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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

SUP & Kayak Rescue Clinic, Deception Pass State Park, WA 12/3

Learn how to rescue a SUP or kayak from various types of human powered watercraft. The clinic will be held with others on Dec 3rd on Bowman Bay in Deception Pass State Park in Washington State. The clinic is Free. Dec 4th is the Deception Pass Dash, a 6 mile all watercraft race through the swift tidal currents of Deception Pass.

12/3 - 2pm: Rescue practice, for the Dash safety team and all interested observers & participants. Led by Bob Burnett of Dash Sponsor Rogue Wave Adventures and Rob Avery of Valley Kayaks, plus SUP author and Dash Sponsor Rob Casey, this quick refresher will build the skills to assist racers in trouble, whether they’re paddling kayaks, outriggers, SUPs, or surfskis. Jump in your boat or watch from the pier.

More info..Here.

Sign-up for the Dash, more info.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wood Strip Built Kits for SUP

I posted this on as well..

Wood Strip Built Kits for SUP:
(If you know of others, please send my way, thanks!)

Fiberglass Supply has a few, one designed by Tim NIemier the founder of Ocean Kayaks..

Chesapeake Light Craft,
This one is sweet, a guy uses it in the 13m Round the Rock race annually in Seatle,

Wood Surfboard Supply:

Paul Jenson's Hollow Surfboards,

2 YouTube build yourself'ers..

Kinda traditional with rigid insulation foam and glass, my homemade 15':


Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Love Webcams!

Back 'in the day', if you wanted to really know what's going on out there, you'd scan the horizon for weather changes, listen to the weather radio, head to your local break for a peek, or here in the Pacific NW, bite the bullet and drive 3-5 hours to the coast and hope for the best. Sometime in the mid 1990's, thanks to the internet, webcams began to give us a window into local or even international locations without leaving your comfy chair at home. Since the cams don't cover all spots or angles, you still have to do your homework for many spots.

I use webcams to confirm if all the surf forecasts sites are correct, what the tide and wind levels are doing, and for fun, poking around to see what's breaking in Hawaii, Socal, etc. Some webcams allow you to change the angle, and one, Race Rocks near Victoria BC allows you to do that and have live audio, pretty cool.

Here's a few webcams I use often...

Seattle Webcam:
Living in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, I regularly paddle to the West Point Lighthouse, part of Discovery Park. This cam is run by a guy living south of the point. It has to be refreshed manually. Imagine the entire left side of the screen completely dry from extreme low tides in summer. I can also watch freighter and wind waves break off the point or spot a friend padding out there.

I use the following NOAA link to check weather for that location. NOAA has a tower at West Point.

Statewide Road and Mountain Cams for WA State, courtesy of the WSDOT:

Olympic Peninsula, WA State:
This site includes cams for La Push (fun winter surf watching); Port Angeles, Port Townsend, the Sol Duc River, Victoria, and Hurricane Ridge,

SurfWa, this is a good one for surf reports, buoy readings and cams,

Big Wave Dave, located in British Columbia, has several marine BC cams which are fun if you're looking for local wind and wave conditions. They cover the inside, and southern sides of Van Island, aDeep Cove in North Vancouver (Mainland), and Hawaii.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Great article on Inflatable SUPs....

Check out the pros and cons of inflatable SUPs on Casey Gotcher's site, SUP Gladiator, a good read.. Here

The Alsternixe - Shipwreck off Oregon 1903

Surfing (not the right kind) the internet the other day, I came across a great NW Surfing blog, "Surf in Oregon". Scrolling down, I was excited to find a posting on a shipwreck which I happen to have a picture of on my office wall which I found at an Antique Mall. It's the story of the Alsternixe, a German bark which ran aground SW off Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the Columbia River which separates Washington from Oregon. More here...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Homemade GoPro Kayak Mount

while on the annual Canoe Kayak Magazine raft / kayak trip down the remote Middle Fork Salmon River last May, everyone was covering their trip with various camera systems, from digital SLR's and point and shoots, to GoPro's attached to helmets and boats. Halfway into the trip, Managing Editor Dave Shively came up with an 'in the field homemade' GoPro rig attached to his whitewater boat which surprisingly stayed on. Classic...

More pics from our adventure on the Middle Fork..Here.

Thinking Outside the Box for Finding Paddling Gear

Before the SUP craze, if you wanted a full surfing wetsuit, you went to a surf shop. If you wanted a Kokatat drysuit, you went to a kayak shop. One of the cool things about the SUP thing is that kayak shops now sell and rent SUPs, and some surf shops now have paddles and other cross over gear. Nonethless, I still sometimes have to search for specific gear or brands I like. Over the years, I've learned that not all paddling specific gear works for me, thus i need to look outside of the box for solutions. All your gear preferences should be personal - what works for you - not what is trendy, or what your peers say you must have. Here's some gear I like, and how I came to find it...

When I need to replace a pair of paddling gloves, I go to Swain's Hardware in Port Angeles, WA for the fleece lined 'Pro Hunter Gloves' made by Glacier Gloves. In surf shops, similar gloves are $40, at Swain's - $19. And they're (for me) warmer than many of the winter paddling gloves on the market. For SUP my gloves last over a year, but I seem to destroy my gloves while kayaking much sooner.

Kayak / SUP Rack Pads:
I use pipe insulation foam, that grey stuff. Pops right on most round bars. I secure it with a matching or similar electrical tape. It lasts over a year easy. Find it in hardware stores.

Something to stand on when getting dressed:
I've seen all sorts of ideas for something to stand on when getting dressed in parking lots. Some use their plastic bucket lids, some use the plastic bucket itself, and I use a foam camping pad cut to size. A used outdoor store had the pads on sale for $9. Got 3 squares out of it.

Paddling Light:
I do a lot of night paddles or during winter, I may get off the water just after dark. For years, I've used the Guardian LED waterproof light which is tiny, can clip or be tied onto almost any garmet, and is super bright. I attach mine to the upper rear shoulder of my PFD so I can access it easily. Some bicycle lights are super bright. Make sure they're 100% waterproof, 'water resistent' doesn't work if you're getting wet. Pelican and Princetec waterproof lights have some good options as well.

Are you a SUP'er looking for gear but can't find it?
Kayak stores have great cross-over gear. Kokatat has great full and half hoods which are very wind resistent, fleece lined, yet lighter than most surfing hoods. You'll find full type 3 lifejackets (PFDs) there as well, usually in several brands. Kayak booties are usually sturdier and with better foot support than surfing booties. They're designed for whitewater boaters who climb over boulders to get to rivers - thick soles, ankle support, etc.

Many who come from kayaking usually wear only drysuits for paddling. I did the same for some time but later found full surfing wetsuits to be more affordable, less mainenance, and just as warm. Before my SUP period, I began to test some kayaking style wetsuits. Reed ChillCheeter makes some bomber hoods and full suit options, but for me, didn't quite cut it for a full suit. Then I tried the good ol' farmer john which many whitewater boaters still use. But that didn't quite cut it as well - too wet. Finally I went to a local surf shop (the former Cheka Looka in Seattle) and Jeff Abondonato set me up with a Xcel Infinity 4/3 full surfing wetsuit. After some paddles, rolling practice, etc - the search ended. I found this type of wetsuit has superb flexiblity, is plenty warm for full immersion, and require no maintainence aside from the normal cleansing of saltwater. Price $350-$450 vs $600-$1k for a good drysuit. The Merino wool-lined Patagonia's are around $550. I now use my wetsuit for kayaking and SUP. You can layer them as well. In windchill below 30F, I may put a Gortex paddling jacket over the suit and/or wear a capeline or polypro shirt under.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Carrying a one piece paddle in your car

Ever struggle with how to carry a one piece paddle in your car? Being tall, my Werner Nitro is 86" long and can be in the way if I place it between the front seats or on the side of either one. I can't always attach it to the rack if I have a full load of boards and/or kayaks. If I can attach it to the rack, there's the security issue.

Over the summer I figured a way to attach the paddle to the 'oh shit bar' with bungy or long velcro strips so the paddle is flush against the ceiling of the car and out of the way. If secured well, the paddle doesn't slide or rattle while driving.

1/1/17 Update: I now string a car rack strap tight between the two 'oh shit bars'. Stuffing the paddle handle over the strap allows me to place it anywhere on the ceiling, (left to right).  

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, November 16, 2011

Skookumchuck - Tidal Rapids in BC

5 hours north of Seattle is Sechelt Inlet and the tiny hamlet of Egmont. A short walk or paddle east of the town is a bottleneck in Sechelt Inlet called Skookumchuck Rapids. This is saltwater whose current can run up to 16 knots and changes directions 3 times a day. If you're unfamiliar with tidal rapids - this is fast, very fast. Some say if you touch the water, if feels like concrete passing underneath you. The rapids can one some days be waist high, and on others overhead - imagine a standing wave peeling and sometimes curling above your head moving at 16 knots - epic. The wave has been popular with whitewater kayakers for years. Sea kayakers have given it a go in recent years, and finally in early 2011 SUPs from I believe Deep Cove Kayak in Vancouver BC began to surf it.

Much like any river, you need to ferry across a thick eddy line (or eddy fence) to get to the 'sweet spot' of the wave. The first wave is prefered, the 2nd is ok, but those in the wave train behind begin to get pretty messy. If you blow your roll or fall off your board, you may have a 1/2 mile ride down the inlet til you can gain control, get into the eddy and slowly paddle back. Many have not been able to paddle back and have had to be rescued by passing fishing boats.

Other tidal known rapids nearby in BC are Oskillo Rapids and Seymore Rapids. There's actually quite a few more, mostly smaller or less powerful. 1.5 hrs from Seattle is Deception Pass State Park which at it's max can run up to 10kts. On a west swell or wind opposing an ebb, standing waves from 2' to 8' can appear. Check my YouTube page for kayak footage of this effect. Even in South Puget Sound last summer, I came across Woodward Bay by Olympia which on the flood created a narrow rush of current under a bridge. I had a good time eddying out, ferrying across, and getting a few 360s in with the sea kayak.

Not much SUP footage exists of 'Skook', but here's one from the Hurrican Riders, a BC based kayaking/sup group.

Luke Hopkins surfing Skook on an Uli, Here.

Also check out Jeff Burlingham of Medford, Oregon ripping in his Wold Surf Kayak at Skook a few years ago. This is some of the best Skook footage i've seen, nothing short of epic.

Pic of Warren Williamson and Reg Lake in Sterlings Kayaks on Skook..

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Make Your Own SUP

Can't afford the new Bark Dominator? Maybe you want something to paddle that's not in the marketplace? Maybe you're a craft person and would rather just build your own? Whatever your motivation is, you can make your own SUP (or kayak) quite easily. Kelvin Hummeny in Vernon BC made his own from cedar. A master craftsman, he has made 2 hollow SUPs, a 12-6 and the other I believe is 14' or 16'. Over the summer I came across a board made from fabric wrapped over a wood frame, and a few friends have made boards from the traditional epoxy over foam.

In my case, I was influenced by surf kayakers on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State who have been making their boats from pink and blue rigid insulation foam. Local legendary whitewater and surf paddler Gary Korb pioneered the process for our region and has built several boats for friends influencing others to try it themselves. Ken Debondt, also of Port Angeles makes waveskis. An artist, his skis are beautifully finished with his paintings or custom artwork. See a few of his customs Here.

Over a year ago, I decided to give this a whirl myself and built a 15' SUP. Wanting something fast, I chose a displacement hulled Bark Competitor / Dominator nose with some 'Vee' to be more efficient in the water. But being a sea kayaker, I wanted to use a sweeping bow instead of the standard plum or inverted race/touring style SUP nose. In my logic, the common racing SUP bows are great in smaller chop or flat water, but in big waves they tend to stab the wave thus slowing your forward momentum. Sea kayak designs used the same bow in the 1980's but later realized that sweeping bows go over waves - not through them, thus keeping speed up and pearling less when surfing waves.

The board ended up being too narrow for my 6'-5" 230lbs frame but I've become more or less used to it. Recently, I carved a hatch into the nose to store gear and glued on a 4" SeaDog screw on hatch cover. It's an ugly duckling being I'm definitely not a craftsman, but it's fast, and I've actually beat several paddlers on Barks and similar boards in races. The interior is blue rigid insulation foam, exterior is 2 layers of 5oz S glass with a few patches of glass here and there to fill in my glassing mistakes. The foam comes in 1" and 2" thick sheets, are 24" wide, and 8' long. I epoxy the sheets together flat into two blocks, then attach the blocks together with wooden dowels which are inserted in drilled holes, then epoxied in. If you want it wider, you have to attach foam to the sides. Rigid foam is closed cell so it leaks less if you get a ding than traditional white foam. Shaping is done normally with sanding blocks, a saw or hotwire for cutting, etc. Kayak designer Sterling Donaldson in Bellingham, WA recommended using foam to shape foam.

I ended up cutting it wrong and it tends to go left, oh well, next time. The advantage is in races I can paddle on one side and when others are switching sides - I move forward a bit, yet get burned out on that side after some distance.

Since my board is unfinished, I can keep experimenting with it without worry about cosmetic issues. I may carve out the deck 1" for more stability and thus are waxing it now instead of putting on a pad. I have found out not having a pad makes my feet sore after an hour or so.
I also want to make it a pintail as I rarely use the tail in paddling (aside from the rare extreme pivot turn), thus could lose a bit and maybe gain a dash of speed.

Pacific NW Surf Artists - John Holm and Todd Fischer

Up here in the usually chilly water of the Pacific NW, we have two incredible surf artists who paint both familiar local surfing scenes as well as images from warmer places where we'd rather be after a long cold winter. John Holm is a long time commercial film director having spent part of his life in Hawaii, LA, and more recently Port Townsend, WA on the Olympic Peninsula.

Todd Fischer resides on Shine Road on the north end of the Hood Canal Bridge also on the Olympic Peninsula.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Headed to Maui? Want to Rent a SUP? Some tips..

On Facebook recently I inquired on where to rent SUP in Maui. I got an overwhelming response, here's the results...

- Naish Pro Center in Kahului,
- Goofy Foot Surf School in Lahina
- Hi Tech (near airport)
- Maui Wave Riders (on corner across from cove). Ask for Karen & Monica.
- 808 Boards,

A few months ago, Dave Kalama mentioned to me that thefts have been on the rise for SUPs on Maui. Make sure you bring along a good lock! See my posting on SUP & Kayak Security, Here.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Peanut Butter Coast: Flash Bomb

Peanut Butter Coast: Flash Bomb: We all hate wet wetsuits. They're cold, uncomfortable and a bitch to get back on. To remedy this issue, the guys from Rip Curl have been ...

(Not to mentioned sweet surfing footage of British Columbia)RC

Friday, November 4, 2011

NSI "Add a Blade" Paddle Accessory for SUP

Ever wished you could bring an extra break down kayak paddle with you on long trips with your SUP? A double bladed paddle is great for paddling upwind for long distances or for those who choose to sit down on their boards for adaptive paddling or fatigue.

NSI (North Shore Inc.) has a great add-on paddle blade that can be strapped to the handle of your SUP shaft. The blade can be stored on your deck via tie-downs when not on use.

Here's the product link: