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, March 31, 2014

SUP Business Consultant - Starting a Biz?

Thinking of starting a SUP business?  I can help.  

Recently I convinced two paddlers who are starting SUP businesses to not buy a trailer.  Both were in the process of buying a trailer to carry boards before having a business license, a location to teach at, and any customers.  My thinking - I can carry 10 boards on my Subaru Forester rack and would rather spend my money on marketing, branding and getting new customers.  If successful and I need more boards, then I'll consider a trailer if it makes sense.

Long story.. if you're starting a SUP business, or thinking of it, I can help. As an SUP guidebook author, paddle sports industry magazine writer, SUP instructor since 2010 (kayak instructor since much earlier) and founder/co-director of the PSUPA I'm in touch with SUP (and kayak) businesses everywhere and have in the short time SUP has been around, seen many go under.

I'll give you your first ten minutes free, but I do charge for consulting with businesses and individuals as phone time can take one to several hours of time.  But I'll follow up with a summary of what we discussed and additional resources to help you along.

Common Questions:
- Do I need a trailer?
- Should I do an LLC, sole proprietorship or?
- What to put on my business card?
- How do I choose my business name?
- How do I choose and find my website url? Lessons learned - how to avoid this:
- What about insurance?
- I want to start a SUP rental biz - Where do I do it, how to set it up?
- SUP Yoga is hot, I love yoga but am not a certified trainer, can I teach it?
- Where do I find boards, paddles and other gear?
- Type 3 vest PFDs vs inflatable? Inflatable boards vs hard/epoxy?
- Any tips for starting a SUP rental business?
- Should my staff be certified?

Cheers.. Rob

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

GoPro Paddle Mounting Tips from Pro Naish SUP Surfer Kai Lenny

Check out this useful video from GoPro featuring SUP pro Naish surfer Kai Lenny talking about GoPro paddle mounting tips. A lot of friends mount their GoPros this way for fun overhead shots of surfing and other activities SUP'ing..

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tying a Paddle Board (SUP) to Your Car

How to video here:

There's several ways to tie a board to your car.  In this video I'm showing how to tie a single surf style board to a car using cam straps.  In future videos I'll cover how to tie down race boards, multiple boards, using different types of straps and ropes.

My Set-up:
I have Yakima racks as I prefer the round bars because my pads roll when I push a SUP or kayak on from the rear.  As an instructor, I load anywhere from one to 8 boards on my racks depending on the class size.  The cross bars allow me to load a variety of boards, both displacement and surf style, and on occasion mixing in kayaks too. For large loads of 8 boards, I have 68' wide bars - no wider than my side mirrors. I have two stacks of 4 boards, each secured separately. Some ask why I don't have a trailer. I teach a lot in public places so I don't want to have to park it, back it up or store it at home.  The Subaru works for me.

Pads for the Rack:
- Pipe insulation tubes are super cheap and effective.  Secure every 1 food with electrical tape.
- Surfboard pads which wrap around the bars work well.
- Some SUP board traction pads are good enough against the bars.

Which Way to Place Board?
- Nose forward. I see it as wind similar to water flowing past the nose may be more efficient?
- I put my fins down over the windshield otherwise the board rocker prevents me from getting in the back hatch.  Or remove fins, but either way, deck up is easier - for me.
- If I do go fin up, it's because I'm stacking boards with multiple fins, offsetting each.
- The cool surfer way is fins up and forward. The idea being if the straps are loose, your fins will catch the strap.  My thinking - don't have loose straps.
- If going on a long drive, I'll push the nose of my board back where the roof meets the windshield for  wind resistance.  If so, I'll put a red flag on the end.

Cam Straps
I use cam straps from two companies, Seattle Sports and Mile22.  Those pictured in this video are from Seattle Sports.  I prefer straps with a rough texture to the fabric so the buckle clamps more securely.  Sometimes but not often, the metal buckles slide, so in the detail clip at the end of the video, you can see that I'm tying an addition knot at the buckle in case of failure.

Mile 22's straps are 2" wide and have a plastic buckle that doesn't ding my board or car when I throw it over.  I use these straps for big loads, 3 or more boards.

Ropes are fine if you use climbing rope or similar thickness.  Learn the trucker's hitch to secure them down then do an additional knot to prevent slippage. My shipwright friends can tie their boards down with one long rope.

A Few Tips:
- Do a shake test of your rack system before putting boards on.  Shake vigorously.
- Put straps on first, then boards.
- Make sure no one is on the other side of the car when you throw the straps over. Ouch!
- If windy, bunch the strap to hurl it over.  Also secure one side to prevent board from flying off if you're not ready to do both - are just hanging out, or doing other tasks.
- Twist the straps if in open air sections or on a concave deck, otherwise it'll buzz on the road.
- Always do a shake test before leaving. Push/Shake both the sides and tail/nose.
- After a few miles, do another shake test. Twisted straps can stretch on the road.
- End ties?  Maybe for displacement boards 14' or longer. But two middle straps should do it.
- If your buddy is in the process of tying down a board, ask how they want it done. Everyone's way is he right way. Seen a few quarrels here.

Thanks for reading!  More Links below about Racks from us..

Fins up, and offset

2 sets of four, long bars

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

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Freighter Wave Surfing Class in Seattle, March 21

We're in full on Freighter Wave Surfing season and have had some fun classes in recently weeks.  Here's my class yesterday in Seattle..

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Learn About the Parts of a SUP Paddle

Here's the first of a series of technique and gear video I'm working on.

You'll learn about:
- The parts of the paddle.
- Adjustable paddles.
- Paddle blade widths.

You'll be surprised how many people I come across who don't know which way the paddle faces in the water.  Hopefully this helps make sense of things..

Upcoming Videos:
- Lifejackets for SUP.
- How to use a Type 5 Inflatable PFD.
- Sizing a paddle - issues of a paddle to short or too long.
- Paddling out in surf.

Thanks for watching!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why You Should Wear Your Leash

Everyone loves paddle boarding because of it's apparent simplicity. It's not uncommon to see folks in open water without a lifejacket and leash.  I've seen friends downwind in 30 knots of wind over a mile off shore without both.  Why would you need it anyway? Nothing's going to happen to me!

Until it does.  And sh.. does and has happened.  Here's a story of a prone paddle boarder in Southern California who went out in big winds without a leash.  He fell, lost his board and friends, then had to swim two miles to shore, ending up 4 miles from his starting point.  Improving his chances for survival he was in 61F water, had a wetsuit on, and obviously was a strong swimmer.

A few other thoughts which could've helped out..
- Wear your leash.  Unfortantly not required by the Coast Guard yet it should be.  There's few situations where you wouldn't want one. Fall in, what does the board do 50% of the time - take off. Don't like it on your board? Attach it to your PFD straps.  Some downwind paddlers use two leashes.

- VHF radio to call the Coast Guard or paddle partners (providing they have one too). The small Icom is waterproof and floats.  Attach it to you with a short string.  You can also use the VHF to check marine weather and call for other boats.  If in serious trouble, call out a Mayday twice, wait for a few minutes, then again. More here:

- Make sure you never lose sight of your fellow paddlers.  At what point did they realize he was missing?  Can be tough in 30kts but not impossible.  His buddies are solid paddlers but are they trained to save him offshore in case of an injury or a long swim - hauling him back to shore on a narrow prone board or downwind/race SUP..

- PFD - Lifejacket.  Another uncool item to wear but required by the CG in everywhere except surf zones or lifeguard protected swim areas.  Bonk your head on the board, injure your arm.. a vest style Type 3 is on you, good to go.  On the board? Can u get it off in time while holding onto your paddle and board?  Type 5 inflatables are better than nothing. Know how to use it.  Check to make sure your C02 cartridge is properly attached before leaving shore.
*In the case of the article, if he had fatigued or cramped while swimming, a PFD will keep him afloat.

- Check your colors.  If in heavy wind or surf, wearing white will make it hard for your buddies to see you.  Paddling at dusk? Consider light colors.  Get a PFD with reflective striping.

- Waterproof light.  What if it got dark on him?  A bright light would've make him visible to searchers.  There's several on the market which are small and durable. Check batteries before leaving shore.

- Gear check on shore.  Got my leash? Fin in securely?  Everyone's radio's working and in synch with the same channel?  Hydration?  Backup plan if you miss the first take-out?

Check it out..