INCREASE YOUR TIME ON THE WATER, GO SUP!
One year ago I decided to sell my slalom gear (Isonics and Severne Code Reds) as I live in Scheveningen close to the North Sea and only once in a while used my slalom gear in light winds. I decided to start supping to get more TOW (Time On the Water) on windless periods and bought myself a Starboard Hero, a 9′ ,33″ SUP suited for intermediate riders.
Most of the people advised me to go for a 10 or 11 ft board, just to have more fun in the beginning with the length and width giving more stability. As I started to read on the internet I found that stability, tracking and maneuverability are the most important issues when buying a SUP. Then, as I am into wavesurfing, I decided to make maneuverability the most important one and compromise on stability and tracking. The Starboard website works great in giving you the first options . The Converse, Hero and Widepoint were my main options. As I was just a beginner, the width of the Hero was the reason to buy this board. I already had a paddle, an aluminium one that I used to paddle on my Starboard Starts when surfing with the kids and I used that the first times. But…..THAT DOESN’T DO THE JOB! I found out that a good paddle is even more important than the board. Quite expensive (250 euro’s and up) but full carbon is so much better. Lighter, stiffer and giving you direct power when paddling without loosing energy in the bending of the blade and shaft. I got myself a Quickblade Kanaha Magic but there are off course some other brands having the same quality. Tip; they usually say that the length of the paddle is one shaka above your body length but as you’re having a deeper kneeflex and are bending more in the surf it can be shorter when used for wavesupping.
I remember the first paddle out wasn’t a success It was far more difficult to keep balance as I thought it would be! A longer board definitely will create instant success but would make it sluggish once you make the first steps and start to ride waves windsurfing style. Balance is an issue also. You can’t put a coin in the machine and make that happen, your body needs some time to adapt and connect to the feeling of the board. It took me 3-4 times and one flatwater long distance session to create that feeling. After that, progression was made every time out! Supping is a great workout, a pure core-stability training and a good way to help you read waves better, using the energy of the waves, developing your balance and basically get a lot more TOW. The energy and dynamics are different compared to windsurfing as you spent a lot of time looking and waiting for the right wave and obviously getting the biggest of the set. A lot of paddling also, especially in the Netherlands with the constantly changing breaks due to the sandbanks and tides. Also; without the windchill, Supping is even possible in subzero degrees using 5mm boots, 5mm open palm mittens, and a 1mm polypro under my 5/3 Matuse Tumo hooded! That means surfing all year!
After one year, including our windsurf/sup trip to Brandon Bay and about 40 paddle sessions, I’ve made a lot of progression. Supping is fun and a great low wind alternative to get max TOW!
There are many shops in the Netherlands and world wide selling SUP’s. Feel free to visit your local shop and get informed how you can get more TOW. Don’t know where to start? Feel free to get in touch with my sponsor The Essential Store to discuss some options and alternatives.