Looks like fun…

20 03 2013

Catching waves with a SUP…

13 03 2013
Every wave is fun...

Every wave is fun…

I found a really useful article posted online that gives you some advice how to catch waves on a SUP more easily. I’ve tried the paddle like a MoFo technique and it works, but it’s tiring and lacks elegance! ūüėČ

Click on the image above to read the article.

Addicted to SUP…

11 03 2013
Dedication to surfing...

Dedication to surfing…

This weekend wasn’t the ideal time to head to Tofino for some surfing adventures since my wrist was still buggered, but our friend Dionne was celebrating her 40th birthday there so we couldn’t skip it. If I was smart I would have stayed out of the water and rested my injury, but once I was on the beach watching the waves breaking my resolve faded quickly.

I gobbled an Advil and taped up my wrist as best I could. The waves were a great size for SUP surfing…small enough to be chill and not attract the hardcore surfing crowd, but energetic enough for some fun rides. I spent 3hrs paddling my SUP until the pain in my wrist couldn’t be ignored and the cold North Pacific Ocean seeped into my summer wetsuit. I was pretty stoked that I had retained a lot of the surfing skills I learned in Baja. I’m no pro, but I was stable on my board and got most of the waves I paddled for.

That night my wrist let me know it was unhappy and I medicated it with numerous beers. I definitely should have skipped day 2, but my surf stoke was in full effect. Sharon decided to take a 3hr private lesson so she dropped me off with my SUP and was going to collect me later in the day.

I realized that was a mistake about 15mins into my session when my wrist was very painful from the efforts of the previous day. So much so I couldn’t really get my shit together to catch waves as I was so worried about protecting it. I considered getting off the water, but without a car, cellphone or wallet all I could do would be to sit on the beach and wait 2.5hrs+ for Sharon on to arrive. If there had been a fire going I would have given in and warmed up there. Without any way to stay warm I figured I was best off to paddle around gently to kill time.

That might have worked ok…except I started to get excited about catching a wave and tried for a few without success. Then I caught one and was super stoked. I paddled right back out to the line up without a second thought. While I was waiting for the next set to arrive my aching wrist let me know it wanted to stop. So I decided one more wave and I would call it quits.

Of course right after catching a great ride on a wave I was so stoked I wasn’t feeling any pain and I paddled back out forgetting my wrist was injured. Once out there with some time between waves to think I would always decided the sensible thing to do was head to the beach and rest. And every wave I would paddle right back out.

It was silly. I was having fun and in a ton of pain. I should have stopped and I never wanted to stop.

Finally the cold water and the pain had their way with me and I did pack it in. I didn’t have a watch so I had no idea how long I would be waiting for Sharon. As I walked back towards the parking lot with my SUP I saw her coming back the other way in dry clothes.

I checked the time and I had been in the water 3.5hrs! Yikes…I was definitely addicted to SUP surfing… ūüėČ

For what it’s worth I did skip day 3, but by that point I couldn’t lift a cup of tea with my bad hand so the decision was pretty easy. The good news is I am going to Toronto for a week to visit my parents without a bike or board. So I’ll have some enforced rest!


4 02 2013
Warming the body and feeding the stoke before hitting the waves...

Warming the body and feeding the stoke before hitting the waves…

My interest in SUPs hasn’t been as strong the last couple years as I had hoped it would be. Even when I showed up in Baja this winter I unloaded my two SUPs and they sat next to my camp unused for the whole time I was in La Ventana. I had actually begun to think I should sell them as they seemed one interest too far removed from the kiteboarding and cycling that got most of my free time.

I’m really glad I didn’t!

Heading out into the waves...

Heading out into the waves…

I decided to spend a week camped on a bluff over looking a point break on Baja’s Pacific Coast with a goal to dial in my SUP surfing. First chance I got I unpacked my SUP and headed out into the waves. The results were not pretty at first, but I stuck with it and by day 2 I was catching waves and having a blast. SUP surfing was super duper fun! ūüôā After that I was SUP surfing everyday that conditions were suitable.

Paddling to catch a wave...

Paddling to catch a wave…

Looking back on the SUP part of my life what’s causing the lack of participation is that I have other interests in Victoria [mainly MTBing] that are easier to do and more satisfying than going on a flatwater SUP paddle. I guess that’s not terribly surprising since my interest in going for a chill road ride or a hike is also pretty much zero.

My buddy Clint showing me how it's done...

My buddy Clint showing me how it’s done…

I’ve tried my hand at SUP surfing before, but never quite gotten far enough along to really do it or enjoy it fully. Being a¬†beginner¬†who is just below the threshold for¬†competence is frustrating and the surfing world [in general] does not make a kook feel welcome. Combine that with the logistics of driving to a surf break from my house and having my arrival coincide with suitable newbie SUP surfing conditions. The result was not enough traction to get over the “hump” so to speak.

More Clint SUP action...

More Clint SUP action…

Spending a week camped right at an uncrowded surf break that had perfect SUP waves was exactly what the doctor ordered. My buddy Clint who camped with me is an accomplished SUP surfer and he gave me the tips I needed to make a break through. By the end I was paddling around with confidence and catching a¬†reasonable¬†amount of waves. I feel okay calling myself a bonafide SUP surfer now – albeit a kooky one who still has lots and lots to learn. ūüėČ

My new old surf SUP...

My new old surf SUP…

When I bought my first two SUPs used from The Easy Rider in Edmonton one of them was the 9’8″ surf oriented SUP shown above. I’ve never really used that board because it’s not suited for flatwater paddling and I was happy trying to surf on my bigger SUPs – not wanting to make things more challenging than I had to. Now that I can actually catch waves the smaller size and enhanced¬†maneuverability¬†of this SUP is appealing. In fact it’s the same board Clint was riding so I know it can surf really well. It’s nice to have paid off your next surfboard upgrade several years in the past!

Starboard Extremist 9'8" surf SUP...

Starboard Extremist 9’8″ surf SUP…

I’m going to take advantage of my less than full time contract hours and head to Jordan River this winter when conditions look decent for my skill level. I figure if I hit the break early on mid-week days I should have the place mostly to myself. Especially considering the modest swell size that I’ll be shooting for!

This is what it feels like to me even when the waves are only 3' high... ;)

This is what it feels like to me even when the waves are only 3′ high… ūüėČ

I’m really glad I stuck with SUP surfing and dedicated a week in Baja to making it happen. ūüôā

Meet the Boss…

2 01 2013

Heading for the border…

21 11 2012

Enough gear for an army!

I’m head to Baja starting today. First I gotta get on a ferry to Port Angles and then drive to LA. I’m meeting up with my friend Scott in LA and we are convoying down the Baja to La Ventana. I plan to be back in Victoria at the start of Feb 2013. So that gives me 2 months in Baja to beach camp, SUP, fat bike and kitesurf. I’m looking forward to it! ūüôā

Just so you don’t think I’ll be having an unconscionable amount of fun I will be working while in Baja with my laptop and WiFi. It’s just less of a drag to work with your feet buried in the sand and palm trees rustling overhead in the breeze… ūüėČ

Starting today until I get back in Feb the blog content will be mostly kiteboarding related with some fatbike and SUP ramblings as well. If you only want cycling content then change the channels for a couple months and come back to the blog in 2013.

Quick Fix Surfboard Putty…

13 09 2012

Surfco Quick Fix Putty – Surfboard Repair Kit…

I was given a partially used Surfco Quick Fix Putty Kit a few years ago by a kind SUP shop owner on my way to Baja so I could repair any board damage on the beach. I didn’t need it that trip, but when I rammed some floating wood with the rail of my surfboard while kiting at Lake Nitnaht I figured it was a good time to see how well this stuff works. It’s simple to use. You cut off enough 2 part epoxy putty to fill the damaged area. You knead it together so the chemicals mix and then you apply it to the board to fill the damaged area. It hardens quickly and then you sand the excess off. The result is a strong repaired board that’s watertight. I hit the area with some white spray paint and the repair blends in with the rest of the board quite well.

Fixing my kite surfboard…

After the repair [we also fixed some damage in Kurt’s surfboard while we were at it] I didn’t have a lot of epoxy repair putty left so I bought a new kit for $10 at MEC. That’s a great price and I really like being able to fix surfboards at the beach and being able to get back in the water the same day.

Repair close up…

Epic Stand Up Paddle [SUP] and Surf Company – Victoria, BC…

7 08 2012

Epic SUP and Surf Company…

The Epic SUP and Surf Company in Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island is a hardcore surf shop that specializes in stand up paddling. They sell production boards from companies including Naish, McTavish, Walden and NSP. Their in-house shaper, Jason Heinz, will build you a custom board to meet your unique needs.

Surf and race SUPs…

I was impressed with the high quality boards, paddles and fins in the shop. This isn’t one of those surf shops with more bikinis and flip flops than wave hardware. In fact besides a few wetsuits Epic is pretty much all boards, paddles and fins.

Essential SUP gear…

One thing you won’t find at Epic is a whole bunch of all rounder stand up paddle boards that most shops peddle. When I asked Jason Heinz about the absence his response was that all round SUPs didn’t do anything well and weren’t a good investment once you got past the lesson stage. So Epic stocks dedicated surf SUPs and flat-water/race boards which are excellent at their specialties.

Lots of fins…

Besides all the sweet gear Epic has 4 certified stand up paddle instructors to help you get the most from your time on the water.

Naish SUP and O’Neil wetsuits…

I’ve been thinking about a Naish board so it’s great to find a local dealer who carries their product. It’s nice to be able to kick some tires before buying.

Mr. Zog’s – a classic…

If you find yourself in Victoria BC looking for SUP gear or a custom longboard Epic is worth a look. They take their surfing very very seriously and that’s a good thing! ūüôā

Catalog and magazine porn…

BTW – if the name Jason Heinz sounds familiar he built Sharon’s custom longboard last year.

Sharon’s custom Jason Heinz shaped longboard…

Evergreen Legend SUP Review…

18 05 2012

Cruising on the Legend…

Evergreen Stand Up Paddle Boards is a PNW based SUP company that specializes in designs suited for the conditions found along the north part of the west coast. A lot of the other SUPs you’ll see were designed in or for Hawaii. That’s great if you live in Hawaii, but not ideal if you are paddling here where the waves are smaller.

Easy to balance…

For smaller surf you don’t need as¬†aggressive¬†a rocker which means the SUP will paddle more efficiently for easy wave catching and for better flatwater performance.

Legend on the Gorge Waterway – Victoria BC…

You can read my review of the Evergreen Whisper SUP here. The Legend I tested is made up of the same beautiful bamboo construction and has also survived a lot of action as a rental board in the Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham fleet. Aside from some beauty marks the Legend I have looks great.

She looks great!

Evergreen used a 1.5lb EPS core covered with 2 two layers of 6oz cloth and epoxy then a 2mm layer of real bamboo.  The finishing layer is a polished polyester resin that brings out a really warm colour from the bamboo layer.

Evergreen Legend and Whisper SUPs…

I didn’t get a chance to surf the Legend which makes me sad….=-( I was trying to line up a day to get out to Jordan River with a friend so we could try ¬†this SUP out in the waves and get some photos. I asked to keep the Legend a bit longer, but I guess they sold every one them they have a KPS Bellingham so they need this one back to let people demo/rent.

You can check out the video of Andy in some small surf with an Evergreen Legend above and here is what he has to say about it:

“While the outline of the board looks traditional, this board has more to it than is obvious at first glance. ¬† The bottom shape of this board is biased towards speed. ¬†This means that while you are paddling around the Puget Sound, you are going to be cruising at a faster pace than a board designed exclusively to ride big waves and cut through Hawaiin chop. ¬† ¬†This results in a more efficient glide in non-surf conditions. ¬† This speed transitions into being able to catch waves further out in the surf, giving you longer rides. ¬† On the wave the wide squash tail allows the board to bite into the wave, giving the board a playful and lively feel, while at the same time, giving the board more volume in the tail, allowing you to get back further on the tail. ¬†This tail shape also allows the board to stand on its tail for storage purposes.”

Rounded nose…

The Legend is 11′ 3″ x 31.5″ that’s a great all around size for flatwater paddling and fun surfing. Any smaller and you can’t really get anywhere on flatwater and any bigger and it’s a pig to try and¬†maneuver¬†on waves. The 31.5″ is a good choice for width. You can float a larger paddle and provide user friendly stability without slowing down the board so much that it’s hard to paddle.

Peaceful paddling…

Evergreen offers another SUP called the Spirit that’s essentially a Legend with a 30.5″ width. The slightly narrower shape makes it faster albeit a tad less stable. This would be a good choice for an experienced SUPer who wants enhanced wave catching performance in a all around SUP.

Legend SUP with anti-gravity engine turned on…=-)

So you are interested in a new SUP and trying to decide between an Evergreen Legend and Whisper?

The answer is easy:

  • If you want to surf you buy the Legend.
  • If you want to race or go real fast on flatwater you buy the Whisper.
  • If you want to do both you buy both!
The Legend paddles fairly well on flatwater. A strong paddler on the Legend can keep pace with a weaker paddler on the Whisper for example. That happened when I took my friend Aaron and his GF Laura out for a paddle. On the other hand a skilled strong paddler can make the Whisper fly, but that comes at the cost of giving up the ability to surf.

Single mounted…

If you can’t decide or aren’t sure what you’ll do with your new SUP getting a versatile surf shaped SUP like the Legend is a smart move since it can really do it all.

EVA deck pad for traction…

The demo board I had came with a black EVA deck pad installed. This provides great traction when wet and is very comfy for¬†bare feet. The bamboo finish of the Legend is stunning so I’m not sure I’d use the EVA deck pad. I’d certainly be tempted to use some clear stick on traction material so I could enjoy the good looks of this board even more. You can always ask for the EVA deck pad [free when you buy an Evergreen SUP] and install it later if wax or clear stick on traction isn’t your thing.

Classic white finish…

I understand you can get all the Evergreen SUPs in a classic white surfboard finish as well. It does look sharp, but I am a huge fan of the warmth of the bamboo finish. It’s good to have choices though.

Square tail…

Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham is offering a package deal for the Legend of a SUP + carbon paddle + bag for $1199US. I bought a similar SUP a couple years ago for $1600 and then paid another $500 for a carbon paddle and bag. So this is a great deal to get you started as a stand up paddler without killing your bank account.

Single fin mounted…

You’ll get a single 9″ fin and a set of 4″ FCS thruster fins with your Legend. Leave the thruster fins off for flatwater paddling for less drag and push the 9″ fin all the way back in the fin box for better¬†straight-line¬†tracking. When it’s time to surf you can stick to the single fin at first since it will let you paddle faster and if you push it forward in the fin box it will turn easier. Once you are catching waves regularly add the 4″¬†thrusters¬†in for more drive in your turns.

Evergreen Whisper and Legend SUPs…

The photo above provides a side by side¬†comparison¬†of the Whisper and the Legend. The Whispers knife like nose and the Legend’s surf rocker are easy to spot.

Sky view of Aaron on the Legend…

I’m hoping to get more time on these Evergreen SUPs later this year. They’ve got a raceboard prototype I love to check out and I want to get the Legend into the surf for myself and see what I think.


So much great gear….so little time!….life is tough…=-)

Evergreen Whisper SUP Review…

14 04 2012

Laura paddling the Whisper SUP near the Selkirk Trestle...

When I first got interested in stand up paddle boards there were really only 2 choices: 1) surf inspired shapes and 2) race boards. The race boards were so long and narrow that they weren’t really useful to most paddle boarders which means 95% of SUPers ended up on surf shaped boards. That worked out fine since surf shapes were fairly stable and easy to use. However, once you got your SUP legs under you the same surf shape that was so easy to use didn’t deliver the performance even a moderately athletic flatwater paddler wanted due to their big rounded noses and¬†significant¬†amounts of rocker. Not to mention that many stand up paddle boarders didn’t live anywhere they could surf!

Lovely Evergreen Whisper 12'6" SUP with bamboo finish...

That’s sort of where I am at since I live within a frisbee’s throw of the Gorge Waterway in Victoria, BC, but I am 2-4hrs away from the nearest surf breaks. So when my friend Andy at Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham ¬†mentioned he was selling a new line up of SUPs called Evergreen I was immediately drawn to the flatwater friendly shape of the Whisper.

She is sleek...

The first thing you’ll notice about this paddle board is the sleek outline with a pointed nose that slices through the water.

Built for speed...

This means a lot more of the energy from each paddle stroke goes into driving the board forward than it would with the fat rounded nose on a surf SUP.

Flat rocker and moderately tall nose to deal with small swell...

The nose is tall enough to ride over small wind swell if you are doing a downwinder.

Flat bottom rocker...

The bottom has only a small amount of rocker which makes it a fast and efficient SUP.

Generous rail volume and single fin...

The single fin design limits drag and allows you to fine tune the directional stability based on where you place the fin in the fin box.

Note the adjustment possible in fin box...

During my test paddles I kept the fin all the way towards the rear of the fin box to maximize the board’s tracking stability. I want a SUP that is fast and stays on course when I am paddling flatwater. That of course means she doesn’t spin around on a dime.

The back end...

The square tail has lots of volume so you can step back onto it for rides down small swell and the flat shape will absorb the energy from and waves efficiently.

EVA deck pad installed...

You can get this board with an EVA deck pad installed or naked showing the spectacular bamboo finish. I checked out both versions of this SUP and I’m torn. The EVA pad is very handy and makes for a simple traction solution, but I really hate the idea of covering up that bamboo finish. You could get a naked Whisper and use wax for traction, but that’s messy and you won’t get to enjoy the bamboo that way. I think I’d spend the $$ to put clear traction material on this SUP like the NSI Clear Grip I put on my bamboo kite surfboard recently.

I love bamboo!

When I said above that the first thing you’ll notice about this SUP is its sleek outline I may have lied. The bamboo finish is really¬†beautiful¬†and especially on a SUP without a deck pad it really grabs the eye.

Resting between paddle sessions...

Beauty is only skin deep though. The construction of this SUP is a 1.5lb EPS core covered with 2 two layers of 6oz cloth and epoxy then a 2mm layer of real bamboo.  The finishing layer is a polished polyester resin that brings out a really warm colour from the bamboo layer. The test board I have was used as a rental SUP last season which means it got abused Рa lot! Other than a few marks and couple chips on the nose it has survived really well. I take care of my boards really well so that means one of these SUPs in my fleet would stay minty fresh looking a long long time.

Flatwater SUP and classic surf SUP...

You can see in the photo above how different the Whisper is from its cousin the Evergreen Legend surf SUP. The fat round nose and lots of rocker gives the Legend the ability to play in the waves, but that comes at the expense of flatwater speed/efficiency.

SUPing under the Selkirk Trestle...

Standing on the Whisper I was impressed how stable it was for a 29″ wide SUP. It has a lot of volume and floats my 175lbs frame + gear easily. I could throw a dry bag on this board for some coastal SUP touring ¬†no problem. You could also fish or take photos/birdwatch off the Whisper without needing to focus on staying out of the water the whole time. That’s ideal since even on a performance board like this you aren’t going to be racing 24/7.

Cruising on the Whisper...

If I was starting my SUP fleet from scratch the Whisper would be the first board I’d get. It’s perfect for the flatwater¬†recreational¬†and¬†fitness¬†paddler. It’s so much faster and easier to paddle than my surf shaped SUPs I can’t really ever see myself wanting to paddle them on flatwater again. I’ve been¬†spoilt. What I really like is that the added performance comes without needing a crazy long board that’s hard to transport and impossible to turn. The Whisper is so easy to paddle I got two friends out on it for their first ever SUP paddle and they went from zero to having a blast in only a few minutes.

Easy to learn on as a first SUP...

Typically performance SUPs come at a premium price. I was looking at a fast SUP at MEC just prior to testing the Whisper and it cost a cool $2400 for just the board. So I was a bit shocked to see the Kite Paddle Surf has a Whisper SUP package on for $999.00 that includes a carbon paddle, deck pad and a bag for the board. When I bought my first SUP a carbon paddle and bag were $500 on top of the cost of the board.

Paddling the Whisper...

So what are the downsides to the Whisper?:

  • at 12’6″ it’s longer than a typical general¬†purpose¬†surf SUP which tend to run¬†around¬†11’2″ so it takes a bit more effort to transport/store
  • you are not taking this baby to a surf break to hang ten
  • the sharp point at the nose is a bit delicate so you don’t want to give this SUP to the kids to play with near the rocks!
  • it’s not fast like an dedicated open ocean race SUP
  • however it is fast enough you won’t have an excuse for losing a friendly SUP race
  • Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham is the only Evergreen dealer at the moment which means you’ll have to get your SUP shipped if you can’t swing by Bellingham WA to pick it up.

Gliding along on the Whisper...

Overall I was very pleased with my¬†experience¬†on the Whisper. It’s the first SUP I’ve tried in a long time that has really got me thinking about a new board. The paddling¬†efficiency¬†and straight tracking mean I can go a lot further with less energy. The¬†stability¬†means I can give it to Sharon so she can easily keep up to me when we paddle together and it’s not going to be a hassle to stay upright. Finally the package price is compelling at $999.00 including a paddle and bag!

Lovely day for a paddle...

Vibram Five Finger KSO 2yr Review

1 02 2012

Click on image for my previous review...

Let me summarize my long term review of the Vibram Five Finger KSO booties/slippers by saying 3 things:

  • if you kite, windsurf, SUP or surf on the beaches I frequent in Canada and Mexico you either wear something on your feet or you get cut up badly.
  • these KSOs are the best footwear solution I’ve found for these sports in warm to cool water.
  • there is¬†significant¬†room for improvement of this product for the¬†water-sports¬†crowd.

If you want to read my pervious review click on the image above. I’ll only be discussing my long term experiences with the KSOs in this post.

Virtually no wear on the Vibram sole...

The Good:

  • they fit my odd shaped feet reasonably well
  • they don’t interfere with the bindings on my twin tip kiteboard
  • they provide decent board feel on my strapless kiteboards, SUPs and surfboards
  • they¬†provide excellent traction
  • they provide excellent protection from sharp rocks, coral, urchins, glass, etc…
  • soles are very¬†durable
  • available in black so you don’t attract too much attention!
  • reasonably priced for specialized sports footwear

Shredded fabric lets toes our and rocks in...=-(

The Bad:

  • they don’t fit some people
  • not much good in cold water
  • sole is much thicker than needed for protection or durability for board sports
  • thinner sole would provide much better board feel with no downsides
  • fabric tops are not very robust [mine have been ripped open between the toes several times now]
  • once the fabric rips small rocks and sand get in as you walk down the beach and get into the water. This really irritates the feet while you are riding for 3hrs and your skin gets soft.
  • glue is letting go between rubber and fabric along the sides

Bottom line I love how these slippers work compared to a regular neoprene surf bootie, but it’s sad to know I’ll shred the tops after a couple months of beach use while the soles are good for 10 years of abuse. I’ll keep buying them because for now there is no better alternative for warm and cool weather water-sports.

My KSO's have seen better days!

Here is how to improve them for water board sports:

  • make sole 30% thinner for better board feel.
  • they rip mostly between toes when a rock gets in there are rubs the fabric so wrap a thin layer of rubber up the sides of each toe to add to the¬†durability.
  • change top fabric to something 50% more abrasion¬†resistant.
  • to make the Flow neoprene model better increase size of each toe box to account for thicker neoprene material compared to KSO. Currently Flow toe boxes are too small for many people’s feet.
  • make a high top side entry Flow so you can tuck the top under a wetsuit leg to stay warm in cold conditions.

As I said in my original Five Fingers review – kudos to Vibram for brining such a novel and highly functional product to market. They rock in many ways and I’ll be buying a new pair of KSOs now that I have¬†shredded¬†and repaired my 2yr old pair so much they can’t be fixed further. I hope Vibram takes some notice of the concerns listed here. Everyone I’ve met on the beach who uses Five Fingers has had the same experience.

The Tao of Wow!

19 10 2011

Person, paddle and SUP - all you really need...

Over the years I’ve been exposed to a number of spiritual traditions.

  • My dad is Hindu.
  • My mom is Protestant.
  • I went to a Catholic high school.
  • I practiced yoga daily for over 3yrs when I was younger.
  • I’ve read extensively about¬†Buddhism¬†and other Eastern traditions.
  • And I’ve had friends that came were on many different spiritual paths.

Now that I am in my 40’s I find myself spending less and less time reading books about this topic or going to places where spirituality or religious experience is the focus. Not because I have no interest in that part of my life. In fact as I get older it seems to me that this is the whole point of life – to get a handle on your life and what it means. I’m finding that the most rewarding place to explore the¬†experience¬†of my life and to understand what it means to me is not in a yoga studio or in a temple, but in the everyday moments I live. There is no spiritual guide to help you down this path. Surfing and cycling don’t have a religious dogma to learn or spiritual instructional program. But, there is no reason that you can’t connect with God just as well flying through the air kiteboarding or gliding along in your sea kayak as you can in a yoga studio or church.

In fact I think that engaging in the direct experience of all that life has to offer in these ways has a benefit. Since there is no book, no manual or lexicon your mind is not being channeled down specific paths of thought. Your experience is beyond the bounds and constraints of language. Without words or a set of ideas someone else taught you you can engage with your life on a deeper level.

That lets paddling a SUP become a moving meditation. A consciousness expanding voyage into your reality. An appropriate metaphor when you picture a tiny SUPer floating on a vast ocean.

Your bike can be rolling along on two big prayer wheels as you pedal.

The wave that rises up behind you and pushes you along on your surfboard has travelled from halfway around the planet to interact with you in this one brief moment which makes it easy to appreciate the infinite connections we have with everything else.

Just to be clear I’m not down on churches, yoga studios or any other spiritual tradition. I figure there are so many flavours of humanity out there not everyone is going to get turned on to the same thing. Find what makes you passionate and embrace it.

Safety makes me sad…=-(

17 07 2011

This what I love about SUPing...

When I saw my first stand up paddle boarder [SUPer] down in Hood River OR I loved how simple an activity it was. You just needed a board and a paddle. You could use it on a lake, river or in the ocean. You could paddle for distance or catch waves. So simple. So much fun.¬†I got a couple SUPs and have enjoyed them in Canada, the US and Mexico. It’s a great way to get some exercise and so easy to teach someone that it’s an awesome way to get your friends out on the water.

Sadly my days of SUPing like in the photo above have come to an end – at least at home….=-( The local Coast Guard has decided that a SUP is a small boat and must have life jackets aboard. There is some uncertainty if a SUP also needs a throw rope, a¬†signaling¬†device¬†and other¬†safety¬†gear…*sigh*! Trying to SUP with a life jacket on is hard and not much fun due to the paddling motion. The rules don’t actually require you to wear the life jacket so if you can figure out a way to attach it to the board you can paddle without one on, but now it catches the wind and makes staying on course harder.

What’s really dumb of course is that a SUP is a personal flotation device! A much more effective one than a life jacket – especially one you don’t have to wear. SUPers have tried unsuccessfully to argue that the rules¬†should¬†require a SUPer to wear a leash which keeps them attached to their board rather than requiring a PFD. Under the current rules a SUPer could fall off their board and watch it sail away out of swimming distance with the PFD legally secured to the nose acting like a sail! Unfortunately this is far too rationale an approach for the authorities.

I’ve heard¬†arguments¬†made that SUPers need a life jacket because they could fall off their board and hit their head on it rendering themselves¬†unconscious. It sounds reasonable, but upon further examination this is just more safety illogic. First off the rules don’t require SUPers to wear a PFD. They just have to have one aboard their vessel. Secondly the approved PFDs a sea kayaker or SUPer would wear do not support the head out of the water so an¬†unconscious¬†person¬†will drown – it will just be easier to find the dead body!

So what am I going to do?

  • I haven’t SUP’d near home in Victoria this year and I’m not highly motivated to given all the stupid rules being enforced for my safety.
  • There is no Coast Guard presence up at Nitnaht Lake and SUPers can paddle their boards with sanity prevailing at this remote lake.
  • Mexico doesn’t have any Safety Nazis enforcing goofy rules so SUPing there is still sensible and I’ll bring my SUPs south of the border when I can.
  • I’m looking at an¬†inflatable¬†PFD at MEC. It costs $150 adds nothing to my safety given my 200L SUP flotation device, but it would get the authorities off my back so I may have to get one.
  • I won’t modify my SUPs to strap a life jacket to the nose because 1) that’s a stupid place for a PFD and 2) I take them into the surf and any thing that can catch on your skin/wetsuit when tumbling in the waves is a safety hazard for real!
  • Bottom line I’ll just SUP less than I would have last year when they didn’t enforce these rules.

Prior to the enforcement of these¬†idiotic¬†rules I was really hopeful that SUPing would be a game changer as it’s the simplest and cheapest way to get folks out on the water for some fun¬†exercise. However, making people wear a PFD which hinders their ability to paddle or forcing them to spend $150 on an inflatable PFD will just add another hurdle to the process which will simply mean less people getting exercise and being a bit healthier.

I think we should start a new safety¬†campaign¬†– “Be most saferest! Stay at home in front of your TV and order a pizza. No helmet or life jacket required!

What really makes me laugh is that kiteboarding is way more dangerous than either biking or SUPing and no helmet or PFD is required. Not to mention that I can skateboard around Victoria without a helmet, but if I want to ride one of those dangerous bicycles I have to strap on a skid lid ’cause the can kill you….LMAO!

If our goal as a society is to make getting exercise outdoors a pain in the butt we should congratulate ourselves – we are succeeding!

Seal Line E-Case Initial Review

13 07 2011

Seal Line Small E-Case...

I’ve spent a lot of time at outdoor stores checking out their waterproof cases in the hopes of finding something I liked for my iPhone. Until I found the Seal Line E-Case there was nothing I could see myself using. My complaints were generally¬†awkward¬†sized cases, hard to use and couldn’t operate phone while inside case. The iPhone’s smooth finish wants to stick like glue to any rubberized surface making sliding it inside a dry bag next to impossible. I had sort of given up hope until I had a breakthrough idea – leave some paper or slippery plastic in the dry bag so the phone can slide on it. This has two benefits:

  • the iPhone slides in relatively easily
  • the other surface holds it nicely in place once inside.

Robust easy to use waterproof opening...

With the addition of a bit of paper the Seal Line E-Case is easy to operate and allows full use of the iPhone including making and¬†receiving¬†calls. ¬†The case is waterproof to 1m for 30mins. Having said that I don’t suggest trusting any case like this for regular submersion of a $700 device. The waterproof zipper can easily be compromised by dirt or you could fail to use it correctly. My plan is to use the E-Case in rain and for accidental submersion like falling off my SUP. The case has a couple loops so you can tether the phone to yourself or your gear. The screen of the phone is much easier to read than it would seem based on my top photo.

A bit of paper on one side of the case is key!

One additional tip is to cut away a small area of the paper/plastic sliding material you use so that the iPhone’s camera is exposed. If not it will think your hand is covering it while talking and the screen won’t light up during a call. The E-Case is offered in 3 sizes. I’m using the small one for my iPhone and they make an iPhone specific case that is marginally wider and a bit taller. They also make a case specifically for the iPad.

I’ve been using Seal Line dry bags while sea kayaking for over a decade with generally good results. I’m hoping this case provides equally positive results. I will report back in a few months.





I wish I was SUPing…

17 03 2011

...instead I'll be doing more of the post below...=-(

Island Shaper Custom Longboard…

10 01 2011

Jason and Sharon discuss longboard options...

To be honest I wasn’t sure how much interest Sharon would have in surfing:

  • it’s the hardest sport I’ve tried to learn
  • the season around here is fall/winter
  • the Pacific Ocean is cold
  • she has circulation problems that tend to limit her cold weather exposure
  • it’s physically exhausting like nothing else I do

So I have to say it’s awesome that she loves surfing and with the right wetsuit seems fine in the cold water. ¬†I bought her an inexpensive surfboard [8’4″ Bic Surf] from a surf school in Tofino so she’d have something to ride when she came out¬†occasionally. ¬†She ended up wanting to surf at every opportunity so we sold that board to a friend who needs a low cost way to get into the sport and Sharon decided to reward herself with a new longboard better suited to her needs and developing skills.

I figured we’d keep looking around for a deal that fit her reasonably well and jump on it when one crossed our path. ¬†I was a bit¬†surprised¬†when we chatted with Jason at Island Shaper as I dropped off my Walden for repair that he would make Sharon a custom longboard for $625cdn. ¬†That includes custom hand made graphics as well as a length and shape made to order. ¬†Give I paid $900+ for a production board that’s a deal.

Sharon is working on her board’s graphic design while Jason shapes the foam black for her. ¬†If all goes well when I get back from Baja Sharon will have a sweet new board of her own to ride.¬†Besides being better suited to ger than the school board it’s cool that she’ll be on a board made by a local Victoria BC area surfer.

Jason specializes in longboards and SUPs so one of these days I’ll probably get my own custom board.


Paranoid Packing…

31 12 2010

It always starts so well...

I’m getting a bit freaked out.

Getting my Baja gear together...

Each year when I go to Baja I trim my gear a bunch. ¬†I’m taking way less than last year, but…

Arrggghhh....full again!

…my truck is always full! ¬†How can that be? ¬†You’d think when you take 30% less stuff there should be 30% more free space, but it never works out that way…=-)

Oh well…I’m going to blame the house elves!

SPT Lockable Tie Downs

12 12 2010

SPT Tour 13' Lockable Tie Downs

Update: I’ve had these straps for just over a year. ¬†They were easy to use at first, but after about 10 days on my truck in rain and desert dusty conditions [not at the same time!] the locks have become very hard to turn. ¬†Since the keys are small and thin I’m afraid of breaking them off in the locks. ¬†I basically have some expensive non-locking tie downs now, but since they have cables inside them to prevent cutting they are a lot harder to use as regular tie downs than the typical Dakine units sold for $20 at a surf shop. ¬†I’m going to try some graphite powder lock mechanism lube as my last resort before putting them in the “Fail Bin”. ¬†A product like this needs to work for a year in harsh environments without maintenance for it to be useful. ¬†As an example I lock my truck’s cap with normal low cost locks from a hardware store. ¬†These locks see the same conditions as the locks in the straps. They last 2-4 years of constant use before I have any problems. ¬†I can’t recommend these SPT locking tie downs.

If you need to leave big items on your truck at stops or overnight it’s nice to be able to lock them.¬† These SPT Pro Tour tie downs do just that.¬† They have two steel wire aircraft cables inside to prevent cutting and the lock also means once tightened they don’t slack off.¬† I’m using two sets of these at the moment and they work great.¬† Ideal for SUP boards and/or kayaks.

As with all locks a thief can and will get through them with time and the right tools.¬† This at least gives you protection from snatch and grab thieves.¬† I’ll be interested to see how the locking mechanism deals with saltwater in the air, dust, sand and gritty rain water on the highway.

Just a note that the manufacturer’s website lists a $90USD MSRP.¬† I got them for $60CDN so they are available for less if you shop around.


  • 33mm U.V stabilized webbing
  • 2 x hardened stainless steel cables
  • Soft Santoprene protective casing
  • Polished die cast buckle
  • Weather resistant lock with dust shutter
  • 4.0m strap

Installing NSI Clear Grip

23 11 2010

8 sheet package of Clear Grip...

One of the things I was not looking forward to when it comes to surfing is applying, removing and generally dealing with surf wax. It’s a PITA and it’s messy so I figured I’d see what other options were out there. ¬†The obvious one was using an EVA deck pad. ¬†EVA foam is very grippy and I know it works because I use it on my SUPs. ¬†I was all set to get a SUP deck pad and trim it down to size for my 9’2″ longboard when I came across NSI’s Clear Grip.

Like wax just easier...

Clear Grip is a very thin [1/16″ = 1.6mm] textured translucent deck traction product that can be used on any water sports board or paddle that needs more grip with minimal visual or physical impact on the surface. ¬†Unlike EVA foam, which is springy and changes how a board feels under foot, Clear Grip allows for the same board feel as with wax. ¬†It comes in 18″ x 10.75″ sheets. ¬†I grabbed an 8 sheet pack [~$72usd] for my 9″2″ x 22.25″ longboard.

First sheet of Clear Grip installed...

I’m not a great surfer and I have no experience with surf wax so I won’t attempt to¬†evaluate¬†and compare this product, but you can read this review that states Clear Grip worked great and is equivalent to a medium coat of surf wax. However, unlike surf wax you don’t have to reapply Clear Grip and it won’t melt off and get onto your car seats or furniture. ¬†If you want to you can add some wax on top of the Clear Grip for more traction, but my goal is ride wax free if at all possible.


I mostly ignored the instructions.  I did clean and dry the board throughly where I wanted to apply Clear Grip.  Working from the tail I used a pattern of sheets that required minimum trimming.  I used faint marks on the sheets and the centreline of the board to get the sheets laid down in the right spots [more or less!].  I started at the bottom edge of each sheet and pressed down along the whole width moving towards the tip ensuring there were no bubbles forming.  I paid special attention to the edges and corners of each sheet pressing them down firmly into the board.

My board all Clear Gripped...

I only went as far up the board as I needed to to ensure I’d have a grippy surface for my hands when popping up. ¬†I’m not about to nose ride so I’ll worry about the last 3rd of the board later. ¬†I used 7 sheets of my 8 sheet pack leaving me with some spare material. ¬†I’d probably need about 3 or 4 more sheets to fully cover this board. ¬†Clear Grip is easy to work with. ¬†It cuts fine with s sharp knife and you can pull it up and start again [at least for a while] if your eye hand coordination isn’t stellar.

Clear Grip is translucent - not clear...

One obvious thing about Clear Grip is that it’s translucent not clear. ¬†The pics above and below show the worst case and best case situations. ¬†Depending on the light and if your board is wet or dry the Clear Grip stands out a lot or a little. ¬†You’ll stil be able to see the graphics under the Clear Grip, but it’s not like you are looking at a board’s surface directly.

Not bad looking IMO...

Compared to a board covered in surf wax it looks great – see photo below taken from a few feet away.

Can you spot the Clear Grip?

I’ve had the board out a few times now…what do I think?

  • how grippy Clear Grip is depends entirely on what you are touching it with. ¬†The bottoms of my booties and the backs of my gloves stick to the Clear Grip really well. ¬†The palms of my gloves are a different material that doesn’t grip as well. ¬†The body of my wetsuit doesn’t slide around when laying or sitting on the board, but when I want to I am move around on it easily.
  • so far I am happy with the Clear Grip…I’m going to try sanding the area where my hands are during a pop up and if that’s not enough I’ll use a bit of wax on top of the Clear Grip on just that part of the board.
  • I haven’t had any issues slipping during my pop ups, but I feel like I want more traction there. ¬†Time will tell if I need it or I’m just talking myself into having a problem where none exists.
  • I’m not doing any radical turns at this point so I’m not testing the foot traction terribly. ¬†It seems good so far.

Jordan River…

13 11 2010

Happy after a productive day...

Since we had the day off on Nov 11th and I was in the army for 10yrs I didn’t feel any need to participate in a¬†Remembrance¬†Day ceremony so we cruised up to Jordan River. ¬†We started the day on SUPs and I can’t say I mind how easy it is to cruise around on those boards. ¬†You can move anywhere you think is a good idea with about 20% of the energy drain that paddling on your stomach would entail. ¬†However, the downside is I’m finding it harder to spin around quickly and get ready to catch a wave that’s near me. ¬†On a prone¬†surfboard¬†it’s pretty simple to spin around on a dime and get ready to paddle into the wave. ¬†So they both have pros and cons. ¬†It’s cool to have both options because when my arms are worn out from prone paddling I’ve still got lots of energy in the rest of my body and I can hop on a SUP for a while.

The bad news is I’m still not surfing as well as I’d like. ¬†The good news is I was for sure the best of the 4 or 5 beginners in the water and I’m definitely making progress every time I go out. ¬†If there is one thing my long hard road to learning to kiteboard has taught me it’s – as long as you are making progress each day you’ll get to your goal. ¬†I was pleased that I caught 75% of the waves I tried for. ¬†I’m standing up and riding them better although I need to be more fluid and more precise about my pop up.

My weakest point is my arm strength. I don’t do any other sport that requires a swimming motion so it doesn’t take long before my arms are lead and I can’t paddle to save my life. ¬†It’s very humbling to literally not be able to use your arms they are so tired. ¬†Of course this has the obvious benefit that I am gaining fitness in an area where I can really use it. ¬†I just need to stick with it and surfing will be a great¬†addition¬†to my quiver of sports and make me more balanced. ¬†Kurt is an advanced swimmer so I’m going to get him to give some tips and I may even hit the pool a few times to get my¬†swimming¬†fitness to a basic level.

I found out Sharon ate the last muffin while I was in the water!

I still have that lingering cold, but I don’t feel so weak and I’m pretty much determined to ignore it. ¬†Life is too short to be sick!

BTW – I’ve decided that surfing and SUPing are the perfect rainy day sports. ¬†It was raining moderately to heavily all day and frankly it made zero difference inside my wetsuit. ¬†Victoria hasn’t been half as rainy as I thought it might be, but it’s nice to know that when it does rain we have an arrow in the quiver…=-)

Surfing a River in China…

22 10 2010

Israeli SUP…

20 10 2010

Surfrider & TLC Jordan River Paddle Out…

18 10 2010

Double over-ankle surf!

The Surfrider Jordan River Paddle Out yesterday was a lot of fun.  It was nice to meet a bunch of local surfers and hang out in the sunshine.  The weather was perfect Рthe waves not so much.  Of course on a SUP almost any waves are rideable so a few were caught!


I didn’t realize that the beach access at Jordan River was owned by a forestry company and was being offered for sale. ¬†Surfrider.org and The Land Conservancy [TLC] want to buy the land to protect access and water quality in the area. I think they need $3million+ so no small task. ¬†I¬†donated¬†to¬†the¬†cause and joined Surfrider.

Thanks for caring...

After my forced junk food extravaganza in the Yukon I decided not to eat any burgers at the BBQ and stuck to some snacks I brought with me. Although the BBQ was tempting my tummy thanked me for the rest of the day!

I didn’t participate in the wetsuit changing contest, but I did shoot a video…=-)

Waiting for the waves...

Everyone paddled out into the kelp and formed a circle to generate some good vibes. Being on a SUP I stayed high and dry which was nice.  Even sitting down I was able to cross my legs and sit completely out of the water Рone of the benefits of paddling an aircraft carrier!

Another great day on Vancouver Island...

I paddled¬†around¬†for a while after folks started leaving to try and catch a few micro waves. ¬†I’m glad I made the trip out to Jordan River and I’ll definitely be back when there is a some bigger¬†swell¬†rolling in.

Bag your stick…

17 10 2010

My precious Mako 140 in its bag...

No this isn’t a post about safe sex. But I am a big believer in protecting your valuable equipment. So I guess it’s a similar message…=-)

Whenever¬†I buy a new or used board I get a bag for it. ¬†Doesn’t matter if it’s a snowboard, SUP, kiteboard or surfboard. ¬†I even have bags for my SUP paddles.

Why bother?

  • protective bags cost about $30-$100 depending on size [my 11′ SUP bags were $80]
  • boards cost $500-$2000
  • bags last 10 years+
  • riding a pristine board = priceless
  • selling a used board in excellent condition will recoup your cost for the bag and you can use the same bag for another board
  • bags make it easy and fast to pack your gear because you don’t have to spend time worrying about damaging it
  • bags protect the inside of your vehicle and house from the boards that have sharp edges or wax on them

The economics of¬†protecting¬†your valuable gear is straightforward. ¬†For about 1% per year you can keep your boards in tip top shape as well as protecting your vehicle and house from the boards. ¬†You’ll easily see that investment returned when you go to sell the board used and personally I absolutely love pulling out an old board that looks sweet because it hasn’t been bashed around in the bed of my pick up.

No board is too big to bag...


Jordan River Paddle Out…

16 10 2010


Surfrider Event Poster...


I just found out about this event yesterday so I think I’ll reward myself for a lot of hard work around the house with a bit of paddling at Jordan River Sunday so I can support the Surfrider Foundation.

“Surfers are once again taking to their boards to raise awareness about public access to beaches along the Juan de Fuca coast. The Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island Chapter is hosting the 2nd Annual Paddle out for Public Access at Jordan River to raise awareness about the importance of public access to coastal areas and preservation of coastal ecosystems.

The event will include a paddle out, beach cleanup, BBQ, yoga for surfers demonstration and speeches by local community groups working to protect areas along the Juan de Fuca coast.

All beach enthusiasts are invited to join us and celebrate our coastal spaces. If you would like to participant in the Paddle Out, please bring your own paddling device, wetsuit and warm clothes.

Event sponsors include: Moksha Yoga, Coastline Boardshop, Ht0, Sitka, Incite Screenprinting and others…

Dan Adelman

Getting there will require a bit of driving, but not nearly as much as going to Tofino and in return I get free yoga, free BBQ, get some SUPIng in and meet some more local folks – seems like a reasonable trade.

I better get back to work so I don’t have to feel guilty about ditching chores Sunday afternoon…=-)

Reality Bites…

15 10 2010

My kingdom for a SUP!

I’m back from the Yukon. ¬†4 days of driving and nearly 5000kms round trip under my belt plus a bunch of field work in cold rainy conditions. Needless to say I am glad to be back home!

I was literally working 16hrs a day so no time for any goofing off. ¬†On the drive home I was thinking of all the fun stuff I might do this weekend. ¬†My GF is headed to Vancouver for a Girl’s Weekend with her friends so I am on my own. My¬†initial¬†thought was to load up my truck and head to Tofino for a couple days of surfing to get some much needed practice time in on the waves. ¬†That sounded like a great idea – at least until I started to ponder the 4hrs in the truck driving each way. ¬†Usually that wouldn’t phase me, but after a long hard drive to and from the Yukon I don’t think I can handle a road trip at the moment.

So instead I’m going to stay close to home and take care of the huge mound of errands that has piled up after a summer of fun. ¬†Nothing sexy about organizing my office, cleaning up the garage, fixing a couple tents, wrenching on a couple bikes, etc…but I know I’ll feel better having these things accomplished. ¬†I’m really good at getting my top priorities happening and I’m lousy at everything else. ¬†Unfortunately after a while you can’t go kiteboarding if your tents are all busted and your camp stove doesn’t work. ¬†On the upside a good push through my To Do List will mean more time for fun stuff during the rest of the year.

Of course I’ll be riding my bike to get around town when I need to pick up supplies to complete a mission so it’s not like I’ll be deep in a coal mine…=-) And at some point in the evening I’ll quit working to sip a few beers and get my Netflix on!

To those of you who will also be embarking on domestic adventures this weekend – I salute you…=-)

My Surfing Report Card…

7 10 2010

Photo: Starboard SUP

By the time you are reading this I’m on a ferry headed towards the mainland on my way to the ¬†Yukon. ¬†I wish I was off on some epic late season bike tour, but in reality I’m just road¬†tripping¬†to a project site for work. ¬†I enjoy long drives in¬†beautiful¬†country and I’ve never headed north from the coast through British Columbia. ¬†I assume it will be lovely and I’ll be rocking out to my iPod in a¬†caffeine¬†fueled¬†frenzy of¬†adventure¬†planning as I eat up the miles.

One of my future adventures will be more surfing lessons and practice.  First I need to assess where I am at and what I need to do next. I managed to get in 1hr of SUP surfing lessons and 5hrs of longboarding lessons on Mon/Tues. So here is my report card from my recent lessons in Tofino, BC:

  • I can get through the impact zone okay on my SUP and on a longboard.
  • I’m pretty good at paddling a SUP in the waves.
  • I need more practice catching waves on my SUP [conditions were too windy this time for good SUPing]
  • I need to work on my arm strength to longboard better. ¬†I was getting tired too easily just paddling out through the breaking waves.
  • I can catch most waves I try for on a longboard, but I need to work on my pop up so I get up on the board more easily.
  • I’m doing pretty well at spotting the waves I want to ride.
  • I’m doing pretty well at¬†spinning¬†around and getting into position to paddle onto the wave.
  • My longboard swimming [paddling] technique sucks and I am not getting good power transfer to the water which is tiring me out unnecessarily.
  • I’m okay in a small lineup and understand the right of way rules in the waves, but my spatial¬†awareness¬†isn’t great since I’m so¬†focused¬†on what I doing when I’m trying to catch a wave.

The first question is whether I should spend my time SUP surfing or stick to a longboard until I get better and then go back to the SUP?

  • My SUP skills are more advanced and a SUP is more efficient so I don’t get as tired.
  • It’s easier to catch waves on a SUP.
  • SUPing is warmer since you are out of the water and the water on Vancouver Island is cold.
  • I own some surfing SUPs.
  • Longboarding is fun and a better workout for me in a weak area [arms] than SUPing.
  • Longboards are ubiquitous so if I travel I can always rent a longboard cheaply.
  • Longboards are easier to use on windy days.

I think working on both makes sense. ¬†I can’t really SUP surf if it’s windy and I don’t have the arm fitness to longboard for 3hrs+. ¬†I own the SUP gear and I’m further ahead in that area so I’ll prioritize that, but a used longboard can be had for $100-$200 so I’ll get one next time I run across a good deal. ¬†If it’s windy I’ll longboard and it it’s not I’ll SUP for a few hours, longboard until my arms hurt and then if I’ve still got some energy left I’ll SUP again.

I found a surf instructor [Adam @ Pacific Surf School] who teaches both traditional longboard surfing and SUP surfing – very handy! ¬†I’m at the point where, as long as I am conservative about the conditions I paddle out in, I can practice safely without further lessons. ¬†That will let me take my time and go for the best waves and also let me take a break on the beach without a clock ticking. ¬†I expect if I put in another 6 or 7 more days in the waves I will be ready for some lessons to hone my technique. ¬†For now I know what to do I just need some time making it happen and getting a bit more fit in the process!

I’ve never enjoyed swimming in a pool, but my¬†appalling¬†swimming skills and fitness may just force my hand and convince me to get a few lessons in the pool so I’m not splashing around like a wounded seal in the water!…=-)

In the meantime I’ve got a few surfing books and videos to absorb. Something I’ll do a bunch on this trip to the Yukon during any downtime.

C4 Paddle Grip

6 10 2010

Pretty in pink...

SUP paddles come with bare shafts Рusually black ones due to the carbon fibre or fibreglass construction.  They are slippery when wet and hard to see in the water if you drop your paddle in the waves.

Sharon's Werner paddle...

Some folks put surfboard wax on the shaft of their paddles to increase grip. ¬†This works and it’s cheap, but it’s messy and doesn’t help with spotting your paddle in the waves.

C4 Paddle Grip installed...

I like the C4 Paddle Grip. ¬†They are¬†durable, very grippy and really make your paddle visible. ¬†I’ve put them on my other two SUP paddles so I figured it was time to sort out Sharon’s Werner paddle.

Pink grip installed...

It is easy to install [read the instructions twice] and looks great. ¬†SUP paddles are expensive [$150-$300+ for a decent one] so I don’t mind buying a $20 factory grip. If it makes the paddle work better and helps me avoid losing it. ¬†This grip will last for years so it’s a one time investment.

I used some of the extra material I trimmed off to add a second smaller section of grip higher up the paddle shaft. ¬†This is an adjustable paddle so having more grip is useful and I couldn’t cover the area where the adjustment holes are located.

Wingnut’s Complete Surfing…

5 10 2010

A surfing textbook..

I’ve checked out quite a few books on surfing. ¬†There is probably no single book that has all the information you could want for a sport as complex as this, but Wingnut’s Complete Surfing is a standout as a guide for the beginner. ¬†It covers all the major topics from understanding waves, to¬†understanding¬†surf boards to basic¬†maneuvers. ¬†It’s all you’ll need [plus some lessons] to started wave riding. ¬†There is enough detail here so that this book will retain your interest as you develop your skills. ¬†By the time you are done with it you will have received your $20 worth of value and you can pass it on to a new¬†aspiring¬†surfer to spread some positive karma.

The only two things I can be critical about this book are: 1) the pictures are B&W and not particularly beautiful [get your surf porn elsewhere] 2) no SUP surfing content [it’s like we don’t exist!].

Wave Progression

3 10 2010

Surfs up...

I spent just about every free moment this summer kiteboarding. ¬†I’m addicted for sure. ¬†For the most part I’ve been kiteboarding on wind swell on lakes and oceans. ¬†That’s fun, but it’s not the same as surfing. ¬†Surfing is when you use the power of the wave you are riding to move you forward vs. using the power of the kite.

I’m stoked to kite in the waves, but it’s a bit¬†intimidating¬†because the consequences of¬†crashing¬†are much more severe when you are¬†attached¬†to a kite. ¬†You can of course ditch your kite and swim to shore, but that gets expensive fast.

Tofino and area...

I’ve had one day of SUP surfing lessons which taught me a lot, but it also made clear the fact I need to learn a lot more before I can play in the waves with ease. Calling around Vancouver Island it seems SUP surfing lessons are not popular so I’m headed to Tofino [Long Beach] on Monday and Tuesday of this week to get some straight up longboard surfing lessons.

Ultimately surfing on a longboard, a SUP or a shortboard w/ kite is all about making friends with the waves and finding your balance on the board.  So I figure any time I spend riding waves will translate across all three flavours of wave sports.

Long Beach...

I’ll be bringing my SUP and my kiteboarding gear just in case there is any extra time to mess around and conditions seem right. ¬†I expect that I’ll be pretty tired after 3hrs of surfing lessons so I probably won’t get to use them, but who knows?