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, January 13, 2015

Easy Surfboard, SUP or Kayak Rack Pads

1" Diameter Foam

I'm a big fan of simplicity and keeping things affordable.  Here in Seattle in the land of REI and other big outdoor companies we are car rack happy. Daily you'll see tons of rocket boxes, every type of rack accessory on one rack and SUP and kayak racks squeezed on one car.  When I started kayaking in 2000 I got the Yakima Hully Rollers which were cool. Then I started to get into whitewater and surf kayaking. Those boats have planning hulls (flat bottomed) which didn't fit well in the half circle kayak cradle shape.  So I got the Yakima Kayak Stackers, the vertical metal posts which allow for ww and surf boats to be stacked on their sides. When I added SUPs in 2007ish, these stacked flat on one side tied to the cross bar while my ww, surf kayaks or sea kayaks stacked on their sides attached to the kayak stackers on the other side. Eventually SUP usage outweighed kayak usage and the towers went away.

14 years after adding a rack to my car I'm now just using two cross bars. They are the longest version so I can carry 8 boards for big tours and such (length to side mirror ends).  I did go through a period of using fabric pads on the cross bars. Most had brand or shop names printed on the pad but I chose not to advertise other's businesses on my business vehicle. Now I pad them with Insulation foam bought for $1.79 at hardward stores. The tubes slide on easy which I secure with black electral tape or in the below pics, thin bungy cord.  They last a good 6 months of heavy use, and are super easy to replace.  Pool noodles are also a great option over your cross bars but those are hard to find here in the non summer seasons.

Another advantage of this type of rack is that you can use it for other purposes. SUP and kayak racks limit your roof usage for carrying other items.

Here's a few pics of how I attach the insulation foam.  For Yakima cross bars I get the 1" diameter insulation foam. I'm able to use one piece end to end on each cross bar, attaching electrical tape or thin bungy every 1' or so.  If you add the tube in pieces, they will roll as you push your board or kayak on the car. This can help slide your craft on easier.

Bungy tied around foam. Ends will be cut off.

More Useful Rack Links Below!

Friday, January 2, 2015

How to do the Pivot Turn for SUP - Easily

How to do the Pivot Turn for SUP - Easily.

One of the most talked about and frustrating SUP techniques is the Pivot Turn.  If you're racing you may need to use it to go around buoys in a hurry. I use is in surf to turn quickly to catch waves and get back out after a ride before the next wave comes in. 

With friends and students, we also practice it often to see how high we can get the board out of the water before falling in.

Most Common Errors:

- Taking paddle blade out of the water after each stroke.
- Not bending knees.
- Stalling the paddle to regain balance.
- Not practicing enough. 
- Over use of the pivot turn for buoy turns. It's always the best way around. 

Safety Tips:
- Practice in deep water so you don't land on something.
- Don't fall with the board facing another paddler or dock - it'll shoot out!
- Fall flat on water spread eagle (or Hi-C plunge) style. This will prevent you from landing feet first on something underneath.
- Dress for immersion. It's more fun to fall if you're comfortable with the water temp. 
- Use a leash to prevent board from getting away from you when falling. It will shoot out!

Step by Step Technique: 
Surf style boards technique below. Longer boards to 17 feet or longer require walking back further to get the nose out. 

- Stand in middle of board with both feet facing forward (non surf stance).

- Place your paddle blade flat (power face up - back of paddle flat on surface) in the water next to you (middle of board). This provides stability.

- Keeping blade flat on water at your side - Slide or step one foot behind you about 6 inches. Then slide your other foot back parallel to the first.  Do this one more time - 6" (approx) for first, then second foot.  Notice how your board nose rises out of the water. 

- Keeping knees slightly bent, begin to turn the board with a forward or reverse sweep turn (side turn). Use a Sweeping Brace on your recovery back to the catch or nose of the board.
Spin the board in a 360.  Switch hands and try on the other side.

Watch how to do the basics of the Pivot Turn

Balance Tip: After you take a stroke, instead of taking the blade out of the water - rotate so it slides flat on the surface with the power face up (this is the Sweeping Brace) back to your starting point (catch) for the next stroke.  I use this regularly especially in bumpy water or surf. Video shows examples of the Sweeping Brace.

- With blade on water flat - Step one foot back another 6" or so rising the nose out further. Stay in this position, also called Surfer's Stance. Make sure each foot is on opposite sides of the center line. Bend you knees more to a squat (Note: lean into board as it raises out of the water). 

- Do the turn again, making sure to keep the blade flat on the water power face up during your recovery.  If you rest, keep blade flat on water. Taking it out to waist level means a swim.

Here's another video showing the turn at a faster pace

- Feeling tippy? Don't stall!  Keep the blade moving - either turning, or sweeping across surface of water.  Stay low too - don't raise your paddle above your head looking for stability. Staying low is more stable than rising up.  In unstable water note how surfers and river paddlers stay low.  

Now try to walk back further raising nose higher. The higher it goes the quicker you need to paddle and recover with the sweeping brace. Stay loose, knees bent, no stalling.  

Recover by walking back to the center of the board (handle) by staying low but paddling forward as you walk forward. Like riding a bike, stalling means falling.  Paddle forward or turn the board in circles as you step back to the center of the board.  

Important - Practice often!  We like to get the board as far out as possible then recover.  

Next Step - Turn backwards on board facing fin, then walk to nose to get fin out to spin around!  

Contact me if you have any questions! / 206.465.7167

How to Get on Your Paddle Board Near the Tail (back 1/3rd of board)

How to get on your SUP from the back end of the board, adjacent to the tail

New Zealand SUP instructor Stuart Murray showed me this method of getting on your board. For boards which have less volume in the tail, this is the easiest method of getting on after a fall.

Many struggle to get on their boards in the middle due to the higher volume - width and thickness. Most non inflatable boards have less foil (thickness) and width in the tail this making the tail section easier to get on top of with less effort.

There's two ways to get on using the tail - from the rear of the board, called the Cowboy Rescue (see here) and using the last 1/3rd of the board adjacent to the tail - See diagram below.

Step by Step Technique:
- Approach the board from the side, adjacent to the tail (see diagram above)

- Holding the paddle with the hand facing the nose, place both hands on the tail and lean onto it. On surf style boards you should easily push the tail into the water and slide or lean on the board with less effort.

Tip: Kick your feet behind you if you you're not on already and need an additional push or lift.  Kicking your feet lifts your body to the surface so you're pulling your body on over the surface of the water vs pulling up from underneath.

- Once half way on grab both rails with your hands to pull yourself on the deck towards the nose. Kick your feet in the water (vigorously) to assist in getting on.

Tip:  Wax your rails to create better grip for getting on.  We wax our rails especially when paddling in whitewater or surf where falling is common and we're getting back on in rough water.

Watch the Video here to learn how..