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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Works Over: PauHana Paddles (and surfs)!

One of the great things about having this site is getting to meet the site sponsors. Especially, when the guys are surf-crazy, like me. Todd and Royce, the owner/founders of PauHana Surf Supply definitely have their priorities straight when it comes to water time. Here's how it went with these guys: 

Email from me: "Hey guys, I'm going to be in L.A. tomorrow do you think we could meet- maybe go for a surf." 
PauHana: "Yep, we'll bring all the boards and paddles- see you there!"

Wow, that was easy. Pau hana means, "after work" but for these guys- testing their boards and paddles in the surf is all part of it- so "work" includes surfing. Genius.

PauHana: Royce Hanamaikai (Left) and Todd Caranto (Right). We met up at a surf spot close to PauHana headquarters. The surf was small and fairly clean- perfect to try out a bunch of their boards.
One thing I quickly learned about these two guys is that they're always working on improving their product line. I was really blown away by the paddles they're developing with German kayak manufacturer Robson. Check this one out:

These paddles are going to be sweet. They are just as light as carbon without the brittleness of the material or the clunkiness of fiberglass. Todd was wacking the thing on the rocks and basically shoveling gravel with it- laughing the whole time and telling me how the material was some space age impregnated foam. Kayak stuff. I've seen the damage that a race paddle can go through when you're clacking blades with a bunch of stock-class racers right next to you- this may be a solution. The colors were pretty damn cool too. The guys are hoping to bring out this PauHana/Robson paddle this year- I'm hoping I'm in line to test one out.
At PauHana, Todd started designing boards back in 2007 when they were stuck with a couple of one-off stand up designs that basically sucked. After paddling the noodle thin stand ups and falling all over the place it became obvious that the boards could be designed better. The shortcomings of those first boards led to their best selling model, The Big EZ. This thing is giant... and wide. The Big EZ is perfect for learning to stand up paddle, for rentals or for just goofing around on. The board was a hit and was swooped up by Sandals Resorts as their go-to rental board. It's cool that PauHana can legitimately claim that their boards are all over the Caribbean with every Sandals Resort holding at least two or three of these big boys. 
The Big EZ Hawaiian- a great board to have around for when your linebacker cousin shows up from Idaho.
The two boards I enjoyed the most that day were their trainer/racers. The CrossFit and their smaller trainer. The CrossFit would be a great board for a weekend warrior racer who was also doing some coastal cruising or adventure paddling (did I just make up a new paddling niche?). I zipped around on the CrossFit and found it to be very stable and quick, especially coming downwind. The smaller version is more suited to a smaller paddler and would be perfect for somebody who didn't have the room or desire to transport and store a full, stock class race board.

The boys brought out a full quiver of PauHana shapes, the two I enjoyed the most were the CrossFit and the small trainer board in the background. Check out Royce- he's stoked! How sweet is that die-cut deckpad that will be available on all PauHana boards- pretty darn cool looking.
I really got a kick out of all the ideas that the PauHana crew was hatching/scheming. These guys are definitely innovators. I'm sworn to secrecy, so I can't mention all of the projects and products that are going to be brought to market but I can say that for PauHana stand up paddling goes way beyond designing boards and paddles. A big push for the company will be into the realm of river paddling. Their two riders, Nick Troutman and Emily Jackson are dyed in the wool freestyle kayaking super heroes- they are both World Champions! Todd has designed specialized boards for these two to compete on this season- the designs are the reverse of what you'd expect in a surfboard. Kind of hard for me to understand- but hey, if you've got two of the best in the world willing to help you out, you don't turn it down. 

Like I said before, a highlight of this whole internet/blog site deal is getting to meet the living humans behind the keyboards and computers. And when I get a chance to actually surf with people like Todd and Royce and see how passionate they are about our sport, I feel really good about having them as a site sponsor. With guys like this, paddlesurfing is in good hands... now go back to work!


Royce Hanamaikai said...

Thanks John. We had a great day and enjoyed the paddling. Thanks for coming out and let's get together again soon.

PaddleGal said...

Pretty awesome and lucky to send out an email and get to test out all those paddleboards, very jealous! The PauHana/Robson paddle looks so great, love the design of it.