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
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.
For years (30 to be exact) Gorge Performance has been a hardcore surf shop with an emphasis on stocking a ton of surfboards and wetsuits for men and women, and less focus on apparel. Sure, boardshorts and tees for guys have been staple items at Gorge, but not much for our surfer girls. Now that flatwater SUP – a sport not requiring a full wetsuit like surfing does – has firmly staked its claim in the Gorge board-dom, it’s only natural we expand our women’s clothing selection to include functional fitness apparel intended for paddling (and surfing, yoga, rock climbing,… living!). These items are meant to move, like you do.
Eyes. Brains. Yeah, they’re kind of a big deal. Fortunately, there is an amazing array of options for protecting our eyes and head while enjoying our favorite pastime on da hill. No doubt the selection of goggles and helmets these days can be a little overwhelming. Whether you are finally convinced it is time to protect your dome and you need to buy your first helmet, or you have to replace the goggle you dropped from the chair, the experts at Gorge can guide you in the right direction. Read More
The elves at Gorge Performance have been busy, but not with sleigh repairs, reindeer maintenance and toy making. When the guys at Gorge aren’t providing the best customer service in Portland, they are outside ready for the next swell, gust or dump. So who better to provide you with a little holiday shopping insight than the elves who ride and wear our products every day.
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!