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! De"nitions

Forms, functions and nomenclature.


Stand Up Paddle % &A Paddlers Guide'

Stand up paddling any craft still counts, but thankfully the real thing works considerably better than most make-do alternatives. Bermuda fun. Photo Mandy West Rider Steve West / Bermuda


in Para"se



De"nition Contemporary de(nition of the sport suggests paddlers utilise a purpose made board of adequate volume and stability to support their weight while paddling using an extended canoe paddle to propel the board over water) employing a forward canoeing stroke) combined with directional steering strokes and varying weight placement to control direction#

#A board sport where the primary propulsion$ beyond consideration of all other natural factors$ is delivered and controlled through the use of an extended canoe styled paddle% It is in summary a paddle sport$ in the same way that windsur"ng remains at its very core$ a sailing sport%& The niche interest area of stand up paddle%sur(ng) remains exactly that) a niche interest) of which it has been reinforced by a variety of manufacturers) that some "*%$*+ of their sales) are in areas of the world where there is no surf and increasingly to inland waterway areas of mainland USA and of course large areas of Europe# When the entire scope and variance of the sport is considered) stand up paddle%sur(ng is but one of maybe half a dozen areas of specialisation and therefore it is implausible) inaccurate and unrepresentative to generalise that the sport is a &surf sport'# Furthermore) because the learning phases of stand up paddle boarding) ,should- take place on .at calm waters as would the learning phases of windsur(ng ,in the interests of safety and diligence- stand up paddle% sur(ng can be considered no more than a niche area of advancement of an individuals interest) as would be wave%sailing be to the windsurfer#

A paddle sport If a blood analysis were made of the sports leading paddle designs$ typically the primal ooze extracted would con"rm an OC positive blood type ' a marginally modi"ed and extended outrigger canoe paddle% It&s this signi"cant fact which de"nes this sport% The importance it is given$ seems matter of fact$ if at all% While dedicated outrigger canoe paddlers) prone paddlers and surf ski paddlers may devote a lifetime to perfecting paddling techniques and styles !/

Stand Up Paddle % &A Paddlers Guide'

incorporating periodisation plans and interval training) stand up paddle boarders have for the most part) not fully embrace the same passion for the act of paddling and perhaps this has been on account of some hesitation to acknowledge it as a paddle sport; by the industry itself) let alone those sur(ng organisations wishing to take ownership of it) which then (lters into mass consciousness# It must be acknowledged however) stand up paddle boarding lends itself to being purely recreational) in the same way as sit on top kayaking) which has found mass appeal# Stand up paddle boarding deserves to be pushed as a sport in its own right) for all of its variations and appeal to the wider global community) but a part of this process will require a willingness to label it on account of its central propulsive and controlling extension % the paddle#

Stand up paddle sur"ng rules the airwaves While the lifestyle paddler is o0en a humble creature) who very o0en paddles solo) or as part of a squad or in six person team canoes in the case of outrigger canoeing) with (xed training times) o0en rigorous and ruthless) there is rare opportunity for instant grati(cation and short lived highs as associated with the individual surfer) who drops in to ride a wave) attracting attention to themselves wherever possible and in the process providing an immediate) albeit short%lived sense of accomplishment and purpose# While chest%beating is intrinsic to the sur(ng condition) it is by and large not so to the paddler) whom even a0er a hard fought race or session embraces the e1orts of their peers and of the experience# Those who paddle%surf) like nothing better than to see photos or clips of themselves or of others) uploading a .ood of imagery to forums and social network sites and like petulant children exclaim) &Check this out' or &Look at this guy' to the bleating shrill of their peers who respond with such intellectual quips as &Sick!'# Regrettably and to the great detriment of the sports many other varied disciplines) footage depicting more mellow pursuits) are generally not as visually eye%grabbing or it may simply be the case that the participants are devoid of egos requiring attention or approval# For every paddle%sur(ng image) there's a thousand other images of folk just enjoying the simple act of stand up paddle boarding in the absence of waves) imagery that is evocative) though not always as provocative# 2*


Nomenclature ' what&s it matter? Stand up paddle boarding$ is a clumsy mouth'full and sounds more like the result of a work in progress than an intelligible construct to which the world can immediately work with$ accept and embrace% So bad is it$ that it&s acronym is used at every opportunity to save on spelling it out% The genetic lineage the sport shares with outrigger canoeing) Hawai`i's national team sport) is all but ignored yet it is intrinsically linked to the origins of the sport# The surfboard combined with the extended outrigger canoe paddle) two of Hawai`i's indigenous ocean sports) was a natural blend of two skills) that of sur(ng and paddling) yet alarmingly) the paddling ,canoeing- element in this marriage of Hawaiian sports has been overshadowed on account of sur(ng's global appeal and recognition and outrigger canoeing's relative obscurity# The current nomenclature took its name from another ocean sport simply by adding a verb intransitive) justi(able on the grounds that paddle boarding) is a uniquely di1erent sport) having been named and formed some eighty years prior# Confusingly) to &stand up' implies one is in the process of &standing up' and once &stood up' one is said to be &standing'# Prone paddle boarding) seems clear enough) but It's a shame SUP was not named in a manner more encompassing) simple and to the point) perhaps) &board paddling' as an all encompassing generic term and &paddle sur(ng' in relation to the activity performed in the surf# Naturally) paddle boarding sounds very much better) whether prone) kneeling or standing up using a paddle# Even &upright paddle boarding' has been used and a list of others# Coming back to the premise that stand up paddle boarding is in fact) (rst and foremost a paddle sport) maybe this simple) clear distinction would help anyone attempting to market the sport to the world# By giving it a de(nitive identity) that of a paddle sport in the same way as windsur(ng was a sailing sport (rst and foremost) then just maybe the collective masses may begin to tune in and warm to the fundamental principals of the sport# That the board o0en continues to be seen as more important than the paddle) reassures us that the sport has been taken over by those who do not hail from a paddling background) who just don't get it) be they retailers) promoters) manufactures and &wannabe' governing bodies) who need to wake up to the fact) that it's the paddle that's the most important item together with the skills to use it# 23

Avancement or impu#ty? Stand Up Paddle % &A Paddlers Guide'

(or simply an alternative . . .)

Photo Steve West / Portugal

Free surfing and surfing with the inclusion of a paddle require mutually exclusive skill sets. Surfers should not be so quick to think that paddling and the skills associated with it are fundamentally easy and without a right of passage and neither should a paddler think the same of surfing. Lack of mutual respect and consideration at this fundamental grass roots level is causing friction, a clashing of egos and jingoism of the worst kind. Dedicated stand up paddle surfers, will always consider themselves 'surfers' first, paddlers second (if at all) in being part of a tribal extension of surfing, while all other stand up paddle board disciplines generally lead the participant to consider themselves 'paddlers', to which end the sum total participation level is estimated as being in the region of 80%.




Photo Mandy West Paddler Steve West

If you are genuinely serious about becoming a top level stand up paddle board race contender, or wishing to broaden your paddling horizons, then you could invest in an OC1 and put in the miles, as nothing trains you better, which goes along the same principal, if you want to learn how to tear it up on the waves, then you should invest time free-surfing in the absence of a paddle. This practice follows the evolutionary principles associated with spending time at the source as a right of passage, followed by a migration outwards. This is how true waterman and women evolve, through a willingness to embrace the notion of variance through cross-platforming their training regimes and skill sets. Surfers who come to this sport with no paddling skills, would benefit substantially through this mechanism.

Armed with the possible paradigm shi( in thinking$ the industry should promote and market the sport for what it is$ a uniquely varied paddle sport$ requiring a structured approach to learning% Paddle sports universally appeal to a much wider audience than that of surf sports regardless of the stoke you personally may feel when sur"ng and the reasons for this are not hard to grasp% In the "rst place$ there is by far a greater abundance of relatively )at$ surf'less water$ both coastal and inland on this third rock from the sun of ours% In terms of weight of numbers the world over) canoeing and kayaking in it's di1erent guises) are cumulatively more omnipresent and accessible than sur(ng could ever dream of being % ironically) the commercial nature of sur(ng) within the clothing and accessory areas are the envy of all) where 25

Stand Up Paddle % &A Paddlers Guide'

on account of aspirational imagery and marketing) some "*+ of end% buyers of surf clothing) neither surf) let alone live near a beach#

Comments on the hype Thumbing my way through stand up paddle board product brochures$ magazines and burgeoning websites in preparedness for this publication$ provided a portal into the mindset of those driving the sport; how they perceive it&s very nature and ultimate appeal% Page a(er page$ aspirational imagery$ methodically chosen to inspire one&s imagination$ hints at the seemingly endless experiences the sport will provide% Spiced with many of the usual cliches; I will be good looking$ athletic; a maverick journeyman who will "nd my spiritual high place whether on a lake$ river$ dam or *ord$ shore break$ point break$ reef break or idyllic tropical lagoon% Technically simplistic with the bare minimum of equipment) participation will seemingly elevate your average suburbanite to quasi%waterman status faster than you can say) &SUP'# For all the undeniable merits of this new sport and the consequential myriad of appeal to which the sport alludes) there lurks the possibility) some fundamental core identity issues may well be stunting its otherwise predicted meteoric rise and that's not to say that it hasn't boomed quickly in some key areas of the Paci(c and Paci(c Rim# Mass appeal will ignite when imaginations are inspired to bring about a response to act and get involved% Part of the success of this process will evolve as a result of embracing and promoting the sport as a unique paddle sport$ with the stand alone identity it deserves% Appropriate teaching strategies promoting skills development; while acknowledging much of what needs to be learned; balance and ocean knowledge$ can only be learned by time on the water$ time which becomes a habit$ which becomes a lifestyle$ where ultimately your reactions become instinctual$ accomplishments matter of fact$ but the thrill never diminishing%

Forms and disciplines The transportable nature of the boards) their shallow dra0 and manner of propulsion using a simple extended canoe paddle) allows for the sport to be performed wherever there is a body of water) whether fresh water or salt and all its varieties in%between# As a consequence the sport is likely to (nd mass appeal wherever there is water and a will to participate and to date this is proving to be the case# 26


The following stand up paddle boarding activities and consequently the evolution of related equipment to suit$ have evolved to some extent through user'innovators living in varied geographical proximities in)uenced by the nature of the body of water type close to hand$ melded with pre'existing paddling or sur"ng skills or "rst'time'user experience% Recreation Flat water paddling and cruising in sheltered areas utilising appropriate equipment# This represents the entry level to the sport for most) possessing little or no water sports experience# This is where educators are predominantly focused and where potential for mass%appeal exists# Adventuring Adventure 7 recreational paddling centred on localised paddling or travel between destinations) whether on inland waterways or the ocean) which can include shorter half day excursions or longer) including camping# Racing Flat water distance) .at water sprint) ins and outs through the surf using specialised boards for di1ering water conditions# Downwind Downwind paddling between two points on any body of water) where the emphasis is generally on speed) chasing waves and swell at the upper end of which are hard core athletes who thrive on extremes of nature# River running A form of white water kayaking involving use of specialised boards and safety equipment; helmets) body armour) leashes# A branch of the sport which evolved ,unexpectedly- in the hands of inland waterway paddlers in the USA; a classic user%innovator evolutionary shi0 in thinking away from the original (rst%time%users centred their interests upon as an ocean sport# Yoga boarding Where the board is used as a .oating platform from which to practice yoga exercises) meditation and core exercises# Paddle sur"ng Sur(ng within a surf zone) paddle%sur(ng has been deemed by some as a form of high%performance variation of sur(ng akin to short board sur(ng on account of the paddle providing the rider added power and control in executing radical turns on stand up paddle boards) purpose made for the task using many varied designs as associated with sur(ng#


Stand Up Paddle % &A Paddlers Guide'

Lifestyles Inevitably, as this image depicts, perhaps this is really what it's all about, for most people. The pure and simple pleasure found in the utilisation of a simplistic device which at it's core, is fundamentally primitive, being little more than a rudimentary platform, propelled by means of an ancient paddle form, using simple bio-mechanical movements and muscle power in order to squeeze just that little bit more out of life and a relationship with water. River Thames London - Blue Chip Sessions


Variance of SUP Activities  

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