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.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

2011 SUP Races and Events in the Pacific NW


Washington State -
- 14 Races Spring to Fall for all watercraft with the Sound Rowers.
- April 17th, 6th Annual Coho Dodge & Dash Kayak Race. Olympic Raft & Kayak & Olympic Peninsula Paddlers Club are sponsoring. 3.6nm course with 8 different competitor catagories.
- May 7th, Paddle the Dragon, Port Gamble.
- June 11th, Da Fuca Downwinder (13miles), Strait of Juan de Fuca, Port Angeles.
- June - August, 2nd Annual Mountain to Sound Outfitters weekly race series at Alki Kayaks, Seattle.
- July - August, 3rd Annual Urban Surf Naish Summer Series, Lake Union, Seattle.
- September 11th, (13 miles) 3rd Annual Round the Rock SUP Race, Seattle.
- Hobuck Hoedown, Early October, SUP & Surf Kayak Competition and Coastal Race.
- December 4th, Deception Pass Dash, Anacortes.

Oregon -
- SUP 4 Cancer Race, Hood River, July 19-10.
- Big Winds SUP Race Series, Hood River, Oregon.
- Gorge Performance Race Series, May & June (around Ross Island), More info to come or contact Gorge Performance.
- Aug 20-21, Columbia Gorge Paddling Challenge,

British Columbia -
- Deep Cove Weekly Race Clinic and Race, North Vancouver, (summer).

Surfing Competitions:
- Surfrider Cleanwater Classic, May 13-15, Westport, WA.
- Perfect Wave SUP Surfing Competition, September, Westport, WA. TBA.
- Hobuck Hoedown, Early October, Neah Bay, WA. TBA.


Washington State -
- April 15-17, Port Angeles Kayaking Festival,
- May 7-8, NW Adventure Sports Festival, Port Gamble, Wa.
- June 25-26th, Mountains to Sound Outfitters - Northwest Paddling Festival at Alki Kayaks, Seattle.

British Columbia -
- June 18-19th, Kalamalka Classic SUP Festival, Kalamalka Beach, Vernon BC.
- Kalavida Surf Shop – (Summer SUP Series, Vernon) – Dates TBA,
- MEC Paddlefest Victoria, (tba).
- MEC Paddlefest Vancouver, July 10th.

Related Events:
- The Puget Sound Challenge, 150 mile paddle through Puget Sound.
- Paddle Bainbridge, July 9-10, Circumnavigation of Bainbridge Island, (all craft).
- August 5-6, Paddle Kitsap. Fully supported trip from Point No Point to Poulsbo.

Did we miss an event? Send us your info for BC, WA, OR, ID, MT, OR, and Northern CA).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lake vs Saltwater Paddling

I hear from beginners all the time that they paddle lakes because they're think it's safer than going on saltwater. Truth is, they're the same if the wind is up or in our region in winter when all water is 45 degrees. It's good to paddle on both types of water as you'll encounter different types of waves and views thus building your skills as a paddler.

If you're training for a race, you'll find that tidal currents, wind, and boat waves will add more challenge to your paddles better preparing you for the unexpected conditions of a race. In a recent race in Seattle, many paddlers complained that the side wind forced them to paddle on one side for a few miles which was exhausting. Paddlers in the race that I spoke to who paddle in saltwater, found those conditions similar to what they regularly experience daily with strong tidal currents which push and pull on on a board/boat in open water.

If you do decide to paddle in saltwater, inquire among surf and kayak shops on where to go, any tips, etc. Get a local boating or paddling guidebook for more info as well. And buy a tide chart, learn to read it, and use it to plan you paddles. I love high winds so I can do downwinders, but also love super glassy days for quiet paddles and cleaner boat wakes. Low tides make our local freighter waves quite large, high tides provide a shorter carry to the water from the car. Winter means less boating traffic, quite a few calm days but fun windy days as well. Summer is obviously warmer but more caotic due to increased boating traffic. Pros and cons of each, find out what works best for you. Winter will mean more high tides in the day, while summer has low tides during the day.

Learn how to use currents to your advantage. You can travel several miles with ease letting the current carry you in some locations. But you'll be bummed if you didn't check the current chart and find yourself 'bucking' or paddling against incoming current for several miles. Even large bodies of water such as San Francisco Bay or Puget Sound have river like tendacies. For example, if there's a land mass protuding into the bay, current will wrap around the point or bend, and create an eddy on the downstream side behind the land mass. An eddy is recirculating current that actually goes upstream and is common in rivers. If you're paddling to the point from the down current side, going A to B isn't the fastest way to get there. Follow the shoreline and use the eddy to push your to the point, then surf or paddle the main current downstream to your starting point. It's possible to travel up to 30 miles a day on a kayak or SUP using strong currents and little effort. Fun stuff if you know what your doing!

Terms for Paddling in Saltwater:
- Tide Chart: Shows the vertical change in water which affects beach, dock, and boat ramp access.
- Current Chart: Shows the horizontal movement of water. This only applies to areas of high current above 3-4kts.
- Ebb - Outgoing tide or current.
- Flood - Incoming tide or current.
- Slack - Period between ebb and flood, sometimes calm, and in some location current direction may seem confused.

Online tide chart:

Current Chart: (this one for Deception Pass, WA USA)

Any questions give me a holler: / 206.465.7167
Check out our SUP classes - beginning to advanced instruction and PSUPA Certification.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dave Kalama's Blog - Great tips for paddling!

Check out the man, Dave Kalama's blog,

One of the founders of the modern version of SUP as we know it, Dave's blog covers insightful info on paddling and surfing techniques, pics of him working it, and other tidbits. He also wrote the forward to my book, a humble guy worth knowing.

Many of the photos from his site were shot by Maui photographer, Darrell Wong, check out his site as well, Here.

Dave's photo by OTL.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tidal Bore Surfing on Alaska's Tunagain Arm

From SUP Magazine online 1/11:
Open the current issue of SUP magazine and you’re greeted by one of the most eye-popping standup photos of the year, an unreal photograph of Alaska’s Turnagain Arm tidal bore near Girdwood, Alaska (above).

As Eric Newberry, Dave Calkins and Mike McCune glide effortlessly down the face of the wave, surfer, photographer and multi-sport athlete Scott Dickerson snapped this image from his paraglider. “People have been interested in the Turnagain Arm for a while but it’s often too difficult to stay on with a regular surfboard,” says Dickerson. “But with the advent of paddleboarding, you’re guaranteed to ride it for a while.”

Read the rest of the story here:

All photos and video shot by Scott Dickerson. See more of Dickerson’s fantastic work at

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

La Push Pummel - Feb 25th - SUPs & kayaks

Check out the La Push Pummel, an expression session on the Washington coast that's been going on for long time. It's open to all water craft willing to surf the winter waves of La Push known for it's steep beaches and waves. This year's event is Feb 25th. Lodging is available at the Oceanside Resort. La Push is also a 1.5 hour drive from Port Angeles. Contact Ken and Ellen DeBondt for more event info:

Gary Korb at Crescent Beach, WA

Gary's surf kayaks are homemade from rigid closed cell insulation foam covered in glass and epoxy, then gel coat. Often finless.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pre-order my SUP Instruction Book Here! Publication Date: April 2011

My book ‘Stand Up Paddling Flat Water, Surf and Rivers’ Published by The Mountaineers Books for Spring 2011 can be pre-ordered on Amazon HERE.

A Mountaineers Outdoors Expert Series, the book covers the basics of stand up paddling from gear choices and basics to how to run rivers, surf, tidal rapids, racing, and paddling on overnight trips. Dave Kalama wrote the Forward, while Nikki Gregg contributed to the Fitness Chapter. I interviewed Corran Addison, Brandi Baksic, Jenny Kalmbach, Wade Layson, Fletcher Burton, among many others.

Check it out!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

This is stoke - Lars Hansen of Santa Cruz

From the Surftech Shootout at Steamer Lane March 2010. Give Lars a holler for a surfing lesson,

New addition to my '30 tips for winter paddling'..

Kenny Wilson of Lincoln City, Oregon contacted me last week about a winter paddling tip. See below..

Here is my secret-perhaps the 31st tip!
After filling the "hot tank" (see attached pic) with HOT water, I'll wrap my wetsuit around the insulated jug and set it inside the tupperware container (on top of my booties) that you mentioned. When I get to the beach not only is my HOT water still HOT, but my wetsuit is nice and warm!

Back to the booties: Since the surf tends to get good for 2-3 days at a time, I like to have multiple pairs. I also use a boot dryer to help dry out my boots in between use. However, If you are putting on wet boots, this is where the hot water comes in to play. Also, for those double session days try putting a plastic (safeway) bag over your hands and feet when re-suiting up. This will help you slide in to an already been used, wet wetsuit much easier.

Here in the NW, we learn things the hard way! This is all lived and learned type info that I am sharing with you. I hope it's useful.

Kenny teaches SUP during the summer at the Oregon Surf Shop in Lincoln City, Oregon