I’ve been teaching my friend @beau how to SUP, both downwind and waves, and it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience for me, and I suspect that it might have helped me get #1 in my division and 23rd overall in the Maui Olukai Race this year. Here’s a few of tips I’ve given Beau, plus a few nice intro videos from Annabel Anderson below.
- Keep the paddle shaft vertical if you want to go straight. That means that your top hand is well over the water, and the blade is close to the board. You can try exaggerating having your hand over the water. When you do this, you’ll need to counterbalance by putting pressure on the opposite leg.
- Keep arm bend to a minimum. Watch some good paddlers stroking. They hardly bend the arms. Do other sports to build up your biceps.
- Flex the ankles. Keep the knees supple. Telling Beau to bend his knees wasn’t working. Ankles flexible and butt closer to heels got some of the stiffness out.
- Use the right equipment. We got Beau started on a 9’5 2014 Naish Mana and an adjustable Naish carbon paddle. The adjustable paddle will be nice for when his wife wants to try out the SUP. The board is floaty and stable enough that it was easy for Beau’s first board. It’s also nimble enough to have fun in the gentle waves of Maui’s south shore.
- Wave judgment is probably the toughest part of dealing with surf. There’s no substitute for this other than time on the water.
- We did some practice of turning the board around in flat water. That was good for me as well as Beau.
And here’s a few videos that are helpful. In the video on carrying equipment, carrying the board on your head is suggested for longer walks. However, in Maui, we sometimes have very windy conditions, and carrying a board on your head can be very precarious. And when loading boards on a car, it’s critical to be careful when it’s windy. In other words, don’t leave a board unattended on a roof rack in windy conditions, or else you might hear the sound of crunching carbon very soon.