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Friday, May 22, 2009

Bringing it back around...

I think I've been paddling three years now. I'm not sure but three Springs have gone by since I brought home my first Big Red pop out and that puts me somewhere in the ballpark. I remember that first paddle too; offshore winds sending me toward the Coronado Islands, small waves and Kiwi watching, and laughing, from the beach. I sucked horribly. I remember barely being able to stand up on the thing.

I'm sure the decision to start learning in the ocean
retarded my development by about three months. If I would've sucked it up and started in the calm, flatwaters of the Bay (which, ironically, is what I tell all of my SUP students to do) I'm sure I'd be way better at this by now. Well, at least by three months.

That first year was the miracle year.
I remember going to sleep amping for the dawn so I could get back down to the beach and paddle around. Comically, we built a little crew of stand up paddlers down here- I say comically because it was three of us, grown men, fighting over one board. One of us would paddle out while the other two would wait waist deep in the surf laughing while we'd try to stay upright for more than a couple of minutes.

A few things have changed in those three years. Definitely the equipment. Boards have come down in size and volume, outlines got surfier. Paddling my old equipment makes me realize how much more advanced the boards have become. Our skills have improved, we've learned how to handle bigger, meaner waves and we've earned our sea legs, handling nasty conditions without too much worry.

Some things remain the same. I still fall asleep excited for tomorrow's waves and I'm still fired up each time I drop my board in the water and hop up onto the deck. It's been easy to get distracted by the details (fins, paddles, deck pad configurations) but when it all comes back around it's the pure joy of paddling out into some fun waves that keeps me coming back. I've found my Fountain of Youth- it's right here on this board.

Stand up paddle surf lessons
in sunny San Diego- get 'em while they're hot! The water's warming up, the surf is rolling in... get yourself on a stand up board now and learn the skills you'll need to be part of the hottest water sport around. Click here for more information. To book a lesson call John at 619.213.6622 or email


Anonymous said...

Great article and very cool site. I know the feeling, it's all about going back to the basics of you, the board and the ocean.

Sunset Cliff

John Ashley said...

Amen to that Cliff! And thanks for the nice words.


Anonymous said...

john thanks for all the help and advice and the very cool blog.keep on trucking rubber duck. 10 4 captneg9.oh need to check out l.j.s. its a site to see about 1p.m.better when the suns out.captneg9.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the site. Laid back vibe and cool photos. About 4 months ago I got my first SUP, a popout that I picked up used, and I have been having a blast. The more I learn the more fun I have. As soon as I get good enough, I'm planning on getting something a little more maneuverable. In the meantime, I'm still learning. Keep up the good work on this blog.


John Ashley said...

Thanks Neg9- let's get us some of that good stuff down south... you know where I'm talking about!

John Ashley said...

Hey Lifer-

Thanks man- glad you like the blog- trying to keep it relevant- stoked you're paddling- watch out there are a lot of GREAT boards out there now! See you in the water.