Category: Outdoor Recreation

Paddling Against Cancer: Charlie Howden’s Costa Rican Epic

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Charlie Howden made plans for a SUP expedition along Costa Rica’s entire Pacific coastline to raise money against cancer. Then, he was diagnosed with cancer himself. He’s now four days into his mission, with no signs of slowing down. Photo courtesy of Charlie Howden

 

Paddling Against Cancer: Charlie Howden’s Costa Rican Epic

Superhuman feats of endurance and mental toughness for charity are increasingly popular these days. Most people take on such feats in honor of friends or family who’ve been effected by an illness or tragedy, or simply to help a cause that’s dear to them.

Charlie Howden isn’t most people: His epic 400-mile SUP expedition along Costa Rica’s entire Pacific coastline—now underway and set to raise $50,000 for the William Guy Forbeck Research Fund (WGFRF)—may seem similar to other expeditions, but Howden’s story has a major twist.

Howden himself has cancer – the same disease for which WGFRF does its research.

When Howden first developed the idea for his Costa Rican quest in March 2012, he was perfectly healthy and fit, with no signs of the stage IV pancreatic cancer he was to be diagnosed with in August of 2013. He simply loved the sport of SUP, and adored Costa Rica. An epic paddle there just seemed natural for the accomplished sailor and paddler.

“I was coming to the end of a yacht job in March 2012 in Florida, and while on watch, I started looking at one of my favorite places, Costa Rica,” recalls Howden. “Within 20 minutes I had put a route into the navigation system along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, from its northern border to its southern, and decided I was one day going to attempt this and raise money for charity.”

Even then, the idea to raise money for cancer research specifically was far from set in stone. Eight months later, a friend mentioned the WGFRF foundation. Howden had lost some close friends to cancer. He decided the WGFRF was a perfect match for his mission.

The expedition was set to begin in March 2014. Then, it happened—Howden was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Suddenly, what was to be a purely philanthropic gesture became a personal calling. Charlie never questioned his commitment. He would beat the cancer, finish the paddle and raise money for his disease.

After a year of chemotherapy and a course of radiation therapy, Charlie was briefly in remission. But in December the doctors again found tumors, and more chemo was in order. He spent weeks alternating between treatment for his disease and training for his Costa Rican paddling trip.

“Throughout all of this, paddling stayed with me, kept me dreaming, pushing me to get back to fitness and keeping my mind positive,” Howden wrote during his brief remission. “It has kept me strong, and kept my dream alive to raise money for cancer research. It’s become more apparent to me to live my life. No point about wondering what effect this disease will have on me.”

On May 19, Charlie Howden—his body wracked from cancer and chemo but his spirit stronger and more determined than ever—put in at the northern tip of Costa Rica, planning to paddle 25 to 30 miles a day for approximately 12 days to the southern tip. The money raised—his goal is $50,000—will go towards helping other cancer patients live to see their own dreams fulfilled.

Scott Boulbol

Howden is four days into his Costa Rican expedition against cancer. Track his progress and donate to his cause through his GoFundMe campaign.

About WGFRF:

The mission of the William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation is to promote advances in the field of oncology, particularly pediatric oncology, by shortening the cancer research timetable. Established in 1985 by George and Jennifer Forbeck, from its inception the William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation has addressed its mission through a unique approach, by focusing on driving communications and collaborations between scientists and clinicians. Building these connections are vital facilitators of advancing oncology research.

More inspiration to paddle against cancer.

 

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2015 ISA Worlds | Appleby and Baxter Take Gold In Final Day’s Technical Races

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Candice Appleby takes gold in the women’s technical race on the final day of the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship. Photo: Panas

2015 ISA Worlds | Appleby and Baxter Take Gold In Final Day’s Technical Races

The final day of competition at the 2015 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship was marked by another gold medal for Candice Appleby and the US SUP Team, solidifying the United State’s dominance with gold medals in every SUP discipline of the week-long event.

On the Men’s side, Connor Baxter brought home a first-place finish in the technical race, marking Team Hawaii’s third gold medal and synching Hawaii’s runner-up finish in the overall event.

Check back with SUPthemag.com for a full gallery and recap of the 2015 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship.

Connor Baxter sprints toward the finish line and victory for Team Hawaii in the SUP technical race at the 2015 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship. Photo: Greg Panas

Connor Baxter sprints toward the finish line and victory for Team Hawaii in the SUP technical race at the 2015 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship. Photo: Greg Panas

Video Highlights from Day 6 Technical Race Trials

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Germany’s SUP World Cup Cancelled For 2015

SUP World Cup

Once a cause for celebration, today racers mourn the loss of Germany’s SUP World Cup. Photo: Charity Staffel Rennen/SUP World Cup

Germany’s SUP World Cup Cancelled

One of the oldest, largest and best established event in Europe, the SUP World Cup in Fehmarn, Germany, was reported cancelled this morning. The report comes in the wake of last week announcement that this year’s Battle of the Paddle—probably the biggest event in SUP racing—had lost its backing from Rainbow Sandals and will also likely be cancelled. Within a week’s time, the SUP community lost two of the biggest and most favored international SUP races.

The SUP World Cup, which first ran in 2009 as Europe’s first international SUP race, was schedule for the first week of August before its former sponsor, Camp David, announced the cancellation. Beyond the effects the SUP World Cup cancellation has on individual racers, its absence is also detrimental to the Standup World Series. The World Series already suffered the cancellation of its opening event in Dubai and the rescheduling of its second event in Brazil earlier this year, and losing the SUP World Cup marks the third major shift in the World Series tour.

Check back with SUPthemag.com for more updates and event coverage from the coming season.

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Baxter and Moller Repeat Wins at 2015 OluKai Ho’olaule’a

Connor Baxter is feeling it after his fourth win in as many years at the OluKai Ho'olaule'a. Photo: Aaron Schmidt

Connor Baxter is feeling it after his fourth win in as many years at the OluKai Ho’olaule’a. Photo: Aaron Schmidt

Baxter and Moller Repeat Wins at 2015 OluKai Ho’olaule’a

Connor Baxter and Andrea Moller once again showed their mastery of Maui’s Maliko run today, taking wins at the 2015 OluKai Ho’olaule’a in wonderful 15-20 knot-plus winds that make this stretch one of the true downwind paddling meccas in the world.

It was Baxter’s fourth win in a row and Moller’s seventh. In one of the most amazing streaks in the history of our sport, she’s never lost this race. Baxter’s unofficial time of 44:25 is officially a new course record.

More than 500 racers showed up to test their mettle in the fantastic conditions on the north shore of Maui.

Baxter won by over two minutes, with Travis Grant, another one of the world’s best downwind paddlers, coming in at 46:27. He was followed by Dave Kalama (3rd; 47:15), Travis Baptise—who was on a 14-footer vs. the unlimitesds— (4th; 47:20) Danny Ching (5th; 47:25), Georges Cronsteadt (6th; 47:34) and Livio Menelau (7th; 47:37).

“Stoked to get second today,” Grant said. “Connor was in a whole different league today. That was one of the most epic, fastest runs we’ve ever had. We did eight miles in forty-some minutes, which is unheard of.”

The undisputed female champion of the Maliko Run: Andrea Moller celebrates her seventh Ho'o SUP title. She also races OC-1. Photo: Schmidt

The undisputed female champion of the Maliko Run: Andrea Moller celebrates her seventh Ho’o SUP title. She also races OC-1. Photo: Schmidt

Moller also left no doubt in the women’s event with a winning time of 53:20, ahead of second-place finisher Sonni Honscheid (55:38). She was followed by talented waterwomen Kathy Shipman (3rd; 55:57), Devin Blish (4th; 56:27), Terrene Black (5th; 57:24) and Fiona Wylde (6th; 1:00:14).

Check back for more photos and reports from this year’s OluKai Ho’olaule’a.

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Carolina Cup Gallery

Carolina Cup Gallery

The 2015 Carolina Cup lived up to the hype. More than 700 racers from 40 different states and 20 different countries came to Wrightsville Beach to test their skills at the East Coast’s—and one of the world’s—largest races ever.

The vibe here is unbelievable. There’s something special about this time in the sport. Things are still growing fast but the stars remain approachable, humble. It still feels very much like a small community. Yet the competition has only grown more fierce.

“The course wasn’t as hard but the competition was harder,” second-place finisher Danny Ching told us.

Check out the photos above to see all the action.

Results and full recap.

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The Weekly Insta

The Weekly Insta

Another week, another The Weekly Insta and collection of the best Instagram photos from the standup world. There’s a story in every nook of social media, and none tell it better than Instagram as athletes, coaches, events and shops use it to contribute their proverbial thousand-words. So here, we curate the best of the best so you don’t have to.

Hashtag #theweeklyinsta for your photos to be considered for the feed.

Check out more paddling imagery here.

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The Weekly Insta

The Weekly Insta

Another week, another The Weekly Insta and collection of the best Instagram photos from the standup world. There’s a story in every nook of social media, and none tell it better than Instagram as athletes, coaches, events and shops use it to contribute their proverbial thousand-words. So here, we curate the best of the best so you don’t have to.

Hashtag #theweeklyinsta for your photos to be considered for the feed.

Check out more paddling imagery here.

The post The Weekly Insta appeared first on SUP Magazine.

The Weekly Insta

The Weekly Insta

Another week, another The Weekly Insta and collection of the best Instagram photos from the standup world. There’s a story in every nook of social media, and none tell it better than Instagram as athletes, coaches, events and shops use it to contribute their proverbial thousand-words. So here, we curate the best of the best so you don’t have to.

Hashtag #theweeklyinsta for your photos to be considered for the feed.

Check out more paddling imagery here.

The post The Weekly Insta appeared first on SUP Magazine.

Shop Talk: The Magic of Asymmetry

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Photo: Aaron Schmidt

Shop Talk: The Magic of Asymmetry

Dave Boehne knows a thing or two about progressive SUP shaping. He was raised in the shaping bay of his father, Steve Boehne, one of the first shapers to build and sell SUPs in their own market. Today, the father-son duo work together in side-by-side bays and produce some of the most progressive designs in the game.

Lately, Dave’s been stoked on asymmetric tails. So stoked, in fact, he went and shaped the tail of his newest high-performance model, the RNB, or Round Nose Blurr, with a line more resemblant of a stroke in a Picasso painting than a traditional surfboard tail. And believe it or not, the shape is winning. Dave took second in this year’s Santa Cruz Paddlefest on the RNB, and aims to surf it through the competitive season. He says, asymmetric tails just make more sense on SUP.

SUP: What’s the purpose of an asymmetric tail?

DB: The asymmetric tail offers a healside advantage. When you’re riding a standup paddleboard, you’re generally dealing with a wider tail, which makes turning on your heal more difficult. By keeping the width the same, and making the tail asymmetric, the heal side becomes shorter and looser than the toe side. I’m digging it. It really is like having two different boards in one.

Is there such thing as an asymmetric board for a toeside advantage?

I’ve had a couple orders from people who want the asym flipped around, but it really is best suited for backside surfing. It’s a lot easier to “load up” (put weight into the turn) facing forward than it is backward. So the asymmetric tail makes a lot of sense on a SUP because it’s harder to load up your healside on these thicker, wider shapes.

The common perception is that asyms only work on pointbreaks or reefs where you’re always surfing in one direction. Is that correct? 

No, not at all. That’s the biggest misconception about an asymmetric tail. Some asymmetric boards are built like that, but the ones we’re making are meant for all-around surfing. They really feel quite normal, and that’s the goal. We want it to feel just like your regular tail, just a little looser on one side.

Tell us about the other characteristics of the RNB.

The RNB is based off the original Blurr board, which is more or less our version of a shortboard SUP. We just rounded the nose off, and since it really is like two different boards stuck together, it’s a single concave on one side, and a double concave on the other. Other than that, it’s kinda like those TOMO SUPs in a way. The rails are a bit more parallel, which shortens the outline and makes it more stable than the standard Blurr. But it’s still a full-on performance SUP.

What fin setup do you find works best with the asymmetric boards?

I use Future fins, and Future has a big range of quad fins and quad rears (the back two fins in the quad setup), so you can play with them all you want. I really like the RNB as a quad, since it’s got a wider tail. Personally, I like to ride really big rears on the RNB even though it’s super short. My board’s only 7’1”, but with the bigger fins, it’s still really drivey.

How did you come to this design?

Since we’re a custom manufacturer, we’re always working on new stuff. I don’t have any deadlines to meet or specific shapes to stick to. If I want to change something tomorrow, I change it tomorrow. I’m not trying to sell the “2015 model.” Doing custom work gives me creative freedom, which kind of puts me ahead of the curve in a way. A lot of brands are coming out with stuff we were selling years ago.

asymmetrical sup

Photo: Aaron Schmidt

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The Weekly Insta

The Weekly Insta

Welcome back to The Weekly Insta, SUP’s collection of the best Instagram photos from the standup world Friday through Thursday. There’s a story in every nook of social media, and none tell it better than Instagram as athletes, coaches, events and shops use it to contribute their proverbial thousand-words. So here, we curate the best of the best so you don’t have to.

Hashtag #theweeklyinsta with your latest and greatest posts to be considered for next week’s feed.

Check out past weeks’ Weekly Instas here.

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Video: Barbados SUP Surf With Sarah Cole

Video: Barbados SUP Surf With Sarah Cole

Fortunately for us SUP folk, our sport, hobby, lifestyle—whatever it is to you—inherently pairs perfectly with those places we call paradise. Barbados is a quintessential example of such places, with offerings that span the gamut for standup paddlers. It’s waves range from friendly and frolicsome (as portrayed in this clip) to big, barreling and brutal. It’s water is transparent and turquoise. It’s an equally idyllic playground for beginners and pros, and it’s only a stones throw away from the next tropical dreamland down the line in the Lesser Antilles. So, watch Sarah Cole and the crew at Paddle Barbados revel in the playful waves of this Caribbean paradise, then open a new tab and book your flight on over.

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Mo Freitas and Candice Appleby are King and Queen of the Beach

Mo Freitas and Candice Appleby are King and Queen of  the Beach

Photos and words by Mike Fields

A lot went down this weekend at the 2015 Santa Cruz Paddlefest. If it wasn’t the Elite SUP Surfing contest at Steamer Lane, it was the Covewater Surf City SUP Race at the Santa Cruz Warf. If it wasn’t the Cowell’s Classic fun-for-all surf event at Cowell Beach, it was back to the Lane for some kayak surfing and delicious java from the event’s sponsor, Kicking Horse Coffee. If none of the above was happening, it was time to trade that latte for a beer (or two) to celebrate the Paddlefest at one of the event’s cracking after parties.

Today’s SUP Shootout—the final rounds of the Elite Surf competition—saw athletes battle it out in glassy head-high Steamer Lane peelers, with a stacked final heat for the women’s competition featuring Candice Appleby, World Champ Izzi Gomez, Fiona Wylde and Halie Harrison. The ladies traded waves and put on a clinic of progressive SUP surfing, but after a nail-biter finish, Candice Appleby prevailed above last year’s World Champ, Izzi Gomez.

The men’s final saw Tucker Ingalls, Giorgio Gomez, Brennan Rose and Dave “The Brown Blurr” Boehne face off in some of the best waves of the day. After a commanding display of powerful, lip clobbering SUP surfing, Brennan Rose claimed victory in the SUP surf Elite.

When it was all said and done, among cheers and cheersing, more champions than one were crowned. The prize money, and the most prestigious titles of all—The SUP Mag King and Queen of the Beach Award—went to Mo Freitas and Candice Appleby, the top overall performers in both the race and the surf contest. There was no award for best beer drinking (sorry Dave Boehne).

SUP the mag was proud to sponsor this fantastic event and we look forward to coming back next year, maybe even to compete—so watch out! Congratulations to all the winners of the 2015 Santa Cruz Paddlefest. See you in a year!

Check back for an exclusive full gallery from the event.

Learn more about your 2015 King and Queen of the Beach, Mo Freitas and Candice Appleby.

(Ed’s note: In effort to bring you the best and most exclusive coverage, SUP the mag event correspondent and photog, Mike Fields, waded out to a rock outcropping at the Lane for a unique angle to shoot the finals. Upon climbing down from the rock, Mike slipped and fell into the water (in front of the entire crowd, thank you) which we hope made you laugh, despite the fact that he dipped his camera lens into sea. So go ahead and laugh as you browse the photos, and please pardon the slight blur on some photos in this collection. More, non-blurry photos to come.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kai Bates: Would You Rather

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Kai Bates: Would You Rather

“Would You Rather.” It’s a simple question that—when paired with a juicy ultimatum—reveals a lot about a person. Would you rather spend a vacation in paradise standup paddling or dating a supermodel? Would you rather save someone’s life or win a million dollars?  See? You had to think about those for a minute…

Kai Bates is one of the many promising Aussies on the Standup World Tour and race series. He also happens to be among the most genuine and charismatic young chaps in the SUP community. SUP cornered him at the Sunset Beach Pro and tossed him a few pitting inquiries to kick off our new lifestyle series, “Would You Rather.” (Warning: Pleading the fifth is not an option)

SUP: Would you rather win a World Tour contest or score a SUP the mag cover?

KB: I think the prize money of a contest would be great, but the amount of coverage you get out of a cover is sick. That’s a tough one. I’d have to say a contest. If you get that, you might get a cover as well.

SUP: Would you rather work in the military or work a desk job?

KB: I don’t really like guns, they’re pretty scary. But I’d probably go with the military, it sounds pretty bad ass.

SUP: Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible?

KB: Fly, for sure. That’s an easy one.

SUP: Would you rather be an ugly genius or a hot moron?

KB: Um…hot moron? No. Looks don’t go as far.

SUP: Would you rather never have internet access again or never take an airplane again?

KB: I’d rather not have internet. I don’t know what I’d do without a plane. I need to get around!

SUP: Would you rather take a lip to the head by the biggest Pipeline wave ever, or take a beating from a gang of Hawaiians?

KB: Ahhh! Both would be terrible! But I have to say Pipeline. Hawaiians are gnarly.

SUP:Would you rather date a supermodel for a month or take a free trip to the Mentawais for a month?

KB: Really? (long pause) Oh, man…The Ment’s are mental. I’d have to pass on the supermodel, I guess.

SUP: Would you rather win a world title or win SUP Paddler of the Year?

KB: Kai Bates: A world title’s always been my goal, so that has to be it. But Paddler of the Year is overall, so that’s massive too. Really, I’d be happy with either.

 

For more on Kai Bates, check out our coverage of the Standup World Tour.

Check back to SUPthemag.com for our next round of Would You Rathers, and submit your ideas for juicy Would You Rather questions to SUP’s online editor at  mrmisselwitz@gmail.com.

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SUP Fundamentals: Standing Up

SUP Fundamentals: Standing Up

It’s the basis for everything you do on your standup. Getting to your feet is something experienced paddlers take for granted but can be tricky for first-timers. Here, veteran racer, expedition paddler and all-around waterwoman Morgan Hoesterey gives you the info you need to stand up and start paddling with ease.

Look for more SUP Fundamentals throughout the spring, brought to you by the Payette River Games.

More Skills here.

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Paddle Healthy: Sean Poynter

After a month long intensive training program at the New Zealand Starboard SUP Academy, Sean Poynter is in the best shape of his life. Photo: Mike Fields

After a month-long training program at the New Zealand Starboard SUP Academy, Sean Poynter is in the best shape of his life. Photo: Mike Fields

Paddle Healthy: Sean Poynter

After a month of intensive training and personalized fitness assessment at the New Zealand Starboard SUP Academy in January, World Tour standout Sean Poynter says he’s in the best shape of his life. He left the Academy with a new approach to health beyond just a physical change. Poynter also changed his mental habits, eating habits and lifestyle to reach a balance that optimizes his athletic prowess. Here, he breaks down just what happened to him at the Academy, and how it changed his take on health, fitness and mind control.

SUP: Tell us about your New Zealand training camp.

SP: I was sent to New Zealand with Connor Baxter, Zane Schweitzer and a handful of other Starboard athletes for this training program, and at first I didn’t know what to expect. It was a school of learning about our bodies and training, testing the different aspects of our outer nervous system to find a balance that works best for each of us individually. We learned a ton about ourselves and our bodies, what makes us tick and how we need to tick. I took so much from it; it completely changed my life.

 What new fitness strategies are you implementing as a result of the Academy?

I’m doing a program to extend what I learned there, which is largely composed of different variations of paddling and running. The academy introduced me to a lot of new training elements that I’d never done before, and it taught me that simple exercises are best for what I’m trying to accomplish. It’s a program that I now have to take on through the year so I’ll be training in a way that promotes the best of me. To not overwork or underwork myself.

 How are you changing your diet?

The whole idea is simplification. You want to simplify your life as much as you can, and with that comes food. You are what you eat and there’s no need to over complicate what you put in your body. That’s why I’m making the switch to all organic. I’m eating good proteins and good carbs, not manufactured junk. I make sure it’s fresh because that has a big effect on how your system processes food. I’m eating way cleaner, way more simply, and drinking a ton of water. I’ll also be doing a three-month juice cleanse soon.

 What other techniques are you implementing into your training?

I’ve been doing Fartlek training, which is basically training tailored to every individual’s level of output. By knowing what my body can put out, I can adjust my workout to train to maintain the desired balance. Along with paddling and running I do a lot of resistance stuff, like dragging a water bottle behind my board to add resistance while I paddle. I do a lot of running in intervals; going different percentages of my capacity. Also running stairs, running hills, fast walking, running in waste deep water, those kinds of things. Again, simple; running shoes and a paddleboard have me feeling stronger than I’ve ever felt.

How do you maintain your mental health, motivation and competitive focus?

Having a goal that I really care about is the number one thing that keeps me focused. For instance, I want to win a world title. I’m motivated and focused on achieving that. Also, I realized that I perform best when I’m in a calm state, so I’m now doing things like meditation, stretching, listening to a certain type of music that calms me. But it all comes back to having that one goal. Set a goal and from there it trickles down.

For more from SUP the mag on Sean Poynter, click here.

To learn more about Fartlek training and the methods employed by the Starboard SUP Academy, click here.

 

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Inflatables and Groms–From Chile with Love

A month of SUP in Patagonia from Mark Kalch on Vimeo.

Yeah, inflatables and GoPros are still pretty awesome. Especially when you can use one for exploring everything–rivers, lakes, oceans–and the other for capturing it all. ‘Capturing it all’ becomes especially relevant if the groms are along. Here’s how Mark Kalch sees Chile with his brood, a packable board and a small camera.

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2015 Standup World Tour Kicks Off With Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge

2015 Standup World Tour Kicks Off With Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge

Competitors, kids, families and fans are all gathered here at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s fabled North Shore this morning, with competition officially commencing for the opening events of the 2015 Standup World Tour. While contest coordinators wait for conditions to improve to begin the Turtle Bay Women’s Pro — the opening event of the women’s 2015 SUWT season — conditions on the inside section at Turtle Bay West have cleaned up enough to kick off the full day of action with the Turtle Bay Pro Na Kama Kai Youth Challenge, the season’s premier youth event showcasing the next generation of the world’s top SUP surfers.

The official call for the Turtle Bay Women’s Pro will be made following the Na Kama Kai competition, followed by the Patron’s Team Shootout — a new contest that involves teams competing head-to-head on giant inflatable SUPs.

Conditions are currently tricky with shifty overhead peaks and a fading mid-period WNW swell, rendering ability to assess the ocean and strategically read waves a critical component of the competition.

First-call for the Men’s event, the Sunset Beach Pro, will take place tomorrow morning with a possible start at 8:00 a.m.

Tune in to the Waterman League website to watch the LIVE webcast, and keep tabs on the action with the SUWT’s live blog. Also, visit the SUWT Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @standupworldtour.

And, keep updated with daily recaps, behind-the-scenes event coverage and athlete interviews at SUPthemag.com.

 

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Finding The Glide

Searching for Wind In Remote Baja

Words: Will Taylor Photos: Chris Bishow

The butterflies flutter inside of his stomach and his brain works faster than it should. It’s written on his face, red with sunburn and bellowed in deep breaths across his chapped lips. He wants to do this but doesn’t want to relive yesterday’s experience.

Who can blame him? Paddling out through girthy, overhead waves in the wind on a 16-foot downwind board over shallow, barnacle-strewn basalt boulders is an intimidating proposition. Especially if you paddled out in the same place yesterday, took three waves on the head, broke the steering system of your board and had to be picked up by a fishing boat on your first downwind paddle in a remote region of the Baja Peninsula.

7This fall Brandon Heiser won SUP magazine’s “Find the Glide” contest where downwind paddlers from all over the world posted their favorite downwind runs to the guidebook at SUPthemag.com (It’s now one of the world’s most complete downwind reference guides and still building. We’re just a little proud of ourselves). Brandon’s Mercer Island, Wash. glide on the Puget Sound was chosen as the winner by SIC Maui, the program’s sponsor, because of its solid information and unique location.

But perhaps, at this moment, Brandon is regretting the fact that he’d found the glide and been sent by us to this dusty point of land to explore a virgin run. This experience is what he got for his effort. He and Joshua Thompson—his buddy chosen to come along to join the “fun.” Other than downwind bump, they rarely see waves or shore pound in their home waters.

Waves introduce a learning curve all their own and we’d faced that the day before. Timing is everything in a paddle out through the surf and as anyone who has spent time in the surf can tell you, it’s less than an exact science, something that no one every totally masters, regardless of experience. The ocean’s the boss.

But here we are, the only put-in within a 45-minute drive along Baja dirt roads—rutted, washed-out, pot-holed tracks capable of demolishing the suspension of any vehicle. If we want to paddle downwind, this is the place to do it. And now is the time.

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Mexican adventures often start before you even arrive in country. In this case, we stood on the tarmac of Brown Field, a dilapidated San Diego airport less than two miles from the border. Jose says hello in slightly broken English. He smiles using his two fake front teeth and nods his head heartily, like working his neck will help us communicate more clearly. Whatever he keeps in his fanny pack rustles at the motion. He waves for us to get in the single prop Cessna, a four-seater painted in a scale of browns, complete with rich, soil-colored carpet straight out of that greatest of interior design decades, the 1970s.

Once in the plane, he says nothing. No warnings, no precautions, not even, “Put your seatbelt on.” He moves the myriad of nobs in the machine quickly. That must mean he knows what he’s doing. Right? We rattle down the runway and magically lift into the air and angle south. In less than a minute we’re over the Great Fence of America and into Mexican airspace.

We’re headed 50 miles southeast of El Rosario, Mexico to Punta San Carlos, where a looming mesa towers above the landscape and hems in the scattered houses of a small fishing village at the water’s edge. There are the waves below the cliffs, over the kelp, above the rock-shelf reef. They disappear with the tide, but always reappear, sometimes out front, sometimes down the point, sometimes off the reefs that protect an island covered in hundreds of pelicans. Trails head back into the arroyos, sinuous and dusty and in the morning and evening, they’re inviting. But in the heat of the bare-desert day with the sun beating down, they’re a water-less furnace.

9

And then there is the wind. You could almost—almost—tell the time by its consistency. It blows the same way 80 percent of the year they say, exhaling down the coast from the west and dancing in a line followed by whitecaps.

Which is exactly what we find as we fly down the coast, turn up into the 25-knot breeze and land on the gravel runway, rocks pinging off the bottom of the plane.

On Day Two, though, the wind is blowing the wrong way. Which is odd, the locals say. With the steady west winds that make the place so famous for wind- and kitesurfing, we would know exactly what we needed to do. But it isn’t and so we don’t. We’re itching to explore the coast and the heaving bump run that it frames. The thought of linking epic glides has us all feeling antsy.

We’re not alone in our wait. Others—20 or so men (and a couple hardened women) that range from real estate developers to engineers to van-inhabiting vagabonds—are here for the same wind. They have their windsurf setups or their kites and when the wind comes up, they’re ready to harness it, just like us.

 

3
Luckily, we’re waiting in the hospitality of San Carlos with Solosports Adventure Holidays. Kevin Trejo, the owner, has been bringing people here for 26 years, and his business is fully set up to do the only three things that there are to do here: recreate, eat and drink.

“It’s like summer camp for adults,” I hear someone say as I head for another beer.

A nearly perfect description. “Summer camp for endorphin junkies,” may be more accurate. Trejo, a junky himself, knows how to cater to these types: all the gear you need to take advantage of the landscape—paddles, sails, kites, SUPs, surfboards, kiteboards and mountain bikes—is stored and maintained for the guests.

6

As the conditions change there are decisions to be made—should we go mountain biking with the French-Canadian Quebecois or go out for a SUP surf over the reef? But there’s also a wave showing during the bigger sets on an outer reef that looks good for a shortboard. Is it too early for a beer? Or should we just read a book until we fall asleep in our tents overlooking the waves? Big decisions. For Brandon and Josh, the decision is easy. They spend most of their days paddle surfing on the reef out front or around the corner of the bay at a fast, running right called the Chili Bowl. They’re really taking to this lifestyle and starting to dial in their boards.

As the sun slips behind the curtain of the Pacific the wind jockeys congregate at the open-air bar, to watch the last waves of the evening be ridden and toast to another unreal day of play, far, far away from whatever lives we have back home.

We sip an unlimited supply of Baja Fogs, a diabolically delicious beverage consisting of a Corona or Pacifico with its empty neck space filled with tequila and topped off with lime. Deciding how many Baja Fogs to drink per evening balanced against how you would feel in the morning is one of the biggest challenges of the day. The wind’s variability makes that an easy decision. Another round of Fogs it is.

SUPP-140500-F_MEX-49

To get good at anything you have to push your body and mind, to try things you’ve never tried before. This is especially important in the ocean, where the list of variables that affect you are greater than just about any other sport.

About a month into my standup surfing career, I decided it would be a good idea to paddle out to a wave breaking off a river mouth—a left—that was well overhead and featured a massive current streaming out of the drainage due to fall rains. Side-offshore winds were blowing and I had a board I’d never ridden before. In hindsight it seems like a bad idea— it was—but at the time I wanted to test my new standup skills.

So out I paddled. I was wobbly on the narrow board, getting bumped by the side chop from the wind and the rebound from the waves bouncing off the nearby jetty. I fell into the brown runoff a handful of times before I even got to the lineup. Once there I sat on my board, already tired. Then a set came. I took off paddling on my chest with my blade underneath me and clawed over the first two waves but wasn’t so lucky on the next two, feeling my leash stretch close to its breaking point as I got tossed around in the murky water. When my beating ceased I was so frazzled that the current pulled me around the outside of the river jetty and into the open ocean where the waves were double overhead. I drifted far down the beach, dodging sets and trying to get one to the beach. I finally caught a monster and straight-lined down the choppy face in to the sand.

I was humbled and had caught one wave for my efforts. But I’d learned that I could survive that kind of ocean on a standup and I saw the possibilities if I kept at it. Stoked, that session pushed me to prepare for the next time I encountered similar conditions.

5

I see that same determined look in Brandon’s eyes as he stares out at the ocean and prepares to face the daunting paddle out for the second time. When we tell him when to start paddling in a lull between sets, he turns off his mind, hits the water fast, paddles hard and makes it to the outside with dry hair. No broken rudders today.

We cruise in a light downwind breeze, the whitecaps pushing us along in infrequent glides. Even though it isn’t smoking like the day before, the sea cliffs, the open ocean swell, the sea lions coming to inspect us and the fact that we are the only ones to have downwind paddled here make for a unique and peaceful run.

But the ocean isn’t quite done with us yet. As we near the end of the paddle we must cross numerous reefs and draw closer to the cliffs to come into camp. A rogue set stands up on the outside and catches us unaware. Someone yells and we’re all scrambling to beat the dark wall of green water that closes in on us. We all barely scratch over it and Brandon gets dumped out the back. He comes up unfazed with a big, white grin on his face. He’s learning to go with the flow of the ocean and loving it.

8

We swing in through a slot between two reefs off the north side of the camp and shoot for a keyhole on the inside. On the way, we pass the Mummy, a large rock covered in the delectable combination of mussels and bird shit. We slip past the Mummy’s sharp grasp and onto the beach. Brandon names the bump run in its honor: the Mummy’s Knuckle.

Time disappears and what concurrently feels like a brief stay and a long rest is soon past. We all agree: Punta San Carlos is a downwind dream. When there’s wind. In four days we only complete two runs. We’re assured this is a rare phenomenon but honestly, we don’t care too much. We’ve eaten fresh Mexican food prepared by the local staff and worked it all off in the surf. When the waves and wind didn’t cooperate we biked and when it was too hot we napped. Brandon and Josh got fully hooked on SUP surfing. And when the wind was up, we pioneered a new run in a new place. Everybody talks about coming back to explore the myriad of runs possible along this empty stretch of coast.

As the planes show up to shuttle us back to the States so does the breeze. The Mummy’s Knuckle looks perfect with steady 25-knot winds and miles of bumps. But Jose is here with his fanny pack and fake teeth and ‘70s-era plane. We rattle down the runway and take off into the wind.

SUPP-140500-F_MEX-05

 

The post Finding The Glide appeared first on SUP Magazine.

A Skeptic Looks at SUP Yoga

SUP yoga instructor and founder of In Love Yoga and Music, Talee Roony, serenades a yoga class taught by fellow instructor, Amelia Travis during a SUP yoga workshop at Mother's Beach in Marina del Rey. Photo by Rachael Thompson Photography

SUP yoga instructor and founder of In Love Yoga and Music, Talee Laurén, serenades a yoga class taught by fellow instructor, Amelia Travis during a SUP yoga workshop at Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey. Photo by Rachael Thompson Photography

A Skeptic Looks at SUP Yoga

When SUP yoga really caught on a few years ago, I brushed it off as a fleeting fad—a gimmick that inundated my Instagram feed and nothing else. These yogis had it backwards, I thought. Standups are meant for one thing: standing. Not sitting, not stretching; definitely not downward facing dogs or child’s poses. I clung to a narrow mentality: Standup paddlers stretch to paddle, not the other way around.

But, as time went by, the fad never faded. Just the opposite; it got more popular. Many of my yogi friends made the switch from sand to SUP. I even heard some guys in the lineup at Black’s Beach in San Diego talking about a SUP yoga class they took in Mission Bay. Despite my disregard, it was clear: SUP yoga is here to stay.

To understand why, I tracked down Talee Laurén, certified SUP yoga instructor and founding guru of In Love Yoga and Music in San Clemente. Talee takes a unique approach to SUP yoga. She’s also a talented musician, and uses her ukulele to serenade her classes during their flow for a uniquely calming and spiritual spin. I figured, if anyone could, Talee would be the one to make me a believer.

I asked her, “What’s all this SUP Yoga fuss about?” She responded with a question of her own: “Well, have you tried it?”

Me? No, never. Why would I? I’m a paddler. I’m a surfer. I stretch to SUP. That’s it.

“SUP yoga is such a healthy experience in itself,” Talee said. “Getting out in nature, poising your body, going through flows and breathing exercises on the water—it totally opens your body and mind. But it’s also a really good balance exercise.”

“Yoga is one of the best things you can do for your paddling and surfing. If you can, why not do it on the same tool you use to surf and paddle?”

I decided to give it a try. Talee offered to give me a lesson on her personal board, which was designed specifically for yoga (so much for my theory that SUPs are made solely for standing). The board had very little rocker and was much wider than most standups, built for stability. I found it was much more secure than even the bulkiest of beginner boards.

I paddled out from Baby Beach into Dana Point Harbor with Talee to begin my lesson. She brought along her ukulele and spirits were high as a cool afternoon breeze nudged us gently out into the sprawling marina. Even before the flow began, my skepticism of SUP yoga began to unravel. The setting alone—the calmly rocking water, the warm hue of Southern California’s golden hour, the music, the company of an enlightened enthusiast—was enough incentive for an old dog to learn new tricks.

talee rooney headstand

Talee Rooney, a master of SUP Yoga, puts on a fine display of the more advanced techniques. (Eds note: Mike did not try this pose)

Then came the actual yoga. I’ve been through Vinyasa flows before in classroom settings, I’ve even endured my share of Hatha (better known as hot yoga), but my experience that day eclipsed all preconceptions, both physically and mentally. The added necessity for balance commanded complete focus, planting me firmly in the moment and delivering a meditative state like none I’d experienced through yoga before. The poses were amplified by the fluidity of the moving board, and paralleled the challenges of balance and stability that surfing demands. I finally understood: yoga and SUP are a match made in paddlers’ heaven.

By the time I made it back to the beach—lightened, enlightened, glowing with endorphins and soothingly sore—I was converted. My original theory still applies—standups are for standing. But standups are also for sitting and slowing down, stretching, meditating, breathing, even downward facing dog and child’s pose. The capabilities of our SUP is limited only by our minds. The potential for expanding your standup practices are boundless. And if you’re still a skeptic, like I once was, don’t take it from me. Get out there and try it for yourself.

For more info on Talee Laurén and In Love Yoga and Music, click here.

To get involved in SUP yoga in Orange County, check out Paddleboard Bliss Yoga.

For SUP yoga in San Diego, check out San Diego Paddle Yoga.

For SUP yoga teacher trainings, check out Stoked Yogi.

For more on SUP Yoga from SUP magazine, click here.

The post A Skeptic Looks at SUP Yoga appeared first on SUP Magazine.

A Skeptic Looks at SUP Yoga

SUP yoga instructor and founder of In Love Yoga and Music, Talee Roony, serenades a yoga class taught by fellow instructor, Amelia Travis during a SUP yoga workshop at Mother's Beach in Marina del Rey. Photo by Rachael Thompson Photography

SUP yoga instructor and founder of In Love Yoga and Music, Talee Laurén, serenades a yoga class taught by fellow instructor, Amelia Travis during a SUP yoga workshop at Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey. Photo by Rachael Thompson Photography

A Skeptic Looks at SUP Yoga

When SUP yoga really caught on a few years ago, I brushed it off as a fleeting fad—a gimmick that inundated my Instagram feed and nothing else. These yogis had it backwards, I thought. Standups are meant for one thing: standing. Not sitting, not stretching; definitely not downward facing dogs or child’s poses. I clung to a narrow mentality: Standup paddlers stretch to paddle, not the other way around.

But, as time went by, the fad never faded. Just the opposite; it got more popular. Many of my yogi friends made the switch from sand to SUP. I even heard some guys in the lineup at Black’s Beach in San Diego talking about a SUP yoga class they took in Mission Bay. Despite my disregard, it was clear: SUP yoga is here to stay.

To understand why, I tracked down Talee Laurén, certified SUP yoga instructor and founding guru of In Love Yoga and Music in San Clemente. Talee takes a unique approach to SUP yoga. She’s also a talented musician, and uses her ukulele to serenade her classes during their flow for a uniquely calming and spiritual spin. I figured, if anyone could, Talee would be the one to make me a believer.

I asked her, “What’s all this SUP Yoga fuss about?” She responded with a question of her own: “Well, have you tried it?”

Me? No, never. Why would I? I’m a paddler. I’m a surfer. I stretch to SUP. That’s it.

“SUP yoga is such a healthy experience in itself,” Talee said. “Getting out in nature, poising your body, going through flows and breathing exercises on the water—it totally opens your body and mind. But it’s also a really good balance exercise.”

“Yoga is one of the best things you can do for your paddling and surfing. If you can, why not do it on the same tool you use to surf and paddle?”

I decided to give it a try. Talee offered to give me a lesson on her personal board, which was designed specifically for yoga (so much for my theory that SUPs are made solely for standing). The board had very little rocker and was much wider than most standups, built for stability. I found it was much more secure than even the bulkiest of beginner boards.

I paddled out from Baby Beach into Dana Point Harbor with Talee to begin my lesson. She brought along her ukulele and spirits were high as a cool afternoon breeze nudged us gently out into the sprawling marina. Even before the flow began, my skepticism of SUP yoga began to unravel. The setting alone—the calmly rocking water, the warm hue of Southern California’s golden hour, the music, the company of an enlightened enthusiast—was enough incentive for an old dog to learn new tricks.

talee rooney headstand

Talee Rooney, a master of SUP Yoga, puts on a fine display of the more advanced techniques. (Eds note: Mike did not try this pose)

Then came the actual yoga. I’ve been through Vinyasa flows before in classroom settings, I’ve even endured my share of Hatha (better known as hot yoga), but my experience that day eclipsed all preconceptions, both physically and mentally. The added necessity for balance commanded complete focus, planting me firmly in the moment and delivering a meditative state like none I’d experienced through yoga before. The poses were amplified by the fluidity of the moving board, and paralleled the challenges of balance and stability that surfing demands. I finally understood: yoga and SUP are a match made in paddlers’ heaven.

By the time I made it back to the beach—lightened, enlightened, glowing with endorphins and soothingly sore—I was converted. My original theory still applies—standups are for standing. But standups are also for sitting and slowing down, stretching, meditating, breathing, even downward facing dog and child’s pose. The capabilities of our SUP is limited only by our minds. The potential for expanding your standup practices are boundless. And if you’re still a skeptic, like I once was, don’t take it from me. Get out there and try it for yourself.

For more info on Talee Laurén and In Love Yoga and Music, click here.

To get involved in SUP yoga in Orange County, check out Paddleboard Bliss Yoga.

For SUP yoga in San Diego, check out San Diego Paddle Yoga.

For SUP yoga teacher trainings, check out Stoked Yogi.

For more on SUP Yoga from SUP magazine, click here.

The post A Skeptic Looks at SUP Yoga appeared first on SUP Magazine.