Monday, June 14, 2010

The Stand-Up Paddleboard Experiment

Olaf from the Avon Sail House kindly lent me his 11'4" Quatro SUP (with full EVA deck and mast-track) to demo in the Pamlico Sound during my springtime stint in Cape Hatteras. Thanks Olaf!!

I've never tried stand-up before, but if you haven't heard about it yet you must be living in a bubble or something. I really had no expectations, or whether or not I would enjoy it or not.

I got to test it out in a few conditions: Dead calm, and about 12-14kts.

Dead calm: I did a morning paddle in and out of a few canals and around the 'Big Island', just out from our place. Beautiful, sunny, calm and warm morning. SUP is pretty straightforward really. Stand on the board and paddle. In some of the shallow spots around the island, I tried to position my weight over the nose a bit to clear the fin while paddling... kinda half-way to a hang ten from normal standing position. And I fell in a couple times... No worries, it was ankle deep. Anyway, I thought it was pretty damn relaxing. In that regard, for me, it is a totally different experience than what I normally get out of freestyle or wave sailing. SUP is akin to taking a summer's evening paddle in a canoe at dusk - just flat out relaxing and soothing for the soul. Two thumbs up!

12-14kts: I'd say I haven't been on anything bigger than 105L board for a long time, for actual sailing (as opposed to farting around with my kids on a big fat beginner board in 5kts). I threw on my 5.3 Goya Eclipse and took 'er for a spin. I was hoping to plane a bit, but I couldn't muster it up. Honestly, I don't know what I would have done, in the flat waters of Pamlico, if I did in fact get it going. All I can say is that i should've have gone over to the ocean!!! In hindsight, would have loved to try it in even tiny waves to see what happens.

I'd say the test ride was for a couple of reasons: One - to try out SUP and see what all the fuss is about, and, two - to see if I could use a SUP for kiddy rides. Certainly the experience was a neat one and I'd love to have a SUP. Eventhough I did not get any of my kids on in, my senses tell me that I am better off with a big beginner board, like the Goya Surf 192, for example.

Alas, my next investment is a big beginner board! I'm sure Jalen and Bradley have no problem forgoing a portion of their university savings to start sailing more! Good decision boys... I concur.

Saying that, I definitely do forsee a SUP in my future... its just going to have to wait.