Rob Casey is the owner of SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle, co-founder for the PSUPA and is the author of two paddling guides.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

140 Boating Seminars at the Seattle Boat Show, Jan 21-30 2011..

The upcoming Seattle Boat Show has 140 seminars on not only where to take your boat (or SUP) in the NW, but also everything from' night navigation', 'ocean voyaging', and 'intro to marine weather skills', to understanding 'aids to navigation.' Lots of options for learning how to paddle our inland and coastal waterways. Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SUP'ing Rain Fed Streams in Cental Coast Cali

Winter in central coast Calfornia means rain, which turns creeks into streams and sometimes into rivers. Here's a classic bunch of images from friends Vince Shay and Fletcher Burton near San Luis Obispo who are searching for whitewater action near their homes. Vince is a top of his game surf kayaker and photographer. Fletcher is a team paddler for Tomahawk SUPs and has been standing up on his waveski for over a decade.

On Vince's Facebook Page:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Carrying Your Board - Tail Lift Carry

There's several ways to carry your board. SUPs are large, often heavy, and can be difficult for some folks to carry solo. The Tail Lift Carry makes it easy to lift a board from one end to put on your head or to carry on your shoulder.

Check out my Tail Lift Carry article on SUP Magazine online -

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Best Ding Repair in the NW

After a year of hearing paddler's opinions of where to get ding repair, these three options seem to be favorites:

- Mountains 2 Sound Outfitters in West Seattle (Also Alki Kayaks).

- Jeff Abandonato, former owner of the Cheka Looka Surf Shop. His new business, Stoke Mender has a few good reviews. He's based in Montlake Terrace.

- Steve DeKoch, Hemel Board Company, Seattle. Steve also makes hollow moulded SUPs. He has a service where he can vacuum water out of boards.

- Bobby Arzadon, Perfect Wave Surf Shop, Kirkland, WA:

- Rhonda Schwab, Kayakers Go Coastal, Auburn, WA (kayaks and boards):
Tel 253.735.9402;

- In Port Angeles, Bill Isenberger (kayaks, boards, etc):

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dave Kalama article on using as much reach as possible..

This is another great article by Dave Kalama on using as much reach as possible in your strokes. Most of the power in your strokes will be in the nose of the board, more here:

Friday, September 10, 2010

2nd Annual Round the Rock Race & Free Board Demos

Sunday Sept 11th provides you with an opportunty to demo tons of SUPs for Free at the 2nd annual Round the Rock SUP race in Seattle. Looking for a new board or paddle? This is one of the best ways to try what's out there and compare gear in order to make the best decision.

Check out the Round the Rock site for more info, location, directions, etc:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wanna learn SUP in Seattle? Give me a holler..

I teach stand up paddling (SUP) in Seattle and the Pacific NW. My SUP Basics and Beyond class covers not only standing up, but several easy ways to turn your board, be more stable in bumpy water, and learn about boating safety, etc. I can also help intermediate paddlers learn new skills such as the pivot turn, cross bow paddling, and surfing.

I can help you choose boards and paddles to purchase and consult with businesses in setting up SUP programs. For more info, check out my site,

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Pivot Turn

Learn how to do the Pivot Turn! A great technique to practice balance, and to turn the board super quickly. See my article on the turn in SUP Magazine online:

Friday, July 23, 2010

See my article on surfing freighter waves in Puget Sound

See my article on surfing freighter waves in Puget Sound in SUP Magazine online:

Fastest Tidal Currents

I love tidal currents. They provide a river environment in saltwater with more features such as large swirling whirlpools, boils, standing wave that vary in size and power with the tides or incoming swell, and eddy lines that move around as waves collide with them.

Here's a list of the fastest tidal currents in in North America from NOAA:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Ultimate Guide to Stand Up Paddling - DVD

I highly recommend The Ultimate Guide to Stand Up Paddling, an instructional DVD by professional paddler Dan Gavere. The video covers SUP basics, as well as how to surf, paddle rivers, fitness, etc.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Local Weather Forecasting before you go out -

Shilshole Bay on Puget Sound in Seattle is my backyard, and have paddled there for a decade first in kayaks now on sups. I've seen it calm as a lake and within a few hours later up to 41kt winds and 5' waves. We have freighter waves that can give you epic rides, wind waves that can get as high as 7', and heavy power boat traffic in summer which creates great surfing wakes but also a lot of danger in you don't pay attention or don't have rough water skills. We always check conditions prior to going out either to benefit from a particular weather effect, or to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. Here's the tools I use. Check similar sites for your local paddling spot or for one that you're traveling and are less familiar with.

NOAA wind station on West Point, Discovery Park - we use this to determine wind direction, speed, and to check the barometer pressure readings. If the barometer is dropping - expect the weather to worsen.

Webcam for West Point, Discovery Park - we use this to get a visual on tide level, wind conditions, etc.

Tide Chart - Surprised to see a low tide? By checking the tide chart prior to going out, you can better plan your trip. I personally love low tides as it gives us better freighter waves in certain locations and is fun to see tide pools, etc.,

Freighter waves can throw ocean sized surf into shallow areas. In some areas, paddling by shore because it feels safer, isn't. Check for local boating traffic here,

Also note that we don't have right of way over boats, most power boaters don't pay attention to small craft, so be a defense paddler, watch your back, and don't cut in front of a moving boat. Wear that PFD (lifejacket) which make you more visible.

Padding in a straight line from point A to B isn't necessarily the quickest route. If the south wind is over 15kts, West Point provides wind protection if you paddle along the shore from Ballard. If you paddle direct to WP, you'll have a long trip. Also outgoing tides and a southerly will hit West Point and make Shilshole Bay a huge eddy, creating recirculating currents that circle around and flow south back to the point. Again, paddling near shore is easier than going straight to the point. Whereas paddling back to Ballard is easier further out as you ride the flow north.

Stuck paddling against heavy wind? Paddling sitting down cross legged or legs out front can be very efficient, and more comfortable than on your knees. Shorten up on your paddle by having your lower hand right above the paddle blade, and the other 2' up on the shaft. Paddle with straight arms which forces you to use your torso and adds more power thus less fatigue.

ALWAYS WEAR YOUR LEASH IN WIND. Ever notice how the board takes off under you when you fall? Add wind and you're in for a long swim. Forgot to wear your wetsuit? Not a good plan.

Check for local webcam and NOAA stations in your area, and/or ask a local kayaking or surf shop for info.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Adaptive SUPs for the handicapped

I've begun to do research on stand up paddleboards that you can sit on that allow use for handicapped paddlers. If you know of solutions for the handicapped, please send them my way. This could be a great magazine story.

Clarification of common Terms Used in Stand Up Paddling

I keep hearing the word paddleboard used to describe stand up paddling. That said, here's a simple translation of various terms being used for the sport to clear things up a bit..

Paddleboard - are long narrow boards where you sit on your knees and use both hands to paddle on each side of the board. See Joe Bark's site.
SUP - stand up paddleboard
SUB - stand up board
Surfski - approx 22' long and very narrow sit on top boat used for flat water racing and some surfing. Usually very light.
Waveski - high performance sit on top surfboard or surf kayak. Paddled like a kayak, used specifically for surfing. Up to 10'. See image above of Tyler Lausten (bottom),

Southerly - Winds from the south.
Northerly - Winds from the north.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Imagine getting ticketed for stand up paddle surfing!

While stand up paddle surfing might be the new cool thing, it's already been placed in some locations in the 2nd rate sections of certain surfing beaches. Those long frequent rides often taken outside has apparently irritated enough folks that SUP'ers can now only surf in a certain section of the Dog Patch of the famous break north of San Diego, San Onofre State Beach. And if you go beyond those borders, you get a ticket which is also a misdemeanor. See more on this posting on

San Onofre State Beach -

That said, if you're travelling to a new beach, check the regs and ask with local surf shops or forums to get the lo-down on such situations as above. Quite the bummer. I was kicked out of a beach in Kona a few years ago when I chose to surf kayak there. I was told kayakers weren't allowed. There were no signs on the beach. Interestingly, I surfed the same beach on less crowded days prior with no issues. I hear it's less crowded in Alaska.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How to choose a wetsuit and other clothing options

Wetsuits are very flexible these days and very warm. I gave up my gortex dry suit a year ago. Got tired of fixing gaskets and the baggy fabric. I wear my Excel 4/3 Infinity Drylock for kayaking as well as SUP'ing, and even wore it on a photo shoot where I had to be fulling immersed in the water to get the shots.

What does 4/3 mean? 4mm in the chest, 3mm in the arms and legs. If you see 5/4/3, that means 5 in the chest, 4 in the legs, 3 in the arms. Around here in the Pacific NW, 4/3 and 5/4 are most common for surfing, winter paddling, and any open water trips. Recommended brands are Xcel, Patagonia, Mateuse, O'Neil, etc.

Accessories -
I wear Xcel 7mm booties, 3-4mm Glacier Gloves, and a neoprene hooded vest (Quicksilver).

Layering with a wetsuit -
I use a 4/3 all the time, but you can layer by adding a layer of capeline or poly pro under and/or a drytop over your top. I use a neoprene hooded vest which can be added if i get cold and the hood keep water from going down my neck. brrr. I wear the vest over the suit, some wear them under.

Dry suits -
Dry suits are waterproof garmets made from Gortex and a few other materials. Latex gaskets keep water from getting in the arms, legs, and neck. They keep you dry, but it's the clothing you wear underneath that keeps your warm. I used to wear fleece tops and bottoms in colder water temps, and a fleece sock. You can request to have gortex water poof feet to which are nice. Dry suits do require maintenance. The latex gaskets require spraying 303 on them every few days to keep them lubricated and from ripping. You should wash your suit after every use. The zipper needs a bit of paraffin (wax) rubbed on it after every few uses to keep it working. Dry suits fun from $400-$900. Popular brands are Palm, Kokotat, and NRS.

Different Options for Staying Warm -
A armless wetsuit called a farmer john is a great for warmer temps or if you're not planning on full immersion such as surfing. You can wear a fleece or poly pro shirt under the top portion of the farmer john, then for wind and water protection, layer a gortex dry top for your chest and arms. Dry tops are waterproof garments that are great to put over a full wetsuit, farmer john, or worn over rash guard to keep the wind off. Paddling pants are essentially gortex rain pants but with a neoprene enclosure on the feet to prevent water from getting in. Paddling pants can be worn over shorts, long johns, or even a full wetsuit. Reed Chill Chater, a UK company, makes light garmets that can used as tops, bottoms, full suits, and hoods. Their material is like neoprene but lighter and coated with a fleece layer. I have one of their tops for putting over a rash guard while wearing shorts in summer. It packs very small for storage.

Your Body Temp -
Everyone is different when it comes to staying warm. I tend to get cold easily, so I have 7mm booties, gloves all year, and usually a layer of capeline under my 4/3 most of the time. Friends shed their gloves in March, don't wear booties in summer, and some never wear hoods. Each his own. Follow your own direction, not your friend's. If they say it's warm, think of what that really means to you. Beware of the parking lot issue. Parking lots where you unload your gear are always warmer than the beach. Take a walk to the beach to confirm the wind and air temps prior to choosing your clothing for the day.

Carrying clothing on the board -
If I go out in my full wetsuit and the wind chill is in the teens or 20's, I'll bring along a dry top in a dry bag to be placed on bungees on the nose of my board. It's there if I need it. In summer, I may bring along the same bag to remove clothing if I get too warm. I may also put a pair of gloves or extra hood in my fanny pack for easy retrieval.

Sources for gear -
NRS - Idaho based kayaking and rafting outfitter. Drysuits, wetsuits, gear, etc,
Kayak Academy - Seattle based kayak store for drysuits,
Surf Ballard - Seattle based surf shop with Mateuse, Patagonia, and Xcel wetsuits, and SUPs,
Urban Surf - Seattle based surf shop with O'Neil, Gath, and SUPS,
NW Outdoor Center - Seattle based kayak shop with drysuits, wetsuits, farmer johns and SUPS,
Olympic Raft and Kayak - Port Angeles based kayak/rafting store with all gear and SUPs,
Reed Chill Cheater,

Friday, April 23, 2010

How to buy your first board

Looking to buy your first SUP?

- Decide which type of paddling you want to do. Rivers, surf, casual flat water, racing, long distance, overnights, expeditions requiring airline travel, or all of the above?

- Rent as many boards as possible to find the one that best works for you. You can also demo boards at races, surfing contests, and public SUP events.

- If you've never paddled before, get a wide (29"-34") board that is easy to stand up on. A tippy board will be frustrating to learn on.

Basics of board profiles -

All around paddling - the most basic sup to start out on for all genres of paddling is a stable and long board up to 12'. If you're tall like me, 12' is appropiate, if not so tall, try 10'-11' boards. Demo before buying to make sure you find the best one. Widths should be 29-34" wide.

Race or fitness boards - these tend to be narrow, 26-29" wide, tippy, and long. Not best for beginners unless you specifically want to race. But it may still be easier to learn on a wider board, then move to a narrow race board once you get your balance. There's several great race boards out now such as Bark, Starboard, Ohana, Infinity, and Hobie.

Surfing - All boards can surf. For performance surfing, especially if you're an experienced surfer, use short boards 6-10' long. Beginners should start out on a wide (to 34") and longer board (to 12').

Rivers - Inflatable or rotomolded (plastic) are best to prevent dings or breaking of the board. Consider Uli, Tomahawk and Imagine Surfboards to try. Shorter boards are best to work in between rocks and slide into eddies with short turns, etc. See my posting on rivers prior to going out.

Expeditions / Overnight boards - for overnight trips, consider a longer board from 12-18' to carry your gear without effecting your effeciency. Lighter is better, but lighter boards in carbon are also most expensive. There's a folks out there that have done extensive trips with just 12' Laird boards. Attach NSI or EZ Plugs on your board with bungy or rope to attach gear bags. Condider a break-down kayak paddle for upwind paddles and a backup.

International Travel / Remote Trips - Inflatable boards are great for travels requiring airline connections or 3rd world and remote locations. Inflatables will require less maintenance (no dings) and can roll up for easy stowage.

Other things to consider when starting out -
- PFD (lifejacket). Check your local regs. Many areas require PFDs for non surf zone paddling.
- Always wear a leash. You'll be surprised how far you're board will go when you fall off, especially in wind.
- Always hydtrate either with a bladder in a fanny or backpack, or with water bottles stashed on you or the board.
- Check for local info on where you're paddling. Are there books, online, or a surf or paddling shop with info on tides, weather, and any tips or precautions?
- Take a class on stand up paddling to get the basic strokes, or ask an experienced paddler to give you a lesson.
- Visit a kayaking or SUP symposium to try boards, take paddling clinics, and network with other paddlers.
- Dress for the conditions you're paddling in. SUPs have the reputation for keeping paddlers dry, so many avoid wearing wetsuits in colder temps. If the water is below 70 degrees F, wear a wet or drysuit until your sklll are solid enough to choose otherwise.

Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wanna run a river on a SUP?

In the mood to try our SUP on a river? A few important thoughts to consider..

- Take a SUP river class from Werner/Starboard rep, Dan Gavere in Hood River, Oregon. He's the man on the river when it comes to sups.

- Can't get Dan for a class? Take a basic whitewater kayaking class to learn how to read rivers, peel out, peel in, run eddy lines, and how not to get caught in a strainer. Rivers are dangerous, take it seriously.

Tips for experienced paddlers with whitewater skills:
- Don't wear a leash around your ankle. If you do wear one, attach it to your PFD on a quick release tow belt strap.
- Carry a knife to cut your leash in a worse case scenario.
- Wear a river or surf kayaking helmet. I use Gath. Sweet helmets are good too.
- Wear motocross shin pads. When you fall, you'll either hit your shins on your board or a rock below.
- Stay low at all times. I mean really low. Check out Corran Addison's videos for tips.
- Scout the river. Check the flow (CFS). Make sure your skill level is appropiate for the conditions. Portage any obstructions.
- Use an inflatable board such as Uli or Tomawhawk.
- Use a fiberglass (not carbon!) paddle.
- Don't go alone!
- If you fall in, swim for the board immediately. Get on asap, then get to shore.
- Be willing to sit or kneel on your board if you can't stand up.
- Get info on the river prior to running it from local paddling clubs or online sites.
- Wear a PFD for floatation, warmth, and body protection.
- Wear booties that will protect your feet from sharp rocks.

-Dan Gavere, river sup instruction:
-Corran Addison, sup river instruction & videos:
-American Whitewater (river database):

The Essential Whitewater Kayaker (or SUP'er), Jeff Bennett, McGraw Hill

* Call me if you have any questions about running rivers or tidal rapids. This is a chapter in my book due out Spring 2011.

42 Surfboards on Oregon..

Check out the beautiful natural boards from Lars Bergstrom, a college pal in Oregon..

Monday, April 19, 2010

Have poor balance and worried about trying a SUP board?

Last weekend, I taught a class and a few dozen folks to paddle SUPs at a kayaking symposium in Port Angeles, WA. The most common fear of trying a board was about balance. Nearly everyone was worried they wouldn't be able to stand up. In kayaking the most common fear is tipping over.

In trying a SUP for the first time, make sure you rent a board that is the longest and widest board available. If you get on one and feel tippy and have troubles standing up, ask for a larger board. Many have been intimidated by not being able to stand up and often don't try again. I'm 6-5 220lbs and use a 30" wide and 12' long board, as well as one that is 34" wide and 10 long, yet 5.5" thick. Both are great for keeping me completely stable, even in rough conditions or surf.

Don't stand up until you feel 100% stable on your knees. Move around on the board to make sure you've found your sweet spot for stability. If you do stand up, use your paddle as a tripod leg of sorts in the water to brace to add stability. Just having the paddle in the water helps with balance. Take a few strokes to also add stability.

Tips for better balance:
- stand on one leg while at the grocery store or coffee shop.
- work on your balance with a bosu ball.
- if you have tight hamstrings, loosen them up by stretching or asking a masseuse to work on that area. Yoga is great too.

'Do you pick the wave or does it pick you?' - Posting from Last Wilderness Blog

A great read from a NW paddler Ken Campbell's Last Wilderness Blog..

'Do you pick the wave or does it pick you?'

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Watertrails and paddle in campsites in Western USA -

The Washington Watertrails Org has created an awesome network or non-motorized watetrails linking multiple camping sites in areas such as Puget Sound, Willapa Bay, and the Columbia River. Whether you're choosing to do a simple overnight or an epic month long adventure, the wwta has online and print info detailing paddling distances in between sites, local paddling info, and even photos to recognized each site from the water. Here's their site,

For a list of watertrails in other states, click this link,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Need Ding Repair in the Pacific NW?

Seattle -

Mountains 2 Sound Outfitters - West Seattle.

Steve deKoch, Hemel Board Company:

Auburn -
Rhonda Schwab, Kayakers Go Coastal,, 253-735-9402

Bellingham -
Sterling Donaldson,


In The Gorge:

In Bend, Oregon:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Upwind Paddling Tips

Upwind Paddling Tips

- Sit down and paddle it like a kayak feet out front slightly bent. I've used this one in up to 41kts of wind.
- Sit cross legged, use that torso to paddle.
- Kneel, a popular technique, but I think the least efficient.

Holding the paddle while sitting:
My lower hand goes right above the blade, with the other 2’ higher, use nearly a straight upper arm and torso for power. Think like a outrigger paddler, or canoeist.

- Use a kayak paddle! Beware that kayak paddles aren’t built for the torque of paddling with one end, so I’ve broken two standing up.

Something to think about when you're going paddling..

After a busy sunny weekend in Seattle, our local beaches were strewn with garbage. Kinda of a bummer. I already have to watch out for broken glass, but today we found beer cans, empty water bottles, sandals, cigarette buds, and bottle caps. For us, Earth Day is every day, not just when others do their annual single day beach clean up. Pick something up every time you go to the beach, you'll notice a difference the next time you're there.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

How to Put on Your Wetsuit

Ever put on a wetsuit backwards? I think most of us have. I even did a photo shoot and didn't realized that all three models had their suits on backwards until the client in LA noticed it. oops. I was a drysuit guy back then, didn't know the difference.

Here's a great article on 'Hot to Put On Your Wetstuit':

Congrats to Beau Whitehead, the new Naish Team Rider

Congrats to Bellingham, WA based SUP paddler Beau Whitehead for becoming the newest Naish team rider, more info here:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Take my SUP class at the Port Angeles Kayaking Symposium, 4/18

I'll be teaching a basic SUP class at the Port Angeles Kayaking Symposium on Sunday 4/18. Check the event site for details.

Stay tuned here as I'm starting a SUP and sea kayak guide business in Seattle very soon. We'll be offering instruction as well as tours in Seattle or on request elsewhere. Our site will be up by mid April. If you want to book a lesson in the meantime, give me a holler.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My SUP book is almost done!

My instructional guidebook on stand up paddling is almost done! It'll be published next spring (2011) by Mountaineers Books in Seattle. The book will include detailed chapters describing how to paddle on rivers and tidal rapids, in surf, how to do overnight trips and expeditions, fish, race, surf boat wakes, and fitness / cross training.

I've interviewed:
Dan Gavere, Nikki Gregg, Calvin Tom, Beau Whitehead, Tim Niemier, Steve deKoch, Candice Appleby, Jennifer Kalmbach, Clay Feeter, Ken Campbell, Dave Collins, Ken Hoeve, Steve Boehne, Bob McDermott, Corran Addison, Brandi Baksic, Wade Lawsen, Evan Lloyd, Kristi Carlson, Reg Lake, Dan Hogg, etc.

See photographs of many of the above as well as:
Chuck Patterson, Fletcher Burton, Lars LE Hansen, Mike Vaugn, Tom Swetish, etc.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sails for SUPS

Got some wind and want to speed up your SUP? Check out SUP Sails by WindPaddle. Based in the very windy Hood River, Oregon, WindPaddle has easily collapsable colorful yet maneagable sails that will fit on any SUP. They also have a similar sail for kayaks. Check it out -

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SUP Paddling Camp on Vancouver Island, Summer 2010

Tim Niemier, founder of Ocean Kayaks, has a remote cabin on the west side of Vancouver Island in Nuchatlitz that is only accessible by float plane or boat. Tim is offering a SUP summer camp to learn how to paddle and surf the area's remote breaks. His cabin is on a beautiful inlet connected to many other inlets each with incredible sea life, clean air, and quiet.

Instruction will be by Rob Casey, who is writing the first guidebook on stand up paddling. From Seattle, Rob has been kayaking for a decade and has been a commercial photographer for 20 years. He found the Hobuck Hoedown, the NW's only surf kayak and now sup surfing competition. Rob does marketing and assists with boat/board design for Tim's company, On Water Designs. His book is due out Spring 2011 with Mountaineers Books.

Fully catered, you will stay in Tim's cabin on Sea Otter Island. Enjoy fishing, surfing, shell middens, and miles of incredible flat water paddling.

The cabin and location:

Site Coming Soon!

For more info, contact Tim:
Tel: 360-220-2757

SUP Cross Training

Seeking some cross training for your paddling? In Hawaii, you might consider underwater rock walking, but here in the Pacific NW, the water is 50 degrees and definitely not very clear. So Bellingham based Naish paddler Beau Whitehead has another option:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Birthright - An Epic Video of Pure Stoke.

Check out Birthright, an epic documentary shot in one day by filmmaker Sean Mullens in California. He follows the daily ritual of Michael, a surfer who bound to a wheelchair, loads his waveski himself, drives to the beach, and surfs everyday. Epic.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hot Tuna 10'x34" SUP Review

Tim Niemeyer founded Ocean Kayaks in the early 70's and now building stand up paddleboards and kayaks for his own line, as well as custom for clients. His Hot Tuna is a 10' SUP that rips. The board is super stable at 8" tall and 34" wide, turns super easily, and glides well. The curved up nose is great for paddling out over steep waves, and it surfs like a dream coming down the line. While in rough water, I had no problem with stability.

Built using thermoform techonology, the Hot Tuna is very light and easy for carrying distances whether under your arm or on your shoulder. The exterior is a very durable thin plastic skin that is ding proof.

Tim's company, Wild Designs which is based in Bellingham, WA, is building longer boards and are available for custom orders as well.

The Hot Tuna retails for $1k, but he has a few used boards for sale at $700.

Wild Design
Tel: 360-715-9570

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sticky Wheel

Dan Eberhardt, one of the founders of Seattle's 13 mile Round the Rock sup race has come up with an innovative method of carrying a SUP, the Sticky Wheel. Like many kayak carts, this device also had a suction cup that sticks to your board securing it the cart. The cart is simple, small, and easy to use. Check it out.. Here

Monday, February 8, 2010


Here in the Pacific NW our surf breaks are empty most of the time mainly due to the considerable distance it takes to get there and due to the year around cold temperatures. The advantage of those elements is that over crowding is rarely a problem and there's no localism. Unlike California where as early as the 70's, localism was so bad that fights were common as was vandalism to cars parked at the wrong break at the wrong time. While this mentality still exists, it's not as common.

As a surf kayaker in the NW, I did however feel a sense of tension at several breaks mainly because I was different. Everybody likes to fit in, it's a human trait. When an outsider shows up, problems can arise. I've had board surfers flick me off while driving to a break, and even one guy ask me if i was going to run into him out there. I suggested I wouldn't, providing he didn't run into me. Often localism starts with ignorance, in simply not understanding the other's craft. Surf kayaking is easier than board surfing, so many a dork with no prior kayaking experience have run into others in the surf zone, thus creating the stereotype that we're all bad. Ironically, I've had more board surfers steal waves, create collisions than kayakers simply due to larger demographic on boards.

Stand up paddlers are getting known in some surf breaks for getting in the way, taking waves earlier, and getting more waves than traditional board surfers. Novice sup'ers shouldn't take waves in crowded areas until they have total control of their boards at all times. I don't take a wave unless I know 100% if it can thread it through a crowd without incident. Like kayakers, sups have the issue of extra gear which in wipeouts can lead to a loose paddle or if a leash breaks or isn't used, a large heavy loose board out of control in the waves.

All this to say, I was paddling my sup tonight in my local waters of Shilshole Bay in Seattle which I paddle several days a week, all year, in all conditions. Few paddle it in winter and we know most folks out there. A sea kayaker and his son paddled past me. He called out, 'what' for supper?'. Perplexed, I asked what he meant. He claimed it' was a joke he plays on stand up paddlers, 'sup, supper, get it?'. Kinda interesting, being that I'm actually more of a kayaker than a sup'er, and own 3 sea kayaks, 2 waveskis, 2 surf kayaks and started a local surf kayaking competition, the Hobuck Hoedown. Not to mention writing articles for Sea Kayaker Magazine, and rescuing 7 folks with my kayak from Shilshole Bay over the past decade. I'm sure the paddler wouldn't of said anything if he had seen me on my sea kayak the day before. I was the only one out on the bay for Superbowl Sunday.

Interestingly, I've had more sea kayakers giving me flack for being on a sup than any other watercraft. Not a likely bunch for this sort of thing. On a previous posting last fall here, I wrote of an old paddling buddy who asked if I had 'crossed to the dark side.'
It's a pity, being that we're all here for the same reason or purpose. It's just a different method of being on the water, and being responsible for our craft in all situations.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Emergency Shelter Igloo - Valley Kayaks

UK based Valley Kayaks make a nylon emergency shelter called the Igloo that fits into a pocket, yet can cover up to four people and drastically cut wind chill. During a surf kayak class with kayaker Nigel Foster years ago, Nigel for fun put us in one of these at lunch on a blistery day. The inside temp increased dramatically and became rather warm. The yellow glow inside was fun too. The Igloo is so small that it could fit in your fanny pack or deck bag while out paddling.

Currently the Valley Kayaks site is down so try these links for retailers that sell Valley Kayaks...
Atlantic Kayak Tours
Adventures Through Kayaking - Port Angeles, WA
Great River Outfitters

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Deck Bags for SUPS

Coming from kayaking, I'm used to having stuff on me while paddling - extra water (a must have), an energy bar, maybe a camera, and extra clothes in case the weather turns. This became a problem when I started to rent sups a year ago. I compensated by finding a cheap fanny pack that I could cut holes in the bottom of the pockets to allow water to drain. When winter hit, the fanny pack wasn't big enough for an extra paddling jacket or what have ya. So I attached bungis on my board using NSI attachment loops to strap a dry bag down. This has worked great for smaller stuff.

Other options include using deck bags designed for kayaks. The above bag is made by Sealline (owned by Cascade Designs) in Seattle that makes waterproof bags of various types. These bags have waterproof zippers, bungis, and other options to strap gear down. The bags snap with buckles to your board via your bungis or whatever system you have figured out.

The only downside to bags on your board is the extra weight on the nose that effects carrying the board on land. Even an extra water bottle throws off the balance of my board. Most are putting gear on the nose.

Find this product at Northwest Outdoor Center in Seattle.

Wheels for Carrying Your Board

Stand up boards are big and heavy for the most part, and many of us aren't power lifters, so they're not fun to haul that far. In the kayaking world, dollies have been made for hauling around those long boats. Many of those can also be used for sups such as the Ouzel Cart shown above. If you're hauling your board in sand, some products have big wide wheels for sand, while most are for pavement or compacted dirt.

Standupzone had a fun posting the other day on what folks use to haul their boards around:

Author Lloyd Kahn who produces incredible books about US coastal architecture, has a few great vehicles photographed over the years in his books:

Find this product a Northwest Outdoor Center in Seattle.

Tips on Night Paddling

I paddle at night a lot often as in the short days of winter, it's another way to get on the water rather than not at all. Sometimes in late summer, night paddles are great to see the bioluminescence (glow in the dark algae, etc). In either case, while night paddling, you have to use your senses more and keep an eye out for boats as not all use lights. Sometimes I'll stop and listen for motors, then proceed ahead. Living in Seattle, I deal with urban waterway paddling daily, so my senses are always on high alert.

In the US, human powered crafts (us) are required to show a white light in case of an encounter with another boat. This can be a waterproof LED or halogen flashlight or headlamp or one of the many waterproof lights available to attach to your PFD or board. I attach a Guardian LED waterproof light to the rear shoulder of my PFD to alert those behind or the side of me without ruining what little night vision I have. I have a wp flashlight on a string in my PFD front pocket, in case I need to show it at an on coming boat. One method to really show yourself off, just in case, is to angle a flashlight onto your board which should light the whole board up. There's a few great lights that can be attached to your board via a suction cup that offer nearly 360 degree coverage. I'd recommend attaching a safety line to a leash cup in case the suction fails.

Use a waterproof laser pointer for immediate emergencies where a boat is coming straight at you and there's no time to move. The best method is to aim the laser at the pilothouse of the boat, which has considerable effects in grabbing their attention. Only use the laser for this purpose, as the light is damaging to your or other folk's eyes. Attach a string to the pointer for storage in your PFD to prevent it from dropping in the water.

I also attach reflective silver tape on my paddle blades on both sides which reflect a boat's lights quite well. On sunny days, the sun will also reflect off your paddle and assist with boaters in seeing you. You can stick strips of the tape on your board if desired.

Check out Northwest Outdoor Center in Seattle for these products.