G. Niblock on the L41 TipSUP Noserider. Photo: J. Chandler

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

SUP Conference

Reminiscent of a reincarnation of the 1930's old time surf club, members of the SUP brotherhood posed for a group shot before heading out for a paddle and surf search early today in the kelpy glass of a low tide morning. Waves were almost nonentities and the dawn patrol hour was devoted to paddling, talking story, ribbings, tall tales and the overall giddiness of grown men too stubborn to give in to a form of adulthood that leaves no room for unbridled exuberance.

One of the funnest things about paddling out in conference format is that everyone gets to try each other's boards. And since everyone had a different board, we all spent a lot of time on "new" boards. I got to try Mash's Tim Stamps Mahi I again (which I haven't been on in a while). Very stable and solid under the feet and easy to ride, smooth and loose. I tried Brett's Fury, a 10'3" molded production model. With a diamond tail, 60/40 rails and a hefty helping of nose rocker it paddled well but was wobbly side to side. I thought it would be looser in the small waves we eventually found, but it didn't start to perform until a more juicy wave was encountered. Perhaps not a great small wave board but would start to shine in bigger surf.

Buzz blew by on his open ocean racer, a custom Angulo that was paddled in the Quicksilver Molokai to Oahu Race last year. A beautiful board with foot rudder steering and a long, sleek fast outline. Not a surfing machine, a paddling machine. As the regular laydown surfboard market continues contracting in a recessionary economy, stand up paddleboarding looks like a bright spot for growth as new models are created, and new events are planned for this new, fast growing sport.

Evidence of this growth and nascent acceptance in the established surfing community can be found by checking out the First Annual Surftech SUP Showdown held in conjunction with the 24th annual Santa Cruz Long Board Union Memorial Day Surf Contest, and the recently completed First Annual Race for the Reef Fundraiser on Oahu. As more of these events are promoted, the visibility of SUP paddling and surfing will broaden. It is my humble opinion that the real market for SUP's isn't surfing. It will be flat water paddling and that order.

We janitors finished our morning by paddling a mile down to the C-Town reefs where we greeted the lone laydown longboarder with hoots and hollers. He was less than amused until we reassured him that we weren't there to poach any of his waves, and that we would call out the sets and set waves for him. By the time we left he was making plans to contact at least one of us so he could try out this stand up paddleboard thing. Fun, like the flu, is contagious, no?

Surf and paddle with aloha!
June 3, 2008 (Tu)
In: 0700
Out: 1000
AT= 49 to 61 degrees
WT= 53 degrees at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Partly cloudy
Tide: -0.59 Rising to 2.9
Wind: Calm to 6 mph SW
Sea Surface: Glassy to light wind rippling
Buoy: NWS
0700: 3.3 feet @ 6.2 NW
0900: 3.3 feet @ 5.9 NW
1000: 2.6 feet @ 5.9 NW
1100: 2.6 feet @ 5.6 NW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with Bluecoil 5.5" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: 0.6 feet at 9 seconds from 275 degrees and 1.2 feet at 14 seconds from 220 degrees

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