Weather is here, wish you were great.

June 16, 2009 | SUPs

6/16/09

I have a small confession to make; although I profess the many attributes of the SUP I had never taken one on the ocean . . . . until Sunday.  I’ve paddled quite a bit on the sound, even on windy days, and feel very comfortable, but going on the ocean definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.  The early morning wind was light NE around 8 mph which was just enough to keep the board tippy.  After 20’ I was exhausted and bonking (should have eaten breakfast) whereupon I finally lost my balance and took an unplanned dip.  Talking to a more experienced paddler later in the day he informed me the ocean forces you to expend much more energy than paddling on the sound.  Now I can vouch for that.

There wasn’t any wave action which was fine with me because I just wanted to get a little experience, but I did see a bit more swell when I went out on Monday morning at mp 15 in Nags Head.  I discovered on Monday that I have a tendency to look at the nose of the board when I feel my balance wavering.  Note to self:  keep your eyes up.  By looking at the board you’re not anticipating the swells but reacting to the board.

With my improved confidence I tried catching a wave or two.  There wasn’t a strong shore break but the waves were definitely going all the way to the shore which made me tentative in getting close with an eleven foot board.  If I’d had the energy and the time I probably could have gotten something but it wasn’t to be, maybe next time.

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Stand-up Paddleboarding on the OBX

May 1, 2009 | SUPs

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is something old that’s new again.  Originally invented in
Hawaii it’s come back in vogue for several reasons.  It restarted a few years ago with some watermen who wanted to get out on the water when there were no waves for surfing.  What they found was that you could get a real nice workout just by paddling around.  Because you have to balance on your feet while paddling your body incorporates the core muscle groups to keep you from falling off.  After paddling on flat water for half an hour or more you should feel your muscles working in your abs, upper legs, lower back, upper back, shoulders, and arms.  For a surfer who wants to keep in shape when the waves aren’t working this kind of workout is key to maintaining or building fitness.

 From there I’m sure that the surfers realized they could have some fun in non-epic conditions.  The length of the board (approximately 11-12 feet), with the addition of the paddle giving you more propulsion, allows a surfer to ride smaller waves and catch them further out.  In addition, you can use the paddle as a rudder to help you steer.  They can also use the paddle to get to outside breaks easier.

 It was soon after that when surfers tried to ride bigger waves.  They found they could use the paddle to pick up more speed on large faces.  Now they have their own competitions in surf contests.

 This “new” sport is also helpful to older surfers who can’t pop-up on to their feet quickly, which is essential in catching most waves.  Stand-up paddleboarding has allowed greater opportunities for people wanting to get on the water.

 As an aside, stand-up paddleboarding has positively affected windsurfing as well.  Windsurfers have a similar dilemma when the wind stops blowing.  What to do?  Go home or float on the water?  Since most windsurfers appreciate the “green” powered initiative stand-up paddleboarding is a way to use their current equipment to get on the water and enjoy a workout.

 Today’s windsurfers are currently making a small comeback with the longboard.  Windsurfing started with giant boards you could float on and then the emphasis went to fast boards you could sink on.  The new longboards allow you to cruise in non-planing conditions, not have to slog home when the wind dies, and allow you to paddle on the calm days.

 Although the windsurfing boards are a little narrow and don’t surf a wave very well they are very well suited for flat water paddling.  What they lose in stability width they kind of make up for in volume floatation.

 Flat water paddling is much like kayaking but it’s a much better workout and because your vantage point is higher you may see things in the water easier.  This version of the sport has allowed windsurfing manufacturers to produce hybrid boards which can be used for windsurfing and paddleboarding, thus allowing more opportunities for sailors to get on the water.

 This summer we’ll be holding Monday Night SUP Races.  Come out and watch or grab a board and give it a try.  The competitions will be for fun.  First timers are encouraged to compete.

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