Thursday, July 30, 2009

And we're the bad guys?

Snaked! I've been hearing a bit about the growing tension between the laydown guys and us. The major complaint seems to be that we grab too many waves, we're out of control and that we can't surf. I submit that the opposite is usually the case- there are far more out of control prone surfers who given a paddling advantage will capitalize on it by taking whatever wave they can get. I'll go on record that guys on longboards are the worst offenders.

Check this guy out- ripped me off not once, not twice but three times- en el stylo del perro! Now I respect my elders but this geezer showed up with three other friends, all from a north county beach (Swami's) the guy paddles right up to the peak and stinks up the inside after he takes off, falls, takes off and falls... all in el stylo del perro!

And we're the bad guys? Give me a break!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Poke Wrap: It ain't sushi.

Recipe for the Poke Wrap: 1 tablespoon of down the line speed, 2 cups of slopey little shoulder, 1 pinch of a carbon fiber paddle, 1 cup of a nice, light round-tail, 9'4" stand up board... preferably caught that day.

Step 1. Get in one last pump before you fly out onto the shoulder, drift up the face and POKE your blade down into the lip.

Step 2. Transfer weight back and onto the tail and crank that sucker around.

Step 3. Let the fins catch and ride it out.

Step 4. Voila! The Poke Wrap...bon apetit!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stupid Good: Three days of roping surf...

I'm done! Three days of very good waves here in town and I'm cooked. If you want to see what it looked like go to BeachSurf and check out all the photos JWall has been posting. Not too many stand up shots yet but the snap master says he's got some he's cropping up so they should be up soon. Check back I've got a couple up my sleeve too.

Pull in and eat sand.
That's a 6'+ man in there, gettin' as small as possible.

Some fun ones out there. Definitely not the spot for the point and pose posse. These waves required you to drive it down the line you'd and run 'em all the way up to the sand. I like the paddle on that side much better!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Big Chad Report: Friday Surf Photos

John making his classic bottom turn into a nice looking wave.

Fun waves for everyone! Here is Kiwi racing down a steep wall.

Don't be like this guy! Kiwi had already ridden 50 yards down the line before this guy snaked him and created a new section.

What a great way to end a week, good swell!

This board is so fast and so light, it makes it easy to get it up to the top of the wave.

Check back for my report on the new board and more than likely some new pics.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Big Chad: Stamps Viking 10'0

Big Chad picked up his new Big Vike about a week before he shoved off to mainland Mex. The thing's got the best spray job I've ever seen on a stand up board- it's mesmerizing. Really. This board's 10'x 31" x 4.5", built for a big boy. Let's all bother Big Chad to write us a Big Vike review. Until then, check it out:

Big Chad, non-paddle drag, bottom turn- better be able to sink a rail if you're going to do one of these. Noodle-leggers need not apply.

For how small of a wave this is...

...the kid
really moves some water around. This is what you get when you put your back leg into the turn. Notice how Chad's board is pointing all the way back from the direction he came? That's how you wrap and snap- nice work tough guy.

Where's the Big Chad/Big Vike review? Check back!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Da Monstah: A closer look...

Da Monstah is one big buggah! Ahem, I mean this is one large stand up board. Here's the tale of the tape on this one: length 11'11", width 31", thickness 5". According to the Isle site, G-mac designed this one as a fun-for-the-whole-family board. The board's not just a big, fiberglass and epoxy wrapped popsicle stick though- there's a lot going on here. Let's check it out:

Plenty of tail rocker and five fin boxes.
I surfed Da Monstah as a single fin but only because I was too lazy to screw in the fins and ride it as a quad. The board went well surfing fast and responding well to paddle assisted turns. This is a stable, straightforward surfing, big board suitable for anybody looking to get started in wave riding. I didn't get to really let her loose because the surf was so poor but I suspect with the single to double concave bottom the thing's got more up its sleeve than I had a chance to peek at.

Flat deck pad. Evidently this was specified by the man himself. I had reservations about the grip of the pad in the water. It just seems like it'd be too slick. The pad is very comfy on your feet and I was wrong- I didn't slip off once. The pad does take some getting used to especially if you've only used ridged pads. Like I said, I was a little wary of it so I used an old body boarder trick and put some surf wax on the tail portion of the pad. That did the trick, locking me down like grandma's dentures. The flat deck pad is also really comfortable for prone paddling- try that without a wetsuit on a ridged pad and you'll come up minus a nipple. This one is so plush you could comfortably tandem surf it if you were out goofing around on a hot summer day.

The sliver tail.
Take a scoop out of the middle of a big wide squash tail while leaving the rail line intact and what do you have? You guessed it- the sliver tail! All of the G-macs feature this tail design. By removing some of the surface area of the wide tail, you can sink it easier when you're cranking it around. I got to surf it in small 1' - 2' peelers- the board was fast and surfed clean. Definitely nose ride-able. A fun big board.

Lilly digs it too! Contact me to demo Da Monstah!

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

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Board: G-Mac, Da Monstah!

A quick peek at one of the new G-Mac boards, designed by Garret McNamara distributed by Isle Surf here in San Diego. Check it out:

The boys at Isle
sent one of these my way for a test surf- for being one big Monstah (12') the thing is really surfable. Lots of tail rocker.

All the G-Mac boards will come in silver- perfect color match for my truck. Check back for more photos and a ride report.

Want to demo the Monstah?
Contact me: and we'll figure something out.

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Getting a little slow around here... what happened to the surf?

Surfers are fickle creatures- one minute we're stoked beyond all comprehension (last week) the next day we're grumpy and pissed off (now). It's all about what's in the water and as of right now... it's really not happening. Hurricane Carlos is moving the wrong way and it's looking like the wind is going to get back on it starting tomorrow. Bummer.

Here's some photos, maybe that will make you happy. Speaking of photos, if you haven't been clicking over to BeachSurf, you should- J.Wall's been putting up some good beach-life type stuff- lots of local ripping... I think this last post might be summed up with one word: bikini.

There's been more people
picking up stand up paddling this year than ever before- I'm seeing it everywhere and the lessons are blowing up. So far I've had people come from New York, Idaho and Arizona to learn to stand up paddle here in sunny San Diego. The water has been so nice lately and the weather so perfect that I can't blame 'em- this is an excellent place to learn to stand up paddle! Click here for more information about our stand up paddle lessons.

Dreaming of somewhere south
... such a fun wave. Can't wait to get back down there!

Friday, July 10, 2009

A south swell came to town...

And I'm surfed out... three sessions a day for the last four days. Luckily the lawn mower was being repaired and the wife was at a week long seminar - which means I had a lot of free time to do nothing but play. Check it out:

The last two days have been really good. Early morning worm seekers have been paid off with tube rides and long, left hand runners.

This little bump
was a surprise all the internet swell forecasters got it wrong when they called for "waist to chest high" mixed peaks- we got long, clean lines. And it pumped all day long.

When it all comes together...

Killer day of surf yesterday! Sunny and glassy all day long. Even better, the water temp is notching back up into the "comfortable to trunk it zone". Down side are the summer crowds- tough to park close to the spot. Solution? Electra cruiser, board rack and my 6'4" Stamps fish. Got a couple of fun ones. All photos: Jeff Wallis

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stamps carving a couple up in Seal...

Here's a couple of Tim Stamps test driving a new 9'0 that he just put together... Check 'em out (all photos courtesy of Elva De Jarnet):

If I remember correctly, this one's a bit more foiled nose to tail and carries more width throughout.

Cool how a stand up board can transform an iffy surf day at a blown out rivermouth into a fun little go-out.

Check out the video I posted a couple of days ago- this is the same board that Farmer Dave was carving down in Mex. Cool board.

I dig the cutbacks with the paddle to the inside- they just seem to get the whole body moving in the direction of the turn- smooth carving.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Slippery Slope II

The fight continues... but if you read the following you'll realize it's less a fight and more of a civil request for a clarification of the rules governing stand up boards down at the beach. Check this out:


Here is the e-mail that went out today… formal letter to follow today as well, pass it on or publish or both if you wish.

Dear Ms. Ray,

I have left you several messages over the past few days to try to better understand the regulations upon which your office and by extension US Ocean Safety Lifeguards is relying in order to determine that stand up paddle (“SUP”) surfing is banned from the above-mentioned beaches. On Friday morning, July 3, 2009, as I was exiting the water at the North Strand staircase at 9:00 a.m., (the newly re-built and re-opened stairs), I was met by a life guard who informed me that I could neither launch nor land my SUP at this beach. I could not understand this as my SUP is seven feet six inches long. To give you perspective, most surfboards sold (over 60% according to some estimates) are longer than my SUP. I asked for the basis for my being told that I could not launch SUP in this area and was given a pamphlet with the telephone number for US Ocean Safety. The lifeguard was of course pleasant and professional.

On Sunday, July 5, 2009, I was paddle surfing at the same beach, but did not launch an SUP from this beach. I was surfing in the designated surfing area, no other surfers were in the water, and no swimmers are even allowed in the water at this surfing area due to the boulders in the surfline. This is a stretch of “surfing only” beach that swimmers are kept out of… no waders are even allowed due to the danger posed by the boulders in the surfline. At that time I was told that I could not SUP in this area, period. I told the lifeguard that I did not launch an SUP from this beach, but was merely following the previous day’s instructions from another lifeguard at this exact same spot, namely, that I could not launch an SUP at this beach. The lifeguard informed me that I was incorrect, not only was I precluded from launching an SUP at this beach, but I was also banned from riding an SUP in the surf at this beach. I grudgingly complied with this order, and instead surfed at this spot. This is very disappointing as on a surfboard, it was very difficult to make the section at this wave, whereas on an SUP, it was much easier and less dangerous because of how early you can enter the wave on an SUP. Again, despite the wearying work over the Fourth of July weekend, this lifeguard was pleasant and professional.

On Monday morning, July 6, 2009, I called US Ocean Safety and spoke to James Watkins, a very polite young man who informed me that they were operating under a county directive and that the only beach wherein SUP’s can be launched and landed is Baby Beach in the Dana Point Harbor. He further informed me that under the current regulatory structure, SUP’s cannot be ridden in the surf zone. I asked for and was provided the governing regulations, namely 2-5-45, 2-5-66, and 2-5-77. I was also provided your name as the person at the County of Orange directing US Ocean Safety to take this position. As with my other interactions with personnel from US Ocean Safety, Mr. Watkins was knowledgeable, pleasant and professional.

Our office has reviewed the regulations in question and they do not support the County’s position. Firstly, it appears that you are lumping all craft that can be paddled with an oar in the same boat, (honestly, no pun was intended). I urge you to review the state of stand up paddle surfing. You will find that, yes, there are plenty of eleven and twelve foot stand up paddle boards, but there are also many SUP surfers surfing boards 9’6” and smaller. For sake of comparison, most longboards (surfed by prone surfers) are in the nine to ten foot range. Many stand up paddle boarders like to cruise in the harbor, or paddle in the open ocean on 10, 11 and 12 foot boards, but many also choose to surf with their SUP’s. On my SUP, I am just as maneuverable as with a surfboard, and on a few occasions while SUP’ing late in the afternoon and early evening have rescued swimmers and boogie boarders who have gone beyond their limits. I simply would not have seen these people if I were surfing in a prone position. I say these things as someone who has been surfing for over thirty years.

From the information provided, it appears that the County of Orange has determined that the distinction placed on SUP’s as “vessels” in the United States Coast Guard’s October 28, 2008, news release controls all SUP’s. In explaining their distinction, the Coast Guard was very clear that their regulation only applied to SUP’s that are in navigable waters and that its regulation does not apply to paddleboards in the surf zones: “It is important to note that paddleboards in the surf zone will not be affected by the decision and that the Coast Guard does not define the limits of surf zones.” (December 2008 Newsletter from The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Department of Boating.”) From this classification, the County has apparently determined that rule 2-5-66 precludes (a) the launching of boats and (b) the operation of boats in park waters. Clearly only section (a) applies as Park Waters is defined in section 2-5-2 to encompass waters flowing to the ocean, (and other waters), but not the ocean itself. Given that under the County’s interpretation only 2-5-66(a) can apply to this circumstance, the County cannot cite this section to conclude the SUP’s cannot be ridden in the surf zone. To the extent that the County of Orange chooses to classify all SUP’s regardless of size as vessels, and also chooses to enforce the prohibition against launching an SUP from the shoreline, then I expect that the County of Orange will apply this rule to all vessels, and not just SUP’s. For example, the Monarch Bay Club at the North end of Salt Creek sits on leased land. This club also has a catamaran on its leased land. The beach in front of the Monarch Bay Club, however, is the northernmost stretch of the Salt Creek Beach… a County Beach. The Monarch Bay Club has at least one catamaran on its beach and according to its website and my multiple visits to the club, also has numerous kayaks for its members to enjoy. These kayaks and this catamaran are all launched from the County of Orange public beach in violation of 2-5-66. If the County of Orange chooses to enforce 2-5-66 to preclude SUP’s from being launched from this beach, please confirm that you have ordered the Monarch Bay Club to remove its catamarans and kayaks from its facility to ensure that this ordinance is not violated. We will also work to ensure that no other private land owners who own property adjacent to a County beach launch their catamarans or kayaks over County beaches and will expect that the County of Orange will work to ensure that theses land owners do not launch their “vessels” from their beach adjacent properties.

While the County of Orange may be relying on 2-5-66 to preclude launching, as set forth above, it cannot use this same section to prohibit operation of SUP’s in the surf zone. Therefore, the County must be looking to one of the other two cited sections to conclude that SUP’s cannot operate in the surf zone. These other sections are 2-5-45 and 2-5-77. Of course there may be sections of the code that I have not reviewed upon which the County of Orange is basing its decision, but these are the sections provided to me by US Ocean Safety. Given that you have been unable to return my calls on this matter for the past few days, I must operate under the presumption that these are the only applicable regulations. A careful review of these sections, however, supports the position that wherever a person is allowed to surf on a regular surfboard, that person is also allowed to surf on an SUP, (provided that person is under control and not endangering others… as I believe that US Ocean Safety is vested with the inherent authority to “police” the surfline for out of control surfers, paddleboarders, etc.) As you know, 2-5-45 merely vests the authority in the County or its agent (in this case US Ocean Safety) to designate areas appropriate for “athletic activity.” Section 2-5-77, then goes on to provide that hazardous water sports are prohibited unless specifically allowed by the County or its agent. The next section then defines the activities that are considered “hazardous water sports.” This definition includes surfboards, paddleboards, and (if there is a distinction) stand up paddleboards: “No person shall use any surfboard, paddleboard, bellyboard, skimboard or any other similar object made entirely or partially of wood, metal, hard plastic, or any other hard substance in the Pacific Ocean unless designated as a hazardous water sport area by the Director or his/her authorized representative.” Clearly if stand up paddleboards fall outside the category of “paddleboards” then stand up paddleboards are “other similar objects” in that they are made of the same materials, used for the same purpose and can be prone paddled, knee paddled or paddled with a single paddle. To make a further point, my fifteen year old son can stand up paddle just about any surfboard over seven feet, and I can stand up paddle any surfboard over nine feet. Additionally, I can stand up paddle any “paddleboard” that I have ever seen. Without question stand up paddleboards, if they do not fall within the “paddleboard” category (which I believe they do), fall within the “other similar objects” category. This appears to be where the County of Orange is deriving its authority to ban SUP’s from the surf zone. The problem with the County of Orange’s position is that according to this regulation, SUP’s, paddleboards and surfboards must be treated the same. From the regulations cited to me, the County of Orange does not have the authority to simply “blanket” ban SUP’s without consideration of conditions or crowds from an area while at the same time allowing surfers to remain. Further, from the regulations cited, the County of Orange does not have the authority to force all SUP surfers out of the water while leaving surfers and paddleboarders to remain. The authority simply does not exist.

To the extent that you are concerned with safety of swimmers, I agree wholeheartedly that swimmer safety is paramount, hence the blackball. To the extent that the County of Orange is indiscriminately choosing surfers over SUP’ers, it cannot. I do not believe that any new regulations are required and that 2-5-77 sufficiently protects the bathing and swimming public. As provided in my anecdotes set forth above, SUP’ers can actually enhance the safety of the bathing and swimming public. Additionally, please understand that some of the most decorated SUP athletes hail from Dana Point and call these beaches their homes. Namely Chuck Patterson, recently named Standup Paddle Surfer of the year by Surf Sail and StandUp Journal, (you can get a copy at Infinity or Hobie or I can drop a copy off at your office). Chuck has won just about every race he has entered, impressed all with his big wave exploits at Puerto Escondido, and has brought significant recognition to the sport and his sponsors, one of whom is a significant local employer and longstanding surf brand, Hobie. As you might also know, the SUP industry much like the surf industry in general is based in Orange and San Diego counties. The surf industry, soft goods and hard goods, is contracting mightily in this difficult economic environment. One of the few bright spots in the industry is the explosion of Stand Up Paddle surfing. With boards costing $800-$1500, and paddles clocking in at $200-$400, this is significant to the local economy. The premier paddle maker in the world for stand up paddles, in my opinion, is right in Costa Mesa, Quick Blade paddles owned by former Olympic kayak racer Jim Terrell. The most innovative retailer in the business is Paddle Surf Warehouse… they are based in Costa Mesa just a few blocks from Jim Terrell’s shop. One of the most progressive stand up surfing custom board makers is Tim Stamps, his factory is in Huntington Beach. Steve Boehne of Infinity Surfboards in Dana Point perfected a method for venting the gases from epoxy stand up boards while innovating and tinkering with stand up paddleboard designs. Steve and Infinity are in the forefront of design and innovation in this new industry. Ron House, who essentially, brought stand up board shaping to the Mainland has his offices in San Clemente. Mind you, these are innovators in this industry that I can think of just off the top of my head. To the extent that the County of Orange regulates SUP surfing significantly differently than regular surfing, and forces SUP surfers into a tiny area of the coast, you will certainly damage this industry significantly and likely cause it to migrate to San Diego County, already the home to many SUP pioneers. San Diego County, much like Ventura County, regulates SUP surfers in the same category as prone surfers. Time after time we hear government spokespeople decrying about job losses and revenue shortfalls, when government policies are sometimes the very thing that hastens job losses and exacerbates revenue shortfalls. Please be mindful of these issues as you try to understand if additional regulations governing stand up paddle surfing are necessary. Stifling the ability to stand up paddle surf will most assuredly stifle the local industry and encourage migration to our neighboring county to the South.

Lastly, if there are different regulations upon which the County of Orange is relying upon to in order to preclude stand up paddle surfing from Orange County beaches, please immediately advise our offices so that we can review the impact of these additional regulations on our analysis. If not, please confirm for me by the end of business tomorrow that the County of Orange will instruct its lifeguard agents (“US Ocean Safety”) that stand up paddle surfers (at least once they have “launched” legally) must be treated in the same fashion as prone surfers. If we do not receive this confirmation by that time, our offices will be moving ex parte for a temporary restraining order precluding the County of Orange from mis-interpreting its own governing regulations on Friday morning at the Superior Court for the County of Orange, Harbor Justice Center. We will provide formal notice by Thursday Morning at 10:00 a.m. as provided in the California Rules of Court Rule 3.1203.

We look forward to positively resolving this issue and will be sending a more formal letter on this issue via facsimile, e-mail and US Mail later on today.

Additionally, if the County of Orange is currently reviewing this matter with an eye towards creating additional regulations, please advise our offices in order that we can ensure that the County or Orange is basing its decision on the facts as they exist, and not as provided to the County of Orange by one interest-group at the expense of another.

Thank you for your time, I understand that it is valuable.


Timothy M. Ryan

I'll keep you posted- this is one that we should all be watching!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Slippery Slope?

Tim up in Dana Point just sent this note regarding stand up boards, the surf zone and the application of some vague "laws" out on the sand. I think this is an important one to follow because it might set a precedent for other parts of the coast. Who knows - your beach might be next.

John and all interested SUP’ers.

My name is Tim Ryan, and I am an SUP’er. This weekend was the first anniversary of my addiction, and I was looking forward to celebrating. I am so stoked about this sport, that I conned my wife into letting us buy a place by my favorite little SUP spot in Dana Point. Well, the honeymoon was officially over this weekend. I had been hassled at this spot by the lifeguards before, but never too seriously, with a lot of “looking away.” Not so any longer.

On Friday morning I was out before dawn. Paddled up to Salt Creek where it was small and surprisingly uncrowded. Took a few waves, talked to some friends, talked to some people who want to rip my eyes out because I like doing something that they are too embarrassed to try… but generally had fun and shared the ALOHA. Didn’t take any set waves (as usual). I was trying out a new (to me) Craig 7’6” two plus one. (7’6” by 31 by 4 1/8… I think I am going to order one that is an inch narrower… with a stinger… a swallow tail, and a quad as the tail area seemed too wide for the 2+1… I spun out on a few critical bottom turns… oh well… just working it out.) I worked out the basic balance issues at the Strand, figured out the paddle entry angle, and rode a couple of small waves before heading up to Creek. Spent about 45 minutes at Creek, and headed up to the Dana Headlands, surfing the shorebreak… trying to find workable shoulders.

As I was heading back to my towel and skateboard, a lifeguard went into the water after me… mind you, it was 9:00 a.m., with no one on the beach… and no one (I mean no one) in the water. I was getting out of the water and met her at the shorebreak. She told me that SUP’s are not allowed to be launched or landed at any beach at the Strand or Salt Creek. I asked for her authority, and she provided me with the number to the US Ocean Safety Headquarters. Armed with this information, and fuming. But at least she was hot.

The next morning, (July 4th), I go out again… water photog out at the Creek… caught a few… “trust me I got the shot, send money…” (ha ha) … but leave by 8:30, and have a nice chat with a different lifeguard as she is opening up her station, and I am toweling off, grabbing the skateboard, etc. She says nothing, is quite pleasant and I wished her best of luck for the toughest guarding day of the year.

I could not surf on the morning of Sunday the 5th, so when I went down with the family at 11:00, I brought a shortboard and my paddleboard and decided to follow the rules EXACTLY. The beach was very crowded… but the water was not. In fact, the area that I SUP is completely restricted from swimmers due to the reef and boulder field. Swimmers are not even allowed to wade in that area, (about 300 yards). It makes for a very challenging left on a Southwest swell, with water sucking off the reef, steep sections and a big ramp if you can make the section. At most tides, you just can’t get in early enough to make the section… unless you are on a standup.

So, I paddled my 7’6” SUP out just like a surfboard… tied off to some kelp, swam back in for my paddle, swam back out to my board, and tried to figure out this really tough wave on a new board. After about fifteen minutes of some really good waves, and some spectacular spinouts, the life guard yells out to me that I am not allowed to SUP at this beach. I yelled back that he was incorrect… I simply was not allowed to launch or land at this beach, but could paddle as much as I wished. He corrected me, stating that I could not ride waves but could paddle outside the surf line. I asked him for his authority, and why his explanation contradicted the other life guard from the day before, (the one who I lovingly refer to as Sporty Spice). He did not know, but was instructed that he had to pull me from the water…

At this point, I wanted to test the situation so I paddled my board back out… tied off to kelp… swam back in with my paddle… and swam back to my board and tried to knee paddle my way into the waves and around the section, (and to see how the life guards would deal with this conundrum). They left me alone, but it was boring and sucked, so I took a wave in and got my shortboard, (6’8” Bessell Eliminator.) I proceeded to surf without a leash, right next to the blackball area… which is kind of funny in that what I was doing at that point was WAY more dangerous (to me and others) than SUP’ing. To make sure that you understand how tragic this was… there were occasional five foot sets just exploding on the boulder field… and on my shortboard, I made the section twice in three hours… whereas in the short time on my SUP, I made just about every single section.

It was soooo painful to be sitting in the water knowing that if I was on my SUP it would have been an amazing session… in front of a packed beach… that REALLY would have made people appreciate SUP’ing. I did not intend that last part to sound conceited… but very often people comment to me that they had a great time watching me and that it is a beautiful and graceful sport… and then they ask questions about it. (try it South of PB pier on a big swell on a Saturday or Sunday morning.) I know it happens to you too.

This morning after coming back from court, I called US Ocean Safety HQ (949) 276-5050, and spoke to a very polite young man named James Watkins. When I introduced myself and the reason for my questions he said, “Oh that was you at Strand yesterday.” He took a few moments and gave me both the regulations that (according to the County) govern the activity… and the name and number of their contact at the County of Orange, (Leslie Ray, (714) 973-6863).

I took the information and looked up the regulations… 2-5-45, 2-5-66, and 2-5-77. After reviewing the regulations, I noted that 2-5-66 concerns launching boats at beaches and figured that they were using the mis-guided Coast Guard classification to conclude that all SUP’s are boats. The other two sections govern regulation of surfing and hazardous water activities and basically lump surfboards and “paddleboards” with “any other similar object.” This would seem to cover SUP’s… but these two regulations do not distinguish SUP’s from surfboards. So if surfing is allowed in a certain area, SUP’s must be allowed as well. Additionally, if the County chooses to interpret SUP’s as vessels… how is a surfing object classified as an SUP? My son can SUP anything bigger that an 8’0”… so if the definition is anything that can be paddlesurfed, then every board over 8 feet must be banned from the surf.

Further, down that same stretch of beach is the Monarch Bay Club… the club has catamarans and windsurfers and operates on private land but crosses the County Beach. I know this for a fact because I toured the club intending upon joining until I found out that their dues are $14,000 per year (!?!). So, if the County chooses to stand on the fact that anything that can be SUP’d is a vessel and cannot be launched, I will make darn sure that every single catamaran pulled into every private residential area behin every single County beach is removed. As folks who belong to the Monarch Bay Club and live oceanfront tend to have money… I don’t think that the County will choose this route.

I am still waiting to hear from Ms. Ray. As Mr. Watkins informed her of my impending call, perhaps I will receive a call back from County counsel rather than Ms. Ray. I called four times today and left two messages. A very nice person from Maxfield provisions e-mailed me a few hours ago and informed me that Ms. Ray took her call, was very nice, was clueless about stand up paddle surfing, and was just going by the Coast Guard guidelines.

I look forward to a positive dialogue with Ms. Ray, but will do anything and everything necessary to give SUP’ers the same rights as surfers, the rights we deserve… Remember that we will never ever ever keep these rights if SUP’ers kook out, hog waves, go out into the surf before they are ready and generally act like dicks.

If you are an Orange County SUP’er and want to be apprised of what transpires… shoot me an e-mail and I will keep you posted. I have also started a thread on Stand Up Forum and will be updating that as well.



Read more about this issue on the StandUp Zone in the section titled "General Discussion". Look for Tim's thread and add your name to the growing list of stand up paddlers in support of safe, stand up surfing in Orange County.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Stand Up Paddle Surf Video: Mainland 2009

Here's a little bit of the point, eats and friends. Check it out:

Find more videos like this on Stand Up Paddle Surfing

All stand up boards were made by Tim Stamps, go check his site at

Farmer Dave's (light blue rashguard, yellow and black camo pad on all white board) is on one of Tim's new shapes- it's a 9.0', little bump in the tail, foiled and a bit wider- the thing looks fun, I regret not giving it a whirl.

Big Chad's on a blue railed 10' Viking model- Chad's at least 260lbs- so for all you big boys out there who think you're stuck on some 12' Starboard tanker, there's hope- get a real board. I'm on a 9'4 Viking (235lbs) and Mike's (orange railed SUB on top of the rental car) on a 9'2 Vike.

Here's a tip: order a new board.

Stand up paddle surf lessons in sunny San Diego. This is the summer of the paddle- get out and get up! This summer we are proudly featuring the full line of Isle Stand Up Boards. Now's your chance to paddle Isle's latest and greatest offerings. Stand up paddling is for everyone- come book a lesson with us. We're not a "cattle call" stand up machine- churning out SUP CLONES. We only teach private lessons! For more information click here. Be sure to read about your instructor! Email: or call 619.213.6622

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Here's a couple more photos from down south...

I hear you. It may seem like I'm holding out on the full report- but I'm not. I'm just trying to get back to normal. And I'll tell you what's crazy- I'm seeing stand up paddle everywhere around here. And the stand up paddle surf lessons are going nuts- I'm booked everyday!

I'm ruminating about how I'm going to report on this one. I'm thinking "vignette" which isn't something you put on a salad. Maybe a story in captions... something like that. Whatever. Here's a couple more shots:

Another overview of the point.
I've said it before- this is not the main event wave in the area- but it makes a hell of a back up wave.

You know the story right? On the good days, no surfer worth his flip flops was going to sit around and shoot vid or photos, so the best days went undocumented. Out of my fourteen days down there I'd say that two were in the, "dude, are you kidding me about what we're scoring right now?" category and eight were in the, "this would be all-time at home" ranking.

Pack it in. Getting the car you ordered is a crap shoot. We reserved a van a year ahead of the trip- we ended up with a Durango for a couple days and the van for the remainder. Be flexible, things change in Mexico.

You step off the plane
and the warm, wet, towel hits you hard. It's the tropics, man. Slow down, hydrate and smile. Here's Marcos doing all three.

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Just a quicky: Back from down south...

Had a great paddlesurf trip down to mainland Mexico. Plenty of waves, stories... and bug bites! Trying to clean up and get back to normal back here in San Diego. More photos and stories coming soon.

Photo: Matty heading out- the point is made for stand up paddling. Fun stuff!

Paddlesurf lessons in sunny San Diego: Book your spot now! We're super busy- stand up paddling has taken off! Click here for more info. Email: or call 619.213.6622.