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, December 13, 2014

Gear I Use (for now)

Here's some of the gear I'm using now.  Things change as I find more suitable gear or change my methods of paddling.  I have some sponsorship items but use only what I find is the best gear for my needs vs using just what they send me.

BOARDS
Amundson Source 11-6 board
I'm 6-5 230lbs and like the thicker rails to displace my weight. I'm not into super tippy boards - would rather be stable and comfortable in standing vs always struggling to stand. The board's shape is good enough for some ripping but still tracks on flat water for paddling in a mile or so.  The ledge (indented) handle helps on long carries. I use this board for most body types for instruction.  I use their 11-10 for folks up to 300lbs and a friend's Hooked SUP by Alex Aguero for larger folks.

Imagine Surf Icon 11'
This is a fun one for surfing and ripping on river and surf waves.  Light to carry and just thick enough for my weight so I can move it around easily while staying stable in bumps.  I like pointy noses for cutting through waves paddling out or upwind.

2015-2016 Imagine Epoxy Boards
12-6 Mission, Icon (above), 14' Connector

2015-2016 Inflatables
For instruction and personal use this summer I'll be using the Imagine Mission 14', Rapidfire 9', Rapidfire 14' and Icon 11'. The 14' Connector is very fast yet nimble for my 6-5 frame.

17' and 18' Prototype Touring Boards
Working with shaper Sean Thomas of Echo Composites, we're designing a real touring SUP board with kayak style hatches and foot rudder. With a surf ski high volume nose for big water and incredible speed we're excited to take it to the next level. We'll run a Kickstarter campaign early 2015 to generate funds to take it to production. Contact me if interested in learning more. I use the boards on flat water, camping trips, downwinders, surf and river conditions or tidal rapids.

PADDLES
I use the Accent ProBolt for most of my paddling. It has a narrow blade width which is nice to my shoulders but plenty enough power.  A carbon paddle, its super light, has a comfortable hand grip and shaft.  Also durable, I've used it in rivers, tidal rapids, surf and drawing things in the sand for students.  It's also reasonable priced unlike many paddles of it's design.

WETSUITS
RipCurl 5/3 Dawn Patrol, back zip - Keeps me mostly dry on cold PNW days yet is very flexible and comfortable. The 3mm on the arms can get chilly so I add a polypro top under or a neoprene jacket top over for 20-30F weather. I just ordered a 5/4 FlashBomb from RipCurl for teaching, as I don't work as hard physically with beginning students thus get colder (in winter). Also trying BodyGlove suits this year.

ProMotion & RipCurl Hooded Vest
I'm a big fan of hooded vests. You can pull them over a back zip suit to prevent flushing in the neck area, wear under the suit on super cold days to boost core heat or add in summer with shorts to add some warmth up top.  If you get hot, slide the hood off or add when chilled. The ProMotion neoprene is nearly 2.5mm with a substantially warm hood.  The RipCurl vest has their #FlashBomb fleecy material which dries super quick but also adds warmth. Am trying the BodyGlove hooded vest.

Season5 top
I use this over my 5/3 suit on super cold days when I need the wind chill reduced. Or in summer as a solo top with shorts.  It cuts wind and is mostly waterproof yet very light.  I use the Season5 short for wearing under my 5/3 in really cold water and/or under shorts in summer 0n slightly chilled days.

GLOVES
Glacier fleeced lined gloves for winter. I get cold easily so these are great for super chilled days but not too bulky either.  Like most gloves they last about a season of heavy paddling.

NRS Mavericks Gloves - These are a great winter glove but not as warm as the Glacier glove above (for me). I use them in autumn and Spring or warmer winter days. They're waterproof and pretty comfortable.

BOOTIES
I'm a bit fanatical about booties.  I paddle in rocky areas often having to walk over barnacles, mussels and other bumpy sharp items.  So I like a flexible but thick sole to protect my feet. Feeling sharp gravel isn't fun.  Plus I can stick a nearly 90 degree (vertical) pivot turn with the shoe tread.  I use the NRS Shocksock and Freestyle Wet shoes.  Both are waterproof, warm as any surf style 5mm or 7mm bootie, comfortable and less expensive than some 7mm booties. I still use these in summer for protecting feet on our beaches. I can feel the board fine while watching the summer people with soft bare feet struggle to do it Maui style over rocky Puget Sound beaches.

In summer I use my older leaky NRS booties so I don't get too hot but still have the nice shoe tread for walking on rocky beaches or over pavement.

LEASHES
Currently using the NorthWater coiled leash for flat water days, a coiled Dakine SUP leash for flat water, river and small surf, then a Dakine straight leash for bigger surf (doesn't bounce back at me).

HELMET
Gath Surf Hat and Gedi.  Surf hat for medium easy surf or deep river current. The Gedi for heavy crazy surf and shallow rivers.  Super comfortable, flexible, ears remove on the Gedi, and affordable. Purpose of the helmet in surf is to prevent the board from cracking my skull when landing on my head.

FINS
I'm a big rubber fin fan.  Ya they shudder and flex but I'm not trying to break a speed record or am competing in world class events.  I can run them up on beaches, over kelp beds and they won't slice me in a wipeout.  My beginning students always drag fins, hit walls or steps walking in.  I use ProTek fins in the 9" for most paddling and a thruster set for rivers and surf.  Got one QR Quick Release fin for quick setup or to adjust on water.

DECK BAGS
To carry stuff on water such as a first aid kit, communication devices for lessons, or to have a place to remove clothing when hot, I use kayaking style deck bags.  Seattle Sports has a variety of ones to use but I use the Parabolic Deck Bag which is waterproof and slender shaped for letting water pass.  Attach to your board using Seattle Sports plugs or NRS (North Shore Inc) spectral loops.

LIFEJACKET - PFD
For summer and flat water paddles, I use the MTI Cascade.  It has a substantial but not bulky front pocket which I use to carry a power bar, knife, night light, VHF (tied in), etc. Under the pocket is a fleece lined hand warmer.  The PFD is light and comfortable.

For big water and river conditions, I use the Astral Green Jacket which has a built in 8' tow rope, quick release belt to attach the leash to in whitewater and a great but not bulky front pocket.

I rarely use C02 styles as the vest styles keep me warm here in our non tropical NW weather. But for freighter wave surfing we surf in location that is flat water and thus requires some sort of PFD to be legal.  So I use the MTI waist belt packs to surf in.  We also use these in instructor training courses to show how to fire them off, which I recommend prior to use.

TOW SYSTEMS
I teach thus I get people on the water who don't know their limits and may have to be towed to shore. You want good gear for this.  I use the NorthWater Regulation MicroTow and Micro Throw Line which is much smaller and was developed for SUPs..  It wraps comforably around my waist and has a short and longer tow option.  I prefer bags with a the open velcro bag so I can stuff it in quickly after a rescue, vs having to thread it in a small hole which takes time.

VEHICLE
My trusty 2006 Subaru Forester is holding up well at 155k miles. With an extended Yakima Rack on top, I can carry 8 boards on the freeway plus lots of gear inside.

Update 1/17 - The Forester rusted out in 2016, now on to a 2006 Subaru Outback.

Give me a holler if you have any questions on the above.  


My car overlooking the tidal rapids of Burrows Island, WA

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.





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