I got on the inflatable SUP band wagon this year and I’m actually asking myself why it took me so long. I love my inflatable toys! It’s true that the first generation of inflatable SUPs paddled more like a floppy inflatable mattress than a real SUP. But with the many improvements in the last couple of years, mainly in thickness (6” vs. 4”) and inner tension reinforcements, today’s inflatables are more rigid and have better shape, thus making them genuinely enjoyable to paddle.
In my search to find a SUP for surfing the Oregon coast I recently tried the Boardworks Infinity carver 9’10″. The board is marketed for “for bigger guys who are experienced SUP surfers looking to step down in size/length and step up their performance.” And, that is exactly what I was looking for.
A couple of weeks ago my good friend Tracy stopped by the shop for some warmer booties to keep her surfing addiction alive through the winter. She picked out some new boots, but then I convinced her she really ought to wear gloves, too. That wasn’t easy because Tracy despises how gloves feel and would rather suffer from the cold than have neoprene impede her paddling prowess. But alas, Tracy left with new booties and gloves and a pledge to report back on her new “session extenders.” Tracy is a straight shooter. If they sucked, she’d say so. (–Kim Rueter)
I’m hesitant to go here because none of us really want more people in the water, but winter surfing is totally doable with 2 key steps. 1) Gumption and 2) Gear. And I’m from the tropics so this was a serious transition.
I’d still paddle out in 35 degree air temps and 50 water temps but I was always limited on how long I could stay out based on how much pain my hands and feet were in. Upgrading from bare hand paddling to the trippy “liquid neoprene dipped” Rip Curl 2mm Rubber Soul gloves was genius! For $40 I’m now able to sit with my hands free instead of aching and stuck in my armpits. I got XS because I’m cursed with the perpetual hands of a 5 year old girl and they totally fit snug. I’m historically anti-gloves because they always filled up with water and become 2 lbs weights on each hand – huge fail. But these gloves are right against my skin and I can still make a fist and pull the middle finger on the regular.
Now the bootie situation is for the story books. Bonus to warm booties; cold feet suck beyond words! Drawback of warm booties; intensified need to urinate. Hey, I’d want to know. O’Neill 7mm, Heat round toe booties….I love you. I got a size a little bigger so I can wiggle my toes around. I despise the pre and post wetsuit struggle so why not make one of the steps easier? In my opinion, bigger is good for bootie size but bad for glove and wetsuit size. Water gets in the booties, but it stays warm forever (like “3 hrs in 35 degree air temps and 50 degree water temps” forever). Water will get in the gloves after an hour or so and it does not warm up. But something has to make this hard or everybody would do it. So stop whining about the temperatures and get warm gear (or not…more waves for me!).
— by Tracy Solomon
There are several boards to consider for paddlers who want to go from an all-around board to a touring board with a flatwater-optimized displacement hull. But, the minute they say, “… I think I might want to race someday” I immediately introduce them to the Amundson TR-2.
The first time I saw the Bark Appleby Race board it was easily passing me on the East side of Ross Island during a SUP race. My initial thought was, “Wow, that’s a good looking board!” My second thought was, “Why is that woman going so much faster than me when I feel like I am working twice as hard?” It was that day I realized the impact a good board for the right conditions could make and that my 11′ all-around SUP was never going to out run a true race board regardless of how hard I paddled. Not long after, I added the Appleby to my quiver and have been thrilled with it since.
In a hurry to replace a pair of blown out 8-year-old flip flops the day before I left on vacation, I grabbed the first black pair I found in my size on the gigantic wall ‘o flops at Gorge Performance. Flops are flops…right? Boy was I wrong. It seems not all quality sandals have to be upwards of $60 to please these piggies.
We’ve declared the 2013 SUP season officially open. Time to get out on the water and put those hibernating paddling muscles to work again. It’s also a great time to evaluate your gear. If you’ve been considering making a change (paddle or board) you’re in luck in terms of many, many options to choose from. Our team at Gorge has been testing boards and paddles over the last few months to provide you, our customers, with hands- and feet-on practical reviews to help you narrow your options. First up, Matt Spencer puts the 14′ Amundson TR-X through its paces. Here’s what he has to say: Read More
Remember the El Camino? Truck bed in the back, car in the front. I never thought it was a good looking vehicle, but I always admired it for trying to take the best from both rides. I am relying on that dual-purpose concept from Chevy for my fall paddling gear, but unlike the iconic 70’s ride, Dakine and O’Neill got the looks right. Mix and match these two items with your board shorts or wear them solo, it works!
We’re excited about this new SUP from Riviera, the 12’6 Voyager. This is a great flat water cruiser that is beginner-friendly by design (box rails for stability), but its hull shape is quite advanced in terms of displacement and glide performance. Great for true newbs and/or paddlers interested in touring or racing. At $1099, it’s quite reasonable. Add a quality paddle and you’re set for the season. Here’s what Riviera have to say about it…
Maybe you know someone who would be interested in this? Feel free to share! We’ll have a few in stock next week.