Sunday, September 18, 2011

Do-able on a stand up board? And if so, why?

Check this clip out of a spot in Africa.

I actually don't think this wave could be surfed well on a stand up board. Make no mistake, I think a stando would be fun out there- I just don't think a stand up paddler would be able to pull into and ride the tube as deeply and as cleanly as these guys are doing on conventional boards. I might actually consider it a waste if your stand up board was going so fast (common on steep, powerful waves like these) that even hanging everything you've got out to slow down (paddle, ass, arm... kitchen sink) didn't put you deeply into those insanely throaty, grindily-perfect left hand tubes. I recall reading that this wave is very difficult to get to- so why go to all the hassle if you're only going to get the blade of your dragging paddle shacked while you sit barely in the mouth of the thing?

I'm not saying I wouldn't give it a shot- it's just that I think the best choice of equipment for that wave would be a nice, narrow board that can sit tightly in the pocket and that can be accelerated and, more importantly decelerated quickly. The simple fact is that even the 24 - 26" wide boards out there that we stando surfers call narrow are barges compared to the 18 -19" wide thruster that I'd probably ride out there. This begs the question- should you do it anyway? Garret McNamara recently attempted to ride a stando out at maxing Cloudbreak- every shot I saw of him had him skipping down the face, on his back, paddle in hand heading for a two wave hold down. Sure, he could paddle into one of those monsters but for the most part the equipment limited him. So why do it? 

My feeling is that as your skills as a stand up paddler develop, you should also consciously develop your abilities in the other surfing disciplines: prone short and long board, windsurfing, kitesurfing, body surfing and let's not forget body boarding which is insanely fun on those super hollow, offshore days. As stando surfers we are continually seeking understanding from our prone brothers- wondering why they are not more open minded about our choice of wave riding equipment. Well, I'd like to challenge you: How often have you expanded your surfing horizons? If it's good for them to open their minds to stand up paddling, then you should open yours too. When was the last time you paddled out on a shortboard? Hopefully it was when your local break was going off its face with six foot, reeling left hand tubes... kind of like the video you just watched.


Dietlin said...

Right on! It's a big tent, but you have to have the right tool for the job!

[MB] SUP said...

What a machine!

Capt Ron said...

That's pretty sick... You know the older I get the less I find surf like that appeals to me. Don't get me wrong I would love to ride that but the 2 weeks of recovering from the azz kicking that wave would dish out while I was figuring out how to fit myself in there makes it kind of not worth it. Well almost kind of... To bad its a damn left.

John I could fit a SUP in there and stall and stay in position deep in the pit. The key is to ride a slower SUP one with lots of rocker that is very controllable rail to rail without taking steps from one side of the stringer to the other and maximum track ability. I have one that is made for a actual good wave if you want to borrow it.
I have been prone surfing a bit with some padding just ordered a impact vest hopefully it will help with my broke protruding sternum. Also been building a knee board for myself and working on some other surf craft as well. I used to love to knee board you can get as deep in the barrel as a body board with a tad more speed and drive. Have been thinking of a fin less SUP in the 7ftish range.
Keep it fresh take the blinders off and enjoy the gifts of the ocean how ever you may.

Better Yeti said...

I totally agree. I watch this and I think, "hey, look at those guys on shortboards killing it at this bodyboard shorebreak!" Stand-o wouldn't be the right tool here.

One of the reasons I fell in love with SUP is that it allowed me to harvest junkier, flabbier waves that would be meaningless on a shortboard -- for me, that's a principal beauty of SUP: an efficiency, a frugality that redeems the most marginal conditions; hell, I can have a good time when it's flat and clear (Dume was flat, windless and clear the other day, and I think, "oh, yeah, get out there on the raceboard..." And that's quite a change from my surf-addicted former self. But I digress.)

Makes no sense to be stand-o frugal and efficient at this massive machine-extruded killer frankenstein shorebreak. You've got an embarrassing overload of juice, and the problem is how to grab just a piece of it and survive.

So, yeah -- shortboards rule in conditions like those, god bless 'em. Via con dios. I'll hoot and holler from the beach.

body/sponge/fish/longboard/sup/raceboard... it's not the vehicle, it's about finding your way as a waterman.

matt p said...

good post john