:31:07)
13th: @hannah__hill (2:31:16)
14th: @stephanie_shideler (2:32:51)
15th: @ksb56 (2:34:52)
16th: @shannonbell10 (2:35:19)
17th: @lalaclaydon (2:36:52)
18th: @sarahsandstrom (2:38:34)
19th: @erikabenitezz (2:38:52)
20th: @susannelier22 (2:39:07)
21st: @madeline_miller4 (2:40:02)
22nd: @abbyybbaker (2:40:11)
23rd @jennjlee (2:41:34)
24th: @kristymorr (2:44:19)
25th: @aquaholicv (2:45:27)
26th: Alyssa Joy (2:46:15)
27th: @_airmare (2:50:48)
28th: Karen Kennedy (2:56:20)
29th: Adel Umannova (2:58:06)
Special mention: @kira.buchanan (one run)
1st: @titouanpuyo (0:25:57)
2nd: @arthurarutkin (0:26:06)
3rd: @marcushansen4321 (0:26:39)
4th: @enzobennett (0:26:58)
5th: @_mofreitas (0:27:04)
6th: @martin_vitry (0:27:10)
7th: @clementcolmas (0:27:15)
8th: @tyjudson_ (0:27:22)
9th: @noicgarioud (0:27:46)
10th: @tomauber (0:27:57)
11th: @gcronsteadt (0:28:06)
12th: @joshriccio (0:28:09)
13th: @lincolndews (0:28:49)
14th: @itzel_delgado1 (0:28:54)
15th: @leonardnika (0:29:15)
16th: @slatertrout (0:29:51)
17th: @kodykerbox (0:30:24)
18th: @matt_nottage (0:30:58)
19th: @fernandostalla (0:31:21)
20th: @conbax (0:31:22)
1st: @shaefoudy (0:32:34)
2nd: @seychellesup (0:33:02)
3rd: @oliviapiana (0:33:24)
4th: @fiona_wylde (0:33:29)
5th: @yu_ka.17 (0:33:36)
6th: @angiesup (0:34:13)
7th: @aprilzilg (0:34:36)
8th: @applesteeze (0:34:48)
9th: @terrene_black (0:36:20)
10th: @jennjlee (0:36:26)
11th: @shannonbell10 (0:36:49)
12th: @jadehowson (0:37:12)
13th: @madeline_miller4 (0:37:19)
14th: @ksb56 (0:37:26)
15th: @stephanie_shideler (0:37:34)
16th: @sarahsandstrom (0:38:23)
17th: @erikabenitezz (0:39:32)
18th: @abbyybbaker (0:39:46)
19th: @lalaclaydon (0:40:35)
20th: @karenkennedyfit (0:47:36)
21st: @adelka_fit (0:51:01)
You won't find a more historic paddling town than Honolulu. Duke Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing, the beach boy lifestyle and, some would say, SUP itself, called this place home. That's some serious street cred.
First populated by canoe-sailing Polynesians, surfing and paddling has long been part of Honolulu's lifeblood. Centuries later, there's good reason it's still present today: There's something for every paddler. It helps that the city is literally on the beach. Travelers from around the world mingle with locals, renting boards for a first surf session or SUP paddle, getting sunburnt or just splashing around. But, offshore is where the real goods are: miles of reefs create some of the most iconic surf in the world. There are soft waves and steep waves, fun waves and serious waves, local waves and tourist waves.
If you're not into the surf, you can find sanctuary with SUP enthusiasts of all stripes enjoying the divided water lanes at Ala Moana Beach Park: first-timers, interval-training pros and everything in between.
When the trades kick in, a world-famous downwind run starts in Hawaii Kai and shoots 7.5-miles to Kaimana Beach on the leeward side of Diamond Head. Hawaii Kai is also where the most famous open-ocean race in the world, Molokai 2 Oahu, ends.
And that's just the stuff around town. The North Shore of Oahu, only an hour away from the heart of Honolulu, is the most famous stretch of surf in the world. The west side is rugged, dry and beautiful. The east, windward side of the island is lush, beautiful and home to fantastic beaches for boating, snorkeling, fishing and, of course, paddling.
Honolulu is standup paddling's mecca: Every paddler needs to visit at least once. --WT
Read our feature on Honolulu.
There's a brand-new surf festival making its debut this weekend, but it's probably not where you'd think.
This Saturday, August 18, the Great Lakes Surf Festival is bringing surf, SUP and yoga to the lakeshores of Muskegon, Michigan. This exciting grassroots effort has been spearheaded by one of the area's most influential watermen, Joe Bidawid.
As a former professional windsurfer and a pioneer in bringing both kiteboarding and SUP to the Great Lakes area, Bidawid aims to celebrate the area's rich surf culture, get people on the water and infuse new passion into the local watersports community.
There’s bumps to be had on the Lake Michigan right now, but locals like J-Bird told us it can get overhead at times. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
For some of us on the right and left coasts, a surf festival on the Great Lakes may sound like something new. However, there's a proud history of prior surf festivals in the area -Dairyland Surf Classic, King of the Great Lakes, etc. — events that Bidawid hopes to build on with this latest iteration.
While some surf festivals are hyper-focused on the competition side, the GLSF will shift its attention to ensuring that all of its participants have fun and get the opportunity to try out new water sports in a safe, family-friendly atmosphere.
Activities will include a smorgasbord of lessons for SUP, surf, kite, and kayak. Not to mention, there will be on-land yoga classes, live music and even a few eclectic offerings such as ukulele and hula dance workshops.
Fun for everyone. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
For those with the competitive itch, the GLSF also features SUP and kayak races throughout the day, culminating with a Pro-Am paddle race to be run as a five-mile downwinder.
It's expected to be a great event and SUP Magazine will be in Muskegon to cover (and participate) this exciting inaugural festival. Stay tuned for more coverage and make sure to follow us on Instagram for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the Great Lakes Surf Festival.