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, February 19, 2014

Got Slippery Rails? Wax it!

So you may think, why would I wax my rails of my SUP board?  

Whitewater SUP paddlers taught me to wax the rails to add grip for grabbing the board in the water.  If you fall off in current, surf, or high winds or have a broken leash, the board may slip right by you.  Waxed rails allow you to grab the board vs having it slip through your hands.

If you have a thick race or touring board, it may be difficult to climb onto. Wax will allow you to grab the rail and climb on easier.

Some displacement hulled boards have a carved out deck with raised rails.  Usually the raised rails aren't covered with traction pad.  Ever step on on and fall off?  It's as slippery as ice.  Wax the raised rails and you'll swim less.

Thanks to Adam at Leavenworth Mountain Sports for this tip.  They run the Wenatchee River in Class 2-3 on SUP all year. 

Slippery Deck?  
Some traction pads get slippery when wet or are worn out.  Wax your pad to add more traction.

Nose / Tail Waxing
Going surfing?  Most SUPs have traction pads only in the center of the board in the 'standing area.'  But if you want to walk to the nose to raise your tail/fin to ride that wave a little longer, you'll need to wax the nose.

Instructors Tip:  
I wax my instruction boards from nose to tail to help students walk all over the board to work on balance.  I have them walk to the nose then back the tail.  Placing a flat blade on the water at their side makes this a lot more stable.

What type of Wax to use?  Surfing wax. This provides traction whereas skiing wax is slippery.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SUP Tips - Avoid this!

Something to avoid while surfing a SUP - Avoid approaching your board from behind with your chin directly above the tail.  When the next wave comes pretty good chance the board will rise up and knock ya in the noggin!  Instead keep a slight distance away or approach the board from the side to rest or get back on.

Here's a sequence caught on GoPro after wiping out from a nice tug wave in Puget Sound.  There's no impact but you get the idea.. It was close!

Wipeout! Damn that was a good one. 
Holding onto tail...

Whammo! Board shoots directly out of water on incoming wave.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Trusting the Weather Forecast

Basic rule of thumb for boating and paddling - Never trust the weather forecast.  It's just a prediction, not actual reality.  Sometimes they nail it but many times they don't.

Today's forecast on Puget Sound is the following:

900 AM PST FRI FEB 7 2014


Reality - (now) from NOAA..

Wind Direction (WDIR):N ( 10 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind SpeedWind Speed (WSPD):17 kts
5-day plot - Wind GustWind Gust (GST):20 kts
5-day plot - Atmospheric PressureAtmospheric Pressure (PRES):29.87 in
5-day plot - Pressure TendencyPressure Tendency (PTDY):-0.09 in ( Falling Rapidly )

The last part (above) showing air pressure from a barometer basicly means it's going get much stronger within 2-3hrs.  So possibly up to 30kt gusts.  What is air pressure and how does a barometer work?  Take a peek Here.

That's why it's a smart idea to double check conditions before going out especially if you're teaching a class.  Check with a real time weather station such as NOAA and/or webcam, then go check it in person.  It is a go or a cancel?  Classic poor judgement - We're here anyway, so lets just go!   My rule of thumb is to stay off the evening news (unless it's good PR).