Wayback To 2007

As ubiquitous as Standup Paddle boards are today, it’s hard to believe that the sport is more or less only six or seven years old. Yeah, Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama were doing it earlier, and so were a bunch of guys in California. And lets not forget Pops Ah Choy, John Zabotocky, lots of Waikiki beach boys shooting tourist photos and thousands of Hawaiians who undoubtedly took a canoe paddle onto their surfboards over the last thousand or so years. But the refined sport it is today started in 2006.

About that time I started a blog called Ponohouse, and one of the articles was a collaborative effort to help people learn how to do this new sport. I called it Stand Up Paddle 101, and hundreds of people added to the article with comments that I integrated into the text, and some that stood alone–about 300 of them.

Unfortunately the Ponohouse blog got zapped when I migrated to a new server a few years ago. Some day when I have some time and I’m feeling tranquil I’ll try to restore it, but it’s an undertaking I’m unlikely to enjoy. In the meantime, the web is archived, so for you historic pleasure, and perhaps a bit of edification, here’s a cut and paste from the Wayback machine. One of things that really cracked me up was in the first paragraph I confess to being clueless about paddles and paddle design. A few years later I founded Ke Nalu paddles. I guess old dogs CAN learn new tricks.


This is a collaborative document. Please add your comments to this posting

I’m evolving this posting to be more wiki-like. I’m working on a table of contents with topics linked to the specific area. In many of these areas I have limited knowledge–for example, paddle design and choosing a paddle–I’ve created them as holders for people like you to contribute to the general knowledge

If you’re beginning stand up surfing then I suspect you’ll find this very helpful. There are several other postings that are almost as useful. I have changed the posting dates so they all appear first.

To all of you regular commenters–if you register I’ll set you up with full posting rights–you can edit this document, add pictures and video, create your own posts and pages, etc.

The idea is to build a collaborative document that will reflect the knowledge of anyone that has something to contribute. I’d like to include your perspectives. They don’t have to carefully written, just informative. I’ll edit and polish to make the document readable. I’ll also keep changing the timestamp to move it to the top as I make changes.

You don’t have to register to post comments–though I would be nice so I know who to credit.

This article is built in five major sections with dozens of subsections:

  • Introduction–cautions and precautions
    • Etiquette
  • Gear–Available boards and why you would choose them
    • Board Tests
    • Board Theory
    • Paddle tests
    • Paddle Theory
    • Building a Wood Paddle
    • Adding handles and tie downs
  • Getting up–Standing on your board, paddling, balance, turning techniques
    • Standing
    • Turning
    • Distance Paddling
    • Board Trimming
    • Paddling technique
  • Surfing–How to catch waves and some techniques for riding them

We’ll add more sections and/or subdivide those sections as necessary. Let’s start.

In just three short weeks you can stand up surf like this!! Yeah, right.


Giampaolo gets the BEST photos–and he does it with just a point and shoot camera. His blog is a daily imperative. This is Laird Hamilton on a whacky Ho’okipa wave in howling Kona winds. Photo courtesy of MauiSurf/windsurf forecast, Giampaolo Cammarota


I am wildly underqualified to instruct anyone on Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Surfing. I’m a beginner–a little ahead of you if you start today. And that’s exactly why a beginner may find this very valuable–you’re going to have the same problems I do. some of the people that add information to this document are extremely well qualified, and so even advanced surfers and SUP wizards may find value.

Introduction–Cautions and Precautions

Special thanks to Blane Chambers at Paddle Surf Hawaii for reminding me I needed to add this section. Blane has very useful sections on his website with instruction in both basic and advanced technique.

Before you start paddle surfing you need to assess your swimming skills and your ability to handle yourself and your board in surf. Any watersport is dangerous, and good swimming skills are a necessity, even if you only do standup on flat water and lakes.

Leash: Your choice of leash or no leash is personal, and depends on whether or not you think you’re better off tied to a twelve foot board in the surf. Personally, I wear them. Even on a lake. When you fall you often give the board a kick that sends  it zooming away. Then the substantial freeboard gives the wind something to push against and suddenly you’re all alone. In waves it’s even easier to be abandoned by your board. I had to swim in from the outer reef at Kanaha when my leash parted one morning last summer. It was after noon before I hit sand. Long morning.

Lifejacket: It’s not unreasonable to wear kayak-style lifejacket. The inflatable kind that are almost as narrow as a pair of suspenders are really handy. Some of the best big wave surfers in the world wear them today. Yes, you’ll look stupid, but you’ll be alive and stupid, not dead and cool.

Be aware of the wind and currents, you can easily be blown to sea by an offshore wind or find yourself fighting a powerful current. Start your learning experiences where there are lifeguards, and it’s highly recommended to have someone on the shore that’s paying attention to where you are and whether you are screaming or not.

When you are beginning, stay away from other surfers. These are big boards and it’s easy for them to get out of control. You don’t need the best spot in the lineup, all you need is some sloppy waves to practice on.

Etiquette: Once you are good, remember that you have a huge advantage over other surfers–and DON’T take more advantage of it than you should. You can start into a wave long before standard surfers can, you can get back to the lineup much quicker, and you can catch waves even when you’re out of the slot. Don’t be a wave hog.

A little more on hogging waves–there’s a backlash starting of surfers being pissed off about SUP folks coming into their favorite spot and taking too many waves. Of course for some of the territorial knuckleheads that think they own the beach, any wave is too many waves. But there’s two good reasons not to irritate fellow surfers–first of all, you don’t need their waves. A SUP surfer can surf almost anywhere. Waves that are too small for shortboarders are just fine for SUP. Long frequency, no shoulder waves give long and fulfilling rides. Cripes, you can SUP surf in a ski boat wake. You can also travel long distances to get to outside breaks or breaks that aren’t easy to get to from shore. It’s fun and good exercise getting there, and you don’t have to dodge the grems. And second, they were there first. No matter how stupidly they might assert their territory, you’re the new guy, even if you shortboarded the break for the last twenty years. Give them room.

Gear–Available boards and why you would choose them

The first issue is the right board. For a rank beginner there’s almost no such thing as too wide or too long. But once you start catching waves or riding in difficult conditions like chop and wind, you might outgrow your first board.

Here’s what Ron had to say on the subject: So I borrowed a board that is 11′X28″X4.75 thick and I’m thinking: This board is fricken HUGE. Wrong. It actually was quite a bit too small (I’m 6′3 and 225) and it gave me no end of grief. Tippy and really hard to control, and today I am one sore puppy from holding that lateral balance. What a great workout though.

Oh yeah and I love it.

But a suggestion. Make sure the first board you use is, if anything, way big for you. Not too small. First time out you won’t be doing any Laird moves anyway. Gotta figure out how to handle the damn thing first. Even for a long time surfer there is that paddle in there confusing things. Just getting used to that takes some work without having to contend with a hard to balance board. And make sure the paddle is long enough too. A short paddle makes you lean sideways, not good.
Anyway way maybe I’m just a total klutz but that’s my thought.
The more you weigh, the bigger the board needs to be. I’m 6′3″ and weigh 240. My favorite board for purely getting up and paddling around is a Jimmy Lewis 11′ 0″ by 30″ wide. It’s thick and floaty, has a huge fin that adds stability, and it’s easy to get it moving. It’s an epoxy sandwich board so it’s very light. That’s good news when you’re moving this thing around.

I also really like the Ding King hollow board I waited about six months for. The Ding King has one mold for making these boards and they take about a week apiece. Last I heard Mark still had a long waiting list. Mark’s boards are 12′2″ and 26.5″ wide. They have a full length pad and they’re fairly stable considering the relatively narrow width. The two best things about this board are how it tracks and how it sails. It’s relatively easy to paddle this board fast and straight. I had a mast track put onto mine and I sail it more than I paddle it–it’s great fun to chase down a big wave and ride it until it poops out, then sail back to the reef and do it again.

I’ve also looked at the new Lairds, the largest of which makes my Jimmy Lewis boards look small (I think it’s 12′ 2″ by 31). They are hard to get right now, but I’ve got my name in for one. They’re being made in Asia somewhere so they should be widely available soon. I’d love one with a mast track, but I don’t think that will be happening soon. I was talking to a buddy of Laird Hamilton’s at the beach yesterday who quoted Laird as saying something like “I was the first guy (in recent history) to do standup, and the last to offer a board, but I want anything I put my name on to be absolutely right”. Everyone I’ve talked to loves these boards, but I haven’t tried one yet. Stay posted.

Most people I know say that JL board is still too small for me–that I need something around 12′ 6″ and 30 inches wide. Sounds good, but for now I’m happy. I finally figured out to surf this 11′0″, and I’m having a great time with it. this board is by far the easiest board to stand up on that I’ve tried. Even much larger boards are harder to keep your balance on–I don’t know what kind of mojo Jimmy added to the shape, but it’s working.

The new Starboard boards due out in april also sound very interesting (Update–I now have one of the Starboard 12′6″ boards on the road racing trip I’m taking around North America (www.peyoterace.com ) and it’s great for lake paddling–best cruiser I’ve tried yet. I’ll do a review asap). The Hot Sails Maui forum has some interesting details on this.

I also have a Jimmy Lewis 11′7″ x 26. I use this mostly as a regular surfboard–it’s fabulous in small surf. Now that I’m getting better at standup I can actually paddle this thing, but it’s very tippy, especially in side chop. I think it would make a fabulous SUP board for a small or skinny person, especially once they start catching waves. I’m not a good surfer yet, but I can actually shuffle my way to the nose with this board.

Another good choice is a big softop. The bigger the better. But don’t buy one unless it’s seriously cheap, you’ll outgrow it quickly. These are probably the only stand up boards you can rent.

Here’s what Juanita K says about choosing a board for the kind of paddling you plan to do: My husband and I bought 2 SUP boards late last year (made at Burleigh Heads) and we are just about to buy 2 more. Why? Coz we have learnt over the last 6 months that our boards (coolite…like a true paddleboard, 12ft long, 4-41/2 thick, 28″ wide) are perfect for smooth glide and flat water paddling or riding bumps and doing downwinds (which is fine coz in Hervey Bay where we live there is no surf). But, the problem is that when we take these boards surfing, they are way too corky and the rails are just too thick. So…you need to work out if your board is for paddling and surfing OR for surfing and paddling.

Over last weekend, we have some friends at Noosa who kindly let us try their SUP boards and it is amazing how much better theirs surf…BUT…when I took one on a sightseeing paddle around to National Park, our boards gliiiiiide so much better and you can feel so much less resistance on each stroke, coz it feels like they are slipping over the water, rather than ploughing slightly through it. So we are doing a lot of research and asking heaps of questions of a few very good SUP boarders up on the Sunshine Coast, so that we get the specs right for surfing, not so much paddling.

All the best in your hunt and welcome to the SUP fraternity on the east coast of Oz

Hey, Jaunita, thanks for the comments. I’m working with some friends on Maui to build a board that’s right for both surfing and cruising. I don’t think the two need to be mutually exclusive, in fact I think they both demand the same things of the board. What might be impossible is to combine good surfing and cruising into a BEGINNER board.

For example, the Ku Nalu board is the best cruiser I’ve tried–it seems like a single stroke carries you yards and yards, while the JL 11er feels like you travel the length of the stroke and not an inch further. It’s also not the best surfing board. But it’s amazingly stable, maneuverable and a decent surfer. The Ku Nalu is an excellent surfer, it’s nearly as good as the magical JL 11′7″.

So what we’re trying to do is borrow a little stability from the general outline of the JL 11er (but a bit narrower) with the cruising ability of the Ku Nalu in the bottom and rails. The result should be an intermediate board. If it works out well go into limited production.

If you’re buying a board, see if you can get a mast track put into it. Not only will that open a new set of doors (longboard windsurfing) it also makes the board a lot easier to handle. Get whoever puts the mast track in to route some fingerholes in the track at one end. You can still use it to hold a mast base, but you can also stick your fingers in to carry the board. These boards are too wide to tuck under an arm.

Boards with a rubber deck are great for foot grip, but when you’re first learning you’ll spend a lot of time on your knees. The deck is very grippy and can wear holes in your knees. Wax on an undecked board won’t do that. Take a look at my knees sometime–I’ll have the scars for years. I went to the drugstore and got some neoprene knee braces–solved the problem, though you look like a dork. But you’re going to look like a dork for a while anyway, no harm done. You should still wax the rubber deck–makes it much sticker. Just like the boogie boarders wax their soft boards (I didn’t know that trick until recently, I always wondered how those guys kept the boards under them when they swim).

Waxing a board without a deck pad works just fine–for awhile. The problem is that SUP surfers stand in one place a lot longer than surfers do, and the wax gets squeezed away from exactly the places you need it most. Still, you don’t NEED a deck pad, they’re just handy.

Paddles: Then you need a paddle. Two choices generally available, wood or carbon fibre. I’ve seen a few aluminum shafted paddles, but haven’t found any for sale. Carbon fibre is about half the weight and twice the price–about $300. You need a paddle that’s about one shaka above your head–six inches taller than you. Wood paddles are considered better for learning since you’re supposedly less likely to break them. But I’ve found the carbon fibre to be very forgiving and I like to think they’re less of a deadly weapon when you’re flailing them about. In either case, put a layer of duct tape around the paddle edge to cushion it. When you fall you’ll be whacking the board with your paddle edge. Do it a little hard and you’ll knock a chip out of the board. Don’t ask how I know this. You can take the tape off later when you stop falling every thirty seconds. I have two paddles and I like both of them, one is a Pohaku Beachboy paddle, and I don’t know the source of the second one–I’ll dig into that.

Another gear question: Bootie or no bootie. For the first few weeks I think it’s a really good idea to have booties. You’ll be falling in all kinds of crazy positions. Landing on the coral without booties is not fun. I like the O’Neill Superfreak split toe tropicals . They seem to affect your balance less than solid foot booties. While I’m delivering unsolicited plugs, the O’Neill Superfreak board shorts are the best board shorts I’ve ever had–spendy, but worth it. The O’Neill website is pretty cool, though they desperately need a writer who doesn’t just babble corp-speak. Could use a proofreader too, but so could I.

I don’t know why all the stuff I really like lately is named superfreak. Maui Hot sails Superfreak windsurfing sails, superfreak booties, superfreak board shorts. Someone may be trying to tell me something.

Enough gear chat, let’s get in the water.

Carrying your gear

These boards are huge, so carrying them around and getting them in the water can be a challenge in itself. If you’re in heavy shorebreak doing it wrong can be dangerous.

Thanks to Wardog from SurfingSports.com for this section of tips and modifications to make handling your gear easier.

I’ve written about some of these issues on other posts…doesn’t hurt to reiterate here…
Bill, may even want to integrate this into his Standup 101 page…

This first tip is actually for longboard sailing, but since many standup paddlers also get mast track on their boards, it’s a good tip for this section as well. My first recommendation, for difficult launches with shorepound, is to get the Chinook EX pin style base and foot…or similar…single bolt or double…doesn’t matter… (some people call this a European base)

What matters, is having a convenient push button to release your board/rig…
You aren’t gonna be able to release it with the standard 2 button cup…have to get the board on it’s rail and the rig perfectly aligned to get your fingers in there to release…very difficult and takes too much time…

Another helpful item is to make a rope handle utilizing the double leash plugs…

It’s way safer to hold onto your board in the shorepound with the tail handle, than holding onto the fin…
If you hold onto the fin, you will get sliced…these boards are big and the hydraulic forces involved are tremendous…

Walking the board and rig backwards when getting out works mo bettah…

don’t want to do this beginner move…way harder, even if you have big arms…

Another helpful item are the inserts that we have installed on the rails…

Fabricate some webbing handles…they are not in the way…and come in handy while transporting the board to and from the beach…my wifey and her friends really like them…makes it easier to carry the handle with other hand…

…and if you run a bungee across the mid-section and nose…you can secure your paddle in front of a big wave and turtle roll using both hands…otherwise, the Golden Rule of standup is NEVER LET GO OF YOUR PADDLE!!!…;-)

Lastly, you could install footstrap inserts on these boards…at one time, someone made very soft, flexible, foam straps…might have been the old NSI…or Padworkx…I even made some myself…
Lightweight race straps might work…
I installed them on a surfboard that I rode with straps…so that I could lay on them…
Even if you go strapless…you could still install webbing straps to help carry the board and lift it over rocks…

Gotta run…it’s blowin’ like stink…6th day in a row…


Warm winds, good waves, & strong strokes…{:~)


Actually, I occasionally intentionally toss my paddle out past the break to surf a wave or two in the conventional lay down position. That only works well with a transitional board like the Jimmy Lewis 11′7″ or the Ku Nalu because they are narrow enough (26″) to hand paddle. If you do this it’s a good idea to wrap a turn or two of flourescent tape on your paddle handle so you can find it easily. I’ve never had a problem finding mine again–they stay put pretty well as long as they are past the breaking waves. You just stand up outside and look for them.

Adding handles and tie downs

From Jimmy Lewis via Linter:   meanwhile, back at the ranch, i emailed jimmy about inserts and within hours he got back to me with advice that makes it clear that it’s a job for the professionals and not me; to wit, for any among us who still might want to give it a go:
“You CAN put inserts in but make sure you follow these instructions. True, you can melt the foam but ONLY if you put the epoxy in VOLUME. It’s not going to heat up unless you have a big gob of it in the hole. So what you want to do is route the hole that the insert goes in VERY close fitting to the insert. Don’t make a big hole where the insert is rattling around.

Then you epoxy it in. Now, the important thing about doing this is that you need to glass over the top of the inserts. If you don’t, there is a better than GOOD chance that it will leak. After you’ve epoxied the inserts in where you want them, sand the insert down level with the deck and sand the paint off in a radius of about an 1″ outside of the insert. Don’t sand too deep; just enough to take the paint and the primer off so you can see the glass. Then put two circles of 4oz glass over each insert with epoxy. This will seal where you’ve cut into the lamination to put the insert in. Make sure you get ALL of the pin air out of the little circles. Then you just drill
through the “caps” to open the hole and you could countersink it a tiny bit too. Then you’d only have to touch up the paint if you wanted it to look better.”

Pretty nice of JL, as well, to take time out of his day to write that kind of detailed response, and it’s that kind of customer service that makes people say great things about a business. well done, jimmy. keep it up!

Getting Up

Pick a day with minimal wind, little or no chop, and small waves. If you’re doing this on a lake–good for you. That’s perfect.

The easiest way to start is on your knees. Get in about two to three feet of water, push the board forward and slip onto it in a kneeling position right about in the middle. You’ll probably be slouched down almost in a crawling position at first–that’s okay. You’ll also fall off a lot even from this relatively stable position. Don’t sweat it, it doesn’t mean there’s no way you can do this. In a few hours you’ll wonder what the fuss was.

Immediately start paddling out towards the waves. Just choke up on the paddle and stroke on either side as necessary. If you can, try to feel the effect of stroking different ways. Initially you’ll be focusing on not falling off and won’t have any concentration left for learning other stuff. But as your stability increases, start trying things. If you paddle far away from the board it will turn more than if your paddle enters the water vertically and close to the board. If you sweep outwards a little at the end of the stroke it will tend to go straighter rather than turning away from the stroking side. As you pick up speed, kneel up straighter. You’ll find there are basically two kneeling positions–hunched and stable, or tall and not. Tall is better, it gives you more of a chance to gain your sea legs.

Once you’re moving along at some forward speed, lurch to your feet. The best way is any way you can do it, but most people who have surfed will find it easy to do a typical surfing “pop up” except that you’re starting from a kneeling position and their feet will come up in an athletic stance that’s suitable for more advanced paddling. At first you want your feet side-by-side, planted wide on the board–almost to the edges. It’s the most stable position. You want to be far enough forward so the board is flat in the water and nose is an inch or two off the water. If you’re too far back the board will stall and be hard to paddle. It will also be very unstable.

feet centered--side by side

Feet centered–side by side position (photo courtesy Paddle Surf Hawaii)

Perhaps you’d like a more detailed description than “lurch to your feet”. Place your hands on the board a few inches ahead of your knees with the paddle in your dominant hand and the blade resting on the nose of the board. Press down with your arms straight and hop to a standing position with your knees bent deeply and your feet planted wide. Get the paddle in the water as quickly as you can–it will help stability–but stay in an athletic, knees bent stance. Look at the nose of the board and start paddling.

Your paddle is your friend–keep it in the water as much as possible. You can push the blade forward or back to keep from falling, and even lean on it or pull up on it momentarily to keep from falling.

If you’re having trouble keeping your balance, look at the tip of your board. It’s even helpful to have some feature there to look at. If your nose is featureless you might want to make a wax line across the tip so you can look at it. If you look at the water you’ll be right where you’re looking in short order. It’s not just target fixation, your body is moving relative to the board, not the water or the horizon.

If you’re in surf or chop, it’s easiest to go straight into the waves. As a larger wave or whitewater reaches the nose of the board, stick he paddle in just past the crest and pull yourself up into it. Before long you’ll be ploughing over good sized waves with no drama–it’s surprising how easy this part is. It’s much easier to get a standup board through whitewater or shorebreak than a regular surfboard because the wave doesn’t hit your body, just your feet.

Special Balance Problems

I suspect that almost anyone that can stand can do SUP at some level. Here’s a dialog with “Linter” about overcoming fundamental balance problems. Linter overcame his problems and is deeply involved in SUP:

Linter: Is anyone still giving any thought to canoe paddle surfing? On Swaylocks, an early Blane Chambers thread on it was deleted for reasons I don’t know (does anyone here?), and then in early ‘06 came back in a new form, under a thread entitled How to Safely Canoe Paddle w/ Pics, which was very informative. Since around then, however, I’ve rarely seen it mentioned. Has everyone forsworn it for stand-up paddle surfing? Is it considered too much like cheating?

The reason I ask is, I have certain neuro-muscular disorders involving balance that’ll make it well-nigh impossible for me to SUP. And making it even more close-to-impossible is that the board I just got is a 12′ softop, a handful even for good surfers. So, at 190 lbs and with certain physical issues, I think I’m going to be “stuck” doing the canoe paddle thing.
If anyone else is doing CP, maybe it’s evolved a little since Blane’s early posts on the subject, along the evolving lines of SUP. Care to share? Got any tips, especially as it might pertain to a softop? Thanks!

Billb: I assume you’re talking about sitting on the board with a standard canoe paddle or a kayak paddle. I’ve seen a few people doing it, including a friend of mine with artificial knees. There’s also a guy in Maui that had a rowing rack mounted onto a Laird SUP board–this is the kind of rack that reverses the oar pull so you can see where you’re going. I don’t know how that worked out.

There’s certainly plenty of people using surfskis and kayaks to surf.

I guess my first request is that you clarify your question.

My brother is very interested in SUP but he has balance problems resulting from a tumor on his auditory nerve. I don’t know the nature of your neuro-muscular problem, but I think SUP might be helpful to my brother, though it will certainly be challenging. With the right board I suspect he’ll be able to do it. But you’re right–at 190 pounds a 12 foot softop would be very difficult for anyone, and impossible for me (at 250).

I’d encourage you to try a suitable board before you give up on SUP. Balance can be improved, if it couldn’t, there’s no way I could do SUP. It may be that you never be Laird Hamilton, but you could be sucessful at a level that would give you a lot of satisfaction, as I am.

Linter: Thanks for weighing in, bill. actually, i do ride a waveski and it’s great fun; but i’d also like to stand-up surf if at all possible. as per Blane’s Swaylocks thread, the idea with canoe paddle surfing is, you’re *kneeling* on the board and using a paddle that’s maybe 48″ long to propel yourself. once you catch the wave, you pop up to standing from that kneeling position.

Yup, it sounds like your bro and I are in the same, er, boat.

And I know you’re right: with practice, I could improve my balance; but then the issue becomes, how do you test and buy the “right” board if you don’t even really have the regular balance skills to see what feels best? Got any suggestions? I live in new england and think several places around here have SUPs for sale, probably Surftech Lairds, though I know how fond you are of your Jimmy Lewis 11′, and I’d sure like to be able to test ride one of those, though maybe it’d be far too much for me given what’s going on with my balance business.

Billb: I’d go for the Laird. It’s the most stable board around with only the JL 11 as a very close second. I would expect that most shops will have demos eventually, or a board available to rent. The interest in SUP is through the roof. The Surftech Laird can be surfed at a very high level, as Teddy, Laird’s right hand guy, has conclusively demonstrated to me. Even if it turns out that you can’t do standup, it would be a good board for canoe paddling.

I’d be surprised though if you could canoe paddle but not standup. Lurching to your feet from your knees is more difficult than standing to begin with. You don’t have a stable platform to pop from as you do in the laying down position of regular surfing and you have a paddle in the way.

As I’m sure you know, balance can come from a variety of senses. When you’re young and flexible it comes mostly from the inner ear. But geezers like me rely a lot on vision to balance. That’s why older people have a very hard time balancing on one foot with their eyes closed. We also have to learn the weight shifts and movements that keep us on the board. It’s amazing how you can progress from falling off in dead calm water to standing comfortably in heavy chop and waves. It’s more than balance, it’s practiced movements.

Linter: Well er ah um — i’m now the proud owner of a jimmy 11! Wow boy did that happen fast! Anyway, it’s a beaut — red on top, white on the bottom and surprisingly light. I left it at the shop to have some leash plug inserts installed on the sides for carry handles. Believe me, given my balance issues and the rocky hilly terrain around here, i need handles.

Linter: Well, got my jimmy-11 out for the first time today and messed around on it for about 20 minutes, which is when the thunder and lightning started. Knee paddling was no problem but there was a mighty wobbling of the legs when i got to my feet. But at least I was on my feet! And making headway! So what I know now, I think, is that I *can* do this even given my leg and balance issues. It’ll take time before I’m wave ready but that’s okay. I’m stoked! And I s’pose if I want to ride some wave while I’m getting my stand-up sea legs in order, I could always paddle in to some on my knees, canoe style.

Pretty cool. Linter’s success has my brother stoked so much that he’s been losing weight and getting in shape to give SUP a shot. I think he’ll do fine and it will be great excercise for him.

Getting Better: Once you are able to stand and paddle on the board, you need board time to improve. Spending as much time on the board as you can will quickly build the muscles you need to do this sport, and give you the subtle balance training you need to improve. Here’s some things to start paying attention to:

Paddling–reach forward with your paddle and put the blade in almost vertically, close to the board. Stroke back, visualising pulling the board forward in the water. Don’t try to extend the stroke too far past your legs, that angles the blade too much and pulls the board edge downwards. Your blade is angled forwards for two reasons–to make the blade more stable in the water (as you’ll see if you try to stroke with the blade backwards) and to improve the release of the blade as you pull it up. Stroking too far backwards defeats that smooth release.

Foot position–You generally want to retain the centered stance for long distance paddling on flat water because its more stable and gives you easier, even paddle transitions from side to side. But when the surface is choppy or you’re in waves you’ll want to adopt a more fore and aft stance with your dominant foot forward just as in normal surfing. If you’re not a surfer and you don’t know which foot is your dominant one, slide on a slick floor with your socks on, or hop up onto a high step. The foot you put forward is your dominant foot. Left foot forward is “Regular Foot” right is “Goofy Foot”. Attach your leash to the rearward foot. You might prefer a calf leash instead of an ankle leash for a board as large as most SUP boards.

foot forward

Foot forward position–more power, less side-to-side balance. The stroke bias that would normally push the board to the right of the picture is countered by the weight on the left rail (surfer’s right). (photo courtesy Paddle Surf Hawaii)

Happy feet–You need to learn that your feet are not bolted to the board. As your balance improves you can move around the board more. In flatwater you need to initate this learning by forcing yourself to move your feet around. Shift from centered to fore and aft stance. Move your back foot more towards the tail then back centered again. In chop your learning will be automatic–when you master sideways chop you’re bound to be moving about on the board.

spinning the board

Spinning the board. Step back or lean back on the rear foot, paddle hard (photo courtesy Paddle Surf Hawaii)

Turning and Spinning–Initially you’ll be turning the board slowly by stroking away from the board, but this is the slow way around. Fine for flatwater, but too slow to surf. The faster way is to put weight on the back of the board and stroke with the paddle to pivot the board. Once you are in a fore and aft position you can start practicing this by just putting weight on your back leg.
Works even better if you take a step backwards. You need to lean on the paddle a bit to optimize these moves. Once you can spin the board 360 you’re ready to surf.

Paddle Handling (copied from a separate post)

This is a little reptetitive since I copied it into this document from a separate post, but the information is good and I’ve added to the original post.

I’ve been learning a lot more about standup paddle surfing lately, because I’ve been teaching it to some other people. There’s no faster way to learn than to teach someone else. Most of what I’ve been learning has to do with using your paddle, hence the title.

First of all, resist the urge to choke up on the handle and hold it any way but with one hand on the top T, and the other part way down the shaft. I see people holding the paddle like a broom and taking little ineffective swipes at the water. All this does is upset your balance. You need to be in an athletic stance, knees flexed, back straight and arms extended. You use your legs, back and shoulders to paddle when you’re doing it well.

Put the paddle in the water about as far forward as you can reach it with the handle nearly vertical. You reach out with your lower arm most, the upper arm a little less, and you bend your knees some to push your upper body forward. Place the paddle and pull it back close to the side of the board in a straight line. Think of it as pulling the board forward through the water, NOT flinging water backwards to propel you forwards.

Pull the paddle out just as it reaches your feet, when the blade is still vertical. Even with a forward-raked blade, if you stroke the paddle behind you the blade is at an angle to the surface very much like you are lifting a shovelfull of water. This pulls you down as you lift it out of the water, upsetting your balance. Beginners fall into the water at the end of their paddling stroke. This is why.

Yesterday (April 13) I was teaching my nephew how to do stand up and noticed a guy who was flailing away on a Munoz soft top. When he managed to get into a wave he did elegant bottom turns, top turns and cutbacks and cross-stepped his way to the nose–clearly an accomplished and experienced longboard surfer. But when he was paddling for a wave he’d sweep the paddle far back and he was falling into the face of the wave at the end of the stroke. Bingo. I showed him how to reach out to the nose and stop the stroke at his feet. Instantly he was able to catch any wave without falling. A simple change but very important.

To turn, put the paddle in the water way up near the nose, and sweep outwards. Again, beginners tend to put the paddle out perpendicular to the board and sweep backwards. Not only do they not get good leverage, but they upset their balance. Instead, start at the nose and sweep until the blade is nearly perpendicular to the board, then sweep again from the nose as many times as you need to. By doing this you are getting the greatest amount of leverage against the fin, which is pretty much the pivot point for the turn unless you have a very small fin.

Not only does this improve your balance, but also you can turn faster and you’ll be able to get more knee and hip movement into your turn.

Practice changing paddle sides without interrupting your stroke rythym. Canoe paddlers do it all the time, and they’re sitting, so it’s harder. You need to be able to do it fluidly to catch waves. Sometimes accelerating to catch a wave will turn the board, and you need to correct without losing speed or power.

Reverse sweeping the paddle to regain your balance is a valuable move. Anytime during a paddle stroke that you start losing your balance you can reverse your stroke direction with a quick outward sweep. The reverse bend of the paddle creates a powerful thrust that you can lean against to regain your balance. With practice this move becomes automatic, and it will save you from a dunking. This movement and dragging the paddle blade on the face of a wave or in the whitewater are really the only moves you should make with the paddle behind you. It’s no surprise that both of these moves are balancing moves–you tend to fall backwards on long boards to begin with. Don’t exacerbate the problem by making strokes past your feet.

Another handy move is placing your paddle blade in the center of the board and using it as a third leg. Don’t rely on this too often, the best place for the paddle is in the water, but if you need to reposition your feet, or you need a little rest, it’s a handy tool. If you’re going to rest long it’s a good idea to reverse the paddle and rest the T on the deck–a little more stable and easier on the board and paddle blade.

Getting into the Wave

Generally you’re standing pointed out at the waves, looking for one you like and the location of the peak. Once you find one, paddle towards the peak, and when the wave is still a pretty good distance away (unless you’ve become REALLY good at turning around) start your turn. Don’t panic and rush it, get the blade in up by the nose and push yourself around with steady, powerful sweeps. When you are pointed more or less at the beach, switch sides and start paddling. The reason for the switch is that you will almost always overdo the turn, even when you think you haven’t turned enough. You don’t want to switch just as the wave starts to lift the tail.

As the tail starts to lift, move your normal surfing rear foot a good step back, and give a good paddle thrust. As you start down the wave you’ll probably need to lean back on that back leg, or even hop back more to keep the nose up. You can dig the blade in behind you on the inside of the wave (away from the shoulder) to help keep the nose up and start your turn. Unlike conventional surfing, you want to get your bottom turn done as soon as possble. Unless you are a good surfer you’ll find it hard to swing the nose around quickly.

If you don’t catch the wave immediately, don’t just give up. You can paddle a lot faster with a standup paddle boards, and a few strong strokes can get you into a wave that either hasn’t stood up enough to give you good drive, or that’s a little past the center of gravity of your board. It’s worth a try. I’d say that thirty percent of the waves I catch and ride are ones that I wouldn’t get if I didn’t chase them down with hard paddling.

If the wave crumbles on you and you’re in the whitewater, you can often ride past it by letting the nose of the board slide back more straight in to the beach, and rest the blade on the whitewater to brace yourself. Once you’ve gotten past the crumbled section you can swing back and get up on the wave.

These are big boards, they move deliberately, like a big ship. The guys that are good toss them around pretty neatly, but at first you want to make your movements subtle and smooth.

Surfing Stand Up

When you get into surf the liklihood of scaring the heck out of yourself increases geometrically. The fear has a basis–you can get hurt or killed. You WILL get hurt sooner or later, it’s part of the deal. Here’s some things to consider:

Understand the area you’re surfing. I’ve ridden a board way past where everyone else was bailing out of the wave only to find myself in ten inches of water over coral covered lava. Not fun. You need to watch what other people are doing. Know how and where to get into and out of the water. Spend some time watching what the waves do and where the shallow spots are.

You’re going to fall. when you do, take a deep breath before you hit, try to fall into the wave–with the board between you and the shore. If you’re in shallow water and small waves try to land flat (picture not sinking at all). In bigger waves and deeper water tuck your chin down and curl up, cover your head with your arms. Try to punch into the face of the wave so it doesn’t break on top of you. Relax, don’t struggle, save your energy and your air. Wait for the thrashing to end, then open your eyes, find the top, and swim calmly for the surface. When your head breaks the surface get a good breath and look outside to see where the next wave is. If you have time you can pull your board to you and hug it, but don’t do that if the wave is right on top of you. Paddle out of the impact zone. Thank the gods of the sea that they’ve spared your sorry ass once again.

If you’re not scared when you’re surfing you’re either Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, or stupid. And the last time I saw Laird he had fourteen stitches in his face from a little face/board interception incident at Ho’okipa and a cheek that looked like Popeye.

Laird Hamilton with face mod

Laird with popeye face modification. He’s as good as they get and he can still get hurt. Of course he got smacked in the face with a 14 foot board and never quit smiling, so there’s that. Photo courtesy Maui Surf/Windsurf Forecast, Giampaolo Cammarota

to be continued…


289 Responses to “Stand Up Paddle Surfing 101(updated)”

  1. on 21 Feb 2007 at 2:13 pmTom English

    http://web.mac.com/tomtomproductions1/iweb/tomtomproductions1 lots of stand up pics
    http://www.ronhousepaddlesurf.com for boards

  2. on 22 Feb 2007 at 10:44 amBlane Chambers

    Its an exciting time in the surfing world for SUP surfing…. Myself along with Dave Parmenter are focused on the advanced side of things and build boards for High Performance SUP surfing. The biggest and most important thing to remember is how to surf with Aloha. There definetly needs to be more emphasis on board builders to educate customers on how to co-exsist with other surfers… All the beginners need to surf away from others!!! All the good guys need to refrain from being wave HOGS! Be a GIVER not a TAKER.

    Blane Chambers

  3. on 22 Feb 2007 at 11:49 ambillb

    thanks Blane, I’ve added an introduction section that I’m working on to help people understand how to behave and get involved in as safe and gracious a manner as possible.

  4. on 22 Feb 2007 at 11:50 ambillb

    Thanks Tom, great looking boards. I’ll get in touch with you about getting copies of some of your shots. Love that standup catamaran. that looks like fun.

  5. on 23 Mar 2007 at 11:56 ambastian langer

    im from germany!i want to start stand up p.surfing!
    its very hard to get a board in germany!
    now i orderd a laird hamilton 12,1 from tuff light!
    we have almost small waves so i think its a good to take a big one!
    im 6.8 inch big so i need a 7.6 inch paddle(is that right?)
    i hope the board is good!
    greetings from germany
    bastian langer

  6. on 23 Mar 2007 at 12:15 pmbillb

    Hi Bastian,
    The Laird is very good, easy to get started with. It’s very stable, turns well, and it’s great for long distance paddling because it cruises. So far I haven’t liked it as well as the Jimmy Lewis or the Ku Nalu in the surf, but I haven’t used it very much, so I might just need to get used to it.

    Today I’m going to do a “review” of the three boards I own, I’ll shoot some pictures, maybe a little video, and swap the fins around to see what I get.

    Are you sure you did the conversion right from centimeters? 6′8″ is extremely tall–like professional basketball player, one in a million tall. If you are that tall you probably have long arms, you might want to start out even longer than the usual 10 to 11 inches over your head. You can always cut more off, but it’s hard to add. Don’t glue the paddle together at first. Use some of that waterproof aluminum tape.

    Have fun with your new board.

  7. on 26 Mar 2007 at 6:40 amtroy

    fantastic write up! plus, i just got back from visiting tom english’s site and his tomtom flicks of SUP are terrific, too.

    right now i’m trying to learn on a 12′ softop and am finding it pretty frustrating, maybe because it’s not nearly as wide as the stand-up specific boards. any suggestions?

    one thing i’m thinking is that some smarty pants somewhere should be able to devise a mini-outrigger or pontoon system for the softop, something to add a few inches of width without entirely messing up the board’s ability to turn on the wave. hmmmm.

    keep up the great work!

  8. on 26 Mar 2007 at 7:55 ambillb

    When I first started, I tried a big softop and almost decided that SUP was something I just wasn’t going to be able to do. You WILL be able to learn on that thing, especially if you are light enough, but it won’t be the easiest path. Unless you are willing to buy another board you’ll just have to persist until your brain and muscle reactions work out how to stay on top of the board.

    I considered an outrigger too–training wheels–but training wheels on a bicycle don’t really train, they just let you simulate doing something that you haven’t learned to do. You don’t really learn how to ride one until you take them off.

    Even the wider boards don’t get you completely ready to handle shorter boards, it’s time on the water that does that. I was surprised to find I could stand on my JL 11′7″ during this comparison, but it wasn’t pretty. But guys that are doing SUP at a high level are using boards that make your softtop look huge.

    The bast advice I can give is persist. It will come.

  9. on 26 Mar 2007 at 8:27 amtroy

    thanks for your optimism! right now, i’m at my winter blubbery weight of around 185 or 190, so maybe that’s part of the problem: i’ve got to slim down some!

    meanwhile, i’m thinking that using the biggest fin i can find might help w/ stabililty at least a little, though at the expense of turning on the wave.

    anyway, love your site and i hope it continues to grow. it’s very helpful.

  10. on 15 Apr 2007 at 11:11 pmTimoty

    cool blog!

  11. on 18 Apr 2007 at 12:06 amTima

    nice photos of this blog

  12. on 25 Apr 2007 at 7:16 pmScreech

    Just got a 9′6″ SUP from Blane… Its amazing. Like riding a fish except you can paddle it. Works pretty well even in the choppy, windy conditions we’ve had lately on Maui. Nice to have a board I can actually turn. It’s surprisingly stable. Had absolutly no problem transistioning from a 12′er.

  13. on 25 Apr 2007 at 8:31 pmbillb

    Wow, that’s pretty short. What the heck do you weigh. I’d assume that’s a wide thick board, though at the Tropic Energy Games I saw some SUP boards that were amazingly small, though some of the competitors were on Ku Nalus.

    A big fin definitely helps stability. The JL 11er comes with a 14″ fin that certainly makes it easy to get on initially. But a few days on the thing and you start thinking “there has to be a way to turn this thing”.

    I’m working on some ways to consolidate all the conversations on SUP and Longboard wavesailing in a single blog (right now they’re scattered over both the blogs I maintain).

    I can’t believe how many SUP boards are coming out. We’ll be spoiled for choice soon. I think all the manufacturers are looking at the prevailing price for SUP boards and jumping in. For about the same amount of effort (short boards take a lot of time even if they don’t use as much materials) you can get three times the money. Easy choice.

  14. on 26 Apr 2007 at 11:46 amScreech

    Hi billb… I’m 125lbs…. The board is actually not thaaat big, 27″wide, 4.25″thick. Amazingly stable for its size. Tri-Fin… Its the standard Paddle Surf Hawaii 9″6″ template. Another friend rode it the other day and he’s 170lb I think. He also loved it and had no problem transistioning from the 12′ Surftech Munoz Super Glide to this board.

    I really wanted something that I could ride in bigger surf and this was one of the smaller boards I could find. Considered the Ordonez but still thought it would be to big. I am really happy with my choice. Figured after seeing the images of Blane and the guys on the bigger waves, they would be able make a board that truely surfed well.

  15. on 10 May 2007 at 7:55 pmJose

    I’m being reading and asking around and I think I’ve settled on two choices for a board. I’m considering the Sean Ordonez Big Blue or Jimmy Lewis JL 11’7”. I’m 6′ feet, 130 pounds and have no surfing expeirence except for kiteboading. also i live in miami, so there is barely any surf, usually 2-3 feet, and 4-5+ on rare ocassions. I’m leaning toward the JL because of it’s longboard ability, but i’m worried it might be a little unstaple for a begginer like me. Let me know what you suggest.
    thanks, Jose

  16. on 13 May 2007 at 6:37 pmRon

    Hey Bill, nice blog. Just what I needed.
    I’m a long long time surfer just about to embark on SUP so this is just cool. Of course, I’ll forget 3/4s of it, but that’s okay I read it.
    Gonna go borrow a board from Steve at Infinity in DP, he’s doing good stuff with this, and go puddle around and see how it feels. It looks like way too much fun to miss so I’m looking forward to it. I’ll get back to you on that.
    Anyway, thanks.
    Ron in San Clemente

  17. on 15 May 2007 at 7:26 amRon

    Hey Bill,
    Okay so I borrowed a board that is 11′ and 28″ and 4.75 thick and I’m thinkin: this board is fricken HUGE. Wrong. It actually was quite a bit too small (I’m 6′3 and 225) and it gave me no end of grief. Tippy and really hard to control, and today I am one sore puppy from holding that lateral balance. What a great workout though.
    Oh yeah and I love it.
    But a suggestion. Make sure the first board you use is, if anything, way big for you. Not too small. First time out you won’t be doing any Laird moves anyway. Gotta figure out how to handle the damn thing first. Even for a long time surfer there is that paddle in there confusing things. Just getting used to that takes some work without having to contend with a hard to balance board.
    Oh yeah and make sure the paddle is long enough too. A short paddle makes you lean sideways, not good.
    Anyway way maybe I’m just a total klutz but that’s my thought.

  18. on 18 May 2007 at 6:47 amkarl

    I have a sudden penchant for long boards but feel I am showing my age and it hurts. I love my custom MR 6′4″ and would not give it up for the world but…. I also have a history of competative K1 white water slalom and I am seeing a certain synergy between a relatively flat day here on the north coast of NSW Australia, my existing skills and SUP. I want one of these things. There are people advertising in Tracks (surfing mag) for Jimmy Lewis SUP boards sizes 10′, 11′ and 11′7″. I am 70 kg and 5′11.
    Recomendations for purchase?

  19. on 19 May 2007 at 9:36 amRon

    Okay I went to a 11′7 30″ wide: night and day. I didn’t have to spend all that energy just to stand on it. Didn’t get worked to death and I could actually pay attention to how it works.
    Now I just have to get one past my wife. . .think she’ll notice?

  20. on 20 May 2007 at 5:07 amkarl

    when you work out a strategy, let me know, cause I gotta do the same trick. How do you make a massive epoxy paddle board invisible while attempting to camoflage a similarly proportioned hole in your bank account?
    I reckon we’re stuffed, mate!

  21. on 21 May 2007 at 7:09 pmbillb

    Ron: you took care of your problem before I could say anything.

    I suspect you could get away with a slightly narrower board, but anything a little too big will be more fun than something that’s a little too small.

    Karl–perhaps you guys can convince your significant other’s that it’s part of an exercise plan to keep you young and slim–way cheaper than gym membership. Or maybe a dining room table?

  22. on 27 May 2007 at 8:42 pmJanita K

    Hey Karl
    My husband and I bought 2 SUP boards late last year (made at Burleigh Heads) and we are just about to buy 2 more. Why? Coz we have learnt over the last 6 months that our boards (coolite…like a true paddleboard, 12ft long, 4-41/2 thick, 28″ wide) are perfect for smooth glide and flat water paddling or riding bumps and doing downwinds (which is fine coz in Hervey Bay where we live there is no surf). But, the problem is that when we take these boards surfing, they are way too corky and the rails are just too thick. So…you need to work out if your board is for paddling and surfing OR for surfing and paddling.

    Over last weekend, we have some friends at Noosa who kindly let us try their SUP boards and it is amazing how much better theirs surf…BUT…when I took one on a sightseeing paddle around to National Park, our boards gliiiiiide so much better and you can feel so much less resistance on each stroke, coz it feels like they are slipping over the water, rather than ploughing slightly through it. So we are doing a lot of research and asking heaps of questions of a few very good SUP boarders up on the Sunshine Coast, so that we get the specs right for surfing, not so much paddling.

    All the best in your hunt and welcome to the SUP fraternity on the east coast of Oz

    Janita K

  23. on 27 May 2007 at 9:03 pmEvan

    I’ve now put in a pretty fair amount of time into this so here’s my update. I’m now about 40 hours into this sport and a lot of my initial problems are gone. I think it’s just time on the water that will solve most issues. This blog and the allaluminumtour.com blog are super resources for beginners. Thanks Bill.

    Check out this video made from today using a Digital Hero 3 and shot at Pop’s in Waikiki Oahu.

    The guy in the white top is me and the skinny guy in the blue top is my brother. The big guy with the blue top and hat is our friend Harris. Both my brother and Harris are riding Surftech Laird’s and my brother is on the Laird I bought from Bill. I’m on a friend’s custom shaped Ron House Laird 11′4″ x 28″ x 4. You’ll notice how stable the Surftech’s are. I weigh 210 lbs and my friend is probably 230 lbs. My brother is 170 lbs.

    I finally got a chance to ride a Jimmy Lewis 11′er and also visited Jimmy at his shop. You can see some pics and short video from his shop in the middle of this video.

    I reserved Bill’s old Jimmy 11′er at Hawaiian Island, paid in advance and called at least 5 times during the previous week to make sure they held it for me. I was only in Maui for less than 24 hours so I wanted to try it for the day. About 10 min before the scheduled pickup time they called me and said they made a mistake and rented it to another guy. I was not happy to say the least. To their credit, Lenny the owner hunted down the guy that rented the board and I was able to try it for 2 hours just before I left Maui. I guess 2 hours is better than nothing and I can honestly say that the Jimmy is the most stable, easy to stand up on and paddle board I’ve tried so far. I tried it at Kite Beach in Maui in 20 mph winds and chop and was still able to paddle around. Needless to say, I’m getting one when they come in and I may have Jimmy shape me a custom 10′ board after I ride the 11′er for a while.

    I lent the Suftech Laird to a friend who has been learning on the custom Ron House board. The Ron House is much more tippy although it surfs pretty awesome. Once my friend got on the Surftech Laird he was so happy and instantly got better. It was like night and day. The board does make a big difference when learning.

  24. on 28 May 2007 at 7:09 ambillb

    Wow, great comments Evan. If you’d like to write some articles on this blog I’ll be glad to give you author rights. All you need to do is register, and I can add you to the authorized writer’s list, then you’ll be able to create your own entries.

  25. on 28 May 2007 at 7:29 ambillb

    Hey, Jaunita, thanks for the comments. I’m working with some friends on Maui to build a board that’s right for both surfing and cruising. I don’t think the two need to be mutually exclusive, in fact I think they both demand the same things of the board. What might be impossible is to combine good surfing and cruising into a BEGINNER board.

    For example, the Ku Nalu board is the best cruiser I’ve tried–it seems like a single stroke carries you yards and yards, while the JL 11er feels like you travel the length of the stroke and not an inch further. It’s also not the best surfing board. But it’s amazingly stable, maneuverable and a decent surfer. The Ku Nalu is an excellent surfer, it’s nearly as good as the magical JL 11′7″.

    So what we’re trying to do is borrow a little stability from the general outline of the JL 11er (but a bit narrower) with the cruising ability of the Ku Nalu in the bottom and rails. The result should be an intermediate board. If it works out well go into limited production.

  26. on 28 May 2007 at 11:53 amwsurfn


    I am about to buy a SUP. I am 6′6″/240. I have a windsufing background.

    I am looking at Big Red and the SB 12′6″

    I know you have not got your SB yet, but what motivated you to buy one? This is Svein’s design…do you think it will be a good surfer? Apparently, this is different from Jeff’s 12.5 proto.

    I know you have a lot of different boards now, I am trying to get it right on one shot.

    Thanks for your help.

  27. on 28 May 2007 at 12:08 pmbillb

    With your size and weight I suspect the Starboard would be good. My motivation was the mast track, the general appearance of the board, but most importantly Giampaolo Cammarota’s recommendation. If you go to the Maui Hot Sails forum and look at the longboard section http://www.hotsailsmaui.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=4 you can find a test that Giampaolo did of the two Starboard boards.

    I have to confess that I don’t care for the Big Red very much. If you can get your hands on a JL 11er I suspect you’d find it’s the right board for your size, weight, and current skill level. It’s not the best surfing board ever, but I think it’s the best all around board so far, and you’ll be immediately successful using it. I haven’t outgrown mine in any way, in fact I can’t wait to get back to Maui and use my new one (Jimmy’s is replacing the one I had).

  28. on 28 May 2007 at 3:17 pmwsurfn

    When I first saw the outline of the JL 11′, I was kind of put off. Based on what I read from you, as well as the video from Real Kiteboarding, and what I hear from Wardog… I agree it looks like a nice board for the surf. I really like the price too, but in the end, I decided I want a mast track.

    Can you share what you did not like about Big Red when you tried it? Have you sailed it?

    Thanks in advance.

  29. on 28 May 2007 at 3:35 pmbillb

    I haven’t sailed it, just paddled it. I didn’t like the initial instability–it’s hard to stand on, and it doesn’t glide at all, it’s worse at that than the JL 11er.

    I understand the desire for a mast track–sailing these boards is a great thing for an old windsurfer. You might want to consider the Starboard 12″6″ or 12″2″. Both have mast tracks. They should be available about now. I’d suggest you try them out if that’s at all possible for you. It’s a pain to find that you just don’t like a board once you’ve bought it.

  30. on 29 May 2007 at 6:38 amLinter

    Is anyone still giving any thought to canoe paddle surfing? On Swaylocks, an early Blane Chambers thread on it was deleted for reasons I don’t know (does anyone here?), and then in early ‘06 came back in a new form, under a thread entitled How to Safely Canoe Paddle w/ Pics, which was very informative. Since around then, however, I’ve rarely seen it mentioned. Has everyone forsworn it for stand-up paddle surfing? Is it considered too much like cheating?
    The reason I ask is, I have certain neuro-muscular disorders involving balance that’ll make it well-nigh impossible for me to SUP. And making it even more close-to-impossible is that the board I just got is a 12′ softop, a handful even for good surfers. So, at 190 lbs and with certain physical issues, I think I’m going to be “stuck” doing the canoe paddle thing.
    If anyone else is doing CP, maybe it’s evolved a little since Blane’s early posts on the subject, along the evolving lines of SUP. Care to share? Got any tips, especially as it might pertain to a softop? Thanks!

  31. on 29 May 2007 at 7:01 ambillb

    I assume you’re talking about sitting on the board with a standard canoe paddle or a kayak paddle. I’ve seen a few people doing it, including a friend of mine with artificial knees. There’s also a guy in Maui that had a rowing rack mounted onto a Laird SUP board–this is the kind of rack that reverses the oar pull so you can see where you’re going. I don’t know how that worked out.

    There’s certainly plenty of people using surfskis and kayaks to surf.

    I guess my first request is that you clarify your question.

    My brother is very interested in SUP but he has balance problems resulting from a tumor on his auditory nerve. I don’t know the nature of your neuro-muscular problem, but I think SUP might be helpful to my brother, though it will certainly be challenging. With the right board I suspect he’ll be able to do it. But you’re right–at 190 pounds a 12 foot softop would be very difficult for anyone, and impossible for me (at 250).

    I’d encourage you to try a suitable board before you give up on SUP. Balance can be improved, if it couldn’t, there’s no way I could do SUP. It may be that you never be Laird Hamilton, but you could be sucessful at a level that would give you a lot of satisfaction, as I am.

  32. on 29 May 2007 at 8:42 amLinter

    thanks for weighing in, bill. actually, i do ride a waveski and it’s great fun; but i’d also like to stand-up surf if at all possible. as per Blane’s Swaylocks thread, the idea with canoe paddle surfing is, you’re *kneeling* on the board and using a paddle that’s maybe 48″ long to propel yourself. once you catch the wave, you pop up to standing from that kneeling position. here’s a link to blane’s post, with pix showing exactly what i mean:
    Yup, it sounds like your bro and I are in the same, er, boat.
    And I know you’re right: with practice, I could improve my balance; but then the issue becomes, how do you test and buy the “right” board if you don’t even really have the regular balance skills to see what feels best? Got any suggestions? I live in new england and think several places around here have SUPs for sale, probably Surftech Lairds, though I know how fond you are of your Jimmy Lewis 11′, and I’d sure like to be able to test ride one of those, though maybe it’d be far too much for me given what’s going on with my balance business.

  33. on 29 May 2007 at 8:59 ambillb

    I’d go for the Laird. It’s the most stable board around with only the JL 11 as a very close second. I was going to send mine to my brother, but the shipping was prohibitive.

    I would expect that most shops will have demos eventually, or a board available to rent. The interest in SUP is through the roof. The Surftech Laird can be surfed at a very high level, as Teddy, Laird’s right hand guy, has conclusively demonstrated to me. Even if it turns out that you can’t do standup, it would be a good board for canoe paddling.

    I’d be surprised though if you could canoe paddle but not standup. Lurching to your feet from your knees is more difficult than standing to begin with. You don’t have a stable platform to pop from as you do in the laying down position of regular surfing and you have a paddle in the way.

    As I’m sure you know, balance can come from a variety of senses. When you’re young and flexible it comes mostly from the inner ear. But geezers like me rely a lot on vision to balance. That’s why older people have a very hard time balancing on one foot with their eyes closed. We also have to learn the weight shifts and movements that keep us on the board. It’s amazing how you can progress from falling off in dead calm water to standing comfortably in heavy chop and waves. It’s more than balance, it’s practiced movements.

  34. on 29 May 2007 at 9:15 amLinter

    The thing I was thinking with regard to canoe paddling is that i’d be in a more stable position paddling around on my knees (relative to SUP) at least until it came time to get to my feet; then, of course, i’d wish i was standing already.
    I don’t know about demo Laird’s but I’m pretty sure there’s a 12′ Infinity SUP demo around nearby. Know anything about them?
    Actually, you hit the nail on the head when you mention “weight shifts and movements that keep us on the board.” I think, to a large degree, they are micro movements and that’s my neuro problem: the message to shift my weight and make small corrective movements often gets tangled up and lost in transmission. Once I’m on my feet and on a wave, I’m okay; until then, it’s dicey at best. But practice on a Laird or similar would help a lot, I’m sure.

  35. on 29 May 2007 at 11:58 ambillb

    Most SUP surfers catch their first waves on their knees, so you’ll be in good company.

    I haven’t heard of the Infinity, I’d take a look at the width and thickness. You want something at least 30 inches wide to learn on, and a big tail is a plus.

  36. on 29 May 2007 at 12:14 pmScreech

    Aloha folks… another factor to throw in… weight of the boards. I ride the Paddle Surf Hawaii 9′6″ and it weighs only 18lbs. I tried a Jimmy Lewis custom 9′6″ this weekend and could hardly pick the thing up it was so heavy. It took a lot more power to get it going as well although once it did, it glided well. I ride mainly in surf, big and small. Of course I’m 125lbs so it doesnt take much to float me. I’ve had bigger guys ride it and it seems to float them fine as well. Their main comments were that it was almost too responsive, but not that tippy. My first board was the Surftech 12′ Munoz which is pretty light as well. Does seem like most the guys like the heavy boards.

    I do have to just get in the right spot on the wave and take 1 maybe 2 strokes to get in rather than line up and paddle a bunch on the bigger, heavier boards. Takes a little getting used too.

  37. on 29 May 2007 at 1:08 pmbillb

    Yup, custom boards tend to be a lot heavier than production boards. For the glide, weight is your friend, but not for acceleration. My JL 11er is a production board and it’s very light, turns on a dime and gives you nine cents change, but it does not glide.

    The Ku Nalu is a hollow custom, considered light but it’s more than 26 pounds. Glides well. Part of it is the width, but part is surely the weight.

  38. on 29 May 2007 at 11:39 pmEvan

    Linter – If you don’t need to stand up and already are good on the surfski you may want to try the Wave Witch Pocket Rocket. http://www.huntjohnsendesigns.com/index.htm#wavewitch It surf unreal and you can easily get back out through the chop bc of the nose and rocker. I can catch virtually anything on it but the only thing I can’t do on it is stand. That’s why I like the SUP Board. If you’re in small waves and mainly cruising, stability is going to be your friend. I’ve owned the Big Red and Surftech Laird and anyone can ride the Laird. It doesn’t surf that well but it’s not that bad considering the size. I just went out today in perfect glassy conditions at Canoe’s in Waikiki and caught anything I wanted. You can also sit or kneel if you get tired so it’s really comfortable. My first choice is the Jimmy 11′er, just like Bill. It’s super stable and the sweet spot for standing seems to be bigger. What I mean is that I can stand forward or back comfortably much more comfortably than on any other board.

    WSURFN – If you need the masttrack bc you’re gonna windsurf the board then the Jimmy is out. I’m not sure on the Starboard bc I haven’t tried it yet but at 27″ wide it’s probably going to be tippy for your weight, especially with the pulled nose and tail. If you have really great balance then it won’t matter as much but in the beginning it’s much more fun to have a stable board. I sold my Big Red because although it surfed pretty good, it was tippy for a 12′ board. I like the Surftech Laird bc it’s stable but it takes some energy to move since it’s so big. The Jimmy was just as stable as the Laird and 1 foot shorter. I haven’t gotten it yet bc it’s still clearing customs but everyone I’ve spoken to says it surfs just as well if not better than the Big Red in small surf. Once the surf gets bigger then some rocker helps but if the waves are crumbly anyway like on Oahu’s south shore then it doesn’t make a big difference.

    I went out yesterday in chest high Oahu North Shore at Cammie’s which is left of Sunset. The wind was strong and the current was wicked. I had to sit down and paddle continuously to stay in place. I had a hell of a time balancing on the custom Ron House Laird 11′4″ x 28″ x 4″. It surfs great but is tippy for my size (215 lbs and 6′). I got on my Surftech Laird and it was night and day. I could catch waves and balance…although I got worked that day it was much easier. I guess it depends on what you’re planning to do on the board.

    Wardog told me about a new custom 10′4″ x 29″ x4″ quad he’s now selling. He said for bigger guys it’s stable and surfs unreal. I also saw Todd Bradley this afternoon at the Outrigger Canoe Club and he said his C4 Waterman Boardworks boards are gonna be great. I’m supposed to demo the 10′6″ x 28.5″ x 4″ soon and I’ll post how it was.

  39. on 30 May 2007 at 12:57 amEvan

    Here’s the Wardog quad:

    C4 Boards:

    Jimmy 11′ and new 10′:

  40. on 30 May 2007 at 10:28 amLinter

    well, it seems there aren’t any jimmys around here for me to try, but i’ve learned i can get one shipped to me sight unseen for around the same (retail) price with shipping as if i bought locally and paid tax. lairds are around but none to demo. the infinity you can demo but if i’m going to go SUP i’d rather get something that’s more tried and true. so then it boils down to laird at 12′ or jimmy at 11′. what you would do, given all the variables and whatnot involved?? thanks again.

  41. on 30 May 2007 at 11:08 ambillb

    I’d get the Jimmy Lewis 11er. It’s simply a great design.

  42. on 30 May 2007 at 11:13 amEvan

    Jimmy 11 for sure

  43. on 31 May 2007 at 12:02 amEvan

    Linter – I would definitely go w/ the Jimmy and not the Infinity for what you are trying to do. The Infinity boards that I’ve seen have been too narrow for big guys over 200 lbs. I think they surf well but standing on it may be tippy. It’s definitely more tippy than the Jimmy 11′er and what you need is stability.

  44. on 31 May 2007 at 1:46 amEvan

    I tried a friend’s brian caldwell custom 10′er today. Surprisingly it held my weight and I could paddle it…barely. I could get it going but when it was time to catch the wave I couldn’t handle so I kept eating it. I think it may be ok with some practice and it was interesting to feel such a small board since I’m used to 11′4″ or 12′1″. I think with some time on it the surfing ability with a ’small’ board may be pretty good…maybe later in my learning curve.

    My friend rode my Surftech Laird today in awesome glassy Waikiki chest high waves. He did pretty good for his second day and we stayed out for 3 hours. He’s an experienced surfer and by the end of the day was doing pretty good and catching waves. I think he’ll be really good after a few more sessions.

    I’m actually noticing that I’m developing more muscle. It’s still hidden beneath all my fat but at least it’s starting to show life. It will be interesting to see if this SUP thing will help me lose weight. Everyone else I’ve spoken to seems to lose weight so I hope I’m included.

  45. on 31 May 2007 at 5:32 amTom English

    Here is a video view from an 8′ pole attached to my paddle.
    Tom English

  46. on 31 May 2007 at 9:45 amEvan

    Tom – Are you riding a custom Ron House Laird? How do you like your board and how much do you weigh?

  47. on 31 May 2007 at 10:44 amLinter

    well er ah um — i’m now the proud owner of a jimmy 11! wow boy did that happen fast!
    anyway, it’s a beaut — red on top, white on the bottom and surprisingly light. i left it at the shop to have some leash plug inserts installed on the sides for carry handles. believe me, given my balance issues and the rocky hilly terrain around here, i need handles.
    the way my arms reach around the thing, the most comfortable position for the handles would be about halfway b/ the board’s center and the rails. think that’s going to be a problem, having them like that at the board’s mid balance point? looking at wardog’s pix, it seems he has his further out to the rails but that seems like it’d be a stretch for my arms.
    next up: questions about cheapo DIY options for paddles and pads …

  48. on 31 May 2007 at 10:49 ambillb

    Definitely do a pad. I know Jimmy made the top thicker than the first run, but you’ll get heel dents.

    Cheapest way is to buy the material and stick it on yourself. I think the ding king just uses 3m spray cement.

    As far as paddles go, you can get a wood one for about 200 bucks. A lot of people swear by them, but I like the carbon fiber. I’ve seen adequate paddles made from a top section of windsurfer mast, and a blade from a cheap kayak paddle, but they’re heavy

  49. on 31 May 2007 at 10:59 amTom English

    I was riding a 10′ long 29″inch wide 4 1/2″ thick custom epoxy 3 fin shaped by Ron House. I’m 6′2″ and weigh 205 lbs. This board is amazing. It is very stable and super loose in the surf. It surfs like a little fish. I also have an 11′6″ long 27″ wide Ron House custom that is a great board. Check out my website for pictures and videos. http://web.mac.com/tomtomproductions1/iWeb/tomtomproductions1/Welcome.html
    Tom English

  50. on 31 May 2007 at 11:51 amLinter

    thanks again, bill. btw/ you know how wardog has those two leash plugs on the rear of his boards, using them to make a rope loop? is that just for windsurfing, do you think, or might they have some application for straight SUP as well?

  51. on 31 May 2007 at 6:46 pmwsurfn

    I am 6′6″ (78″)

    Paddle length should be 84-86″

    I can get a 84″ C4 paddle, usual price, and ship free with the board. An 86″ will cost me $70 more ($420..special order charge plus shipping). A wood JL is 85″ costs $200.

    How critical is the paddle length?

  52. on 31 May 2007 at 7:22 pmEvan

    Linter – You should check out the Jimmy deck pad. Maybe you can get a good deal on it from the shop you bought the board at. Did you get it from Wardog? The Jimmy pad has a raised outer edge for the standing area which allows you to brace your feet and get more stability. For $100 or so you’ll most likely appreciate it.

    Another thing that helps w/ balance is booties. I know I look silly riding in Hawaii with booties but when I step on reef or walk on concrete it’s just such a nice feeling not getting cut. These Reef booties are so cool bc they are thin and I can feel the board w/ my toes. The big benefit is the grip. They grip the deck pad unreal. I rode for the first time without the booties and kept slipping off initially bc I was so used to the grip. I bought them from Real. http://www.realkiteboarding.com/index.cfm?page=detail&catID=526&productID=8717

    The Ordonez Big Red also has the 2 leash plugs at the end. I thought it was cool to grab onto when needed.

    wsurfn – I started off with the C4 paddle not cut at all. It ended up being something like 6″ too long. I didn’t notice the difference until I cut it and the difference is pretty dramatic. I like it a little longer, maybe 1-2″ for going downwind but at 6′, my 80″ paddle is sweet. You may also want to look at the quickblades. http://www.quickblade.com I have a Pop’s model for that and the Pohaku C4. The C4 has no give whatsoever so I can move faster but also get tired faster. The Quickblade has a little give which is easier on the joints and it’s lighter. I use the C4 in chest high or bigger surf and Quickblade in anything smaller.

    Tom – I was just thinking that if my friend’s Ron House Laird that I’ve been riding was 29″ it would be perfect. Your board is thicker and 3 fins must be way better in the surf. How much was it? Is it heavy?

  53. on 31 May 2007 at 7:40 pmbillb

    I have both the Quickblade and the Pohaku, and I prefer the Quickblade because you can paddle it all day. Also that little bit of flex seems to help in the surf when you lean on the shaft–it’s somehow more effective.

    I think also though that I cut my Pohaku too short–one shaka over my head. For me the ideal length seems to be about eight inches over my head. I did a fair amount of experimenting to wind up with that, taping the handle in place and cutting 1/2 inch increments looking for the most comfortable length.

    I haven’t seen the new JL pads, but Jimmy was pretty pleased with them. He’s a pretty pragmatic guy. $100 isn’t bad for a good pad. Nice thing about this sport–once you’ve bought all the stuff it’s really over.

    I agree about the booties. My favorites are the Oneil Superfreak Tropicals. Very light, separate big toe for better balance, fits snugly and doesn’t hold water. Usually I start wearing them AFTER I’ve cut my feet to ribbons. I don’t care for them on waxed boards, but on mats they are wonderful. I also like to put some soft wax on the mat–it increases the grip hugely. I let it get hot in the sun and melt into the surface. Gecko feet.

    Man, those paddles are getting expensive.

  54. on 31 May 2007 at 10:06 pmEvan

    Bill – How thick is the sole of the Oneil booties? Can you feel the board or are they more like shoes? I agree, I only use them on boards w/ the pads.

    I guess the pad may be more than $100 but you should be able to get a deal if you bought the board. See here:

    Naish is making a stand up paddle and board coming out soon. I think the paddle is supposed to be under $200 or so.



  55. on 31 May 2007 at 10:45 pmbillb

    The boot overall is 2mm but the sole is super thin. http://www.oneill.com/mens-products.php?sport=surf&categoryID=-1&typeID=7&seriesID=10&id=52

    I like how tight they fit. Whatever water gets in escapes out the arch so they don’t balloon.

    I know you can get the JL with the pad already on it.

  56. on 01 Jun 2007 at 5:05 amwsurfn

    The O’neill bootie soles are thin. Bare feet always will win for feel. I just got the new Reef booties from Real last month for windsurfing on nasty shorelines. Sole thickness is the same. I am hopeful they will hold up a little better.

  57. on 01 Jun 2007 at 9:01 amLinter

    A guy on a kneeboarding site says he’s had good luck w/ these fairly cheap EVA pads from Sports Authority: http://tinyurl.com/2m2jsp. For 30 clams, you get 9 interlocking 1/2″ pads, 24″x24″ each, that lock together to form a 6′ x 6′ square. a little razor work could probably result in an economical pad for SUP.

    now my question is, is there a semi-permanent adhesive out there, if you want to try a pad w/out totally committing to it?

  58. on 01 Jun 2007 at 9:07 amLinter


    darn that period.

  59. on 01 Jun 2007 at 9:57 amLinter

    Hmmm. I wonder if the pix showed up. Anyway, if not, perhaps cut and paste will work. One shows the yak paddles I have to work while saving up for a real SUP paddle; and one shows one of those paddles with a half-PVC shaft, which is undoubtedly too bendy to work, so I’ll be looking around for a sailboard mast. But my question is: which of the two paddle heads looks like it might work best? The Onno has a curve to it, the other does not.

    And now I’m going to receed into the distance. I’ve blathered away too much here already. Trouble is, you guys are so helpful!

  60. on 01 Jun 2007 at 10:00 amLinter



    darn html.

    and, now, seriously, I’m over & out!

  61. on 01 Jun 2007 at 1:02 pmbillb

    I’ve heard that even cheap Yoga mats will work to some degree, though the source is a really goofy friend of mine. You can use 3M spray glue to mount them. Spray both surfaces librally, let dry, stick on.

  62. on 01 Jun 2007 at 2:25 pmLinter

    Do you know if with the 3m spray glue you can take the mats off and get rid of the residue without heroic efforts?

  63. on 01 Jun 2007 at 2:32 pmbillb

    Yes, there are a lot of solvents that will take it off. Generally you can peel up the mat if you let it get warm in the sun, then use a solvent to take it off. Acetone is the last resort since it will attack any paint. Try just detergent and a scrubber first. The longer it’s in place, the harder it is, but usually the problem is that it doesn’t hold strongly enough. If you want to REALLY keep it down use contact cement.

  64. on 07 Jun 2007 at 4:20 amLinter

    Got the Sports Authority pads. Very cushy but they seem a little thick at 1/2″. Too thick? Also, they don’t seem all that tractiony; but if you put on a little wax — thanks, Bill, for recommending that — they sticky up just fine. Now I’ve got to figure out how to cut em down neatly — that’s the real challenge.

  65. on 07 Jun 2007 at 1:50 pmJim N

    I am new to to SUP, but have been surfing for 10yrs+ and longboard quite a bit. I am 6′4″, 230lbs and I am having a difficult time deciding what size and type board to purchase. I have only recently tried a 11′x29.5″x4.5″ Ricky Carroll. The board floated me but seemed like it could have used just a bit more volume. The board had continuous modest rocker and a flat to vee bottom. All in all it surfed fairly well in knee highs, but didn’t seem to glide at all while paddling. I found that I had to keep the board moving in order to keep the board stable. Is this normal or the result of a undersized board? I was able to paddle the board well and only fell when trying to turn quickly for waves. I am concerned that going with a board that is too short will leave me constantly struggling, but on the other end of the coin I am also worried that I may not like the surfing characteristics of some of the larger (12′) boards like the Laird. Another consideration is the durability of a hand/machined shaped and glassed EPS or urethane board vs. the strength of a epoxy TUFlite, NSP or Surftech type board.
    I mistakenly hit the rail of the Ricky Carroll board (not very hard either) with the paddle blade while turning the board and put a 2″ long x1/2″ deep ding. This has me thinking that a glassed construction boards may be inferior to Epoxy sandwiched Surftech type boards for paddle use, due to durability. After all at 4″+ the flex characterictics should not play an integral part to the boards performance.

    Any way I want to know if anyone has any advice before i pull the trigger and buy a board?

  66. on 08 Jun 2007 at 4:47 amDW

    My 2 cents.

    Weight 208 lbs, 6′2. Been paddling one month with Laird and now Jimmy Lewis 11 footer. Age 53.

    My views match Bill’s almost exactly when comparing these boards, except one minor point. For me, the Laird is more stable by a noticable difference.

    I catch waves easier on the JL. I have more fun on the JL. The light weight (I think) makes some difference. The JL reacts better to weight shifts when trying to catch a wave. It also reacts quicker when you make a mistake with weight placement :-) It feels much smaller than the Laird, and much more fun. More sporty is the best way to describe.

    This experience makes me think heavy custom boards might not be much fun.

    By the way, I use a 10″ fin in my JL. Same for the Laird.

    Knowing how these two boards compare, then reading Bill’s comments on how other boards compare to these, gives me a nice view on these others, without having to buy and try. :-)

    Thanks Bill.

  67. on 09 Jun 2007 at 2:10 pmLinter

    well, got my jimmy-11 out for the first time today and messed around on it for about 20 minutes, which is when the thunder and lightning started. Knee paddling was no problem but there was a mighty wobbling of the legs when i got to my feet. But at least I was on my feet! And making headway! So what I know now, I think, is that I *can* do this even given my leg and balance issues. It’ll take time before I’m wave ready but that’s okay. I’m stoked! And I s’pose if I want to ride some wave while I’m getting my stand-up sea legs in order, I could always paddle in to some on my knees, canoe style.
    Attached are links to a few pix. One shows my $5 yoga pad (I went with it over the Sports Authority pads, because it’s thinner and not as slick on the surface), which I glued down with 3M Super 90 spray glue, which I found out on a kneeboarding site is the adhesive of choice.
    The other two pictures show a shoulder strap I rigged up. The first shot shows it in its Velcro-shut position. The other one shows it in its open, shoulder-ready position.
    For the tie down points, I used stick-down EZ Plugs. By all accounts these things work great and stick like crazy. We’ll see. If they go, i just hope it’s not over cement!

  68. on 11 Jun 2007 at 12:47 pmEvan

    Don’t you guys think we’re going to need at least 2 boards? It’s really hard to get a big, stable board to surf well and vice versa. The more I do this in different conditions, I am convinced that I need a big, stable board for smaller waves and choppy conditions and a smaller, better surfing board for larger surf. I’ve been looking and trying a lot of boards looking for the perfect one but so far have not found it. Maybe the Jimmy 11′er will be the answer once I get mine this week and spend more time on it.

    I know budgets may not allow that bc they are so darn expensive but that’s the conclusion I’m coming to. What do you guys think?

  69. on 11 Jun 2007 at 2:48 pmbillb

    Sorry I’ve been so slow to answer comments–I’ve been on the road doing my racing thing–went to Virginia International Raceway last weekend. What a place. Beautiful track, my great little race car Peyote did superbly once again (it’s simply magical) and I didn’t break anything. I’m in Pittsburg today, getting the trailer worked on (the drain system got damaged be some road junk) and headed for Watkins Glen as soon as it’s done.

    Linter–if you got to your feet at all in the first day out, then you’re on your way. I’ve tried to teach some folks that spend the entire first day dunking themselves every two seconds.

    Evan–I think two boards is an eventual minimum, though I find myself on the JL the most. For me the biggest flaw of the JL is cruising–no momentum. But later in I expect I will want something to surf better.

  70. on 12 Jun 2007 at 12:29 amEvan

    Bill – Have you tried the 9.5″ flexy fin from Wardog. I’ve using it on the Laird and it makes a pretty big difference in that the board surfs way better. It makes it easier to get up on the rail. I ordered another one to put on my Jimmy 11 which I should get sometime this week. I’ll let you know how it works.

  71. on 12 Jun 2007 at 12:33 amEvan

    Linter – Interesting you mentioned a handle. I saw on the C4 Boardworks board that they have 2 small leash plugs spaced about 4 feet apart and in the middle of the board. The idea is to attach a velcro strap to each leash plug and then velcro around two ends of the paddle. I should ask Todd to post a pic but it was pretty cool.

  72. on 16 Jun 2007 at 1:09 amEvan

    I got my Jimmy 11 a few days ago and have 2 sessions on the water. The first day I went out at 5 AM to get a session in before work and was impressed. The board is easier to get moving initially than the Laird or other boards I’ve tried. I think that’s because it’s shorter and light. I put on the 9.5″ flexy fin instead of the 13.5″ fin that it comes with. I also put on the Jimmy pad. I really like the pad. It has raised sides to get more leverage and is more ‘cushiony’ (if that’s a word) than the other pads I’ve tried. I think the strong point for this board besides it being stable and easy to stand on is the surfing performance. This board surfs awesome for an 11′ board.

    Today I took it out in 20 mph winds. That was pretty hard. When I actually caught a wave it felt like I was going to take off and fly because the offshore winds were so strong and the front of the board has so much volume out of the water. I was surprised at how stable the board was in the chop although I’d rather be in nicer conditions.

    I’ll try again tmw at 5 AM so we’ll see how it goes.

  73. on 18 Jun 2007 at 12:41 pmYoma

    Bill- Love your site. I’m hoping someone could help me out. I got JL 11′er and want to put webbing handles on rail so it’ll be easy to carry it, but I’m not sure whether it’s good idea to drill the holes. Anu suggestions please?

  74. on 19 Jun 2007 at 4:21 amLinter

    just to weigh in on the webbing handles: my first attempt, using the stick-on leash plugs, failed when one of the plugs pulled off. seems that the curvature of the board near the rails didn’t allow the plug to sit flat and attain a good bond. right now, i’ve got a 1″ hole-type drill bit and am pondering if i have the guts to drill into the board. i’ve practiced a few times on a junk board, and the results haven’t been good, though not terrible either. sorta in between. so, i might just do it. i mean, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
    one question i don’t know how to answer is what kind of foam is used in the jimmys. seems that the lighter foams tend to melt if the epoxy gets too hot and if that happens you’re in deep doo.
    i wish wardog would weigh in on this, as a number of his boards have handles on them.
    maybe i’ll drop him an email and see if i can’t get him to post here …

  75. on 19 Jun 2007 at 5:02 ambillb

    I’d still use the leash connectors, just be sure to move them inboard enough to be on a flat surface. No hole and no damage to the foam. If you have the connectors inboard they can do double duty with a little shock cord between them for holding the paddle to the board while you carry it. You don’t need the handles right on the edge, it works best to have the handles almost at midpoint of the board so you can wrap your arm around the board to carry it.

  76. on 19 Jun 2007 at 5:57 amLinter

    let’s say you have the stick-on plugs off the rails and up on the flats, almost to the center — aren’t they going to be kind of the way of your feet, what with the plugs themselves and the cord or whatever going between them? those things would seem unavoidable to me, unless i’m missing something.

  77. on 19 Jun 2007 at 5:40 pmYoma

    Thanks so much for suggestions. I don’t have guts to drill holes into my new board so I guess I’ll have to go with stick on plug choice. I know Linter had photo of those. Did it work good and where did you get it? I was looking at this stick on leash plugs, but was’t sure it’ll be good enough http://www.ofishl.com/orders/store/accessoriesorder.htm

  78. on 19 Jun 2007 at 5:46 pmYoma

    Thanks so much for suggestions. I don’t have guts to drill holes into my new board so I guess I’ll have to go with stick on plug choice since there is no beach I can park car and walk easily around here (I’m from NW so bill probably know about it well). I know Linter had photo of those. Did it work good and where did you get it? I was looking at this stick on leash plugs, but was’t sure it’ll be good enough. http://www.ofishl.com/orders/store/accessoriesorder.htm

  79. on 19 Jun 2007 at 5:53 pmYoma

    Thanks so much for suggestions. I don’t have guts to drill holes into my new board so I guess I’ll have to go with stick on plug choice since there aren’t many beach I can park car and walk easily around here (I’m from NW so Bill probably know about it well). I know Linter had photo of those. Did it work good and where did you get it? I was looking at this stick on leash plugs, but was’t sure it’ll be good enough. http://www.ofishl.com/orders/store/accessoriesorder.htm

  80. on 20 Jun 2007 at 1:19 amEvan

    I just saw something that may solve your issue. NSI http://www.northshoreinc.com/ has small metal plates with threading in them. I think they are about 1″ x 2″ or so and the top has the female threading and the bottom has the sticky adhesive. Basically you screw in the handle into the plate and the plate is attached to the board. I know Jeff from http://www.offdalip.com has them. His store Wet Feet http://www.wetfeethawaii.com is where I saw them.

    You need to see the C4 Waterman Boardworks boards. They have 2 small leash plugs along the middle of the board a few feet apart. The pad is cut out where the plugs are. You can attach velcro straps to the leash plugs and attach your paddle to use as a handle. When you’re not carrying it, the velcro straps are out of the way or can be taken off. You have to see it to see how cool they are. Contact Todd at http://www.c4waterman.com for info on that.

    You’re gonna love your Jimmy 11′er. I’ve been riding it for about a week now and am absolutely stoked. The Jimmy pad is cool also.

  81. on 20 Jun 2007 at 5:07 amLinter

    Evan: those NSI surface mount footstrap inserts — http://www.northshoreinc.com/store/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=159 — look pretty good, except i think i’d still have the same problem i had with the surface leash plugs; i.e. having to stick them inboard too far to get past the rail curve.

    i wish i hadn’t been so quick to put my pad on, because now, with the pad there, it’s difficult for me to see where the jimmy 11’s deck evens out. maybe someone with a jimmy and no pad could measure from, say, the inner pinline and tell me how many inches in, approx, i’d have to go to get a flat surface?

    Without seeing it, I can pretty well visualize the C4 velcro set up. That seems pretty great as well, though i don’t think it’ll work how I need it to work. in my case, i need to be able to shoulder-carry the board and use the handle-end of the paddle to stabilize myself as i walk: lots of boulders and rocks where i am, plus my balance sucks.

    who’s going to be the first to drill into their jimmy? come on! no guts, no glory!

  82. on 20 Jun 2007 at 8:04 amDejan

    This thread has been quite helpful! I’m also a long time windsurfer (27 years) but not a surfer. My wife just got me a paddle (Kialoa Nalu carbon, really sweet, light!) for father’s day and we have been fooling around with it the past few days, using some old windsurf longboards that we had in the garage. I’m 6′4″ and 215 lbs. I kept the paddle at the original uncut length and it is fine. The windsurf boards are narrow and tippy, but I had no problem standing up and getting going, with some falls, but basically within 30 minutes was cruising around. Just like with windsurfing I found that the wider boards are much more stable. I’m convinced after a few days I need to get a dedicated paddle board for this sport. I’m on the east coast and our surf is lousy unless there is a tropical storm, and then I’ll be windsurfing anyway! However, I have ocean access where I can get offshore to great ocean swells/rollers, which I have been sailing for years. I think that paddling these would be an absolute blast. They’re typically long frequency 3-5 foot swells. I’m looking at a 1 mile paddle to get to the good swells, and then probably a few miles to paddle back to the launch point. I’m assuming based on my research the last few days, that for this long distance stuff with the swells I should go for a big board like the Laird.

    Also what’s the deal with waxing vs. deck pads?

    Any recommendations?

  83. on 20 Jun 2007 at 12:17 pmYoma

    Aplogies for somehow I submit my comment twice….Anyway, thanks so much for your help, Evan and Linter. NSI surface mount footstrap inserts looks nice. I should get that. I think if I put those onto close to rail ( since I already have pad on) and attach some handle, it’ll be still easier to carry it and won’t bother me when I standing on it, right??

    I saw C4 one too, it looks super nice with that kind of detail, but bit pricy….

    Linter, if you need shoulder strap, maybe this could be usefull without drilling holes??? http://www.towelagator.com/tropisurf/stickshlep.htm

    I really love my JL 11′er after using 12′ soft top for while. It opened new door for me for sure and JL pad is great too. Amazing! Pray for surf!!!

  84. on 20 Jun 2007 at 12:57 pmTom English

    Caution – My Stick Schleper broke and my board bounced off concrete stairs. The plastic connectors are too weak for SUP’s.
    New SUP footage shot last week.

  85. on 20 Jun 2007 at 1:54 pmbillb

    as a long time windsurfer I’d say you’ll want a board with a mast track. I know what you’re thinking–I already have all the windsurfing boards I need. Wrong!!

    A good standup board is a surfboard, and a windsurfer isn’t. Getting a SUP with a mast track lets you sail to waves in light wind, and then surf them. Yes you can do that with a big windsurfer, but its not the same. trust me on this. First time you try it you’ll go totally nuts. You’ll find yourself praying for light wind days.

    I’ve been windsurfing for more than thirty years. I live thirty miles from the gorge, have a house in Manzanita and one in Maui. That’s ALL about windsurfing, but a SUP board with a mast track and a Superfreak sail is just simply a brand new take at how we do this sport. Add to that the fact that you can SUP surf it and Bob’s your uncle.

    I tell pretty much everyone that the JL 11er is the board to get, and if you’ve read the comments you’ll find no one that isn’t stoked by this board. But it doens’t have a track and Jimmy isn’t interested in adding one. So I suggest you look at the shorter starboard SUP, the one that’s based on the Ku Nalu hollow board from Sandwich Composites. A sweet surfing board that glides when you paddle it, and absolutely ROCKS with a sail.

    I’m in Ontario Canada this weekend, at Mosport racing my vintage car, and I’m headed to Boston after that where I’ll pick up my new Starboard board. I got their big one–the 12′2″. And I brought along a 8.0 superfreak, mast, booms and paddle. I should be back in the water really soon–at least when I’m not racing.

    I’ll let you all know what I think of the Starboard as soon as I get my hands on it.

  86. on 20 Jun 2007 at 2:19 pmDejan


    Very interesting perspective on the boards! Indeed I’m LOL about the comment of having enough boards (I have a cargo trailer stuffed to the gills with crap for a family of 5 who LOVE to play on the water!).

    So now I wonder, (and I almost ran down to my local shop to buy a Laird today) does this concept bring the Exocet Kona, and the Mistral Pacifico into play? I have sailed the Kona (not in waves, just fooling around in light wind) and it was nothing special, though I was able to grab it from the shop yesterday and I tried paddling it. It paddled great, piece of cake. I have also had the kids sailing a Kona with their kids rigs and a small fin. It almost seems like the perfect all around board for this type of stuff, but if I seriously felt like ripping in light winds I would grab my AHD Formula and 10.5.

    So it sounds like you think it IS worth having a paddle board with a mast track that can sail?

    What if I put a track in the Laird board?

  87. on 20 Jun 2007 at 2:41 pmbillb

    I’d think about putting a mast track in a Jimmy Lewis 11er first. You want a board that SURFS great and paddles well that you can also sail to the waves. the 11er is the best board I’ve found for the first two requirements. if you have a really good board repair/modification place near you that can do the mod well, then that would be very very satisfying for you.

    i did this to my JL 11′7″ and absolutely love the end result, though it’s too narrow to be a good SUP board for my 240 pounds.

    The big difference between doing this to a SUP board and sailing a big sailboard is surfing ability. I really didn’t understand that until I got into the waves on my JL 11′7″ and then the lights came on. Easy, fun, strapless windsurfing and them you DRIVE to a wave that’s bigger than you’d dare paddle into and surf the heck out of it. Major rush.

    Plus, suddenly you’re traveling on boards again, just like we did back in the very beginning of windsurfing. I used to tow a little blow up raft with my camping gear all around Puget Sound. Poor man’s sailboat. I plan to do something similar next year in Maui, with a fleet of Hobie trimaran’s (adventure Islands) and a bunch of SUP/sailers, running down the north coast. Camping and surfing. The Hobies can carry the wine, beer and steaks.

  88. on 20 Jun 2007 at 2:54 pmLinter

    yoma: i’d think twice about using any kind of stick-on item out on the rails, since in my experience the curve will keep you from getting a good 100% bond.
    my main concern w/ drilling is that the epoxy will eat the foam. maybe i’ll write the jimmy co. and see if anyone’s had any experience with this.

  89. on 20 Jun 2007 at 6:06 pmYoma

    Linter. Thanks for your thought. I spoke with a few people who knows about epoxy and they all told me that if you want to drilling holes, you should bring it to ding repair guys…Back to where I started now..

    Bill- Thanks so much for such a great opportunity to discuss about SUP.

  90. on 21 Jun 2007 at 2:04 amEvan

    Dejan – I like the Laird board. I bought Bill’s board and shipped it to Oahu from Maui thinking it would be just a transition board but I think I’ll hold onto it even though I ride the Jimmy. It’s really good when new people want to try and with the 9.5″ Farberow flexy fin it surfs pretty good. It’s also really comfortable to paddle long distances and is stable when your legs and feet get tired. It’s also stable in wind and chop but don’t expect to catch waves with offshore 10+ mph winds bc the nose gets blown back and there’s a lot of volume in the nose. I haven’t had anyone try it yet that hasn’t been able to stand up on it and balance.

  91. on 21 Jun 2007 at 4:55 amDejan

    Billb & Evan:

    So yesterday afternoon I was leaving the house to do a paddle in the cove at the end of our road, but my wife and older daughter jumped up and wanted to go the ocean side to try paddling in the waves. We had little knee high waves, just shore break, and it was hilarious to try and ride a windsurfer in this stuff, with the paddle. None of us has any real surfing experience so we spent alot of time in the water but it was fun. A surfing friend was there with his son and they had a couple of surftech padded 10 foot longboards, which were much easier. Anyway I digress. I think the point here is that this sport of SUP is starting to suffer from the same problem that every other watersport (windsurfing, kiting, sailing) and even the snow sports have, which is the cross-over dilemma. The manufacturers/shapers are trying to make a product that works for everyone/everything, and therefore it will be mediocre at alot of things and not really that good overall. I have sailed lots of all-around windsurfers, lately these wide Formula-like boards, that have centerboards, and they are generally lousy when compared to Formula race board. I realize not everyone will go out and buy lots of gear for different conditions, but my attitude is I would rather get a well focused design and I know I’ll maximize its use.

    I’m leaning towards buying the dedicated SUP board. I don’t see myself spending alot of time with the crowds in the “surfing area” of the beach. I really love to windsurf offshore, so I see myself going offshore on the lighter wind days for a good workout paddle and riding the long rollers. Isnt that how this all started?

    Based on the comments I’ve seen, it sounds like I should also put a good deck pad on the board for comfort?

    Thanks for all of the advice so far!

  92. on 21 Jun 2007 at 5:00 amDejan

    Hey you guys one more question: How do you size fins? Fins are a hot topic in windsurfing and I imagine it is the same here. The right fin makes all the difference depending on the conditions. I didn’t even consider; is there a stock fin size and shape that these boards come with? Should I be using a larger fin because of my size? Evan mentioned the 9.5″ Ferberow flexy fin.


  93. on 21 Jun 2007 at 11:50 amEvan

    Check out this post halfway down for fin info…and then call Wardog at http://www.surfingsports.com.


  94. on 21 Jun 2007 at 11:52 amEvan

    I think the stock fin on the Laird is 9.5 or 10″. The stock on the Jimmy 11′ is 13.5″….it’s massive. I changed both to the 9.5″ flexy fin from Wardog and it makes the board surf way better bc it can get up on the rail easier.

  95. on 22 Jun 2007 at 5:12 amDejan

    Cool! Thanks Evan. I talked to a shop in CA about the Starboard and the Jimmy 11. Then there are the SUP/Windsurf crossovers; man this is confusing!
    …Still paddling the F2 Phoenix around the cove…
    Found a kayak paddle cheap that I am cutting down for my 11 yeard old daughter to use. She is totally hooked on this; you should see her flailing my uncut Kialoa around!


  96. on 22 Jun 2007 at 10:16 amLinter

    spam — ooof!
    meanwhile, back at the ranch, i emailed jimmy about inserts and within hours he got back to me with advice that makes it clear that it’s a job for the professionals and not me; to wit, for any among us who still might want to give it a go:
    “You CAN put
    inserts in but make sure you follow these instructions. True, you can melt
    the foam but ONLY if you put the epoxy in VOLUME. It’s not going to heat
    up unless you have a big gob of it in the hole. So what you want to do is
    route the hole that the insert goes in VERY close fitting to the insert.
    Don’t make a big hole where the insert is rattling around in. Then you’d
    epoxy it in. Now, the important thing about doing this is that you need to
    glass over the top of the inserts. If you don’t, there is a better than
    GOOD chance that it will leak. After you’ve epoxied the inserts in where
    you want them, sand the insert down level with the deck and sand the paint off in a radius of about an 1″ outside of the insert. Don’t sand too deep;
    just enough to take the paint and the primer off so you can see the glass.
    Then put two circles of 4oz glass over each insert with epoxy. This will
    seal where you’ve cut into the lamination to put the insert in. Make sure
    you get ALL of the pin air out of the little circles. Then you just drill
    through the “caps” to open the hole and you could countersint it a tiny
    bit too. Then you’d only have to touch up the paint if you wanted it to
    look better.”

    pretty nice of JL, as well, to take time out of his day to write that kind of detailed response, and it’s that kind of customer service that makes people say great things about a business. well done, jimmy. keep it up!

  97. on 22 Jun 2007 at 7:36 pmwsurfn

    Took delivery of my 12′6″ Starboard SUP today. Have a custom Whiskey Tall boy on the way as well. Stoked. Hope you pick yours up soon. I will post my impressions when I have something worthwile to say. I do like the integrated handle and the board weighs only 25 lbs standing up on my bathroom scale. Sweet looking ride. I look forward to hearing your impressions.

  98. on 24 Jun 2007 at 5:36 amDejan


    I finally made a decision, bought an 11′7″ Jimmy Lewis yesterday! After much thought and discussion at the local shop, it seemed to make sense for me to go with a dedicated SUP board vs. windsurfing crossover, that I could also surf. I think the key was when we laid the Laird and the Jimmy side by side on the shop floor! For the shakedown cruise I had very gusty and strong post cold front NW winds, which were sideshore at my cove launch spot. Quite a bit of chop. Note this is not the ocean surf launch. With a week of paddling under my belt on all sorts of rides, I was able to stand right up and get going. Just a bit tippy, but the wind and chop were the major factor here. Within a few strokes of the paddle I knew this would be a great board. Wow this thing takes off. I couldn’t believe how fast it was, the straight tracking, and the smooth ride. They didn’t have any big pads in stock so I just took a couple of cakes of sexwax and waxed it up. I’ll paddle it this way for awhile and see if I feel like going with a pad later. The boards graphics are so nice I kind of hate to cover it up.

    I’ll report more later as I get this thing wired!



  99. on 25 Jun 2007 at 2:20 pmbillb

    Good for you Dejan, a great choice for a lighter SUP surfer than me. I love my 11′7″, it’s a great surfboard. My friend Cameron Healy has one on the Big Island that he uses as a SUP board and it’s his favorite–a sportscar vs. an SUV as he describes it.

  100. on 25 Jun 2007 at 2:22 pmbillb

    The big reason for pads is that you stand in pretty much the same place for a long time so the wax gets pushed off the board by your feet right where you want it most. Also a pad will eliminate the possibility of heel dings. When you do get a pad, wax it and put it in the sun–makes a huge difference. Everyone scoffs until they try it and then no one does.

  101. on 25 Jun 2007 at 4:27 pmLinter

    wax the pad and put it in the sun? so then the wax melts. and that’s a good thing? i’m not doubting you, just wondering what the effect is.

  102. on 25 Jun 2007 at 4:34 pmbillb

    Yup. I know it sounds stupid, but the wax makes he pad stickier and letting it melt in makes it last a long time. Of course you don’t want it to get too hot or the pad and the deck can be damaged. The end result is a remarkably sticky pad that stays that way.

    Just try it where your feet go. You don’t need to let it melt in to make it work, it just seems to last a lot longer–like forever, maybe.

  103. on 25 Jun 2007 at 4:39 pmbillb

    Incidentally, you can see the pad I put on my JL 11′7″ here: http://www.allaluminumtour.com/?p=176 . If I had it to do over again I’d have done light blue or dark grey, but I think the board looks great.

  104. on 26 Jun 2007 at 9:42 amDejan

    Jimmy Lewis 11′7″ Update!!!!!!!!! Wow I love this board! I’ve been able to go out paddling every evening for 45 minutes/1 hour. So I’m not a heavyweight at 215 but I’m not a lightweight either. Plenty of float for me. Still, this board is definitely the Porsche 911 in terms of handling. The board is extremely easy to get going fast. It has excellent glide, and it tracks really well, even in a crosswind. I found that I can steer pretty easily while paddling by weighting the rails. I haven’t done anything about pads. I’m just keeping it waxed for now, and going barefoot “old school.” I don’t have any balance issues at this point, I think the 26″ is fine; I can’t imagine what a 31″ board would be like, probably would feel like a barge in comparison! My wife tried the board for the first time yesterday. Any time I buy new gear (windsurfing or whatever), if she doesn’t return for an hour I know she is stoked! So this was the case with the Jimmy. she hit the water and didn’t come back for almost an hour! She was totally pumped about it.

    We haven’t tried surfing it yet. I wanted to get used to it first, and we haven’t had any swell the last few days anyway on the ocean side.

    I’ll post a surfing report soon; we’ll see what the learning curve is for us non-surfers to get up and wave riding on this thing!



  105. on 26 Jun 2007 at 9:45 pmEvan

    Dejan – What are the conditions you tried the 11′7″ in? i.e. wind, chop, etc.

  106. on 28 Jun 2007 at 11:16 amDejan


    So far, I’ve been out in:
    – flat water/light winds
    – light chop/15-17 knots of wind
    – crosswinds and headwinds
    – light swell with chop / very light wind

    The board handles well. In the chop and stuff, I have to keep some forward momentum, especially in turns, so I don’t lose balance. I’m sure that would be true of any board except maybe the 31″ barges. It drives pretty well into the wind. The other day I was about 1/2 – 3/4 mile offshore and had to come back into the wind. You have to keep momentum and I found that by crouching slightly with knees bent, leaning forward, and driving with hard, short paddle strokes, 3-4 per side and then switching, I was able to really motor upwind. I also noticed that where you stand, is a factor. I’m standing somewhat forward of the center point so as to not drag the tail of the board, plus when going upwind, you don’t want the nose up, you want to punch through the chop.

    I really like the light weight of this board. I haven’t gotten into any big swell or surf yet, the conditions haven’t come up yet. I’ll let you know when I get the chance,



  107. […] Pono House Post 158 […]

  108. on 30 Jun 2007 at 6:20 amChris

    I’d been following Bill’s blog for a few months now, but have never posted. I just wanted to add any information that might be useful.

    I am 6′2″ and between 180 and 190 pounds. Based on Bill’s tests, his readers feedback and discussion w/ my “local” surfshop, I bought a JL 11 footer. I live in DC but am spending a month at a seaside house in Italy. I’ve been here a few days and have logged about 5 hours of “surf” time. This blog and people’s comments have been invaluable.

    The surf here is a lot like you’d get on the east coast, though, on average, I’d expect is to be smaller. But I haven’t been here long enough to tell. I am able to get my JL 11 to work a lot like people describe here. I can ride out and ride in fine. I am now at the stage where I have trouble turning (mainly while standing up, to head to a wave). I expect that is really a function of experience. But I wonder if it has something to do w/ the stock 13″ JL fin.

    Does anybody have any thoughts on that? I am trying to minimize the number of moving parts, so I haven’t exchanged the 13″ fin w/ the 9″ one I also brought along. Thoughts are appreciated.

    If anybody is interested in following my progress, I’ve set a sort of Mini-Bill blog (supadventures.wordpress.com). People will learn more functional points here, but my site will likely make people feel good about their own progress.

    Thanks (again) to Bill for getting (and keeping) this discussion going.

  109. on 30 Jun 2007 at 10:33 amLinter

    chris: i myself know less than nothing about fins but i did talk to jimmy lewis himself on the phone once and he’s a big fan of his 13″ fin and, in fact, uses a longer one himself. the trick to getting the most out of it, he told me, is to position it as far back in the fin box as possible. fyi.

  110. on 30 Jun 2007 at 2:50 pmEvan

    You’ll trip out on how well the board surfs with the 9.5″ flexy fin. I have no regrets with using it.

  111. on 30 Jun 2007 at 4:58 pmbillb

    Jimmy is a nose rider. As soon as he gets his board in the slot he heads for the front and pretty much stays there. Surprise, surprise, he’s a really graceful and good surfer. He likes long fins because they’re still in the water when the back end is jacked up.

    All the same, for the first week on the board the big fin adds stability. After that you put on something about eight to nine inches and the board is transformed. Turns on a dime and gives you nine cents change. If you’re feeling that it doesn’t turn fast enough, then it’s time for the change. Funny thing is, that once you get really used to the board you’ll find you can turn with the big fin too.

  112. on 01 Jul 2007 at 10:58 pmWaimanu

    I paddle the Infinity Ku Ku Hoe board (12′). The board is big and stable. I am 225 Lbs and like the combination of stability and ease-of-turning. Steve at Infinity has been shaping big tandem boards longer than most if not all of the SUP shapers out there, so I wouldn’t rule him out. In my opionion, the Infinity is in between the Laird and the JL.

  113. on 03 Jul 2007 at 2:11 amEvan

    Paddle update: I went to Todd Bradley’s HQ at C4 Waterman to get a new paddle. I have a C4 Pohaku and Quickblade Pop’s paddle. In the recent swell I realized quickly that the thrust I get from the Quickblade is nowhere near what I get from the C4 Pohaku. I was getting pounded in overhead surf this past weekend. Todd showed me the new smaller diameter blade and shaft on the C4. I wanted the larger blade but he educated me on why to go with the smaller blade. He said that the smaller blade allows for a more efficient stroke. The larger blade requires the user to crouch over and the board gets compressed on the water and creates drag. I started to question him and then thought about what I was saying. If Brian Keaulana, Todd and all his pros are using the smaller diameter blade then maybe I should just shut up and use it too.

    Verdict: Todd was right. I went out this afternoon in overhead surf and noticed a huge difference when I got stuck inside a big set and started paddling for my life on my knees. The board moved way faster and I also noticed that I had an easier time getting into waves even though the wind was btw 10-20 mph offshore. The smaller diameter blade on the C4 allows for less fatigue which is what I liked the Quickblade for but now I think I’m just going to use the C4 all the time.

    I’m now getting a 10′6″ C4 Boardworks board. The entire shipment was sold out so I’m pretty lucky to get one. Once I get it I’ll post some info.

    More to come…

  114. on 03 Jul 2007 at 4:06 amChris

    Evan (or anybody), I am just curious, how far is the face of your paddle submerged when you paddle (ideally, that is)? I feel like the right amount is that the face is almost all the way submerged, but not quite entirely. But that’s just my feel.

    Chris (JL 11′, 6′2″, 185, choppy surf)

  115. on 03 Jul 2007 at 12:54 pmEvan

    I think that depends. When I’m cruising I don’t have the paddle all the way submerged but when I need to move (like getting stuck on the inside) it’s definitely submerged.

    I went out this morning again and ended up trying the exact equipment side by side with different setups. My friend has the Jimmy 11 with the 13.5″ fin and a standard C4 paddle. I have the Jimmy 11 with 9.5″ flexy fin and smaller diameter C4 paddle. While we both noticed a difference with the different fins when surfing the boards in head high waves. I had the hardest time turning the board with the 13.5″ fin but I only tried a few waves and I’m used to the other so with time I’m sure it can be done. I prefer the 9.5″ fin and my friend is changing out to the same fin when it arrives (already ordered). The biggest difference was in the paddle. The paddle shafts are the same. They are the same length but the blade is .5″ less (I think…or 1″ less). It was way easier to use the smaller diameter paddle. It moved the board faster and with less effort. After 2 days straight and a side by side test I’m convinced the smaller blade is the way to go. I should have listened to Todd earlier.

    Here’s some paddle info I found on http://www.c4waterman.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=59&topic=13.0
    It’s long but good info on paddles.

    It’s true; many canoe paddle manufacturers have long track records of building great paddles for canoe paddling. Also true, the C4 team has a long track record paddling and winning many championship canoe races using those great canoe paddles. Keep in mind that C4 has spent years re-pioneering and participating in the sport of standup paddle surfing, both surfing, as well competing in SUP Races across Molokai Channel. This experience has led to innovation. Now, let me explain why there is a big difference in the equipment these two sports use.

    Back to basics… Canoe paddling you are sitting not standing, you have an outrigger to support you, so balance is not as critical…. Paddles are used with your hand gripping low toward the blade (4″-8″) which makes your fulcrum point closer to the power application point. This makes it easy to control the track of the paddle through the water also control the efficiency on the power catch through the water (like a car with good traction). A canoe has much more buoyancy, is narrower and faster than a board; therefore water flow distribution off the blade does not directly effect the lifting aspects of the buoyancy and wetted surface on the hull (this will make sense later). So a flat thin-bladed paddle will work just fine for the canoe application. It is powerful first and efficiency is not as critical. What I’m saying is… canoe paddles and canoes are designed for Canoe Paddling. (Please “Read More”) Now take the SUP sport board and paddle. You’re standing, so balance adds a whole new aspect to the discipline; that is the biggest factor the board must address, and to do that it must be long and wide, with a large wetted surface area, which, as you know, makes them Big and Slow, a reason why this SUP boards are constantly evolving. The battle of less wetted surface vs. balance/speed. As for SUP paddles, your lower hand grip and fulcrum point is higher and now 50″-plus away from the blade so you lack the ability to control the paddle tracking through the water, giving you less control on the catch efficiency at the entry.

    Easily understood, SUP paddling is not the same as canoe paddling and just as the craft you’re standing on, the paddle needs to be designed for standing too. Especially for the beginner paddler, the wrong equipment can make it more difficult to learn and excel, as a paddle’s inefficiencies will make the stroke hard through the water hard to pull and control, and since you are standing, will pull you off balance from the board. Also, if water flow off the paddle is not efficient and controlled, the blade can wander and that is why you bang the rail so much with paddles that are not addressing design for proper flow of a SUP. Foil & flow design are key on airplane and watercraft. As watermen and surfers we understand how important the shape, foil, flow and design is on our equipment and especially the fins or rudder and you wouldn’t use flat thin shapes for this purpose, the same is true for an SUP paddle. After the board your paddle is your next most important tool just like the fins on your board.

    Just like a road bike is not like mountain bike, yet both are bikes. The same is true for SUP paddles and canoe paddles, the equipment and discipline are very different.

    OK. With that as the background on the differences in the two sports, here is the pitch for the hours of thought and R&D we have put towards our C4 brand….

    C4 paddles & equipment are designed for the sport of SUP, they are designed and used by SUP surfers and racers that are also canoe paddlers and professional surfers with decades of experience and knowledge innovating the osmosis of the two unique water sports. The simple explanation: C4 PADDLE was specially designed for SUP, its patent pending shape featuring a keel-shaped dihedral or blade neck on the powerface of the blade, that foils and flows the water down, helps to steer the paddle straight for less paddle wander when taking hard strokes, balancing and moving big boards for catching waves….. C4 paddles maximize the water flow down to help lift the board for less wetted surface as it moves it forward. This will also help steer the paddle straight and help minimize rail banging. The wide point of the blade is down deep for a more positive an efficient power in the water. Just like a prop on a boat….. the front of blade features a “flowing curved face,” allowing water to flow away efficiently on the back side, creating lift and drive for the power face and also allowing you to easily skim the blade across the water when “pulling Gs” on those hard bottom turns. Like a wing on a plane, this is more efficient then a flat-blade style paddles that can catch and edge when skimming paddle across the water. Not only is blade design important so are the shafts for grip comfort and efficiency. C4 paddles utilize an ergonomic palm grip and a tapered oval shaft with the proper amount of flex and stiffness applied where it is needed. This make for a paddle that is not only one of the most effective and efficient exclusively for SUP but very strong comfortable, too. Too much flex and you lose control, too stiff you lose resiliency.

    But like anything, people have their preferences. So the best thing to do is educate yourself on what you are trying to accomplish, then test them all and see. Because in the end you can throw a long shaft on a paddle and you can ride a road bike on a dirt road, it works.

    Our C4 team is and has been committed to the growth, innovation, education, and participation of this old traditional Hawaiian beachboy sport that is evolving every day. Hopefully, with the roots of the sport here in Hawaii and our resources both in our waters and experiences, C4 SUP surfing innovations and equipment will help bring out the Hidden Waterman in all of us.

    This sport is evolving everyday. Our C4 team is and has been committed to the growth, innovation, education, and participation of this old traditional Hawaiian beachboy sport and pastime. We hope our innovations and equipment help you get exercise, enjoy the water and bring out the Hidden Waterman in all of us.

  116. on 04 Jul 2007 at 3:12 amLinter

    evan: on the C4 site, paddles range from 8.5″ to 9.5″. is yours the 8.5″ or do they have a new one that’s even smaller but not on the site yet? thanks!

  117. on 04 Jul 2007 at 4:31 pmEvan

    I think it’s 8.5″. Let me check w/ Todd.

  118. […] are my thoughts so far. As noted in earlier posts, Pono Bill’s Post 158 has a more complete set of tips and useful discussion for beginning stand up paddle surfers. This […]

  119. on 06 Jul 2007 at 12:24 amEvan

    Todd said the blade is 8.5″ diameter and he can make an 8″ if really needed.

  120. on 06 Jul 2007 at 11:18 amScreech

    Check out the U Tube videos on Paddle Surfing… fun stuff from the last couple months.

  121. on 08 Jul 2007 at 5:58 amLinter

    just got in from some fun flatwater sup’ing on a windless morning. i just wanted to reiterate what i think bill said above: it helps balance *a lot* to fix your eyes, while paddling, onto the front of the board; coming back to that spot after drifting off and getting wobbly saved me a number of times.

    also, while standing for the first time during a go out, i find that one way to help me get my sea legs faster is to rock the board side to side a few times while paddling forward; i don’t know why but doing that every now and then seems to do my balance some good.

    EVAN: have you tried the Laird paddle? a fellow on another board reported that b/ his Laird and his C4, he much prefers the Laird. I’m not sure what C4 he was using, however; it may have been a wider one. Reason I ask is, I guess I’m going to have to break down and buy a real SUP paddle one of these days; my homemade ones just aren’t going to cut it too much longer.

  122. on 09 Jul 2007 at 12:26 pmEvan

    Linter – I haven’t tried the Surftech Laird paddle yet and I’ve seen the post you’re talking about. I’ve heard mixed reviews on it here from the retailers. It’s about the same weight as the C4. The shaft is less in diameter than the C4 and close to the Quickblade. It has a coiled like texture on the shaft which I guess some people like and some don’t. For me, it’s btw the new C4 and Quickblade. If you get a Quickblade, get the Kanaha version and not the Pop’s. The Pop’s is their original one and has a ’scoop’ at the end of the paddle blade. The scoop can sometimes make you off balance however I really like the paddle in small waves and just cruising around. The QB paddle shaft is more flexible than the C4 so it’s easier on the joints but when you really need to move (like getting stuck inside overhead surf) it’s substantially less propulsion than the C4. I think you can get a stiffer shaft and it also weighs an ounce or so less.

    I really like the new C4 paddle and have been using it for most sessions. We just did a downwind run, about 4 miles I think from Sunset Beach to Chun’s Reef on the north shore of Oahu. The C4 was very comfortable to use. If you get the C4, make sure you get the 8.5″ blade or they even have a custom made 8″ blade. If you tell Todd at C4 I referred you, he may give you a discount. Can’t guarantee it, but it never hurts to ask.

  123. on 09 Jul 2007 at 8:51 pmalap

    Evan – I have a question to you. You directly compared QuickBlade and C4 8.5″ (also BillB: in one of your posts on your other forum you said that you have both QB and C4 and those are about the same).

    Here is what I have – an Infinity 11′*28″ board with Infinity paddle.

    The board feels great for me, but the paddle feels very small – it is only 6.5″ wide, and it is shaped differently, and it is flat paddle (http://www.infinitysurfboard.com/content/view/237/198/ and scroll to the bottom)

    I am 52, 175 pound, average fitness, and I am expert downhill skier and advanced windsurfer. Did kiting for few years but quit – it s freaking dangerous and so much hassle (still do snow kiting – on the fresh snow day it is heliskiing for free). I am complete beginner in surfing though. I live in Calgary, AB, Canada and the board is intended for Vancouver Island, Long Beach (Tofino area) surfing. I first spent about 5-7 hours in flat water in local lake. In flat water I am feeling very comfortable. I just came back from two weeks at the Island. I was surfing 2 hours daily, and we are planning two more two weeks trips this summer. There is a strong shorebreak with practically no channels there. But I managed to get out through this pounding break and I was far at sea, way more further out than the lineup of regular surfers. I am amazed what kind of nice swells was available there. However I have trouble accelerating, and barely was able to catch them. Of course my technique is bad, but still, I don’t feel much resistance in the paddle when pushing hard and fast, just fighting vigoiurously, as hard as I can. I certainly would think that the bigger paddle will help. And for novice the little help from equpment is way more valuable then for advanced guys.

    So your comparisons are of extreme importance to me. The thing is that I was ready to go for C4 8.5″, because you rated it so high for exactly the feature I am after – accelerating to gain speed and catch the wave. But I have trouble not only catching the wave but also catching the C4 guys – my emails are unanswered, and even when I called I just got a friendly answering machine. (BTW the QB response was immediate). So now, you were mentioning the overhead surf, where 8.5″ especially shines. But I doubt I will ever go in overhead surf. (if it that high I would have trouble passing the shorebreak). So if the surf below head high (and ideally I am looking for the smaller, the better. As small as I can get will be ideal), is the difference between QB 9″ and C4 8.5 is that huge? Or it is about the same? Or still 8.5″ accelerates better? Or I wouldn’t notice 0.5″ difference?

    BTW, I never compared my Infinity board to any other SUP board, and there is no chance for me to demo the paddle either. But how do I know the board is good for me? It feels very stable, I am vertical from the first moment (skipped the knee phaze). As soon as the board goes from the wave there is absolutely no problem – I once caught a wave from laydown and stand up on it easily (this was outside shorebreak), on heavy day I was using it in the shorebreak as a buggy board, jumping on it in front of white water, standing up and riding in shallow water (scary!). Another time I was blessed to catch a nice swell outside from kneeled position, paddling as if there is no tomorrow, then I layed down and then I stood up like a regular surfer. it was grand!!!

    My main technical problems – happy feet (I’ll be working on it!! at home, before next trip). And I think I need new paddle. Bill, Evan, what do you think? And also, keeping in mind my preferred mode (no overhead waves, going for the small ones) how important is the difference between QB Kanaha 9.0″ and C4 8.5″ (i.e. try to catch C4 guys for few more days or go straight for QB)?


  124. on 10 Jul 2007 at 12:32 amEvan

    alap – I’ve seen an Infinity SUP at Hawaiian South Shore here in Hawaii. It looked good but the 28″ width seemed too narrow for me. You’re doing great if you can stand on that with no problem. I saw the Infinity paddle there also that you mention. It looks really different than anything I’ve tried and I’m happy w/ my C4 and QB.

    You may be better off buying the paddle from your local retailer to save on shipping and phone tag. If you don’t have a local retailer you can always get in touch with Wardog at http://www.surfingsports.com 888-805-9978. He’s in Santa Barbara, CA.

    Elizabeth and Jim at Quickblade are really good to deal with also. They stand behind their product and respond quickly.

    Here’s what I understand on your assumptions:
    Under head high waves
    You need acceleration to catch waves
    Fatigue is not an issue

    My only qualm with the QB is the flex in the shaft once the waves get overhead. Jim at QB said they have a stiffer shaft that weighs even less than the default one. I think with the stiffer shaft it may accelerate as well as the C4 but I haven’t tried it side by side yet so I can’t be sure. I’ve only used the Pop’s model for QB but will get the Kanaha this week. I like the QB bc it’s super light and the flex is easier on my elbows (makes me sound old but I’m not) however that flex loses power when the waves get bigger. I have no problem catching waves or paddling back out in small waves w/ the QB.

    I do know first hand that the acceleration btw the 8.5″ or 9″ C4 paddle is much more than the QB Pop’s paddle I had. I know that bc I tried them side by side on an overhead surf day. I had the hardest time getting enough momentum to drop in the wave and even harder time getting back out to the line up when stuck inside. That may be remedied by the stiffer shaft but I’m not sure. I also tried the C4 8.5″ and 9″ side by side in similar surf and I had a much easier time catching waves and accelerating with the 8.5″ blade. So did my friend. It’s pretty noticeable.

    My personal preference is the QB when cruising around in small surf and the C4 when I need to move or bigger surf. I’ve been using the C4 8.5″ more lately bc I’m waiting on a QB Kanaha instead of my Pop’s. When I take out new people I always give them the C4 bc they seem to have an easier time for some reason. I think you can’t go wrong with either the C4 8.5″ or the QB Kanaha with stiffer shaft. Maybe it comes down to who you can get in touch with easier and who gives you the best service and deal.

    Contact any of these retailers to get their perspective:
    Wardog at http://www.surfingsports.com
    Karen or Doug at http://www.wetfeethawaii.com
    Jim at http://www.tropicalblendssurf.com
    Lenny or Carl at http://www.hawaiianisland.com
    Todd at http://www.c4waterman.com
    Jim or Elizabeth at http://www.quickbladepaddles.com

    I’m probably going to try the 8″ C4 soon so I’ll have more info on that later.

  125. on 10 Jul 2007 at 5:30 ambillb

    Nice posting Evan, very useful to a lot of people I bet.

    I like the Quickblade for exactly the reason you state–the little bit of flex is very easy on the shoulders, and with two rotator cuff surgeries and sixty year old joints, that’s a big deal.

    I’ve found that the biggest problem with making a board accelerate is that in the excitement of the moment you regress to less efficient strokes. If you move the paddle much past your feet you’ll pull the tail under, increasing drag. If you want to accelerate hard you need to reach out to the nose and make short strokes that end at your feet.

    I’ve seen Laird’s paddles at his house (when I picked up the board from Teddy) No surprise that he has a lot of them, with some variation in blade size and angle. None of them looked much like the surftech version. The blades all looked small to me. They all had an interesting attachment to the shaft–the carbon fiber was dented sharply in on the inside of the curve, making two reinforcement ribs. It looked a lot like the way you bend aluminum tubing for producing things like lawn chairs. It didn’t look as strong as a continuous curve might be–could be for some controlled blade flex

    He’s also got about thirty or so broken jetskis in a long line at the edge of his property.

    I’ve watched him paddle a lot, he gets way over the nose with his paddle. Looks choppy, goes like crazy.

    I’m in Pittsburgh, PA, racing at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix this weekend. Nice town, and a very interesting track through Schenly Park. I just received a new Starboard 12′6″ board via UPS freight. I planned to paddle it on a lake here, but it turned up with no tail fin, just a big centerboard fin. I’ll probably take it out today with just the centerboard just to get it wet.

    Beautiful looking board, by the way. I got the all wood version. Extremely light, nice handle for carrying the board, good looking mast attachment point, and a couple of features I’m trying to figure out–like a leash attachment point under the nose (towing??) and two leash points at the rear.

    It has a centerboard slot that’s just a deep Windsurf fin box (I think they call them Tully fins) and it came with a long vertical fin that fits the box. As soon as I can get a fin I’ll do a review of the general paddling. I don’t know when I’ll get to surf the thing. Guess I should get in contact with Wardog to get a fin.

  126. on 10 Jul 2007 at 8:56 amalap

    Evan, BillB – thank you so much for the fast, informative and up to the point advice.

    One more thing – the length. QB recommends 9″ taller, and C4 -7″ (even 6″ in the surf!). My Infinity paddle is even 10″ taller! (but it is very different as we discussed). I guess I’d rather go with the manufacturer recommendation? I.e. if QB I’ll buy 9″ taller, and C4 – I’ll buy 7″… Any opinion on this?

    Fatigue is absolutely not an issue with my Infinity paddle, and I am not strong at all and not especially fit (just average), but again it’s surface is probably half of the surface of C4 or QB (the widest point is 6.5 but also the shape is less squared). So I don’t know how my aging appolonian body will respond to the bigger blade fatigue wise…

    Well, I got fatigued once. But this was on the strong day with at least 15 knots straight onshore winds. I somehow managed through the witewater out – on my belly, then on the knee, then on the belly again and again on the knee, and finally on my feet. I was standing for probably 10-15 minutes paddling strongly with my paddle, and the waves were up and down, 7 second interval, but I wasn’t moving out at all! I ended drifted sideway some 200 yards. And yes I was fatigued from this!

    The biggest day I’ll ever be out is probably 5 feet (measaured from top to the bottom of the face) – no more than chest height. (And those are the biggest swells outside, so probably the regular waves 4 feet, with the wave that everyone will be waiting 5 feet). And my real aspiration is just to be able to catch small 2-3 foot high waves and ride them long! In that kind of conditions the difference between QB Kanaha and C-4 is not much noticable, right? In fact as you say in those conditions you actually prefer QB (and you use older model Pop’s). I’ll also ask Jim from QB about the stiffer shaft, what he thinks…. I am leaning towards QB Kanaha at the moment.

    And yes BillB you are absolutely right – the excitment of the moment (or after several failed attempts I’d call it a frustration of the moment) causes my brain to shut down and I just push around, forgetting about the technique. I’ll pay way more attention to this! (if I could :))

  127. on 10 Jul 2007 at 2:02 pmEvan

    alap – I emailed Todd and he I don’t think he got your email. Maybe they went into a spam filter…who knows. Anyway, Todd said to email him direct at (todd at c4waterman.com). He’s expecting your email and said he’d be happy to help you.

  128. on 10 Jul 2007 at 2:55 pmalap

    Evan, thanks! I had sent the direct email to Todd.

    Meantime still, the length question. Was there the difference in length between your C4 and QB paddles?

    Thanks for all your help!

  129. on 10 Jul 2007 at 6:47 pmDW

    Hey guys, I’m the one who posted my paddle impressions of the Laird versus my C4 on the Hotsails forum. Here is an update…

    My C4 blade was 9″ wide. The Laird blade is 9″ wide at the end, but tapers a lot as it moves up and ultimately is taller, but narrower on average. My impressions haven’t changed. I like the Laird paddle.

    Just last weekend I was watching the wife paddle with her C4 and noticed the blade squirting left and right with each stroke. I just learned on the C4 web site the term is paddle wander. I didn’t understand all the reasons I liked the Laird so much, other than acceleration. There was a funny feel with the C4 I didn’t understand until I saw the wife’s paddle wandering, then it clicked in my head. One intersting bit of news. The local SUP shop just received a new shipment of C4 paddles and they were all 8.5″ wide. Maybe C4 is automatically gaining knowledge and shipping shops the right products. Nice.

    Regarding sales of the Laird. The shop I bought mine at had the paddle sitting around a long time. I think, because it is heavy compared to a C4. When a customers walks in a store to buy a paddle, guess which one they buy. The lighter one. The people in the shop usually don’t know much about paddle differences other than price. At least around here. This ain’t Hawaii.

    I sold my Laird SUP. I’m loving my JL 11 footer. I tried a custom SUP, JL 11′7, and the Mistral. The JL 11′ is a winner.

    I’m addicted to this sport big time.

    By the way, I’m shocked that some on this blog find the JL 11′7 so easy to ride. That board was near impossible for me to enjoy at 202 lbs (lost some weight doing this) and 6′2″ at age 53.

    Can’t wait to paddle some more this weekend! (NC coast)

  130. on 11 Jul 2007 at 3:32 amDW

    Regarding installing handles on the JL.

    Don’t do it, you’ll regret it in my opinion.

    When I first starting this sport I thought the board was a beast. I could not figure out how to carry it 10 feet, let alone from the house to the beach. Once on the beach I dragged it to the water the first few times. Rubbed the paint off my Laird.

    Now I don’t understand why it was so difficult. I have no issues carrying my JL around. The board is light and I’ve learned how to carry it with little effort.

    Be patient, live with the board awhile before you make a mess installing handles. You just might end up like me and not need them.

  131. on 11 Jul 2007 at 5:26 amDejan

    Hi Bill, Evan et al haven’t posted in awhile because I was on vacation (yes I took the board and paddled almost every day, except the 25 knot day I had to windsurf). I’m still in love with my JL 11′7! For anyone interested in board bags, I bought a bag for this puppy because it doesn’t fit in my windsurfing trailer! (6×10 cargo trailer). So the board is constantly on and off one or the other car roof racks, depending on when my wife or I go paddling. I was afraid it would get dinged up. No one locally had a bag big enough, and alot of the so called “dedicated” SUP web sites all had $200+ bags. I did a little research and found that Epic had a 355×73 sidewall bag with carrying handles (basically a windsurf longboard bag) for $130. I ordered one from Isthmus Sailboards. The bag is the perfect length for the Jimmy. It is a little wide, but there are cinch straps along the sides of the bag that allow you to tighten it up. Saved a C note!

    I haven’t gotten any surf yet but have been in some light swell (we’re in New England after all). As for turning, stance, paddle stroke, and so on here are my observations: (I’m 6′3 215 lbs, 27 year windsurfer, novice surfer)

    Stance: I stand at Jimmy’s signature (those who own the board will know what I mean). I’m finding that a narrow stance (like downhill skiing) is WAY better than a wide stance. That way when I’m cruising and want to do an easy arc turn to gradually change direction, I can just steer with my knees, again just like downhill skiing. Depending on chop and wind I move forward or back a little from the “Jimmy” point. In strong wind and chop I move forward so I can punch through the crap.

    Turning: As mentioned, cruising turns are easy, just weight the rail in the direction you want to go by using your knees like a ski turn. Paddle on the opposite side using short, but wide strokes away from the rail. Sharp turns are harder. I waxed the whole surface of the board for grip. For a sharp turn I found two techniques. 1) Move back behind the “Jimmy” point about a foot or two, raise the nose out of the water, and then use sweeping paddle strokes away from the board opposite the way you want to go, while weighting the rail in the direction you want to go. 2) Change stance to a “surfing” stance and put my back foot way back to pivot the board on its tail, while sweeping the paddle out opposite the way I want to go. This one looks goofy and ugly and you swear you’ll fall in but it is actually quite effective for an in-place quick turn. I imagine this would work well in the impact zone for a quick turn (if I ever get any surf to try it in).

    Paddling: Despite how satisfying it may feel to do really long strokes, the short strokes are the way to go, to get good speed, and keep your momentum. Reach as far as you can towards the nose, and release by the feet. The strokes should be high frequency and powerful. I do about 4 per side, unless I’m in a cross wind, when you basically end up paddling mostly on the downwind side of the board to maintain direction. Going back to stance for a moment, I keep my knees slightly bent, with my upper body bent slightly forward at the hips. It is exactly like downhill skiing. For real power, I crunch my torso while stroking with the arms and shoulders, which really drives the board forward. This is especially important in a headwind. When you get a good rhythm going, this becomes an incredible aerobic and muscle workout.

    Focus Point: Someone mentioned looking at the nose of the board. This is very true! I can’t figure it out yet, but if I get too relaxed and start looking around I totally screw up my rhythm and balance, I slow down, and the board starts wobbling all over, especially if it is rough out. I’m forcing myself though, to look 20-30 yards forward of the nose, because frankly its boring looking at the nose! I’d rather take in the sights a bit when I’m out for a cruise!

    Other: Gotta love the crazy yet envious looks I’m getting from the sea kayakers! They just don’t know what to make of it! I mean, these guys come down to the beach at 6 am and spend 45 minutes screwing around, unloading their kayaks, donning the skirts and lifejackets and loading all kinds of other crap, and helping each other carry these 18 foot monsters to the water, and then they paddle for an hour. I show up, unload my board in 1 minute, give it a wax, throw on a rash guard or a neoprene shirt if its chilly out, and hit the water in under 5 minutes. I’m going about 1.5 times as fast, I have much better visibility, much less crap to deal with, and I’m on and off for my workout in half the time and cover more ground than they do. And the board costs half as much as a sea kayak! Too funny.



  132. on 11 Jul 2007 at 5:52 amDW

    Hey guys, I thought of a few more paddle experiences. Please post yours too. Since I’ve only been doing this a few months, it is nice to hear from others and keep the learning process moving forward.

    With my C4 paddle I struggled a little to find the right depth to enage the blade in the water. I just never felt like I was getting it right with EVERY stroke. Maybe when I engaged it wrong (too deep or not enough?) it promoted paddle wander. I would be nice to hear from experts.

    When I switched to the Surftech Laird paddle, all thoughts and feelings about engaging the paddle the right depth disappeared automatically. It always felt good. Hard to explain any better than this.

    I know I’m a kook, but it all makes a difference to me.

    One more thought. I cut my first paddle length per the paddle makers web site recommendation. Then one day while swapping boards and paddles with my friends, I was handed an uncut long paddle. I fell in love. Later I learned about a kayak paddle technique where it is considered helpful to be able to aide your paddle stroke by pushing with one hand while pulling with the other. A longer paddle really helps if you want to push with the opposite hand. It’s also nice with doing a relaxed upright paddle cruise.

    Moral of the story, be careful where you cut that paddle.

  133. on 11 Jul 2007 at 8:44 ambillb

    Not sure I mentioned this before, but I finally got my Starboard 12′6″. Very nice looking board, I got the wood version which is said to be lighter and stronger, though more expensive. Love the integral handle, and the double leash plugs, it’s got a slot for a centerboard fin and came with one, but the tail fin was not with it. I’m waiting for Fedex to deliver one.

    I ordered a flex fin from Wardog as soon as the thing showed up with no fin, and then contacted Trident Sports to tell them the board arrived fine. Turns out the board should have had the fin with it so they are sending one FedEx as well.

    I paddled the board around using just the centerboard fin in Lake Arthur (I’m North of Pittsburgh about fifty miles, camping while I’m waiting for the paddock for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix paddock to open tomorrow morning). first impression even without a fin is that this board is a super glider. Surprising for how light it is. Every stroke carries the board yards and yards. It’s pretty stable–not as much as the JL 11er, but almost. You can move around on it really easily.

    Downsides–the pad is very thin, which is good for wieght and fine for traction but my feet got numb quickly. Must just be because I haven’t been paddling for months–I’m not moving my feet around much. If the fins come in today I’ll both paddle and sail the board. there was decent wind yesterday. i bet I can point this thing pretty close with the big daggerboard in place.

    One more thing–to all you regular commenters. If you register I’ll give you full editor rights so you can create your own posts. that will make it easier for you to add pictures and video.

  134. on 11 Jul 2007 at 1:10 pmbillb

    Good info on Paddles, DW. I’ll have to try the Laird paddle soon. I know what you mean about the 11′7″ — it’s not easy, but it flies if you’re light enough to let it float.

    Part of the problem I think is that the JL 11er is a little magic. I was really nervous about turning mine in because it worked so well. As you might recall mine was an early one and de-laminated on the top under my 250 pounds of dancing feet. I’m relieved to find that all the JL11ers are magic. They make it really easy to get going in this sport, and with a different fin, they surf great.

  135. on 11 Jul 2007 at 7:30 pmStan LeCain

    Great site !!! With any sport…especially at its infancy, it’s nice to be able to share all this info. Gets real expensive when you have to find out for yourself what’s a dog and whats not. My buddy and I have been SUPing for about a year over here in Panama City. My buddy picked it up after going for a paddle with Laird. I was hooked instantly. Reminded me so much of the soul of riding a huge longboard log on the south shore.
    I LOVE my JL 11′…..and my buddy loves his Laird. We’ve also used the JL 11′7″ and Munoz and the Softtop. Bottom line is we go out in some small waves and have to deal with short duration periods and wind….The longer narrower boards are great for the glassy long distance paddles and def. have the boat speed. But most of the time we’re going out to catch waves and when it comes to be able to relax, turn on a time and stall out there in the wind and chop waiting for a wave……you just have sooo much more fun on something around 30″ wide.
    Ideally over the next couple of years I’d like to have a dedicated super fast paddle board for those excursion workout days and a super surfy 11′ by 30″ as my bread and butter get my wave count up.
    I plan to get the Naish when it comes out as I’ve been sooooo tempted to put a mast track in the JL but can’t bring myself to do it.

    Couple other comments:
    Paddles…..we’ve tried them all……..except for the Infinity someone mentioned….We really like the C4 8.5 but like the QB a little more….just would love to have the QB with a C4 handle. But we’ve both have fallen in love with the WhiskeyBay wood paddles……we’ve done alot of side by side testing….not really faster then the carbon but the feel is incredible. Maybe it’s the soul, maybe because they are drop dead gorgous….but mostly the handle, and def. the flex…..you get to love the bow like effect…….the other benefit is they are easier on the rail dings……low pitch vs the high pitch hits and chips the carbon paddles leave………..the worst part is getting over using such a pretty paddle….you really just want to hang it on the wall.
    We’ve found that you can tape off your carbon edges and coat with some 3M Black 5200. It takes 3 days to dry but leaves a really polished look and takes the edge off the rail hits……we’ve noticed no paint chips since we’ve done that.

    Fins…….Jimmy’s right…..I like the longer fins for long distance….and really tiny waves……I put a smaller fin for bigger waves to get the carve factor up. Best kept secrest is I use my True Ames Convertible fin for long distance and a Maui Wave Fin for the surfing…..both from my windsurfers……

    Keep the dialogue going…..that way we don’t have to figure this all out on our own.

  136. on 11 Jul 2007 at 7:34 pmStan LeCain

    Correction……WhiskeyJack Paddles…..not Whiskey Bay……..

  137. on 12 Jul 2007 at 1:05 amEvan

    Stan – What flex is your WJ paddle? Their site says the flex can be changed w/ layers of glass. Which model WJ paddle do you like best?

    What do you mean by ‘tape off your carbon edges and coat with some 3M Black 5200′? The 5200 looks like caulking. What do you do with it?

  138. on 12 Jul 2007 at 3:11 amlinter

    Bill: i’ve registered. now, how do you post pix?

    DW: i went ahead and drilled right into my JL and installed handles and love em so far. what it actually is is a shoulder strap with the attachment points hidden under the pad. it look a few days of dithering, not to mention a phone conversation with Jimmy himself, for me to get the guts to drill into the thing; but once i did, the operation went smoothly and the patient seems to have survived nicely. i’ll post pix when i figure out how.

    i’ve also put two surfco hawaii surface-mount leash plugs on the back of the board for a grab handle ala warlock.

    next up: two of those surface plugs on either side of the nose so i can make a criss-cross bungee strap arrangement. i was out on the JL the other day with fish boiling all around me — a great big honking school of stripers — and no way to have some fun with them. my plan, on flatwater days, is to slip a cuban reel under the bungee to fish with should the occasion arise again.

  139. on 12 Jul 2007 at 4:22 amDW

    Great stuff guys. I tried a non Laird Surftech paddle. It’s the Laird design without carbon and his name on it. The shaft has more flex. I liked the extra flex. But, you can’t find these paddles anywhere.

    The reports of people favoring paddles with more flex, Whiskey Jack and Quickblade, supports my impression. Nice to know I’m not nuts.

    I had a kayak expert tell me flex was bad.

  140. on 12 Jul 2007 at 3:37 pmjason

    DW, is this the paddle you are talking about? http://beckersurf.com/browse/productDetails.aspx?pgid=1&skuid=2967&sgid=40

    It has a fiberglass blade. Bargain at Becker for $220, the Surftech website has them listed for $275.

    I concur in the prior comments about the QuickBlade Kanaha. I had a Pop’s blade, but fell on it and broke it. Jim Terrell replaced it with the Kanaha blade. I like the performance much better. Seems to have a lot less wander and propulsion feels better. Can’t comment on the C4, but I hear it is a bit heavier than the QuickBlades.

    I just picked up a 7″ Infinity paddle with the otter/beaver tail blade. As soon as I get it out in the water I will report on performance. Steve Boehne calls this a good all around surfblade. We’ll see how well it pushes my 12 foot Ron House.

    The Infinity paddle is carbon as well, but feels heavy compared to the QuickBlade. Also, it is almost straight. The website says it has a 2 degree bend. One person that I talked to like these blades because they were smaller and led to less fatigue while paddling.

  141. on 13 Jul 2007 at 4:16 amDW

    Jason, yes that is the Surftech model my friend has and I like it a lot. Surftech does not have them in the stock. Only Laird’s in stock.

  142. on 13 Jul 2007 at 5:20 amStan LeCain


    I have two of the Whiskey Jacks….one mounted on the wall and the other in use. The first was the model without a FRP wrap up the shaft…it has more flex and I like it better. The second was his Whiskey Tall Boy but I had him customize it for me. It has a wrap….up the shaft…slightly stiffer but still the flex is there. YOu can see it when we bend the paddle blades on the ground….vs the carbon ones. Also the shafts are about 4 1/8 around which seems to fit my hand better. The QB is narrower and I think better suited to his smaller hands……The 4 1/8 also seems to coincide with my windsurf boom grip….so I think thats a pretty good standard or benchmark thats been out there awhile.

    5200 is the marine silicon that is used to stuff about every hole in a boat. We tried a have dozen different silicons…..aquaseal….to try and put a small soft edge on the paddles….none of them looked professional and wouldn’t set well.

    But the Black 5200 sets almost like a thick paint…..and leaves a nice glossy look. We tape off the edges all the way around….leaving about a1/4 inch of the knife edge exposed on both sides. Then hang the paddle by the handle in the work shed…….brush on the 5200 starting from the top as it will start running….it sags and sets up really nice….after about 4 hours pull the tape….but it takes about 3 days for it to fully cure….leaves a nice rubberized edge…….and looks great on the carbon.

    Note**** Once you put 5200 on…..it’s not coming off……….maybe I” try and post a picture next week……

  143. on 13 Jul 2007 at 10:02 amDejan

    On the topic of these rail dings and paddle wander I’ll be blunt. If you’re not strong enough to control the paddle it will wander; I’ve seen this watching people try this sport. My wife and I came up with a simple solution. We’re strong enough for paddle wander to be a non issue. The Kialoa is smooth. However, she and I are the ONLY ones that use the gear, i.e. the carbon paddle and the Jimmy. Kids and friends that want to try, get a windsurfer and a kayak paddle I made up (lose a blade) for paddling.

    Its the same as the windsurf gear, beginners NEVER get near my Formula gear, no way, no how, and NO ONE gets to use any of my good fins. Much less angst that way.


  144. on 13 Jul 2007 at 10:23 amBob Babcock

    Wow….this thread has taken on a life of it’s own. Great stuff!

    Well I guess Bill will know about this soon anyway so I figure I’ll ask him and all the rest of you for input to avoid building him something that sucks. I’m planning on building him a paddle similar to the WhiskeyJacks. What I’m interested in is the optimum shaft diameter for comfort, how much flex, paddle geometry, etc..

    From what I read above it looks like bigger is not necessarily better on the paddle blade…..I was thinking 10.5″ but given Bill’s advanced age and shitty shoulders maybe I should make it 6″…:). I’m already planning on a 6′10″ length based on Bill’s comment he likes them 8″ longer than he is tall.

    Bill…let me know what diameter to make the shaft for comfort and if you would like it longer.

    What kind of deflection does a flexy shaft have? I was planning on a cross grain mahogany core with cedar laminations but that might be too stiff. The WhiskeyJack paddles have flat laminations parallel (or close to it) to the blade which would make them more flexible to start with even before the Fiberglass wrap.

    How much flex does the blade itself need. I’m thinking of building in reinforcing ribs to the outside and down the center (think duck’s foot). They will stiffen the blade and help with blade wander (at least that’s the theory).

    I’m hoping I can build some performance into it but it may just end up on the wall at the Pono house….that’s OK too.

    Let me know what you think. I’ll be starting it the end of this month.

  145. on 13 Jul 2007 at 10:25 amEvan

    Dejan – I know exactly what you mean. I don’t hit my rails that much these days but beginners knock the crap out of it. I have a hard time saying ‘no’ when my friend asks me, “Can I try?”

    I wonder if it’s strength though. My friend who has at least 100 hours into SUP keeps banging his rails so much that he chipped through the gel coat. He put duct tape on his rail so the damage won’t be as bad. This guy is physically strong. e.g. Saturday he did a 1 mile open ocean swim in 32 min and then jogged to his house about 3 miles. An hour after that we did a 4.5 mile SUP paddle.

    It’s also gotta be feel but it’s nice to have something on the paddle blade to minimize the damage just in case.

  146. on 13 Jul 2007 at 10:44 amlinter

    still don’t know how to post photos yet — come on, bill, lemme now!

    meanwhile, i found two great vids on youtube. the first one is, i think, JL on a Jimmy 10. Whoever it is is great. Some fantastic and severe drop-knee turns and great spinning to catch a wave (near the end). Very cool.


    Equally great — and a first, as far as i know — is this instructionally oriented 5 minute piece about flat-water practicing. This guy’s on a 10′ board, too, i think, and man does he have some great balance. Does a lot of switch foot stuff and switch paddle too. Also: paddling with the fin forward. Also: great demonstration of spinning with the rear foot back. And lots of other neato stuff.


    We need more vids like these. If you know of any, please posts links here!

  147. on 13 Jul 2007 at 10:59 amBob Babcock


    I’m not sure that this will work but I’ll post and see.

    How are you trying to post pictures? Do you use photobucket or some similar site to host the pictures? If you see a photo below that works, if not, we’ll need to wait for Bill to stop playing with his car.

    Future SUP paddle.

    If this works but you don’t want to use photobucket you should be able to look at the html and figure out what to edit.

  148. on 13 Jul 2007 at 11:02 amBob Babcock

    Nope…doesn’t work…..NM.


  149. on 13 Jul 2007 at 10:24 pmStan LeCain

    Have to agree ….that my greatest fear in letting a newbie try my board. I lwas listening to my son and daughter hit the rails from 50 yards away. OUch !!!! But I don’t know if it’s a strength thing. More just the learning curve and after that….the conditions you go out in. My friend and I still hit the rails but really only when we are in choppy and confused conditions catching waves…..totally different game when your in short period chop and have to turn on a time and stroke like a mad man for 3 strokes to catch a wave. Rarely hit the rails on a swell day…..ie made for SUPing. And never hit when we go for a 4-6 mile “Let’s just get a workout”day. Which trust me,on the JL 11, 6 miles is a pretty brutal workout by any standard….

    I guess if you only go out on a classic SUP day the rail dings is a non-factor. But we’ve had a blast parking a truck a few miles down the coast and doing downwinder’s …..much more enjoyable then trying to hold position….amazed how the body acts like a 1 square meter sail,,,you can really pull some speed.

    Based on the fin comments I’ve done some big time experimenting as I have a slew of ABox windsurf fins to blay with of all varieties. Will post results when I test a few more in different conditions…….

  150. on 14 Jul 2007 at 3:24 amchris hohnke

    I’ve been reading the blog for a while after purchasing a custom paddle board here in Australia 11ft x 26in. The board is just to narrow to learn on so after reading the blog I have a 11ftJL arriving next week,can’t wait. I’ll let you know how it goes.Ive been practicing on the custom in the mean time so hopefully the JL will be a lot easier.

  151. on 15 Jul 2007 at 5:01 amDejan

    Evan et al, yes ok, maybe I shouldn’t have referred to “strength!” But definitely, I think we have all found that there is an awareness and level of control over time, and that stamina and endurance play a role in that! I think we’ll all get sloppy when we get tired. We had a day recently were we windsurfed most of the day and then the wind dropped off, so I went for a paddle. There was still a lot of confused chop and I was beat, and the JL 11′7 reminded me very quickly who was the boss that day!

    I’m currently putting all the kids on a windsurf board with a kayak paddle with one blade removed. I just tell them the Jimmy is not a “toy.” They’re fine with that, they don’t know the difference. Non windsurfing adults get the windsurfer, with the Kialoa paddle for a tryout. A few of my good windsurfing friends, get to to try the JL with the Kialoa. When not paddling the board sits up in its bag near the trailer, rather than down on the beach. Don’t know about the rest of you but we’re on a mixed use beach and there are hobies, jet skis, windsurfers, kayakers, etc and it can be really crazy on the weekends with gear and people all over the place. Fun, but the good stuff can get wrecked when 10 kids are tired of “trying” windsurfing and want to “try” paddling!

    Looking forward to stories of “downwinders.” We do it on windsurfers. I’m talking with another guy who paddles to do a SUP downwinder maybe next weekend.



  152. on 15 Jul 2007 at 5:38 amStan LeCain


    Downwinders rock. We finally got smart a few months ago and took the time to park a truck 4-6 miles down the beach. It’s a blast catching waves with the wind and inbetween you’re movig along at a smooth clip.

    As for the paddle spec’s above……just a few notes:

    1) I think you’ll find the shaft coming in around anywhere from 3 7/8 to 4 1/8 in circumference is quite ergonomic…..very nice if you put an oval into it.
    2) I think I’d stick with a blade size average of what’s already out there. Of course….alot of people have been talking about width but really it’s the L xW that goes in the water…..wish I could shape 10 paddle with progressing different ratio’s of L vs W to see how they felt.
    3) Be careful with the wood grain…..you have to keep it on the longitude or running par. to the length of the paddle…otherwise it becomes very weak and prone to snapping……

  153. on 15 Jul 2007 at 7:12 amRandy

    Hi Bill,
    Man, has this collaborative document burgeoned! I had visted when you originally posted the link from the HS site, but I thinl it had 1 response then.

    I would like to invite you (all) to join us on a new independent stand up specific forum site which we created to share our stoke for stand up. It launched yesterday. Please register and introduce yourself.


    Best to all of you,
    Randy Strome

  154. on 15 Jul 2007 at 5:06 pmEvan

    I tried out a new board today. It was the Angulo 10′4″ x 28.5″ x 4.25″. The tail is a pintail w/ a hydroplane cut out (not sure if that’s what it’s called). The waves were tiny and conditions were glassy. I used my 78″ C4 paddle w/ 8.5″ blade.

    The board was really good in glassy conditions. I was able to balance no problem although the board is much more tippy than my Jimmy 11′er. I’m surprised that I could stand so easily. The board also catches waves easier than I thought it would. I’m not sure if that was the board or the glassy conditions. I was very impressed once I caught a fluke wave w/ some actual size and strength. It was head high and I just got it as I paddled back to where I started. On a decent wave the board surfs and turns really well. I’m going to try it again tmw AM and hopefully the swell comes in w/ some waves.

  155. on 16 Jul 2007 at 2:22 amBob Babcock

    Thanks for the response on the paddle Stan. I’m planning on having the mahogany be the “spine” of both the shaft and the blade. The mahogany will go completely through the widest part of the oval of the shaft. The cedar laminations (4 each side) will be perpindicular to the spine. It should make for decent strength in all axes. I’ll add glass as necessary to help stiffen it up.

    I’m going to steam bend the last 18″ of the mahogany to 10 deg. I’m probably going to go with the 8.5″ blade (unless Bill chimes in differently). I’m planning on starting the taper 6″ from the bottom.

    This is the 1st time I’ve tried steam bending or laminating so who knows….it could end up being expensive firewood.

  156. on 16 Jul 2007 at 5:38 amStan LeCain

    Sounds like it could be quite the endeavor. There are tons of wood boat books out there on steam bending………most also will rank the strength vs weigh ratio’s of wood. Can’t go wrong with a 8.5-9 for starters…….like I said before length plays a big part and of course the shape outline…..”Total surface area”. I wouldn’t worry about putting a tetrahedan face on it……I’ve done alot of comparing and I don’t see or fee the difference in the stroke or see a noticable wandering between the two………I do know you loose torque when you put one in….Ok that’s my 4 and half cents…. ;)

  157. on 16 Jul 2007 at 6:53 ambillb

    I’ve upgraded the status of Linter and Bob to Author status, that means you can create your own postings on the blog. To do that, just log in to the site then select “Admin” in the meta section from the home page (click on the site name in the header to get to the home page).

    You’ll have access to the full authoring/editing system for the blog (I think). If you have any problems just drop me an email.

    To add pictures you first upload them from the authoring interface, then place them into the article. The interface is a little confusing at first, but it’s not tough. You can place the pictures as thumbnails that expand when a viewer clicks on it, or you can place it full size and then resize it to the viewing size you want by dragging a corner. Any resized picture can be viewed full size by clicking it.

    If anyone else wants authoring rights, just register and let me know, I’ll be glad to upgrade you.

  158. on 16 Jul 2007 at 6:55 ambillb

    I forgot to add, sorry this took so long, I’ve been in Pittsburgh at the Pittsburg Vintage Grand Prix. It’s held in Schenley Park on streets converted to a race track. No high speed internet connection of course. Sure was fun–scary, with all the light poles, stone walls, bridges and ravines. But it was a blast. I finished third, which surprised even me.

  159. on 17 Jul 2007 at 3:24 pmScreech

    Paddle on Ebay… could be decent deal. 19more hours
    If link doesnt work, just do a search for stand up paddles.


  160. on 18 Jul 2007 at 5:45 amTom English

    New Paddle Technology

  161. on 18 Jul 2007 at 9:25 pmRed

    Hi alap,
    I am in Vancouver and I have started SUPing around the harbour here. I am eager to try it out in Tofino next time I am there. I spoke to Long Beach Surf Shop, where I usually rent my regular surfing gear, and they said they are not renting SUP equipment right now. Have you seen gear for rent anywhere in Tofino? I am renting gear in Vancouver, they just give me a windsurfing board and they have bought some of the paddles. Also, where abouts in Tofino are you heading out? Have you seen anyone else there doing it? I don’t think that I have but I only get over there a few weekends are year.


  162. on 19 Jul 2007 at 11:32 amalap

    hi red,
    I don’t think they rent it there. I suspect I was the first one there. I actually stay at UKee, when I am there, not tofino, and do it at Long Beach (Chesterman’s is to crowded, Florencia is too long of a walk). I don’t think that windsurfing board is a good choice, especially for a newb, read this forum more and also hotsail’s maui forum for discussion around boards. BTW I ordered QB, should be here in a couple of days, and I pay more attention to my paddling technique (on flat water so far), and I am moving way faster and much more stable and confident. I am now not sure if I shoulda be ordering second blade… But I’ll compare those side by side and let you know. of crs ocean in a few weeks will be an ultimate test.

  163. on 19 Jul 2007 at 7:15 pmBob Babcock

    Hey Tom,

    That paddle of Caleb’s looks much easier to build than the one I have in mind. I wonder if Bill would like it….now where is that 1″ x 6″ x 8′? Does the flag help performance?

    Lose torque? Is torque in the blade a good thing?

  164. on 20 Jul 2007 at 2:06 amchris hohnke

    Got the new JL11ft tuesday and have since applied the jl deck pad, looks good with a grey deck and red pad.I’ts friday night here the surfs up about 10ft on the open beachs so I’ll have look for a protected southern bay tomorrow morning.Wild horses wont keep me from having a go,wish me luck,cheers.

  165. on 20 Jul 2007 at 2:44 pmRed

    Hi alap,

    Thanks for the advice. There is nowhere in Vancouver that I can find that is renting “real” SUP gear. I’ve never seen anyone other than me doing it. There is a windsurfing school at Jericho beach that has invested in some paddles and that’s about it. As I am just starting out, I am reluctant to buy a board. The windsurfing board I rent is called a primo–I’m not sure if that means anything to you. They recommend it for beginners. I will have to stick with it until I can find some better gear. I am going to Costa Rica at the end of August so I am hoping to try some better gear there. It would be nice to rent a couple of boards before investing. Where are you buying your boards from? Are you just ordering them online? Are most of them shipping from Hawaii?

    One question I have is how heavy are they? I am really fit but I have a really small frame and I am one of those women that no matter what I do I will always have poor upper body strength. The guy at the windsurfing rental place has to help me carry the board down to the water, which is kind of girly and lame… Anyway, I was doing some research from some of the links on this site and one of them had a board they recommended for women made out of birch as it was lighter. It got me thinking about the weight issue. If anyone has any comments about that, just let me know!


  166. on 20 Jul 2007 at 4:02 pmalap

    Hi Red,

    I ordered my board from Infinity in CA in January. I like it very much. BTW, he has a video of his wife on utube, search for “ibarrie”. He is well known tandem surfing champ and builder. Now of course there are more choices – JL11*30, Starboard 12.6 etc.. I am sure next season you coulda buy some from retailer in Canada (for me waiting a season is not an option!, waiting a day drives me nuts! ), no need to order from afar. I doubt very much you could rent it out anywhere else then Hawaii. May be in Southern CA . Of course it is better to take a look first before ordering blindfolded, but other than in Hawaii I don’t think it is an option. I’d love to try something else myself. Cs there is no real “good” and “”bad” its always “better” and “worse”.

    Just when we say this car is good means that the previous was worse and when we say this girl is bad… well let me not to be carried away :)

    So I didn’t have this luxury to compare. But as I said I am comfortable with my board, no complaints so far. And the paddle is a bit small for me, I think, but QuickBlade is in UPS hands now…

    My board in the bag is 29 pounds. It looks a bit intimidating and awkward because of its overall size (dont carry it in the windy conditions!) to manupulate it. But with the bag strap over the shoulder(and bag is absolutely a must!) its no problem, and on the beach too. The most difficult part is to load it on the roof rack (especially if you drive big SUV, I would imagine) – I drive CRV, so its fine with me. I lift it on my head (my head is just under center of gravity), then put the nose on the rack from behind and slide it in. If you have a car its not an issue at all. As i said the only issue for you is not to drop it on parking lot from your head (even in the bag). Don’t unload alone in the strong crosswind either.

    And also when it lies flat, you kinda have to scoot yourself under it, lifting one end, while it stands on the nose, before you find this point of full balance and put it on the shoulder/head

    I am sure it’s not a problem, you’ll find it ok.

  167. on 20 Jul 2007 at 5:05 pmScreech

    Hey Red…. yeah, weight can be a factor for sure if ya cant pick the thing up. I have 2 boards… the 12′ Munoz Surftech that I started on. Its kinda narrow (26″) but that does make it easier to carry. Its pretty darn light too. Lotta guys dont like it because it is a little tippy but I’ve ridden it for a year and was good to learn on. I just prop it on my hip with the paddle and its fine to carry. Second board is a 9″6″ x27″ custom PSH board that weighs 18lbs. Amazingly stable and much easier to carry. Depending on your weight, you might be able to learn on something that small.. I’m 5′7″ 125lbs. Most of the production boards coming out now are lighter but I would certainly take that into consideration. You gotta be able to carry and load by yourself.

  168. on 22 Jul 2007 at 2:50 amchris hohnke

    Rode my new JL11 on Saturday for the first time. I’ts very stable compared to the 26” wide custom I already had, but not as stable as I thought it would be.
    3 hours is obviously not enough practice to ride in 6ft shore break.I could paddle out wide alright but struggled paddling across the swell or paddling into the wind. I also had difficulty paddling onto the waves early enough, so I stuck to paddling out wide till I get my confidence or encounter smaller easier breaking waves.Can’t wait till summer the weathers been pretty wild here lately.
    The bulk carrier the Pasha Bulker ran ashore nearby.

  169. on 22 Jul 2007 at 1:00 pmlinter

    bill: i now know how to go to admin and write a post with pictures but for the life o’ me, i can’t figure out how to leave it as a comment in the 101 section. i can do it from the 101 page, of course, but not from the admin section. how do you do it?

  170. on 23 Jul 2007 at 11:53 amRed

    Thanks for the advice everyone. I have done some research and I think I will try and buy a board for next summer. It definitely sounds like there are some models that I will be able to lift myself. In the meantime, I will keep getting more tips from this site. Alap, if I see someone SUPing in Tofino I will assume it’s you and come and introduce myself!

  171. on 25 Jul 2007 at 11:08 amhotdotdog

    Kudos on this blog. So much great information on this website. I’m new to stand up but old to surfing. I’m a big guy, 250 lbs, so my board choices are fewer than for others. I live in So Cal. I tried a couple of Al Merrick boards (didn’t float me) and the Laird. I’ve got to say that Laird board is huge and paddling is no problem but I don’t think I can crank a hard shoulder turn on it without falling off. I will be trying out a Jimmy Lewis 11 tomorrow and from all the positive feedback on this blog, I’ve definitely got a “warm and fuzzy” feeling about it.

  172. on 25 Jul 2007 at 12:29 pmLinter

    well, since i couldn’t figure out how to post pictures here, i went ahead and did it at the stand up zone site. the pictures and verbiage tell about my *new* *improved!!!* way of attaching a carry handle strap to the JL11. IMHO, it turned out pretty great. if you want to check it out, go see:


  173. on 26 Jul 2007 at 2:08 pmbillb

    Sorry to take so long to get back to you Linter, I’m in Door County, Wisconsin at a campgrounds with no high speed internet service.

    I have upgraded you and Bob to Editor, which means you can modify any posting. If you still have trouble let me know, but you should be able to modify this document.

    I’m going to work on turning this into a more complete book on Standup, by categorizing it more. Anyone that wants to contribute insight and information is welcome, including commercial information as long as it’s relevant and not Spam. If you’d like to take over editing a specific section just register and leave a comment about the things you’d like to write about. I’ll upgrade you to editor status and you can write away.

    I’ll retain control over the resulting document, and you shouldn’t write anything here that you are not willing to give up intellectual property rights to–I’m already seeing stuff from this blog cut and pasted into other places. No big deal.

  174. on 27 Jul 2007 at 10:14 amRed

    Last night I was out paddling in Vancouver and I saw someone else doing it on an Infinity board (11 feet by 28.5) and a C4 Waterman paddle. He is the first person I have seen here with real gear and not just a windsurfing board without the sail. Turns out that he designs outrigger canoes. I stopped to talk to him and he let me try his board out for a while. It was great to try out one of the boards that you guys are always talking about. He told me about a local kayaking race that wants to add a SUP division as a couple of people have requested it. He is now trying to get me to enter as they don’t have any women. Anyway, if I decide to humiliate myself and give it a try I will post my result here!

    One question I have about paddling is if anyone is using canoeing techniques like the J stroke. I have been trying this with mixed success.

  175. on 31 Jul 2007 at 6:29 pmX30 paddler

    I have been patiently waiting for a 10 foot Jimmy Lewis SUP. Anyone out there ride one yet. I am only 150 and have outgrown my 12 Softtop( I hope). The video looks sick but I’m sure ability has more to do than board.

  176. on 31 Jul 2007 at 6:30 pmDejan

    Hi Bill, Evan, et al

    Haven’t written in awhile, have had alot of business travel the last few weeks, but have been trying to paddle as much as possible on the free days / no wind no windsurfing days. The weather here in New England has been really hot, to the extent that the “cold water” sexwax I have been using is literally melting off my board! After 30-40 minutes of paddling there is no wax left under my feet! I need to find out what the surfers do for “warm” water and weather! Anyway, all of a sudden after a few tries, a good friend of mine, who is a windsurfer, is intrigued with SUP to the extent that he and his wife are starting to ask me questions about what board they should get! Funny how “viral” this sport can get; I mean here I was 2 months ago trying to figure out what gear to get and now I’m the “expert” on the beach! Crazy! Thanks to this forum I can at least help someone else now.

    I sutumbled on this you tube SUP video:


    Happy paddling.



  177. on 31 Jul 2007 at 10:10 pmbillb

    Of course the reason you want a pad is exactly that the wax under your feet is gone in 20 minutes. No matter what you do.

    My new starboard 12′6″ has a super thin pad that works great. I doubt it adds an ounce to the weight. I was disappointed when I first saw it, but now I think it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread.

  178. on 01 Aug 2007 at 4:34 pmScreech

    hummmm…. I ride a waxed board… kinda like it. Wax does get a little pushed over on rails but its not a problem. Stay out for hours. ZOGS: QUICK HUMPS Surfboard Wax & Base Coat.

  179. on 02 Aug 2007 at 6:36 amDW

    Sticky Bumps “tropical climate” wax is what you need. Water is 85 here (NC)

    There are pros and cons to wax. It is easier to shift and shuffle the feet with wax. That I like. But, pads are comfy and you never slip with a pad.

  180. on 02 Aug 2007 at 11:27 pmEvan

    Hi guys,

    Long time no post. I’ve been busy but I also hurt my shoulder and ribs when I fell holding my 2 year old. I didn’t see the curb and down I went straight onto my shoulder. My shoulder is better but my ribs are still killing me. Anyway, enough whinning.

    I’m waiting to get my 10′6″ C4. I tried a demo 2 weeks ago at the contest at Ala Moana Bowls here on Oahu. I liked it a lot. I actually entered the contest with some misconception that I would not embarrass myself. I was wrong. First off, I was the only guy on a board 11′. Everyone else was on 10′6″ boards or smaller. I think Leleo Kinimaka was on a 9′2″ board or something small. Todd Bradley from C4 who won was on a 9′ or 9′6″. Everyone had 3 fins expect me. I got there at 7 AM bc I didn’t register in advance. My heat wasn’t until 10:20 AM and I got thirsty so I drank 2 red bulls (bad move) and then went out to my heat. I basically caught 3 waves, small ones and spazzed out for the rest of the time. Big time guys like Titus Kinimaka, Leleo Kinimaka, Mel Pu’u were all there. I think there were 24 or so competitors.

    It definitely opened my eyes to what’s possible. I think there’s video at the http://www.c4waterman.com site. I’m in it…well actually I’m just giving a ’shaka’ but good enough for me.

    I hope I get back in the water soon because I just missed a great south shore swell.

  181. on 03 Aug 2007 at 8:37 amLinter

    just an update on my progress as regards my balance issues. happily, i’m getting somewhat better. I can get up and paddle around in slight chop, with a sputtering swell, and not get dumped every time. on the other hand, i have yet to actually catch a wave. there’s something about the swell picking me up the way it does that unsettles my balance and it’s off the back i go. i’m not exactly sure how to counter this. maybe it’s just a matter of practice.
    it is frustrating, though. i met a guy the other day on a JL11-7 (or whatever) and it was his first day in the water on it and he was catching waves after a very short while. then we went out yesterday and he did pretty well and i did pretty not well. the longer JL is supposed to be much tippier than my 11 but he seemed to get the hang of it pretty quickly. he’s an older guy, probably weighs 20 lbs more than me; but he’s shorter; i like to think his low center of gravity is helping him bigtime.
    so, i just gotta keep at it and not lose my patience.
    bill — is your brother still thinking about joining the SUP world? if so, and when he does, i’d very much like to hear about his progress.

  182. on 04 Aug 2007 at 1:19 amchris hohnke

    Been riding my new JL11 and just love it.Catches waves and surfs great. I’m still using the large original fin for stability and look forward to using the smaller 9” fin the dealer gave me.It gives me a good workout and is the only time I’ve come in from a surf and really need a drink.I stay well away from other longboarders but have still drawn some negative comment, they seem to think I’ll come over to them and take all there waves.I’ts funny its only the longboarders that seem to have a problem whereas the shortboarders are keen to know about it.Maybe some of these longboarders have dominated the breaks to long.

  183. on 04 Aug 2007 at 7:42 pmX30 paddler

    The longboarders are now “threatened” since they may see themselves as shortboarders compared to some one on a 11 foot SUB. I a getting the same vibe in Jersey. I can be a wavehog if I choose to but I choose to share the waves with the loggers(now shortboarders). I got my JL 10 ‘ er today, off to Hatteras tomorrow for some stand up padddling, kitesurfing and good old regular surfing (unless it is tiny).

  184. on 05 Aug 2007 at 2:08 amchris hohnke

    I copped the same vibe from only one longboarder today.In the end he got so abusive that I invited him in to the shore so he could carry out his threats there and then, which of course much to the amusement of all his buddies he ignored and more so dropped in on a fellow longboarder on his first wave and then fell off.I moved out wide where I intended to surf, and caught a heap of waves and didnt bother anyone.I am sure this guy thinks the hens will stop laying and the cows will dry up with this new scurge.
    If we all act responsibly there is room for us all and most of the time we will get waves that previously went unridden.

  185. on 05 Aug 2007 at 2:13 amchris hohnke

    Hey X30 PADDLER I have a customer here in Newcastle Australia from Jersey. His name is Shaun Jeffrey, he surfs and is a spray painter, maybe you know him.

  186. on 05 Aug 2007 at 2:54 pmBob Babcock

    Hi Linter,

    I’m still planning on giving it a go one of these days. I’m going to be hooking up with Bill at his race in Lime Rock over Labor day and will be giving his new Starboard a try. For me it all depends on the day. Sometimes I feel relatively normal, other days I fall getting out of bed. My balance is never as good as it used to be but I should be able to SUP on a good day. Of course there is the other issue too…I’m 6′4″ 270 so I may just sink it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the exercise will improve my balance issues.

    I’m kind of surprised to hear about folks getting attitude from other surfers…unless you’re being a hog what’s the issue? I hope if I can take this up it’s few and far between….I have a somewhat short fuse (no comments from you Bill). I’d hate to ruin someones day by giving them a longboard suppository.

    BTW, the paddle I’m making for Bill is (so far) coming out awesome. I’m going to blog the construction process here on the site once I get it done. Not sure how it will perform but it should at least be nice to look at.

  187. on 05 Aug 2007 at 4:20 pmEvan

    I’ve been out a lot in Hawaii where people get pretty territorial and haven’t had a problem. I also don’t catch every wave in sight and am pretty friendly w/ everyone. It seems that the only ones that may have issues are the ones with longboards longer than my SUP. The south shore of Oahu has a lot of breaks and people in the water. It’s not unusual to have 6, 4 and 1 man canoes on waves, surf skis, kayaks, paddle boards, etc so as long as people aren’t being totally dumb and disrespectful we haven’t had any issue. Now, I’m pretty sure if I paddled as a beginner into Ala Moana Bowl’s which is a steep wave and where all the rippers go, I would get some comments but there’s a lot of places to go so why deal with that?

  188. on 06 Aug 2007 at 1:12 amChris Hohnke

    The bad attitude I got was when I paddled out past the surfers prior to even catching a wave on my way further up the beach on my own.By the time I paddled in I had even received a few cheers as I got waves and the reception back on the shore was all positive as I had done the right thing.Also the main offender had left so the rest were a bit embarassed to be associated with him.I’m sure the reception next time will be all positive,even from the loudmouth.

  189. on 06 Aug 2007 at 6:11 amDejan

    Didn’t have time this weekend to get over to the shop to get some new wax so I’m just dealing with it. I will try to get some this week though. We now seem to regularly have 3-4 people paddling at the windsurf spot on no-wind days (which, during summer in New England, as alot of the time!). There are also another 3-4 that are surfing them on the ocean side. I think I have my Jimmy pretty wired now so I need to get over there to try and surf it. I haven’t heard of any animosity from the regular surfers as I think it is so novel here. We also have a few guys who have those paddle surf boards (the kind that you lay down on) that do distance paddling. In the event, people here do so many different watersports that we seem to coexist pretty well. Its not unusual to see vans/trailers packed with kite gear, windsurf gear, surf gear, scuba, etc. Most people just like to play on the water as much as possible.


  190. on 06 Aug 2007 at 6:33 ambillb

    There certainly is a backlash, and it’s no surprise. Good breaks and good waves are a scarce resource. Anyone that competes for a wave is going to be unwelcome. I’ve had people give me grief, but it’s more peripheral than direct, and it all comes from longboarders because we’re after the same wave. Last year one guy accused me of dropping in on him. Of course he’s the biggest wave hog I’ve seen. I pointed out that he took three times the waves that I did, and he said he’d been surfing there for twenty years. I said “well then you’ve already had your share, haven’t you”.

    I take two stances: First I’m a friendly guy and I’m not trying to spoil anyone else’s fun. I take a lot of junky waves just for the ride and the training. I also have a helmet video camera on a lot, and I’ll pull in behind a longboarder and film them. Next time I see the person I give them a DVD.

    Second: Tough shit. We’re here to stay, get used to it. The waves don’t belong to longboarders (of course I am one) any more than they belong to the shortboarders that give the longboarders grief, or everyone that gives kayaks grief.

    I’m not as scary as Bob is (I really doubt anyone is going to give him trouble–he looks like he’s going to kill you when he’s just in a bad mood) but I’m not that easy to push around. Most of the guys that act territorial are just insecure weenies showing off. Ignore them.

    Bottom line, these are public beaches and public waters. They belong to you as much as anyone else. Take care of them, don’t be a hog, get to know people, don’t give anyone a reason to give you grief. And enjoy yourself.

  191. on 06 Aug 2007 at 4:49 pmBob Babcock

    Hey!…what do you mean “scary”…..:)

    I hope to blog the process of building the paddle soon. It’s looking pretty slick. Not quite as refined as the Whiskey Jacks but I’m very happy with my 1st attempt. My only concern really is weight. I’ve left this one a little beefy just because I wasn’t sure. I’m planning on making the second one lighter. If I have them both done in time Bill can try them both out and choose which he likes best.

    Dejan…where are you located…..we should hook up sometime….I was thinking about paddling the offshore rollers….talk about a long ride. I also thought about the wake of the vineyard ferry. Of course I haven’t even started yet so both are a long way off.

    I was at Plymouth Beach the other night having dinner at a friends restaurant and was watching this strange crowd of people jogging along the beach. Then I noticed a big shadow in the water. A 20-25 ft basking shark was cruising the shallows eating. made me wish for a board and a paddle right then….I really NEED to get out on the water.

  192. on 10 Aug 2007 at 2:01 amEvan

    Bill – you’re funny

  193. on 13 Aug 2007 at 7:36 pmX30 paddler




  194. on 14 Aug 2007 at 9:22 amalap

    one month later I am at my place at Vancouver Island again.

    the other day I dialed it for real.

    The waves were not existent. The surf report was saying 2 feet. More like one. I mean, if you look on it, its not an ocean. a pond. 5-10 year olds playing in the shorebreak with parents standing aside

    In 3 hours time span I say I caught 30 waves. I mean those rollers about 30-40 santimeters high – I learned how to catch those 50 meters further out in the ocean from the point where they start to break. And I was coming back all the way, were it was ankle deep. My last run – i got really bold: i was walking the centerline, back and forth, and then i started to spin my paddle above my head – by its mid point, like jugglers in the circle. was cheered by the young surfers crowd.

    what were the factors for my success?
    *in the last month I did more flat water paddling on the lake while at home (about 6 sessions).
    * my technique is much better – i am standing close to the nose
    * i learned how to change the stance from parallel to the surfer one with one little hop
    * i am asking questions, analysing answers, watching videos 100 of times – i.e. thinking. as a result i know what I am trying to do
    * when catching the wave i paddle like madman (this is the biggest factor!), then I feel a jolt – the board feels like it starts to glide, then I hop into surfers stance
    * i switched to Quick Blade Kanaha (BTW, when choosing between Quick Blade and C4 I have chosen QB – C4 people they have quite an attitude, it was unpleasant to communicate with them, suffice to say that they replied to me in four days, and the tone was totally wrong; plus they have 45 days warranty, I mean 45!!!, makes you think about the quality of their product; plus their advice of 7″ taller – would I listen to it, I woulda waste $400-). Anyway I am a QB guy now, and I have no issues with the paddle
    * I think my board is really good (I haven’t tried anything else, so really without comparison its tough to say for sure, but I am feeling very comfortable on it). It is 11 foot 28 inches Infinity. At 52, never surfed before, catching and riding it – I mean its not me; its must be a board!
    * i dialed it in the very right conditions – small waves, no wind!

    Now the question to those of you who can turn. I am predictably catching the wave (unless its too steep) and very confidently riding straight to the beach – surfer position, relaxed feet, can sit, stand, bend, walk a bit. Now how do I turn? I mean I want to ride not straight to the beach but at an angle.

    What turn easier to learn, left or right? (I am goofy – my right foot is forward)


  195. on 14 Aug 2007 at 11:06 amSPC


    I’m just debating getting into SUP. I used to lifeguard and frequently used rescue paddleboards, but lying down or kneeling.

    What I would like to do is get back into paddleboarding starting from a lying or kneeling position and graduate to SUP, starting with lakes.

    I would like a fairly stable board, but one that would allow me to do short races – either lying or paddling – eventually – so not so stable that it is impossible to move.

    Can anyone recommend a board that will allow me to both do traditional paddleboarding and SUP?


  196. on 15 Aug 2007 at 12:18 amEvan

    I am ready to get back in the water. I’ve been out of commission bc of some stys in my eye and then while carrying my 2 year old I tripped on a curb and fell down on my shoulder. To make sure my 2 year old didn’t hit the ground I took the impact straight into my rear deltoid right into the asphalt. I couldn’t move my shoulder for 2 days but the real issue was/is the pain underneath my ribs. Took some X-Rays but nothing broken. The problem was I had limited use of my shoulder for weeks and if I sneezed it felt like someone stabbed me in the ribs.

    Now that I’m back on the water I’m babying my right shoulder a bit when I paddle. I notice that a shorter paddle is much easier on the shoulder. I’m now using the 78″ paddle and would actually prefer a 77″ length. It’s much easier on my shoulder. I’m 71″ tall.

    SPC – I think the board will depend on your height, weight and ability. If you’re just going to paddle for distance you may want to look into the customs that resemble regular paddle boards, the ones with the keeled bottom and 14′ in length. If you want an all around board then the guys here and I seem to like the Jimmy Lewis 11′er and Bill said his Ku Nalu was fast. The Angulo 10′4″ surfed really well and the C4 10′6″ also was good.

    ALAP – Bummer on your C4 experience. I have spoken w/ the owners of QB, C4, Jimmy Lewis, Wardog, Wetfeet, etc and everyone has been super nice and helpful. I think they’re all going through growing pains.

  197. on 15 Aug 2007 at 8:33 amalap

    Evan, no bummer at all! Let’s not put all the eggs in one basket. Jimmy Terrell (Quick Blade owner) was fantastic and I am absolutely happy with his Kanaha paddle. So is Steve Boehne (Infinity owner), I am very happy with his board and also with communication process. Wardog… well some my mails got unanswered, the shipping quotes not given… so I ended buying from somebody else. his loss… and if he doesn’t care about his losses because it is high demand now, well then it his loss big time…

    talking about important staff – hope you’ll be better! and how tall was your paddle before? I use 10″ inch taller and I probably will be happy with 11″. of course at the moment all I can do is to catch and ride straight. using shorter paddle before and while catching will force me to crouch / bend my knees/ or stroke not as far at the nose. from what I hear its not good. and while I ride I don’t care about the paddle at the moment (of course I don’t know what will happen when I’ll start to turn)

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  199. on 15 Aug 2007 at 1:27 pmEvan

    I started off with an 86″ long paddle. My friend told me to not cut the paddle at all because I was tall and I didn’t know any better anyway. To top it off I spent my first sessions on an epoxy longboard and I could barely stand up and balance. Once I got a real SUP board and cut the paddle length it was night and day easier.

    Once I got Go Bananas to cut it to 81″ I really liked it much better. It was much easier to paddle and less stress on my shoulder. Now the 81″ seems a bit long. I think what I notice is that if I do long distance runs or on really calm days, the 80″ paddle is good because I stand up straighter and reach out farther. I notice when the conditions get windy or choppy or if the waves get bigger (chest high on up) I crouch more to get speed, make a turn, etc and the shorter paddle is easier. It’s harder to lean on a longer paddle in a sharp bottom turn than on a shorter one. I have an 80″ paddle and 78″ paddle. I’ve been using the 78″ paddle when I have a choice. That’s also because I’m now moving down in size of board and will be on a 10′6″ or 10′ board which sits lower in the water than my Jimmy or Laird.

  200. on 15 Aug 2007 at 1:34 pmEvan

    Alap – When you turn your board it’s much easier to go down the line if you line up your angle as you drop in the wave. What I mean is once your nose gets over the edge of the wave you can point the nose at an angle instead of going straight. When you’re on the wave, you need to move back on your board to make a sharper turn, especially since these SUP’s are the size of small boats. If your back foot is around the area that your rear fin(s) is then you should have a much easier time turning. You can also dig and lean on your paddle to help you turn. The paddle can act like a canoe ‘ama’ or an extension of your arm and it’s a really cool feeling to make a turn like that.

    Leleo Kinimaka makes his paddles in with a heart shape blade http://www.paddlesurfhawaii.com/default.asp?doctype=mm&C_ID=138 and he told me it feels like you’re using 2 fingers when using the paddle to turn. You have to see this guy in action making turns with his paddle. http://www.c4waterman.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=134&Itemid=41

  201. on 15 Aug 2007 at 5:37 pmBob Babcock


    Great looking paddles. I’ve made the two I’m building 81″ and 83″ Bill is 74″ or so and he says he likes them long. Funny, I was thinking about a heart shaped blade but thought while it might be good for turns it could be a problem paddling….thought it might want to twist……evidently not.

    What’s a reasonable weight for a SUP paddle? I may experiment some and build some more to focus on performance. The second one I built is much lighter than the 1st and I still see some room for improvements.

    The handle looks cool so far.

  202. on 16 Aug 2007 at 1:16 amEvan

    Bob – Your paddle looks really nice. That’s what I noticed about Leleo’s paddle. I told him if I had one it would go straight to the wall bc it’s too beautiful for me to ding by accident. He said, “It’s the only paddle that works awesome on the water and when you get home looks great on your wall.” I’m not sure what the weight should be but my preference is the lighter the better. Leleo’s wood paddle was heavy compared to the carbon fiber ones. It felt like it was twice the weight. It didn’t seem to slow down his performance as he still ripped up the surf. His paddle was made out of a number of woods like mango and some others I can’t remember.

    Do you and Bill ever come to Oahu? We should get together if you do.

  203. on 16 Aug 2007 at 7:42 amBob Babcock

    Evan…..the wood does make them beautiful. I like the big island inlay he does on some of his blades. I’m considering some blade inlays but want to get the performance issue nailed 1st.

    I can understand why his would be heavier using mango. I may be wrong but from what I saw of the mango Bill cut down it at his place was heavy wood. I use mostly cedar, very light. The next one I build will be all cedar. I have 1/2 mahogany in the 1st, and maybe 1/4 in the second. I think I can get under 30 ozs if I make one all cedar. The contrasting woods do add to the beauty though.

    Unfortunately Bill and I rarely get to hook up in the islands. The 1st time ever was last summer. Last time I was on Oahu was my honeymoon (too long ago to matter). The wife and I have been bouncing around the idea of moving to the islands for a few years but that won’t be for awhile.

  204. on 16 Aug 2007 at 9:08 amalap


    thank you very much for your advice about turning, but if you have time, can you be more specific. Here what confuses me:
    “once your nose gets over the edge of the wave”

    what do you mean by the edge?

    When I am catching the wave i point the board straight to the beach (or I should rather say perpendicular to the wave). Wave approaches me from behind, I start to stroke first gently and when the wave is closer I stroke stronger and stronger and then the wave pushes me and i hop in the surfer position. Depending on the steepness of the wave I may load my back foot or even move it backwards to prevent pearling and I also crunch/sit; or if this is really tiny wave to stand further to the nose. In the former case I may accelerate quite fast (fantastic feeling!) and sorta outrun the wave – at this case I am riding in almost flat water in front of the wave (perhaps this is the best moment to initiate the turn? Definetely for me at this stage of my learning curve, before that moment I am completely preoccupied with my efforts not pearl, so doing something else before I am stable is unthinkable). If I outrun the wave, then I ride very comfortably, but the wave typically already crushed behind me and white water moves faster than me. When it hits me, or about to hit, I step back, raise the nose, wave accelerates me again, I move slightly forward to level the nose.

    So: the moment to initiate the turn is when the nose is on flat water and I am stable?

    Then: what should I do to position the board at angle? How big is an angle? When positioning to an angle do I load it differently then when riding it straight to the beach? I mean backward/forward load but also left/right?

    Then: turn itself: your advice is very specific – move your feet over the fin! Thanks! All I heard before – move your foot back (which raises the question, how far back? – and you Evan had answered it). Then what – incline your body towards the turn and what to do with the paddle? Its difficult to dig it into the water vertically. should I instead put it almost flat on the water, so its skims? this should provide enough drag on one side to initiate the turn and also support me somewhat from falling. Correct?

    Then: assume I made the turn, 45 degrees, or even 60, or only 30, but now its the time to start riding straight, say at 45 degree angle on the wave that is still behind me. What do I do? obviously paddle shouldn’t touch the water any more, and my feet should come back forward. But how should I load the board – front/back wise and sideways when riding at an angle? Should my nose be raised more than I am riding towards the beach? And what about my rails? I mean I am on the waves, angled from the beach direction. Should the board lay flat, or should the wave rail bite into the water (accordingly the beach rail is slightly above the water)?

    many questions, sorry, but this is the only way for the guy who never saw alive SUP surfer to learn. Plus I never snowboarded and never surfed (the closest experience is riding all-terrain two wheel scooter – I learned how to turn simply by inclining my body into the turn, was able to make long, giant slalom turns; quit it before my first fall, eventually one gets smarter with age) – I am very good at downhill skiing though and I am descent windsurfer – practically do all my jibes if it is 5.0 or bigger; probably 50% rate in 4.2+75 liter conditions; but I never windsurfed ocean waves.


  205. on 16 Aug 2007 at 9:40 amBob Babcock


    Thanks for asking all the detailed questions. I’m hoping I can do this and if I can will need the detailed answers you’re looking for. We’ll know soon…I’m hooking up with Bill in a couple of weeks and I’m going to try his Starboard. If I can stand for any length of time I’m going to use it as therapy for my balance issues. Doesn’t hurt to fall in the water. I used to be both a good downhill skier and water skier before my head started going south on me. Last time I downhilled I almost did a Sonny Bono. Need to get my sea legs back before I try that again.

  206. on 16 Aug 2007 at 10:11 amLinter

    hey bob: as you may recall i’m using sup as therapy for my balance issues. so far it’s working out pretty well. on certain days, on flat water, i’m solid as a rock. and ditto for some days in the surf (so far small stuff, 2′ or so). on other days, like today, i’m just a basket case out there. i was out for 2.5 hrs, caught like 2 waves, spent the rest of the time flailing and falling. surf was very short period stuff; consequently i had cross currents running underneath me constantly, which constantly threw me off balance.
    after about an hour, i pitched a shit fit in the water, fuck this, fuck that, f f f. thank god i was alone. total temper tantrum. anyway, after that, i was actually able to balance much better and pretty much stayed on my feel for the next hour or so. and it was only then that i was able to catch my two (few) waves.
    lesson learned? temper tantrums work!!!
    so, it’s been frustrating here and then and fun here and there. overall i’m pleased as punch that i bought my jimmy 11. and i do think that my water work has actually improved my dry land balance as well.
    get on it, bob!

  207. on 16 Aug 2007 at 2:15 pmwsurfn

    FYI: I have a Whiskey Jack Tallboy paddle and one of the reasons I got it is because I am tall and they did not ding me for a custom length. Mine is 87″. It is all cedar, and Danny Brown ended up renforcing the shaft with extra glass to make it stiffer. Mine weighs 2.2lbs standing up on my digital bathroom scale. It feels very light in the hand, and my favorite feature is the handle on top. It fits my hand so comfortably. The shaft shape is also ergonomic feeling.

    I have not tried many others, so I really cannot make any real comparisons. That said, I really like my paddle, and it looks and feels great. I have no problem using it. Forget the damn wall.

  208. on 16 Aug 2007 at 10:35 pmEvan

    alap – To make your turn you need some speed and momentum. What I mean by getting your nose over the edge of the wave is the point where you know you’re on the wave and riding and can ride without paddling anymore. At that point if you go straight you will pearl on a larger or steeper wave or out run it and then the whitewash will hit you from behind. If you watch the surf videos the guys are staying just in front of where the whitewash is breaking and they are riding ‘down the line’ which allows them to continue to maintain speed. If you watch the videos at http://www.c4waterman.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=134&Itemid=41 you’ll see that right after they catch the wave they point their board around 45% of the wave (going straight would be 90% in this example) or you can make your bottom turn to take you down the line or more radical moves. When you outrun the wave by going straight you need to turn to get back in the area where the power is so you can turn. This can be explained in a few minutes in person in the waves but kinda hard to illustrate with just words.

    These big boards turn in 2 ways. The first way is to walk to the back of the board, step on the tail (over the fins) and then when the nose pops up you move it left or right by shifting your weight and using your front foot and/or paddle. Then you walk back to the middle or front of the board to keep the momentum going. That’s on big boards, small waves, etc. That’s how I used to turn my 12′ Surftech Laird in Waikiki. The second way is how normal surfboards turn. They use the side rails. You need the back portion of your side rail to dig into the water. That’s why your fin makes such a difference. The flexy fin allowed the Laird to get up on the rail so now the turning is much more surfy feeling.

    If you’re on a big board (11′ and up) and in small (chest high on down) waves that aren’t that steep try this. Take a few steps back on your board so your back foot is anywhere within a foot of the fin and then with your front foot step on the left or right side of the board (close to the rail) to get the rail to dig a bit into the water. Your board will turn. It’s not the most radical Kelly Slater turn but you’ll get the feeling of digging your rail and how it makes the board turn.

    Once you get your bottom turn mastered and start riding comfortably down the line you’ll start to do cut back turns and more. It takes some time but once you get it you won’t forget it.

  209. on 17 Aug 2007 at 12:00 amalap

    Evan, you are genius!

    “This can be explained in a few minutes in person in the waves but kinda hard to illustrate with just words.” – I completely disagree! you just did!

    you just explained three permutations for the turn. Since I am on the big board (11 feet, 28 inch), and in the small waves I have an option 1 and 3. Plus I am still using stiff, pointer like 12″ windsurfing fin. For the moment I will follow your steps, concentrating on option 1 – really step back over the fins, and so on.

    I still have two days at the ocean, then heading home to Calgary, but I am planning to be back for another 10 days in September.

    Thank you so much for your advice!

    Another thing I am still experimenting with various ways to catch it. today the waves outside were big, but not steep. No matter how hard I tried it wasn’t enough to catch it on outside. Either big or not to steep, or already so steep, that it is impossible. On several occasions I was paddling like a madman, but the wave was passing me by. Look back, another is coming! Paddle more, still in vain. Look back again, now the real big one is crashing behind me. Before I never was able to catch it after it crashed, But today I managed twice. What I did – after last stroke, already in the surfer position, I moved really back with rear foot and sit low. It didn’t knock me down, and I managed very fast run! (This was in the area were normal surfers start to paddle just in front of this crushing whitewater.).
    So, what I am thinking: tomorrow if this happens instead of trying to catch it sitting down, I’ll try to fall on my belly into regular surfing position. I already tried doing it with white water if I am standing in the chest deep water – I jump on the board, pushing up from the bottom, and then I get the ride and very comfortably stand up. So if I’ll withstand this hit of white water, I’ll easily stand later, this part I am confident.

    What do you think, should I try it? or this is nonsense?

  210. on 17 Aug 2007 at 12:03 amalap

    or Evan, one more thing: after the turn, lets say I am now at 45 degrees. Should I pay attention how I load the board? Should one rail be slightly submerged and another in the air?

  211. on 17 Aug 2007 at 3:09 amchris hohnke

    I’m only new to this SUP but it is the same as surfing a large longboard.
    Firstly you paddle straight or slightly toward towards the direction either left or right you want to go on the wave.
    Next at the time you are actually on the wave you step back from the paddling position to the surfing position either goofy or natural and you will notice the board is now loose,meaning you can now swivel it to the direction on the wave you wish to go.
    Now you are going across the wave.To go up and down the wave you just weight the board side to side slightly. Lean into the wave to go up and lean out to go down the wave or staighten out if the wave closes out.
    If you find you are outrunning the wave on the shoulder the best way I find on the JL11 is to pivot turn it, which involves stepping back a bit and weighting your back foot which has the effect of slightly stalling the board, then bend your back leg using it as a pivot to swivel the board around to straighten up towards the beach (long boarders call this a drop knee turn)then turn back as the wave catches up.
    I hope this is not to confusing and helps.Cheers

  212. on 17 Aug 2007 at 9:59 amalap

    chris, its not confusing and I hope it helps.

    although so far I can ride it only straight to the beach I figured out that if i am outrunning it I have to walk to the back, nose rises, board stalls/slows down, wave catches up, white water hits me, accelerates me and then I can walk to the front again.

    from what you saying same thing may be applicable when I am riding the wave at angle. Only after stalling it I also have to turn it towards the beach – I guess its easier to balance when the wave catches straight from behind.

    do I understand correctly that when I am riding at angle to further turn to the wave I should load back more and/or incline to the wave (load the wave rail). And in order to turn more to the beach I should load front more and/or load beach rail a bit? I am talking here NOT about radical turns, but about slow small adjustments.

    (I guess I can also help myself with the paddle, but again I want first figure it out without it, recall I never surfed before, neither short nor the long boards – I am 52 years old surfing virgin – its all new to me!)

  213. on 17 Aug 2007 at 9:00 pmBob Babcock

    Linter…sounds about how my days work too. You just gotta work around the worst of it and keep pushing through. It’s great to hear that you are having success with it. I can understand your tantrum though, there are days I feel like punching something……and do. I’m psyched to try Bill’s Starboard.

    Wsurfn…..Danny is a nice guy. I talked to him some about his methods. He was more than willing to share how he builds them. The 2.2 lbs makes me feel good. I think I can get close to that with the 2nd paddle I have in the works. The next one I build will be all cedar. I just need to get some good variations in color. The mahogany is about 1/2 again as heavy as the cedar, looks nice but adds too much weight.

  214. on 18 Aug 2007 at 2:02 amchris hohnke

    Hey ALAP sounds like you’ve got the idea, all you need is practice.The paddle is a great help especially if you put it between you and the wave it keeps you locked into the wave and helps your balance even if the waves closes out you can scoot across in front of the foam for a longer ride and hopefully end up out on the shoulder again.
    Best of luck.cheers.

  215. on 19 Aug 2007 at 2:08 pmEvan

    alap – I think it’s just time in the water and continually trying new things for you. You’ll notice after 10 or 20 more hours on the water you inevitably get better even if you just paddled on a lake. One easy fix to make turning easier is to change out your fin to a flexy fin if you haven’t already done so. What size fin are you using? The 11′ x 28″ Infinity board looks like a nice surfing board with the tail pulled in a bit.

  216. on 19 Aug 2007 at 6:28 pmLinter

    evan et al: do you think there’s any functional difference between using the 9.5″ Ferberow flex fin vs the 10″ one? iow, any reason why i shouldn’t go for the tiny increase in stability that the 10″ fin might hopefully offer?

  217. on 20 Aug 2007 at 2:00 pmalap

    yeah Evan, practice makes perfect, no question about this.

    My previous trip to the ocean I often was struggling for the balance when positioned sidewaves to the waves; also when outside and the swells were passing me (I am positioned to the shore), it was very uncomfortable. This time I learned how to handle the sidewaves (even big ones that are almost ready to crush!) – before I had a tendency to fall out, after the wave was already gone. I guess I was pushing the outside foot too much. What I learned to do this time – when sideway to the wave I load the inside foot more when it approaches, and I don’t fall anymore! And coming back from afar, if it passes me, I don’t even notice. And during last 11 days I caught probably 200-300 waves! from tiny, to big ones (compare to 5 waves last trip!). Pearled about 10, but some really good – i was catapulted forward few times in a very spectacular way… scary! Few times I was caught in the impact zone – so I learned how to jump on this big board, catch a wave and stand up and come all the way… 100 times easier than on real surfboard…

    Back at home now and I’d like to try to catch a wake on the lake. Will see.

    Speaking about the fins, I am still using my old 11.75″ Teardrop windsurfing fin. I am thinking about switching to the real surfing fin for the next trip though. Something like this:

    item R06-1058 or 1089

    don’t want to spend awfull amount of money (plus shipping, plus customs….). on another hand you get what you paid…

    what do you think?

  218. on 20 Aug 2007 at 3:13 pmAnn Phelan

    Great site..what do you recommend for a windsurfer who wants to transition to SUP? 5′2″ 125 pounds. SUP in calm bay waters and small waves, never to use with a sail. Thanks.

  219. on 20 Aug 2007 at 8:22 pmbillb

    You can use a pretty small board, but I suspect you’d really like a Jimmy Lewis 11′7″. That sounds like a huge board, but it’s narrow and sleek, and surfs wonderfully. You might also look at Jimmy’s new 10 footer.

    You”ll have some problems early on with balance, and a wider board will be easier, but in a few weeks you’ll want a board that’s fast and coasts, one that turns faster. The 11′7 will be hard to learn on, and a little big for you to carry, but it rocks.

  220. on 20 Aug 2007 at 8:25 pmbillb

    I did a bunch of lake paddling recently–it’s all that’s available up here in Michigan and Illinois. But I had some surfing fun in a ski boat wake. Long, long rides, though you can’t do as much as you’d like without dropping out of the wake, and it’s noisy of course. I’m going to write more about it on http://www.allaluminumtour.com. Sorry, no pictures, I was by myself.

  221. on 21 Aug 2007 at 12:04 amEvan

    Ann – You may want to check out the new 9′2″ or 9′8″ boards from Blane Chambers or the 10′ Jimmy Lewis or C4. You’re light and shouldn’t have a problem. My friend’s wife is about your size and she’s now trying to get a custom 8′ something board. She can walk all over the 9′6″.

    alap – I think I paid around $50 usd from Wardog for the fin. I liked it so much on the Laird I bought one for the Jimmy 11′.

    Linter – I notice a pretty decent difference in the flexy fin, especially on the 12′1″ Laird. It allows me to get the board up on the rail much easier so the turns are more intuitive and surfy feeling.

    I just got a C4 10′6″ today. I’m excited to give it a try tomorrow. I have an eye app’t early in the morning so hopefully the doctor gives me the ok to get it wet.

  222. on 22 Aug 2007 at 4:43 amX30 paddler

    Ann P

    The 10 foot Jimmy Lewis for someone your size. I have 30 pounds on you and it is perfect for me. I am biased towards the JL boards though. On a budget ? maybe a Softops if you are mostly cruising.

  223. on 22 Aug 2007 at 10:03 amDW

    My 2 cents for Ann P,

    My wife owns the JL 10 footer. She is 5′6 125 lbs. She used to own the 11 footer.

    She’s stoked she now has a board she can carry!!!!

    Not having to get “me” to carry the board everywhere we go is a huge deal.

    We looked into the C4 and Blane boards, but limited availability and higher cost, made us stick with Jimmy.

    The 11′7 JLs drawback is resale value in my opinion. It’s an old shape, too narrow for its length. I know a guy who’s been trying to unload his for 2 months.

  224. on 22 Aug 2007 at 10:44 amEvan

    I just got the C4 10′6″ board yesterday in the water and love it! It’s a bit more tippy feeling but not by that much. It’s definitely smaller feeling than my Jimmy 11 even though it’s only 6″ shorter. I think it’s because the nose and tail are pulled in more like a normal surfboard. I really like the back foot pad bc once you step on it the board just comes to life. I tried it in 15-20 mph winds and knee high waves so I can’t wait until I can get it in decent size surf. Hopefully that’s in the next week.

  225. on 22 Aug 2007 at 12:14 pmDW


    What do you weigh and how old are you?

    I can’t stand upright on my wifes JL 10 footer for more than 10 seconds.

    I’m 53 and 200 lbs.

    Wondering if I could stand upright on the 10′6 C4.

    I ride the JL 11 now.

  226. on 22 Aug 2007 at 5:32 pmDW

    A few more thoughts on the JL 10 vs the 11′7 for Ann P.

    Tonight I watched the wife closely as she paddled out through the surf. She was looking much faster to me. She just looks like shes gliding fast and paddling fast compared to what she did on the 11′ JL. I told her about this and she said “yeah, the old one felt like I was pulling a tank with the paddle”. The smaller board, at her weight anyway, paddles and glides fast.

    Right before we called it quits for the night I took her board for a quick laydown surf session. It paddled fast for me and surfed fast. I’m impressed. Just wish I could stand on it. No chance at my weight and age.

  227. on 23 Aug 2007 at 10:31 amalap

    DW, thanks for your info about JL 10. Very valuable for me. I was thinking about moving to the smaller board too. If anything, just to have smaller board @ the island for ocean surfing and keep my current 11′*28″ Infinity at home (inland paddling plus ultimate anti-skunk insuarance on windsurfing days with forecast that goes wrong – they can’t forecast the wind for tomorrow, yet they have a temerity to forecast 50 years ahead!!??) and not to drive 800 miles with such huge drag on my roof (there is 25% increase in fuel consumption alone).

    When I started on flat water on my current board it never felt tippy, so I skipped the kneeled phaze alltogether, but of course it was different story on the ocean and even on the lake with windblown chop and waves from motor boats. But! The improvement in my balance over last 2.5 months was enormous! My wife (she hates all my windsurfing / SUP toys – she is a rabid antisurfit) was gloating first time she saw me in the ocean, she was saying I looked ridiculious trying to balance and falling every 5 minutes with no reason, even voluntered to make a video (best indication, how bad I was!). Last time she saw me, she admitted that I look much more confident (as if i don’t know that myself…). Now it feels so natural in turms of balance, and I am still at the beginning of my learning curve. And if I am falling its always sideways, never because the length is short.

    I woulda think that moving towards the shoter length alone, keeping same width and thickness, just chopping of the nose woulda result in the worsening your glide only. Of course JL 11 vs. JL 10 it’s not only a shorter length but also the narrower width.

    The moral for me is very simple: before buying my next board (if I will) I will definetely try it first.

    and i am almost 53 and 175+lbs

  228. on 26 Aug 2007 at 5:03 pmEvan

    DW – I’m turning 35 this year and btw 210-215 lbs depending on what I eat. I think you should be able to balance on the 10′6″ board and hopefully you can try one out in your home area before buying. The shops here on Oahu let you demo boards bfr buying…some for a fee and some for free.

    The main factors that affect balance for me are side shore chop and wind. I went out yesterday in low wind Diamond Head . It was nice conditions but there was still some side shore chop. The waves were overhead and the 10′6″ C4 was much faster than I expected. The board surfs really well. I just need more time on it.

    Another board you should be able to stand on is the 10′4″ Angulo. See http://www.tropicalblendssurf.com or http://www.wetfeethawaii.com. The Angulo is a little wider and thicker and is also pretty easy to stand on. It also surfs good.

    I really like the ability to sup surf a smaller board because they turn and surf so much better. They also accelerate quicker bc there’s less mass to move but the drawback is glide but that’s not a big issue to me bc I’m surfing most of the time and not doing distance.

  229. on 30 Aug 2007 at 4:18 pmhotdotdog

    I have been surfing 2 to 3 days per week for the last 20 years. I am 52 years old and have had a C4 11′6″ for about 1 month now. On flat water like a reservoir or lake I have paddled about 6 hours worth and have never fallen. However, when I try the beach on not quite a glassy day, undercurrents keep knocking me down. I’ve tried parallel stance as well as surf stance (Goofy). Albeit, each time I go, I stand up a little longer. Today I get about 4 to 5 strokes before falling (sometimes only 2) so I’m wondering when I’m going to get this balance thing down or am I doing something wrong? Any ideas? The board surfs great.

  230. on 30 Aug 2007 at 4:46 pmEvan

    I think it’s just time on the water…keep on trying.

  231. on 30 Aug 2007 at 9:29 pmChris


    Here I my thoughts:

    – I find the parallel stance (midway down the board lengthwise) to be the most stable. A wider stance is better. And bend your knees in a way I liken to playing defense in basketball.
    – If it’s especially windy or there is a strong and persistent current, I’ll adjust my feet/weight and slightly lean into the current/wind.
    – Until you get a little more comfortable, try go straight at the waves.
    – My JL 11′ came w/ a 13″ fin. I got an 11″ fin and, while the difference doesn’t seem like much, the shorter fin makes the board noticeably more tippy. And this matters quite a bit in rougher water. [As I think about it, this might be the simple fix you might be hoping for.]
    – Look at the board (kind of like one does their skis when they are learning to ski).

    I hope these might be of some help.


  232. on 31 Aug 2007 at 6:38 amDW


    I’m 53. When I started I thought the monster Larid was tippy as hell in surf. Soon I could dance on it. Then I moved to the JL 11′ and again was worried I might not be able to handle it. It was very tippy for me. I loved it, but fell a lot. Now the board is stable and I never get tired paddling it in surf.

    Next step, a 10′6. Just need to figure out what to buy.

    Don’t worry, the wobble will go away in surf. You just need time on the water wobbling away……… :-)

  233. on 31 Aug 2007 at 9:52 amhotdotdog

    Thanks Chris, I’ll look into the fin length and DW your personal experience seems to validate the advice to just keep with it. Evan, I will certainly keep trying. I think I was expecting all my years of surfing experience to count for something but it doesn’t count for much. I am humbled once again, looking like a kook, at my most frequented break (I’m out of everyone’s way). LOL
    I got an Indo Board for my birthday and that seems to help my balancing. I work out on it on off days. My 8 year old daughter is digging it as well.

  234. on 31 Aug 2007 at 3:31 pmvwguy

    hi guys
    I got fired up on canoe style paddle surfing after seeing blanes stuff on swaylaocks . started out with my beater 12′ munoz woody. liked knee style alot but hated plowing thru waves . thats was in jan. over the past month i bought an infinity stand up paddle and started just getting used to stand up open water . well last week i sold the munoz and got the stewart hydro hull 11′6″ 28 5/8″ boardworks sub . big differance love it, paddles fine, easy to catch waves on surf great .The infinity paddle works fine too , i am getting an 8.5″ c4 paddle this week to compare it with .
    I live in san pedro and been doing paddles along the coast and surf at bolsa chica . Lookin for any south bay guys to start a sunday morning whites point to cabrillo beach morning get togeather .

    If your interested need at least 3 guys to make logistics work .email me lengambo@cox.net

  235. on 03 Sep 2007 at 7:29 pmEvan

    I’ve decided that I like the 10′6″ C4 as my main board so I’m selling the Jimmy 11′er on craigslist. Oahu only. Check it out if you’re interested. http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/spo/413211363.html

  236. on 04 Sep 2007 at 3:35 pmDW


    I would love it if you could share more thoughts on your new board compared to the old. I’m riding the JL 11 and dreaming about that C4 you are riding.

    My stoke is coming from prone surfing my wifes JL 10′. (I can’t stand on it). That board is so much faster than my 11′. The wife beats me paddling out thru the surf everytime. She kills me upwind. She catches waves earlier. I know shes light, but this is a huge change from when she rode the JL 11. She’s my benchmark now. I must improve!

    Are you feeling the same things stoking you with this switch in boards?

  237. on 05 Sep 2007 at 3:20 amwet feet

    Hi Guys,

    There was a post way up about handles on a standup. We have worked something out that does not need inserts using kiteboard technology. Check our website under “shop” it goes to another site which has standup gear and its item #13.

    Our shop is on Oahu and we specialize in Standup.



    P.S. Evan is the man and a wealth of information.

  238. on 05 Sep 2007 at 4:33 pmLinter

    hiya jeff: do you know if the 3m glue used on your NSI plugs is any different than the 3m glue used on the surfco hawaii stick-on leash plugs? i’d imagine they’re about the same but you may know differently. nice handles, btw!

  239. on 06 Sep 2007 at 1:30 amwet feet

    3M makes several grades of adhesive tape, I can check.

  240. on 07 Sep 2007 at 1:04 amEvan

    Here’s the link Jeff’s talking about. http://offdal.stores.yahoo.net/01-bhandle.html

    If you really want handles you should also look into the Angulo boards. http://offdal.stores.yahoo.net/01-angulos.html They have holes already drilled on the deck near the rails in the middle and front.

    Jeff is funny bc he’s where I get a lot of info from and also the guy who introduced me to stand up. He’s also where I get my kiting gear from which I haven’t been doing bc I’ve been doing the SUP thing.

    DW – I like the 10′6″ much better now for a number of reasons. Since I have a decent amount of time on the water, the Jimmy is stable and surfs pretty good but I wanted a board that surfed better and paddled faster.

    The 10′6″ paddles better than Jimmy 11. I tried the Jimmy for the first time in a few weeks this past weekend and it was way harder to get moving than my 10′4″. My brother who is 170 lbs also liked the 10′6″ better. That’s why I sold it. I sold fractional ownership of a board to my brother and he wanted to keep the Laird vs Jimmy bc he doesn’t go often enough and wants the easiest to balance board.

    If I want a big board for downwinders or to paddle my kids on then I’ll go on the Laird 12′. For everyday riding the C4 10′6″ fits in my car, weighs less, paddles better and surfs better. It’s more tippy than the Jimmy 11 but that only comes into play during choppy or windy conditions.

    With that said, if I was just beginning again I would definitely go with the Jimmy 11 bc the 10′6″ would be very frustrating for me to initially learn on.

    The 10′4″ Angulo is also good. It paddles really well and surfs great. I’d try the 10′ Jimmy if I could but no one here demos them. I’d really like a custom Jimmy but that will have to wait for now.

    Check out the plastic molding on the edge of the bottom paddle from Infinity Surf.
    It costs $1.50 per foot and you need 3 feet per paddle. There is a little strip of glue already in the plastic so you don’t need any other glue. I tried rim rubber before and it didn’t work because you need to put glue in that one and since the paddle edge is beveled it slips off but the Infinity Surf one is super good so far. It cost like $10 total, I applied it in less than 10 minutes, it works awesome so far and looks cool.

  241. on 07 Sep 2007 at 2:05 amchris hohnke

    Thanks for the tip wetfeet,I ordered the handles straight away. I’ve been using a carry handle which I have to leave on the beach which doe’snt help lifting the board out of the shore break with a paddle and not getting hammered during the exercise.The grip for the paddle looks cool as well.

  242. on 07 Sep 2007 at 7:07 amLinter

    wet feet: I’d like to order the handles as well; but i would like to know first if ya’ll have actually used the sticky plugs on an SUP board under adverse conditions, by which i mean either in shorebreak or in nasty gusty winds that really torque the hell out of them. to work properly they should be able to handle just about anything you can throw at them without popping off. do you know if they’ve been tested in such a fashion?

  243. on 07 Sep 2007 at 10:04 amDW

    Thanks Evan.

    Regarding the 10′ Jimmy. My wifes owns that board. The bottom has slight V under the feet. Way too tippy for me. Really, can’t even paddle it on my knees. Stable for the wife though.

    If you really want a Jimmy, he has 2 more sizes coming this December based off the 10′ design. Plus 2 more sizes based off the 11′ design. I guess he considers those models his gold standard. He maybe right. The 11′ is a great first board. The 10′ is a great high performance board. I’ve been prone surfing it.

    It sounds like the C4 10′6 is the right board for me to try next. Or the new Jimmys coming this December. But I hate waiting.

    Too bad that C4 demo wasn’t on the east coast.

  244. on 07 Sep 2007 at 10:25 amwet feet

    Linter, weve put the handles on a lot of boards with no problems but have not tested them for extreme pull off. Mostly they are used for carrying and for kids to hang on. In your case they might work but I would recommend using glassed in inserts.



  245. on 07 Sep 2007 at 1:49 pmEvan

    DW – You should also check out the Angulo 10′4″. The construction on that one is super strong. I used a demo board and the rails only had little marks on them but no chips and you know people are banging them a lot. I also dropped it straight on the rail and there was a small crack but not nearly what it should have been.

  246. on 07 Sep 2007 at 1:53 pmEvan

    Not sure where to put this once you get in the water but it’s kinda cool to carry your board.

    It would be cool to have an area to attach your leash that can later act as a carrying strap. Maybe someone will invent it.

  247. on 07 Sep 2007 at 1:54 pmEvan

    DW – What sizes are Jimmy’s new boards going to be?

  248. on 07 Sep 2007 at 2:20 pmLinter

    evan: ever since i worked up the guts to drill into my jimmy and epoxy in a couple of inserts, to which i attached a strap, i’ve been happy as a clam carrying my board around. I can either haul the board around with the strap over my shoulder or use the strap as a handle. plus, it’s survived some stiff shorebreak and some crazy torqueing winds. i was hoping that the glue on NSI’s inserts might obviate the need for a drill, but i guess that’s not going to be the case, glue being just what it is: glue.
    meanwhile, i’ve taken some super duper xtra strong Velcro type stuff by 3M called Dual Lock and attached some strips of it to the front of my board. I put some strips on this primative fishing apparatus I’ve got and so bingo bango i can now go fishing off my jimmy!

    DW: I second Even’s question — how are the new Jimmy’s going to be sized?

  249. on 07 Sep 2007 at 2:22 pmDW

    Evan, the new JLs will be…

    10′6 x 28 3/4 and 9′10 x 27 1/4 same class/shape as the current 11′ design

    10′4 x ~28 and 10′8 x ~29 same class/shape as the current 10′ design

    Preliminary sizing.

  250. on 07 Sep 2007 at 2:25 pmDW


    I’d have to demo that Angulo before I’d buy one. Not sure I’ll have that chance. Looks unusal to me. Like a windsurfer with that wide shape and wing tail. But maybe he’s on the right track and I’m missing out not giving it a chance.

  251. on 07 Sep 2007 at 7:10 pmEvan

    The 10′4″ isn’t as wide in the hips as the bigger one.
    http://www.tropicalblendssurf.com/ click on the standup tab

  252. on 08 Sep 2007 at 1:23 amEvan

    I bet the Jimmy 10′4″ will surf really well.

  253. on 08 Sep 2007 at 1:40 amBob Babcock


    You need to post some picks of you’re fishing setup. I definitely want to do that. how much fun would a 40 lb striper be on light tackle on a SUP?

  254. on 08 Sep 2007 at 3:26 pmlinter

    hiya, bob: well, my current set up is about as lo-tech as you can get. in fact, the rod/reel is combined into one, into what’s known as a Cuban reel. It’s the black thing in the picture. You let out some line, twirl it around, and shoot it off into the (hopeful) distance. I’m not very good at it yet … but I’m getting better.


    The “tackle box” is Dual Locked to the board and the Cuban reel is Dual Locked to the top o’ the box. It takes a good bit of force to pry the various things apart– easy for me, when I want to fish; tough for the surf, at least so far! the tackle box contains a pair of pliers (tons of blue fish around here now, nasty teeth and all), some metals, some plastics, like that. Next:

    Here you can see the box separated from the board. The board has the clear Dual Lock stuck to it in two strips, while the box has some standard Velcro on it. Velcro and Dual Lock pressed together form a formidable bond, with lots of shear strength. Next:

    The stacked arrangement as seen in the first picture seems a little ungainly to me. Once I get my hands on some more Dual Lock (ebay), I’m going to make the arrangement more like you see above. Finally:

    Here’s another possibility: keep the tackle box, lose the Cuban reel, and add a spinning reel coupled with a collapsing pole.

    Anyway, that’s the way it stands now, fishing wise. Any thoughts and mods you can dream up, I’d be well pleased to hear about them.

  255. on 08 Sep 2007 at 9:24 pmalap

    Did I invent new SUP application?

    I was on my lake today – usual staff, paddling, turning, accelerating, walking the centerline. Usually I am trying to catch a wake from some wakeboard, but there was not many today (bad weather, cold, rain sometimes) then it dawned on me… Why wake, go for a tow!!!

    the first boat that was approaching me, I waived, he stopped, he was a fisherman, coming to a dock. He gladly agreed to tow me, but he had a simple rope, no handle. Nevertheless I tried, it was so easy! He towed me and it was fun! The rope was hard on my palms so I let it go.

    Then after a while a real boat appeared and I approached it as well. I mean real pro boat, with real pro skier (I saw him skiing afterwards). He was putting a wetsuit, I asked, he throwed me real skiline with a handle :). I gave him a paddle (just not to get in a way). He gave me few rides.

    It were real rides. Easy! :) As usual with SUP I was standing up to start with, and there was no need to go fast! 10 miles/hour was enough. 15 miles/hour was too much! 13 miles was the right speed for me – I never water skied before (and remember my surfing experience is limited to this year SUP only; I am good with downhill and with windsurfing, if this counts) . At 13 m/hour I was making turns and it was a wake, and I had to bend my knees for real (all in surfer’s position).

    So, as much as I hate to burn fuel it is certainly a very nice option, if just for crosstraining!

    I see two advantages over usual waterskiing/wakeboarding:
    1. its easy, because you already standing and one can smoothly accelerate, no need to go fast, before you can glide on the surface – hence its easy for beginners
    2. because of the big board, the watersurface is so much bigger than with ski, and hence the required speed is so small, and there is no need for a wake actually, and as a result there is no need for huge 100 grand boat – anything will do (provided that it can go faster than 10 miles an hour)

  256. on 09 Sep 2007 at 3:01 pmvwguy

    Hi guys
    Well now that i have a few surf and paddle sessions on my 11′6 tewart hydro hull i can give you my opinion . Had 4 surf sessions on it 3 at bolsa chice and 1 at doheney knee high to shoulder high wave not the best conditions little walled med tide stuff mostly .

    but now that i’m getting used to placing my self in the right area in the line up and not bumming the locals out . I found the stewart a very easy to get used to surfboard even at 11′6″ it turns and trims great .

    I am a surf to start with so the transiton is mostly the paddle handling and getting comforatble inside the surfline as not to endanger the others. but The main thing i have learned is a big fin is so much more stable for both paddling and just standing just outsie the impact zone to pick off waves. threw the side bites and 8.5″ stuff away put on a 10.75 el gato shape all the way back . with the rails as they are on the stewart and concave combo did’nt stiffin it up to bad and i don’t have to come back as i drop in to turn .

    On my cruises up the coast the fin also works great even in thick kelp at low tide. but gives lots of forward drive paddling . The hydro hull works very well as a cruiser i’m 5′7″, 178# i have tons of float .

    Also have got to compare my infinity 8.5 paddle to my c4 8.5 i like the infinty for work in the surfline. the c4 is so great for covering water it’s a give and take thing just ordered a gilliespi double bend wood paddle to compare to i liked his double bends for knee style and there very reasonable . keep you posted

    Still looking for other so cal guys to do some runs down the coast . can we post pics here? smooth waves


  257. on 09 Sep 2007 at 8:22 pmEvan

    I got a chance to try out the C4 10′6″ and Angulo 10′4″ side by side today. I’ve been wanting to do this bc the last I remember of the Angulo I thought it surfed really well. Here’s what I came away with:

    The Angulo paddles more like a heavier board. It seems to glide a little better although it wasn’t as much a difference as I thought it would be. The C4 paddles well by comparison.

    The Angulo was actually more tippy even though it’s wider. I think it’s just the shape.

    Both surf well although the C4 surfs better.

  258. on 10 Sep 2007 at 5:34 amDW

    Thanks Evan, appreciate the comparison. C4 10′6 it is for me.

    By the way, finally rode the wifes JL10 footer “standing”. Tropical Storm Gabrielle gave us off shore winds Sunday morning. Pure glass with head high waves. First time on her board in “glass”. I was stoked. Now I’m convinced I’ll be able to advance from my JL 11 to the C4 10′6. I love the snappy quick acceleration of the smaller boards, in addition to the way they surf.

  259. on 11 Sep 2007 at 2:58 pmBob Babcock


    That setup looks good. I was also thinking of a way to mount a small boat rod I have to the rear for slow trolling.

    I was out last Saturday and there were a number of surf casters on the beach. I was out maybe 100 yds past where you could cast watching a school of bluefish hitting a school of pogies. The water was full of scales and pogie bits. I thought about borrowing a pole but the offshore breeze was already giving me issues without having to try and handle a surf rod too.

    If the weather is even close to being good this weekend I’m going fishing…:)

  260. on 11 Sep 2007 at 5:06 pmStan

    Anybody had a chance to paddle or sail the new Naish 11′6″ SUP/light air windsurfer ? So glad the industry is jumping on it and I didn’t have to route and install a mast-track in my 11′ JL.

    Also…anyone snapped a carbon paddle yet…I’ll leave brands out of it for now but my buddy snapped his yesterday and they stated it was the very first. hmmmmm… ;)

  261. on 11 Sep 2007 at 5:45 pmDW

    Stan, my buddie has the Naish. Good board. A little more tippy than the JL 11. Could be one of two factors making it so. The increased thickness making the C.G. higher, or the slight rolled bottom under the feet at the paddle stance position. Not an issue though, plenty stable. Good looking board. Nice nose scoop. Nice handle feature.

    Funny thing about the windsurf / SUP crossover design is that once seduced by paddles, putting a sail on it just isn’t as fun. The sail will likely stay in the truck.

  262. on 11 Sep 2007 at 6:48 pmBob Babcock


    There is a lively discussion of snapped carbon paddles at Standup Zone.
    http://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=220.0 .

    The paddle in question was a 2 piece C4 Pohaku but it looks like they are doing good customer service and taking care of the problems. They’re actually asking if anyone else has had problems.

  263. on 12 Sep 2007 at 3:16 amNate Burgoyne

    Len mentioned that a great place to catch waves on a SUP board is on the inside section just outside the impact zone. I couldn’t agree more. There are two breaks nearby where that is the sweet spot to catch waves on on a stand up board. You can ride all the waves that everyone else is passing up, and nobody even notices you’re there.

    Has anyone tried one of those Wave Grinder fins on a SUP board?

  264. on 12 Sep 2007 at 9:19 amalap

    i am just a bit stupid: “inside section outside of impact zone”. what is this?

    what iz impact zone – is it where the wave crashes? so all surfers are further out. “outside impact zone” means probably further out of this place that wave crushes? (so actually all the surfers are waiting “outside impact zone”). but “inside section” of this area probably means that u position yourself just between the place where the wave crashes and the place where surfers are waiting for the wave to come. did i deschifer it correctly?

  265. on 13 Sep 2007 at 6:37 amPierre van Loon

    i am pierre from frankfurt germany and i want to start SUP on a river and surf on the waves of transport-ships. I did proffessional wild-water canoing and now i do longboard-surfing as good as someone from frankfurt can do.

    which caracteristics should i watch out for my first board if the waves are smooth and between 1 and 2 feed ?

    also i think about building my own board but i don’t find enough information espacially for SUP boards. can you help me?

    nice greetings from frankfurt


  266. on 13 Sep 2007 at 9:55 amDW


    For paddling a river and playing in ship wakes, I think Mistral Pacifico might be good board. It is not a surfy board, but is a fast planing board good for what you want to do.

  267. on 14 Sep 2007 at 2:41 pmDejan

    Hi Bill, Evean et al:

    Boy time flies with the summer doldrums gone and work getting really busy lately, my windsurfing and SUPing has gone down drastically. I see there have been alot of posts here though, up to #266! Anyway some recent musings I have been meaning to add:
    1) The tropical wax from SexWax was the way to go here to solve my wax melting problem. Now it stays on the board and under my feet. I still love the old school wax approach and don’t have any desire for a pad.
    2) I recently tried a board from VEC. The local shop had it down at their windsurf concession. My wife and took it and paddled together, she on the VEC with a wooden Whiskey Jack paddle, and me on our JL 11′7″ with our Kialoa carbon paddle. This was a lot of fun to padle together, and we spent maybe 45 minutes to an hour on the water, switching back and forth and comparing the boards. The VEC was a 10ish footer and about 30″ wide. Obviously more stable than the JL, but nowhere near as fast. In fact I thought it was a dog compared to the JL. I had to really work the VEC to keep up with my wife when she was on the JL; the VEC just did not have the glide or the momentum, or the top end speed of the JL. Anyway it was fun to try a different board. I know alot of people (at least the big guys) have criticized the JL 11′7″ for being unstable but I still maintain that this is the way to go. I’m 205 and 6′3″ and yeah the first week on the JL was very wobbly but the learning curve is fast. It is a great board, and you don’t need to drag that extra width around. I stand with my feet almost together now as if I were downhill skiing. It is more stable that way, and you rock around alot less because the feet are NOT out at the rails. Try it!
    3) My 12 foot EPIC padded deluxe boardbag, after barely 2 months, SHRANK! I don’t know if it is because I left the board on the car in the sun and some rainstorms. For the most part if I know I’m not going to be out for a few days I put it in the garage, but otherwise it can defintely spend a few days at a time on the racks. Anyway the darn bag shrank and I had to cut the tail end of the fin slot to be able to put the board in without removing the fin. The board still fits in the bag, but it is tighter by a couple inches. Amazing.
    4) Winter will be here before we know it. I windsurf all year and use a drysuit, so I will definitely be reporting on winter drysuit clad SUPing! I guess then I’ll use that coldwater wax eh?



  268. on 16 Sep 2007 at 1:06 pmEvan

    I’ve been working on a dedicated stand up paddle surf website where I can get updates on my favorite stand up websites in one place and added some posts also. Check it out at http://www.StandUpPaddleSurf.net and let me know what you guys think.

  269. on 17 Sep 2007 at 2:12 amChris Hohnke

    Hey Wetfeet I fitted the handles during the week and have just surfed my JL11 both days over the weekend and am stocked with them.The board is light enough but without the handles it is very difficult to pick it up off the ground or out of the shorebreak the handles make it a breeze.My mate with the same board ended up with a hand full of blood blisters from hanging onto the webbing of his legrope in the shorebreak on saturday,I’ve since ordered him a set of handles.
    As for the cover I ordered one from the real kiteboarding web store,which was especialy made for the JL11 and could not be happier. It has plenty of room for the board and a spot for the paddle and all your gear.I cut the fin slot a bit longer and had it restitched so it would slide over the fin when attached.
    Cheers from Australia.

  270. on 17 Sep 2007 at 7:15 pmStan

    Hey thanks for the feedback. The paddle was a Kialoa which are awesome but he’s a big dude. They made good on it though…..which is what really matters. I looked at the layup when it broke and was surprised how thick it was and that he broke it. The only thing carbon doesn’t like is sharp impacts…but I don’t think that was it.

    On the Upper Gulf Coast we get alot of days where the wind is blowing 8-12 knots with small waves….not enough to surf, and the chop and wind takes the fun out of paddle surfing, not enough wind for me to plane on even my freestyle windsurfer…..so putting a sail on the SUP fills the niche……How did the Naish surf in the waves…??????

    I tried a Kona last year and the whole time I was thinking if only this thing had surf rails and was thinner.

    Not worried about a little more tippy….yesterday we gave lessons and the poor guys were having a bad time on the Softtop Surftech….and the Munoz…..we did that on purppose because they were a little cocky…..Then after a half hour we let them get on the Laird and JL 11. Anyways I paddled the Munoz 4 miles….man what a workout…..love the way it surfs but the fun factor goes out the window as relaxing is not an option……

    I think the broken paddles were to be expected,,,just like the windsurf mast years ago……R and D ….. R and D……R and D

  271. on 22 Sep 2007 at 10:48 amhotdotdog

    There has been quite a bit of discussion on both deck traction and paddle/rail protection. I have reserved my 2 cents until I was sure my methods were well tested and I can now make some reliable recommendations regarding these issues.

    Traction – I have been using a great product called Hula Deck ($18). I found it available at a couple of Southern California surf shops. It is distributed by http://www.surfsource.net and their number is 909.247.0808. This is a product similar to one I had been using years ago called Ultra Deck for my prone surfboards. This product is actually better in that it adheres to the deck better and has more grip. The application process is to remove all wax and residue from the deck, lightly sand the area where you want the deck applied. I recommend 320 wet/dry paper. You just need to rough up the surface a little. Dry off the board and remove any sanding residue. Then apply the Hula Deck with the enclosed disposable roller. Just a light coat is enough. It dries pretty fast in warm weather. 1 – 2 hours is recommended by the manufacturer. I applied this 2 months ago to 2 longboards and my 11’6” C4 deck (not quite 2 bottles for all 3 boards). The traction is very grippy in fact, I discovered that on my lonboards I was dragging my left foot and the deck actually cut into my skin. So it’s too grippy right out of the bottle. I fixed this condition by swiping some 220 grit sand paper across the deck. This removed the sharp edge of the deck material just enough. No more cutting but plenty of grip for surfing. There has been no degredation of the material so far and judging from my previous years experience with the Ultra Deck. I’m willing to bet this will last at least 6 month to a year averaging 3 sessions per week. This is not an evironmentally friendly product in its liquid form so use lots o ventilation or you will be experiencing a different kind of high than surfing stoke.

    Paddle/Rail Protection – This product was recommended to me by Bob at Mission Surf, San Diego and it works great. It is called “Rubber Mastic Tape” made by Plymouth and available at Home Depot in the electrical section ($8). This is a black rubbery tape, 1” wide and 10’ long used for water sealing electrical connections. I used it on my C4 paddle edge and it applies as if it was made for it. The tape is stretchy so I started at the top of the blade and as I went around the blade, I stretched the tape a little by pulling on the roll. This made the tape form perfectly around the edges of the paddle. Just like a custom job. I’ve had it in 80 degree water is 90+ degree weather and it is not coming off. I’ve banged the rails a couple of times and it leaves no mark – wonderful. I also made a nose guard with this tape allbeit a 2 piece nosed guard, I cut out a top and bottom half and applied. It works great and shows no signs of comming off either.

    I’ll post pictures if someone can tell me how.

  272. on 22 Sep 2007 at 11:52 pmEvan

    I’ve been trying to find ‘mastic tape’ everywhere here on Oahu but have had no luck or I’m just plain blind. I’ve been using this rubber molding from http://www.infinitysurf.com that really protects the edge. Other guys say they can feel it while they paddle compared to paddles without it on but I can’t tell the difference yet. I made a video of the stuff at http://www.standuppaddlesurf.net/2007/10/07/save-your-rails-on-your-stand-up-paddle-surfboard/.

    I have a cool sneak peek for you guys. I got the inside scoop on the new 2008 C4 Waterman stand up boards. Check it out here.

  273. on 04 Oct 2007 at 1:40 pmhotdotodog

    Hows it everybody?
    Has anyone traveled with a 2 piece paddle as a ‘carry on’ item? I’m coming over from the mainland next month and wonder if it’s going to be a hassle brining my own paddle.

  274. on 04 Oct 2007 at 6:09 pmbillb

    I’ve carried my full length paddle, along with a two-peice mast in a bag, a set of windsurfing booms, and a big Superfreak sail on Hawaiian Airline with no problem. They carry great big monster golf bags for free all the time so they shouldn’t have a problem with your stuff even though it’s a little ong–it’s light.

    I’m going to pick up another board for here in Portland, I plan to go to Manzanita this week and get in the water, even if I freeze my ass off. I’ll have to see if my old surfing wetsuit still fits. I bet it’s going to be really frickin’ tight.

    I won’t be back in Maui until just after new years. It’s making me crazy.

    I really am going to need the time to fix my race car–the damage was a lot worse than I though–the frame is hosed, so I need to build a new one. Then build a new body. How this is still going to be the same race car might confuse people, but it will be–its the way vintage racing works.

  275. on 08 Oct 2007 at 3:47 pmBob Babcock

    I went out Friday in gusty winds and mushy chop (knee to thigh). The conditions were horrible but I was out for the workout so decided to stick with it. I figure we aren’t likely to have many more 80 deg. plus days on Cape Cod until next year and the water is still warm. I could only stand on the way out while fighting the chop face on. Once I’d try to turn or go with it I’d get dumped. Just too mushy. I was about ready to give it up when my daughter showed up. She whistled me into the beach and saw I was getting killed. “Why don’t you try the river” she said.


    That simple suggestion made a bad day into a good one. The small creek/river that exits at the beach was a lot of fun to explore. The change of tide with the extreme calm made cruising easy. SUP offers such a great view into and around the water. Schools of bait fish in the 10’s of thousands were everywhere. Small schooly stripers (5-10 lbs) all over. Eels, horshoe crabs, great blue herons and complete solitude made for a great paddle.

    Then I went back for my fishing rod. I had brought along an ultralight spinning rod and some small lures in hopes of seeing some blues offshore. I paddled up stream about 1/2 mile and then started floating out with the tide. Absolute quiet broken only by the sound of my reel and the lure hitting the water. I hooked 10 and ended up catching and releasing 2 small strippers. LOL…I fell in when I hooked the 1st one. A lot of fun and a challenging catch on an ultralight while standing on a SUP. I quickly learned to set the hook and then kneel for the rest of the short fight. Great for the fish too. I never even had to take them out of the water to release them. Barbless hooks help too.

    Anyway, a whole new thing for me to do while standing.

  276. on 22 Oct 2007 at 2:35 amJohn L

    I live in Cape Town South Africa and have just purchased a custom 11ft., 28″ wide 4″thick board shaped by Spider Murphy, a local shaper. I am 70 years old 5′8” and 80kg.

    I have tried it on the lake twice and in the icy Atlantic sea outside my house twice. I think it is the first one in Cape Town. A lot of local surf shops are intending to import production boards and a few shapers are gearing up to make them. I am quite an experienced Kite-surfer and surf-ski paddler. I find it ok on the lake but kept falling in the sea, without a leach. I find I am falling backward when I try and catch a wave.

    It is a tri-fin and I lost the middle fin when I landed on the beach. I should like to know what is the ideal size of fin for the middle fin of a ti-fin.

    I have found your article extremely helpful. Thanks


  277. on 25 Oct 2007 at 4:30 amDW

    John L, middle fins in use on SUPs range from 7″ to 9″.

    I have tried fins ranging from 7 to 9″ and my preference is 8″ with narrow base and large rake with fat tip. This is on a 10 ft board.

    Using a 9″ fin of similar design will tame your ride a little, while keeping it loose. I suggest trying a fin like this first.

  278. on 27 Nov 2007 at 8:55 amJim K

    I was wondering if anyone found a decent transporting cart or wheels that work on pavement and/or sand. Easy transporting of wheels would be good since I plan on traveling (air) with it

    Thanks for the help

    jim K

  279. on 27 Nov 2007 at 11:04 ambillb

    Absolutely. There’s a roller nose cart called the SUP Mule. About a hundred bucks: http://www.surfboardcarriers.com/106/Surfboard_Carriers.htm . I’m going to get one though I could certainly build one quickly enough. Looks like the guy who makes them did some good development to ensure it’s stable but still simple and small. Should be easy to pack if you take the wheels off.

  280. on 28 Nov 2007 at 6:31 amLinda

    Anyone heard of, or tried, the Uli inflatable standup board? Almost sounds like a joke, but I’ve seen it on a lot of board company websites. I’m looking for a board for my husband (5′10″ 175lbs) who’s a long-time surfer who travels all over the world, but likes the idea of the stand-up paddling option for days when it’s flat. He’d be a complete beginner re stand up paddling. Don’t think he needs to surf on it; he has a LOT of surfboards already LOL. Here’s one of these: http://www.eastcoastpaddlesurfing.com/shopexd.asp?id=70
    We want to use it in Mexico and there’ll be lots of people who’d like to try the stand-up paddling, like my 16 year old surfer son (5′10″ 160lbs). I’d even try it, but at 5′2″, I’d probably need a whole different paddle, etc. The whole point is beginners cruising around on the flat for exercise when it’s not breaking.
    My husband thinks he’ll just get a paddle and use his longest longboard (10′ something), but it sounds like that will be a bust.
    Advice for X-mas??

  281. on 28 Nov 2007 at 9:52 amBob

    Hi Linda,

    The Uli board looks great from the vids I’ve seen. Steamroller has a couple of vids on youtube. I’m not sure how stable it is as a 1st board but it looks great for traveling and near to bulletproof. He’s bouncing it over rocks in the 2nd vid.

    Length isn’t the big issue, width and volume matter.


  282. on 28 Nov 2007 at 10:28 ambillb

    I contacted them about including the board in the test in February, but haven’t heard back yet. From the video, I’d say it looks like a pretty clumsy thing, just as you would expect. They show two very good SUP surfers using it, and while they’re managing to make it look good, it’s a struggle.

    Still I’m reserving my judgement, I hope we get to test it.

    I also contacted the Pope Surfboards, the folks who make two and three piece travel SUP boards. This is a somewhat more proven approach. I haven’t heard back from them either. I’ll ping them again.

  283. on 29 Nov 2007 at 5:06 pmLinda

    Thanks for the responses re the Uli inflatable board. I’m not looking for a board for surfing, literally JUST for my husband for standup paddling on flat for exercise, so I guess my question is more about the stability and ease and its size for that use.
    If not the Uli, is there a beginner SUP board for my experienced surfer (both 5′10″) boys aged 53 and 16? Is this a case of the surfer must pick a personal favorite (per the many discussions here), or is there one clear choice as the easiest to learn/enjoy?
    Maybe I’ll just buy a paddle and have them pick out the board…. but that’s not as fun!

  284. on 29 Nov 2007 at 7:30 pmbillb

    If transportability isn’t the issue then I’d go for either the Jimmy Lewis 11′ or the Starboard 12′ 6″ The starboard is bigger than he’ll need, but it’s a wonderful cruiser. The Jimmy Lewis is the easiest board to stand on and it’s decent in the surf.

  285. on 29 Nov 2007 at 11:29 pmLinda

    Gracias! I’ll check that out. Let me know if you guys ever find out about the Uli inflatable board and how it handles for standup paddling by a beginner.
    The best paddle for cruising flats, not surfing, that stands up to a bunch of beginners and wouldn’t hurt a surf board and is in two pieces would be….?

  286. on 30 Jan 2008 at 3:05 pmNanci Smith

    Trying to get in touch with you regarding some Northwest promo – I believe that we have mutual friends in Bend, OR. Jet me a line.
    Nanci Smith

  287. on 27 Feb 2008 at 8:08 pmYoma

    I have been big fun of this site. I wonder someone from Maui could help me. I’ll be Maui on April and was wondering where will be the best place to rent Stand Up board and Long board for price wise, quality wise and service wise. Any good info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  288. on 05 Mar 2008 at 9:28 amlinter

    hey ho bill: did you get a chance to ride the starboard 11-2 ultimate blend? i’ve been wondering if it might be everything the jimmy11 plus more and wondered if you would agree w/ what john hibbard on the starboard forum says about the two, to wit: “The 11′2″ UB is a totally different Beast when compared to the JL 11′… The tail is a lot thinner and narrower. The 11′2″ feels smaller than it is. The length helps with its flat water glide. If you had an 11′2″ I don’t think you’d use your JL again. The length is similar, but the application and ability of the board is totally different.”

    on another subject: have you thought about opening up the individual SUP pages on the showcase to comments from readers?

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