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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Ultimate Search for Stoke.. Invasion from Planet C

A friend named his business after a movie he calls the "best surf flick ever made."  Invasion from Planet C is about two Earthings (I think) on the planetary search for the ultimate stoke.  Check it out, definitely worth a visit..

Invasion from Planet C 

My friend's business is Stoke Harvester, an online surf shop.  Read his interview of Mike Black, 'brainchild behind the movie', Here.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Surf in the NW..

Last night was my first session surfing in WA State this year where my 4/3 was too warm.  I had to slip in a few times to cool off.  Great session with only four of us in the water.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

River SUP 101 with Nikki Gregg

Here's expert SUP paddler Nikki Gregg with a few basic tips for running rivers..

Brief Summary:
- Learn to paddle first on flat water.
- Learn the river. Scout before getting on the water. Ask local shops about hazards
- Take a whitewater / river SUP or whitewater class to learn to read and run rivers.
- Use the proper gear - helmet, PFD (vest), quick release belt for your leash, wet or drysuit, booties with grip to climb over rocks, optional shin pads, hydration, leash, plastic or inflatable board, rubber fins, fiberglass paddle.

- Use your eddies, know how to paddle in and out of eddies.
- Learn to ferry across the river or in between eddies.
- Attach the leash to your waist quick release belt. Only wear on deep rivers to avoid entanglement with rocks underneath. Some don't wear them on shallow rivers.  Never wear a leash on your ankle.
- Never go alone and go with someone you trust.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Reduce Flutter with a Dihedral Paddle Blade

Have you ever noticed your paddle blade fluttering through the water as you're taking your stroke?  This is common with paddle blades where the power face is completely flat.  Flutter is not only inefficient, but it can also lead to stress and tendinitis in your hand and wrist.  

Dihedral blades have a raised edge align with the paddle shaft leading through the middle of the blade and  flattening just before the blade's top edge.  This edge, much like a boat or board's bow, splits the water as it comes in contact with the blade allowing the blade to move smoothly through the water.  

Sore Wrists, Elbows, or Shoulders? Some Solutions..

A neighbor called today complaining of a sore hand, he thinks due to his SUP paddling. I offered some tips on relieving or better yet, preventing pain.

  • Always use the lightest grip possible on the paddle.  Lower hand should resemble the OK sign, upper thumb should hook the t-grip with gently resting the rest of the hand on top.  Wrist and forearms should be in align, not cocked at an angle.  Both hand.
  • Straight ish arm stroke revieves pressure from your hands.
  • Relax!  Even when you’re going faster or are rushing, chill.. Relax you’ll go faster doing so.
  • Get a bent shaft paddle. Werner has 2 which make your forearm/wrists straight without having to think about doing it.  
  • How heavy is your paddle?  Get carbon, super light. Paddle weight adds stress to your arms, shoulders, etc.  
  • Buy a dihedral blade.  Dihedral blades reduce flutter while you're pulling the blade through the water.  Dihedral is the raised line that follows past the shaft and onto the power face of your blade.  This splits the water in two directions - like a pointed board or boat bow.  In turn it helps reduce stress on your wrist and arms. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Blame it on Jaws (not Laird)..

In teaching I come across a lot of different types of people.  One thing that has come to my attention lately are folks who have various anxieties about water, being on the water, or with paddling.  Here's a few of the most common I've experienced at recent paddling festivals or in my lessons..

- Being scared of the water.
- I don't go out on water where I can't see the bottom.
- I don't have good balance.  
- I don't like to get my feet wet.
- I can't swim.
- I don't like sharks.
- You won't be able to teach me.  or..  I'll be your worst student.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

SUP Death on the River.. When to Wear a Leash

Last weekend a woman drowned when her leash got snagged on a tree on the Chetco River near Brookings, Oregon. Story Here.

River SUP is certainly a hoot, but it's also very dangerous.  Good river SUP instruction is required before hitting the water.  Leashes are catch 22. They can keep you from losing your board in a fall but also can create a major issue if it gets caught on a log, branch, or rock.

A Few River Hazards:
- Strainers: Logs or branches in the river. Water runs under these and you can get trapped if you try to paddle near, on, or under.  I've heard a few sketchy stories from friends over the years who have barely escaped strainers.

- Pins:  When a paddler's boat or board gets lodged in between rocks or logs.  We lost a good friend and river instructor a few years ago on the Green River in WA State when he was pinned upside down.

The Problem with Leashes:
Leashes can certainly prevent from getting separated from your board on a river, but they can also lead to other issues.  Leashes can in the case of the gal mentioned above get caught on logs, branches, and rocks. When they do, they can pull you under making it nearly impossible to release from you.

When to Wear a Leash:
On Class 1 (slow rivers) and Class 2+ with no wood (logs) and few rock gardens.

How to Wear your Leash:  
On your waist attached to a quick release belt of your PFD (Type 3) or by a quick release belt with a fastex bucket around your waist. In this way, you have two ways to release the leash from you in case of a pin or other incident.  It make sure the velcro pull tab attached to me is on the outside of my PFD quick release belt, so a pulling down motion will release it.  NEVER WEAR A LEASH ON YOUR ANKLE ON A RIVER.  If your foot gets caught you most likely won't be able to release the leash.  If you're swimming and your leash gets caught by a branch or similar, you won't be able to separate yourself from it and it can pull you under in current.

Straight vs Coiled Leash:
Straight leashes will drag behind your board catching things below the water.  Coiled leashes can catch branches and rocks when you're off the board.

No Leash?
Sometimes it's a good option particuliarly if you have class 1 sections below the area you're playing in or in between rapids.

Recommended River SUP Instruction:
- Otter Bar Lodge, Northern California.
- Dan Gavere, SUP Instruction.
- Adam McKenney, Leavenworth Mountain Sports.
- Strongwater Sports, Montana.