Stand up paddle boarding – the perfect back up
Even though stand up paddle boarding seems to be advancing forwards with global domination there are still those who remain unconvinced by what the sport can offer.
Staunchly against the idea of SUP these ‘resistors’ are indeed missing out, particularly if forecasts don’t quite come together for your usual wave sliding sport of choice.
I ain’t SUPing!
Surfing, possibly more than any other discipline, has enthusiasts that have over the course of the last few years, since stand up paddling’s renaissance (SUP has actually been around longer than most are aware), been dead against the idea of picking up a ‘spoon’ and ‘sweeping’ out to the line-up.
When you think about it, it’s hardly surprising that SUP is seen by surfers as the antithesis of everything a purist wave riding lifestyle stands for. The very act of using a paddle to propel your board through the water is completely at odds with the minimalist thinking that surfers generally subscribe to.
Living in the UK, as a passionate surfer, can be a frustrating experience. During our busy lives, where time on the water is at premium, SUP could fill that void between scoring classic firing surf conditions and sitting around on the beach waiting for the stars to align.
All too often surf breaks in the UK fail to deliver. Waves are too small, swell angles aren’t quite right, the surf is gutless or the wind is too onshore – just some of the classic scenarios that UK surfers (and many global riders) face regularly.
Frustration – solved…
If the above description resonates and you’re growing increasingly frustrated by those inevitable skunking’s then perhaps now is the times to grab the ‘spoon’ and head out for some stand up surfing action.
Even with the smallest waves known to man on offer you’ll be all smiles with a SUP. Picking up waves early, being able to ride liquid walls for longer, move about the break quicker and, once you’ve mastered the basics and are riding more performance orientated sticks, manoeuvre and carve almost as hard as with your regular surfboard. SUP really is applicable to all wave riding aficionados.
But what if it’s howling onshore? Then neither surfing nor SUP is of any use I hear you cry! And yet, you’d be wrong. If you can’t be bothered with the laborious process of learning how to windsurf or kite then fear not, owning a SUP will still see you poised to take to the water – even during a gale.
‘Doing a downwinder’, as it’s commonly referred to, is the art of heading out beyond the breaking flotsam and froth, pointing your stick away from the wind, and using the blow and rolling swell to push you along the coast at rate of knots.
Downwinding calls on skills from surfing but necessitates the rider to learn more about wind. Using boards of 12.6ft and above, catching rollers and bumps can be almost be as fun as riding a wave proper. In extreme cases, where the needle flips past the red, it can be as extreme as any form of big wave riding.
Summer, flat water fun
In the last few months, possibly due to the good weather and small surf the UK has been having, it seems there’s been an increased interest in SUP within the surfing fraternity. Individuals, usually only interested in the more traditional form of wave riding, have been spotted rocking the log.
Even if you don’t subscribe to the more performance orientated side of these sports, by owning a SUP you’ll be able to make the most of your water time – even when it’s a mill pond.
Stand up paddle boarding has such a diverse range of uses and straddles multi disciplines. From waves to wind, flat water to white water river paddling, SUP could be just the sport you’ve been searching for.
If you haven’t yet gotten involved with stand up paddle surfing then maybe now’s the time? Your regular surfboard will still be waiting for you when conditions switch on and once your mates see you having more fun than them, even they may just end up being tempted enough to give it a try.
Tez Plavenieks is a freelance writer who loves windsurfing, SUP, surfing, snowboarding, drums, art and beer. If he’s not out sliding sideways then you’ll find him producing articles, stories and content revolving around his passions. Check out more at www.tezplavenieks.com