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Big Wave SUP Surf

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We hope you all had a good Christmas and the New Year has got off to a good start on and off the water. Made any New Years Resolutions for 2019? How about this one (or maybe it could be 2!)… To surf like Keahi de Aboitiz and do it at Cloudbreak Fiji. Or maybe not!

Cloudbreak is a scary place especially when it’s big. But Keahi rides it like it’s 2 foot…. charging down big walls and coming out of some very big deep barrels.

“2 waves with a few different angles from a couple of very memorable trips to Cloudbreak in Fiji. Hands down some of the craziest barrels I’ve had on any type of board” Words – Keahi de Aboitiz

Watching this is definitely something to aspire too. But maybe picking a more achievable new years resolution is a better idea!

So what are your New Years SUP Resolutions going to be in 2019? Let us know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to learn more about and we’ll do our best to help you achieve your goal!

Feature image Scott Winer

Every time we see a video of Alexandre Takeo taking on the Mexican big wave spot Puerto Escondido we know that we are in for a good watch. Big waves, air drops and some meaty wipeouts, Alexandre Takeo takes it all in his stride. The first wave just doesn’t look like the place you want to be… rather you than us on that one Alexandre!

Those keen eyed surfers would have noticed that Alexandre’s boards of choice for the Puerto Escondido wave have pin tails and quad fin setups, to best handle and control the speed of these fast waves. As well as needing a lot of skill and balls like steel!

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Check out Sebastian Gomez’s latest SUP surfing session at Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Big drops insane barrels and a few meaty beatings! Sebastian you’re killing it.

Watching this video makes us think about how much we need a big wave SUP surf comp. Can you imagine Sebastian Gomez and some of the worlds best charging on this stuff… The live feed would be well worth it!

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Have you ever wondered what would be best for big wave surfing… A SUP or a Prone surfboard? Well in this video we hear from 3 of the best waterman Zane Schweitzer, Mo Freitas and Kai Lenny about their thoughts and experiences of big wave surfing with both types of board.

Do you want to learn more about surfing bigger waves?!!! Then this weekend might be just for you.

On the weekend of the 14th-16th July the Beach House in Woolacombe, Devon, UK is organising a SurfFit Weekend. The weekend will be hosted by big wave surfer Andrew Cotton and Andy Blake from Bay Fitness.

It will be an action packed weekend of surfing, fitness training and yoga, learning techniques and training methods that Andrew has used in his preparation for Big Wave surfing. Andrew has been working with BayFitness for the last 10 years to help him stay strong, protect his body from injury and prepare him for the biggest waves in the world. Andy Blake has worked with lots of big wave and professional surfers including Gareth McNamara and during this weekend they will share with you their experience, knowledge and passion. This will be a great opportunity to hang out and surf with a truly awesome surfer and fitness trainer.

You will be staying at the Beach House right in the centre of Woolacombe village just a few hundreds meters from the beach. The cost for this incredible weekend experience is only £299 per person for 2 days and includes:

·      Bed and breakfast Friday-Sunday
·      Surf specific yoga
·      Restorative and recovery sessions
·      Daily Surf sessions
·      Breathing techniques
·      Surf specific strength & conditioning.

See more about the Beach House here.

Find out more about Andrew Cotton via his website and the Redbull Athlete Website.

Find out more about Andrew Blake via the Bay Fitness website.

To book your spot for the weekend or get more information you can either contact the Beach House or call/email Andrew Cotton directly.
Tel: 07970470742
Email: cotty3@googlemail.com

On Friday 16th December 2016 one of Europe’s more well known, but less frequent big wave breaks ‘The Cribbar’ in Cornwall, woke up and started to fire. As soon as dawn broke on that chilly monster morning social media feeds started lighting up and sharing shots of the beast rising, awakening surfers around the world. The Cribbar was definitly on! The Cribbar may be just a stones throw from the surf capital of England, Newquay, but it doesn’t have many takers… just plenty of spectators! With rocks everywhere, killer rips and hellish wipeouts to be expected it’s certainly not every surfers idea of fun! But SUP surfers Peter Edkins, Dave Ewer, Nick Healey, and surfers Rob Barber, Jack Coombs, Bruce Collingworth, Pete Geall, George Bartlett and Alex Chisholm were there last week to take on the Cornish beast. 

Peter Edkins is a name well known by many surfers in Cornwall. He has had his fare share of big waves off his home break of Porthleven on Cornwall’s south coast. But last week out on the Cribbar Peter has to have caught one of the waves of the day! Major respect Peter for waiting for a ‘Proper Wave’! SUPboarder caught up with Peter to find out what’s realy involved in SUPing and surviving the Cornish Cribbar!… 

Video by Light Colour Sound

Words below : Peter Edkins

My daily habit is checking the weather charts, and the big low pushing in mid Atlantic promised huge swells. Nick Healy and I were hoping for a big wave session and were trying to make a decision last thing Thursday night for the next day. The wind was changing frequently which didn’t help but the Cribbar looked promising.

When I arrived at ten and there was already a crowd of people gathered up on the headland watching the sea and a lone surfer. It looked perfect, clean, with a light offshore wind. The Cribbar is not one of my regular surfing spots and Nick Healy had warned me the night before that it can be deceivingly windier and bigger out on the reef than standing on the headland!

Photo Adam Gordon

I have never been a big one for preparations, always wanting to get in as quickly as possible, but these waves did warrant a new leash and I also sanded my fins for softer edges hoping to avoid getting my new leash cut. Nick was running late and so having met up with Ben Wade, a body boarder, and Pete Geal, a surfer, with the tide just right we decided to paddle out and Nick would catch us up.

Click to enlarge : Shots by Adam Gordon

We paddled out round the headland and as we approached the reef I realised I had made a big mistake! You need a big board for these conditions and I had thought that my Fatstick 8’2” would be fine but I now knew I was under gunned. I hadn’t brought another board with me, although Dave Ewer kindly offered one of his, I decided to stick with what I’m used to and also avoid the possibility of trashing his board. The headland gentle offshore wind was now blowing a gale out on the reef and being blown backwards made it really difficult paddling to get any speed up to catch the wave. Dave Ewer was over on the beach side and catching some great rights. Nick had paddled out and was catching his first left almost immediately. Sat in the middle on the peak I was getting frustrated as I was missing waves and getting hammered by some heavy sets rolling through, which meant having to ditch my board, diving under and then two leash climbs back up for a gasp of air. Although there is some calm between sets the adrenaline is pumping now.

“And then I caught my first ‘proper wave’!! (Cornish for a good wave).”
Peter Edkins with what has to be one of the waves of the day. Photo Adam Gordon

I’ve relaxed a bit now, knowing where to wait and I’ve found my take off zone. Standing and just watching a mile out to see when a bomb is coming. Smaller waves come through but I let them go as I only want ‘the wave’ as they only come around every couple of years. Then it comes and I’m on it hoping I don’t make any mistakes as I know it will punish me if I do. I’m on a high and I need to go again…

When you turn up on a SUP you aren’t always welcomed with open arms but I must give a huge shout of thanks to the local guys who let me surf their spot. It was a fantastic days surfing, a great vibe in the water.

These days are rare so you take the chance that you may destroy your board, leash, paddle, even your body. Waves like these take no prisoners, they can be brutal but are worth every second.

I need to thank Ocean and Earth for the leash, it did its job and survived the Cribbar. Thanks also to Excel Wetsuit and huge thanks to Reuben May for the Fatstick board and paddle.

Click to enlarge : Shots by Jaanboy Photography

Giant waves are breaking in every corner around the world. But without the hardcore and slightely crazy surfers prepared to search them out and take them on, they would go unridden and possibly still be undiscovered. Because of that we salute any surfer that takes on the big faces.

Until next time… the Cribbar and Peter will have to wait for that next ‘Proper wave’ whenever that may be. 

 

 

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Keali’i Mamala shows that a 10’6″ really can do it all… including Jaws! Most paddlers think of a 10’6” board as being a good sized board to start on. But Keali’i Mamala’s 10’6″ board has no problem handling the 20 foot faces of Jaws too. OK the ‘Jimmy Lewis 10’6″ Son of Bombora’ board will not be like your average 10’6″ but it’s still a 10’6″!

But being able to surf your 10’6″ like Keali’i Mamala is the part you might just have to work on!!

 

Jake Collard isn’t a name that springs to mind when thinking about big wave SUP surfing, but that could be about to change. We’ve already featured the stunning trailer for a film about Jake from Kingtide films and now we’ve caught up with Trevor Bennett from Kingtide to find out more about Jake and the film they are working on…

Jake Collard
Canadian SUP Surfer Jake Collard

There seems to be few ‘firsts’ left in the surf world. Jake Collard wants one of them.

“It’s still possible to be the first to drop into a few waves on a stand-up”

Collard says with his typical smirk. He likes the big, cold waves of Vancouver Island in the Pacific Northwest. He wants to be the first stand up paddle surfer to drop into some of the biggest slabs found in these parts. SUP surfing is his singular focus.

I first met Jake through a 400mm lens while shooting stills at one of my favorite surf breaks. I couldn’t help but notice his surfing… he caught my attention (and the attention of my camera). One thing led to another and now we are working on a stand up paddle surfing film together.

Big Plans

Set on surfing for Team Canada in International SUP surf events, Collard is hard at work training on Vancouver Island waves. This coming fall you’ll see him competing in big wave contests at Nelscott Reef in Oregon, and, if everything comes together, he’ll be dropping into Mavericks and Jaws.

Collard sees value in challenging himself and perfecting the art of surfing. Getting outside and enjoying life and the ocean are things he tries to do every day. One of his goals is to inspire more kids to get out on the water, learn about the ocean, and get fired up.

Not Overnight

We plan to sit down for a beer after work. When we meet up I shake Jake’s hand, his arms make me feel like a small child. They dwarf mine. He says he’s working every day to be stronger, and I begin to get a better grasp on what he’s preparing for. When Collard’s not surfing, he’s either working with rocks (his day job) or lifting weights. His summer job will get him on the water every day.

He’s breath-hold training. On flat days, he tells me, he’s walking along Cox Bay beach… under water. He tells me about his detailed analysis of the big waves he’s interested in surfing, his choice conditions, approaches, and lines. He has a custom shape in his mind for a big wave SUP surf board – more to come on this. He’s been experimenting with fins and fin positioning. He breaks many paddles.

The 2015/16 El Nino winter delivered more swell to the Pacific Northwest than surfers knew what to do with. There were many big days this season, and often I was very content being behind the camera instead of surfing, watching Collard navigate the ocean and the explosions of water crashing off rocks and up into old growth forests. The intersection of the Pacific and the coastal rainforest captured my imagination and is an essential character in this film.

Jake Collard
Cold water SUP Surfer Jake Collard
Mellow on the outside, Metal on the inside

When negotiating a ten foot down-the-line right hander, Collard’s internal soundtrack is playing heavy metal. Negotiating soundtrack options for the film has been interesting; we are currently exploring options to work with emerging recording artists.

Kingtide Films is a new production house, and is producing the short film. It’s something that we are very excited about. The film is being entered into the 2016 International Reel Paddling Film Festival.

Words and images – Trevor Bennett, Kingtide Films. Victoria, BC. Canada

There is something more threatening about cold water, it looks heavier and more dangerous than more glamorous and warmer spots. The work that Jake and Trevor have released so far makes us all the more excited about the release of their film this autumn. Watch this space!

 

 

Glyn Ovens Nazare

Glyn Ovens has recently scored the big wave break of Nazaré in Portugal where he’s been enjoying a winter of  big swell action on his SUP. Big wave SUP surfing is not for the faint hearted and not to be undertaken lightly. It requires a great deal of surfing skill, wave knowledge, kit preparation and safety equipment to ensure you not only catch the beasts but also make it back in to the beach! Glyn enjoys following the big swells around the world and developing his big wave surfing.

SUPboarder sat down with Glyn to find out what it’s really like to supersize SUP surf and to talk about boards, kit and how you get to riding giants;

Glen with his SUP Gun
Glyn with his SUP Gun

SB / How does a competent ‘small wave’ surfer step up to large waves? Is it mostly a mental challenge or…?

GO / I have always had an affinity with bigger waves, with traditional Prone surfing and also Tow-in. But every normal wave session hones your technique.

Being in and around larger waves as much as possible has helped with being ‘more’ comfortable, being fit and also believing in your fitness is a big part of the mental conditioning.

SB / Fear? Doesn’t a large wave scare the stuffing out of you?!! 

GO / ‘The only fear is fear itself’… no, only joking!! Yep being caught inside whilst a mountain of white water bares down on you, with a sup gun on your leg, is pretty daunting.

I have some amazing flotation gear and kit from ION, and this keeps me safe, and bouyant.

SB / Are the boards different and if so how? And what about paddles? Tell us about the kit you’ve been using.

GO / So my normal board is a Pro Wave 7’6″ (Fanatic), 80L, but I am riding the 9’10” gun version, with 130L. This sits a lot higher, but paddles like a weapon… added to this a longer paddle (my height plus 10 cms), with an 8.0 full carbon blade (Fanatic). This gives me deeper reach and more paddle power.

SB / Etiquette. The rules/guidelines for surfing are well established, how do these change in a bigger wave environment?

GO / It takes so much focus and commitment when you go for one of these waves, so the less things to deal with the better, and everyone knows this. You have to get going early, so it is obvious who is going, and no-one wants a pile-up on a bomb! When we have mixed disciplines we usually separate out and the paddle guys (prone or SUP) get priority over tow, but if everyone knows each other and are competent, we can mix it up.

SB / Safety gear? Yes or No? For example, big wave surfers may say that using a leash is dangerous in a big wave environment…

GO / Yep for sure, big wave safety has come a long way, and the bravado of not wearing safety is long gone. The level is going through the roof, and kit is required. I wear about 100Newtons of buoyancy when it is big, (average life jacket is 50N).

I use a leash depending on swell size. If I have a safety ski with me, I may go leash-less or a really thin one that would snap in a heavy situation.

I have had to rip my big wave leash off pronto in the past, when caught inside badly.

Glyn Ovens Nazare
Glyn Ovens Nazare

SB / How big can you go? Can it ever be too big?!! Do you see a SUP version of Riding Giants being made in the future? 

GO / It all comes down to who wants it, and wind. As it gets bigger and bigger, the chop becomes a huge factor. There is still more to come, despite the awesome run that Jaws has been having, some insane rides and waves there.

SB / What do you do when it goes wrong? Or what should you do if it goes wrong?!! 

GO / ‘Goes wrong, what could possibly go wrong’?!! Well in a wipeout: try to get away from your board, hold on to your paddle, and make sure it won’t bash you in!

“I grab hold of my vest and go for the foetal position for the impact, then try and relax, and go for my personal best for a hold down, it is then never as long as you think!”

SB / Who is leading the way with big wave SUP surfing?

GO / The boys in Maui are on a charge, and having a great winter. Kai Lenny has been dominating by all accounts, but Mo Freitas has also been putting in a sterling effort, I have seen him on some bombs. There are a few others out there, but mainly the Hawaii guys.

SB / Is the big wave scene all male?

GO / At the moment yes, but there are a few girls knocking on the door, and we are seeing a couple out in the line-up on the bigger days now.

Glyn Ovens Nazare

SB / You’ve been catching big waves in Nazarre, but where’s next on your wish list?

GO / Yep been spending a fair bit of time in Nazaré (Naz-a-ray) We had a poor spell after new year but now are waiting for our next serving. It tends to be when UK is being hit by storms, that’s when we get it nice, big and clean, but during the UK cold snap it has been average.

I was hoping to head to Maui, and by looks of it I should have, but it was too much of a financial stretch. I have some great friends there endlessly giving me grief to get on the plane!

Nelscott reef in Oregon was also on the cards for a big wave SUP contest, but I couldn’t get the connecting flights in time from Portugal when they called it on.

Will hope to get to Mexico this summer too: lots of hopes, I will keep you posted 😉

Glyn Ovens Nazare

SB / Describe the conditions that day?

GO / It was moderate day for Nazaré, but nice and clean, and that is the key. The tide was a little high, which can give more back and side wash to keep things interesting. This also meant that the peaks where moving further inside making it heave more.

I had already paddled for a few, and when this one came in, there was a lot water drawing off the bottom, pulling me up the face, but the 9’10” had it covered .. haha.

Dropping down, the wedge effect of the Canyon at Nazaré, means you get a huge amount of speed, with double the power of a normal wave added to the sheer size..

Unfortunately the safety ski was tied up, so when I kicked out and got caught inside by a full set, it was unleash time, and blasting to the beach. All good fun!

All images taken by Manuel Ricardo.

Big wave riding is not everyone’s idea of fun, but it sounds as though Glyn is still on the look out! SUPboarder will be following Glyns travels through 2016, and no doubt he’ll be going bigger through the year!

You can stay up to date with Glyn and his surf and SUP travels on his Facebook here : Glyn Ovens