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.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

If you want your gear reviewed on this blog, give me a holler..

With over 300 hits a day, Stoke Magazine is a great place to have your product reviewed and seen by both SUP and kayaking industry fans. I'm also available for gear testing if you're in the process of developing a product.

I have been a boat tester for Sterlings Kayaks, do kayak reviews/testing for Sea Kayaker Magazine, and work with SUP shapers to test their plugs. I also write for SUP Magazine, Canoe Kayak, and others. My background includes sea, surf, and whitewater kayaking, and SUPs in all environments. Cheers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Get Tim Back in the Water: Fundraiser for Tim Nelson, Details Below

Our friend and fellow surfer, Tim Nelson, was struck by a semi-truck while running to work. Tim resides in West Seattle and in an attempt to avoid the congestion brought on by the closure of the Viaduct, Tim decided he'd rather get a little exercise and simultaneously reduce the number of cars on the road, than drive his truck to work.

News Link: Here

Along with bringing blankets to homeless people (true story), Tim volunteers a great deal of his time with the Surfrider Foundation and is one of the most honest and caring individuals we know.

Tim is currently in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center. His back was broken, as well as his right shoulder, right arm and a few ribs. His skull is fractured, a lung punctured and his spleen lacerated. His injuries are severe, but his spirits are high.

Tim's recovery will be long, and expensive. Let's help him out, and get Tim BACK IN THE WATER!

Donate here to help Tim with his medical and living expenses..

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kokatat Nomad Tall Bootie

Here's a great view of the Kokatat Nomad, a tall bootie or as kayakers like to call them, "mukluk". Benefitial for keeping your feet dry and warm as we enter colder temps whether on a kayak, canoe, or SUP..

Review on Ken Campbell's "Last Wilderness" blog..

Saturday, October 15, 2011

SUP and Kayak Security - Theft Prevention for your Gear

A chat with Dave Kalama a few months ago brough up the issue of board security. He mentioned the several boards in Maui had been stolen from carslast spring. A few weeks ago, a friend sold a kayak to a guy on Craigslist who in turn had his 'new' boat stolen from the top of his car a day later.

There's several products available to help prevent theft of your gear. In looking for options, keep in mind other sports in case those products work for you. So if you're a SUP'er, also check out kayak shops for the Lasso Security Cables (designed for kayaks) which also work on boards. That's what I already have, so no need to get another system for my boards.

Here's a few options:

- DocksLocks are designed for surfboards and SUPs as the lock attaches directly to your leash plug.

- KanuLock is a great idea for both boards and kayaks. The lock is built into the steel re-inforced straps, brilliant idea.

- Lasso Security Cables: The company has a few products available. I have the "Original:Touring" model which has two loops that go around your SUP or kayak ends and secures with a cable in the middle around you rack.

- LashLock is another system originally designed for kayaks.

Thule and Yakima racks can also be locked to your car which is essential in allowing the above options to be effective. If you don't use a rack or are securing your gear to a stationary object, several of the above options still work.

SUP Surfing Magazine has an article on this topic as well on their site:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dry Bags/Sacks for Paddling

Ever need to carry extra stuff on your board or in your kayak and want to keep it dry? Dry bags (or sacks) generally have roll-over tops with a fastex clip buckle. Most are made from vinyl or similar materials to be waterproof and abrasion resistent. A few have windows so you can see your stuff inside, essential in finding that one item you need. For attaching to a board, look for bags with daisy chain straps on the side to run cam straps, a carabiner, or a rope through to better secure down. Kayak deck bags can sometimes be waterproof and are great for SUPs as well.

Best brands include Ortleib, SealLine, Seattle Sports, and Outdoor Research.

Here's a short video I made showing the Outdoor Research Double Dry Sack, which has two enclosures on one bag to ensure dryness. I've recently used this bag extensively to carry my camera gear in my kayak cockpit while revising a Pacific Northwest kayaking guide for Mountaineers Books.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Paddling Pour-Overs in Ocean Rock Gardens

California based 'extreme' kayaking group the Tsunami Rangers are known for paddling in the most hardcore conditions where the sea meets the shore in rugged cliffs, sea caves, surge channels, arches. This type of paddling is called 'rock gardening' or 'rock hopping.' Paddlers wear helmets, PFDs, wet or drysuits, and sometimes body armor to deal with the conditions. Paddlers always rock garden with others for safety and regularly practice rescues to avoid getting on the news in case of an unplanned accident.

If you want to try this on a SUP, bring rubber fins, a helmet, a board with a tough exterior such as a Starboard, Surftech Tuflite, or an inflatable. Check out the Tsunami Ranger website for more safety trips.

Here's a fun article by Eric Soares from his blog, "Tsumani Rangers / Eric Soares Sea Kayaking Adventures."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Race Strategy for Short Sprint Courses by Dan Gavere

Pro Paddler and instructor Dan Gavere posted recently on Standupzone answering a question on how to do a short (1-2 mile) sprint race. His answer:

"Sprint for one minute and get your heart rate to 85 % of max and then back off 10% put your head down and do another mile until pack shakes out. You will see where you stand who will be near you to draft with. Then you should be able to finish out at 75-85% effort for the rest of race."

Read the entire thread here:

Dan's Instruction Site:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How to Build Your SUP Community

In it's early days just a few years ago, SUP had grown rapidly mostly along warm coastal areas of the US such as California, Hawaii and Florida. In recent years, the sport has grown rapidly mostly in cities where water sports are prominent such as my town of Seattle. Despite the popularity of SUP here, many suburban and rural areas not far away have little or no SUP rentals, shops, or anyone actually paddling even in the warmer summer months.

Many from these areas have asked me how to grow the SUP stoke in their communities. Here's a few tips:

- Organize weekly SUP races. In Seattle, two shops, Urban Surf and Alki Kayaks began weekly summer SUP races 2 years ago. Each had only a handful of participants in the first year. By the second year each race was attended by at least a dozen or more participants. In the summer of 2011 both had up to 40 racers per event. These races do a number of things. Paddlers get to network with others with a similar interest. In the case of the Alki races, Alki Beach has a popular bike/run trail skirting the edge of the race course. During each race on lookers see the race and a few have even signed up! Urban Surf has connected with Naish which offers a prize for the racer with the best times for all 6 races. Offering the races has brought attention to each shop and a lot of new customers.

- If you're a shop or rep, offer weekly SUP demo and skill building events. In the tip above, Alki Kayaks offers a free SUP demo prior to each race. On Monday nights, they offer a Women's Night with free gear rentals and demos. Kayak clubs for years have offered skill building evenings which is great for learning new skills, networking with other paddlers, and for instructors a chance to find new students. In winter with shorter days, organize a surf movie night at a local community hall or pub. A friend does a weekly paddle with friends who all meet aferwords for a beer and surf flick.

- Sign up to become a host for your area. This group is nation wide and is a great method of finding folks to come out for paddles ranging from tours, lessons, to just casual paddles. There's no cost for anyone, is easy to set-up, and will build over time. Here's a friend's site,

- Start a Facebook page and begin to build interest. Become the local source for listing paddling events and related news. Before telling folks about your page, upload a few local paddling photos; fill out everything that answers, who, what, where, and how with contact info, a little about you and what you're hoping to create - in this case a paddling community. Ask people to 'Like' your page. The more Likes you get, the more successful your page will become.

- If business is slow when you first start out, sign up for a Groupon on Living Social type discount to advertise your business and get 20 or 30 sign-ups for lessons or tours to get things rolling. Beware though that some businesses have let their sign-ups get out of control by accepting hundreds of people for lessons which in turns overwhelms the shop and pushes away regular customers.

The benefit of rubber fins for SUPs

In my first year of SUP'ing I gained a few scars on my shin when my fin hit submerged logs, an old pier piling, and a thick bunch of kelp. If you're new to paddling - when you're going full speed and your fin hits something underneath - you face plant. In my case, I not only hit the board but also slid off the board and also hit the object below. Ouch. In time I learned to adjust my angle to avoid such collisions. Even to this day when I paddle in shallow water, I cringe when I see a rock just below the surface or a kelp forest. The kayaking stroke called a "dufek" is a great technique for moving the board sideways while moving.

Last summer I bought a pair of Pro Tech rubber fins from a local rep I work with. While they look flimsy, I found I was still able to track well, even during a race.

They're also helpful in surfing shallow beach break where I can surf into very a few inches of water without worrying about hitting the bottom or damaging the fin box. In larger surf I haven't noticed any loss of control.

Many prefer rubber and plastic fins for river paddling as most rivers are shallow and fins can be a problem in boulder gardens and shallow areas.

Kelp Beds and Milfoil:
Yesterday I paddled the Strait of Juan de Fuca near where we surfing WA State. The Strait is lined with miles of kelp beds sometimes 300 yards wide. I had to cross one of these sections to get to a rocky point of interest. Normally with a hard fin I'd be in trouble with catching the fin whether paddling forward or even more so backyards. The rubber fin skipped over the kelp never catching once. I use a coiled leash in these coastal environments where there's only small surf. The coiled leash stays on the board and doesn't catch obstructions below.

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.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tug Wake Surfing in Puget Sound, Oct 5, 2011

The tugs from Western Towboats put off large surfable waves in Puget Sound. We've been surfing these for years on sea kayaks but haven't scored one yet on SUPs as it requires a lot of speed to catch one of these waves. Possibly a 14-17'racing board might do the trick.


Supporters Message -
Washington Boater Exam provides an online boating safety course for Washington State. More HERE.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Surfing tidal rapids in Deception Pass St Park, WA USA

Surfing tidal rapids on the ebb in Canoe Pass of Deception Pass St Park north of Seattle. The standing waves appear when ocean swell or a westerly wind collides with an outgoing ebb tide. Not as big as Skook but good enough, and a shorter drive.