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

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Andy Does SUP Surfing

The following is an email that Andy sent me after his first dedicated SUP surfing session. With his permission I'm posting it here. Reading it made me laugh at myself (again), and my humble beginnings. I found it entertaining for those of us who are already "down the road" a ways on the SUP surfing journey. Those who are just starting will find it informative, educational and (I hope) comforting. We've all been there at least once. Srfnff.

I took her out again today at Cowells on a building swell (SW?). Some real set waves with speed
and power, definitely had a fall/winter feel to it. Anyway, at 6:30 p.m. when I got in, there was a LOT of rebound slosh, surge and backwash in the cove, coming from all directions. After paddling into the line-up, I fell off a lot, and missed a bunch of nice waves. The 3 guys out there got quite a comedy show as I fell backward off the board dropping in, fell off every time I spun for a wave, got knocked off just standing get the idea. After half an hour of this, I finally got a nice set wave lined up, and made the drop, albeit flailing slightly. Once into the wave, my body was my own again, and I was racing down the line marveling at the speed and Cadillac-like ride of the board. After that the flood gates were opened, and I managed to catch several more nice waves, kooking out on only every second or third attempt. By now the line up was clear with the last longboarder paddling in, and I stroked perfectly into a nice shoulder high bomb, suddenly grateful for all that rocker. She slid into the wave almost as if I knew what I was doing, and I had a gas drifting up and down the face, really surfing the thing. I even used the paddle a little, and didn't feel like I was pushing a shopping cart around Costco. I ended up with 6 good waves, with a long peeling right for the go-home wave, well after the sun had set.


-Hydroturf is great for the feet, super positive grip, but hell on the skin when climbing onto the board countless times per session. Inside of both knees and backside of both forearms are pretty raw. I did the right side yesterday, and switched to the left today to even things out. I may go to a full suit for a while just to save some skin!!

-It sounds weird, but I've got to re-learn where to look when stroking for a wave. I missed a bunch of waves (splash) because I didn't really know where I was when it was time for the power strokes. One time, I gave up thinking I had missed it, only to find out I was right in the critical part, too late to get it.

-Timing on the spin and go is also going to take some work. I got a little better at it as the session wore on.

-Setting up so I'm paddling on the right for the drop in needs some work, and I actually made a wave or two paddling on the left, but it was awkward. I've also got to work on not crabbing so much when I paddle into a wave, so the board is points where I want it to as I drop in.

-A 10' leash is plenty, and goes all the way to the nose on my 11-6. I may throw a 9 footer on for a while, since it seemed like the board was always a long way from me when I fell off of it.

-That thing is heavy. I got my car-to-the-beach and beach-to-the-car routine down, but it's tricky. Top of the head is easiest, since I can just grip the paddle on the bottom of the board while I carry it. Probably not good for my spine though.

-I've got to figure out my footing on take offs. I felt pretty wobbly most of the time, not ready for the dramatic balance shift while already on my feet. Seems like it would be easier than popping up while making the drop, but it's not. More time, no doubt will smooth that out.

-I got caught inside by the rocks as the second wave of the set was bearing down on me. I managed to not freak, and just got to my knees and stroked right through it. Cool.

-Kick-outs are tricky. I had trouble getting the board to go over the back a few times, and once use the paddle to stroke my way through.

-2 out of 3 guys were hooting me when I finally made a wave, and asked me about the board, SUP surfing, etc. The third was stink-eye all the way.

Tired, sore and happy,


1 comment:

  1. Great to hear about the Cadillac ride Andy. Sounds like you're going to have fun learning to ride her.

    I don't know how anyone can give you stinkeye. Even with the slight venture into kookdom. You have the most beautiful SUP on the planet.