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SUP Slovenia

SUPing in Slovenia might not be on everyones paddling ‘to do’ list. But why not? Despite only having 46km of coast, this stunning, hidden gem of a country,  has so much to offer paddlers both on and off the water. Tranquil rivers and lakes surrounded by beautiful mountains, caves and fairy tale castles provides a paddlers paradise. And the friendly vide and fantastic diverse cuisine makes the waterside towns the perfect place to stop and unwind after an active day on the water. 

Paul Byrne from Irish SUP has recently returned from a summer SUPari in Slovenia and tells us why he’s fallen in love with the place and will be going back again for more…

SUP Slovenia

This time 5 years ago I was lucky enough to be sent to Ljubljana, Slovenia to run a set of ASI Instructor workshops. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for! I had no idea at that time that I would become involved in a love affair with this country. 

It wasn’t long after I returned from that first visit that I decided to share this beautiful and diverse country with my SUP buddies. I have each year returned with a group to paddle and holiday in paradise!

This year was no exception. Early July saw a mixed group of Irish, English and Germans head out to our hosts Amfibija SUP. Since my very first visit Natasa has been my host. She always makes sure that we have a trip to remember for a lifetime and this year would be no different. 

Our holiday began in Venice where we were collected by Natasa in a brand new air conditioned mini bus, our transport for the next week. A couple of hours through Italy and into Slovenia brought us to our apartment for the next 4 nights. Situated in a quite part of Ljubljana and only a short walk into the city centre we were not short on fabulous restaurants and bars. 

Day 2 of our adventure brought tropical storms and lightning that caused the group concern considering Ireland and the UK were in the midst of a heatwave. While this didn’t allow us do any paddling, it was perfect opportunity to head to another of Slovenia’s major attractions and it was off to Postojna Caves for the day. 24,000 meters into the side of a mountain and 115 meters below sea level made it easy to forget about the rain outside above ground. 

Day 3 saw us on the coast sampling a bit of the very short Adriatic coastline stretching approximately 43 km (27 mi) from Italy to Croatia. We paddled from Portorož to Piran and back. Piran is one of the loveliest towns anywhere along the Adriatic Coast, it sits pretty at the tip of a narrow peninsula. Its Old Town – one of the best-preserved historical towns anywhere in the Mediterranean – is a gem of Venetian Gothic architecture, but it can be a mob scene at the height of summer. In quieter times, it’s hard not to fall instantly in love with the atmospheric winding alleyways, the sunsets and the seafood restaurants. This is one of my favourite paddles of all time! No trip would be complete to the coast without visiting Cacao, probably the best ice cream on the Slovenian coast. Definitely the widest variety. Try Whitepista, Walnut with fig or Wild strawberry. Also a great location with sofa style seating right on the beach.

Before we left the capital city, we could not go without paddling the River Ljubljanica. Ljubljana is a city of beautiful and architecturally interesting bridges. Its river, the Ljubljanica, is believed to have been first spanned by a bridge in the Roman period.

The heart of Ljubljana’s social life is the Ljubljanica river embankments, densely scattered with lively cafés offering outdoor seating. A good way to see the old city centre and its famous bridges, picturesque buildings and vibrant embankments from a completely different angle is to SUP right up the middle. Lucky for us on Fridays the city has an open kitchen, one of the best gourmet experiences in Ljubljana. The food array is always diverse and vibrant, ranging from the best traditional Slovenian dishes to dishes typical for other parts of the world. The food is delicious and very fresh, it’s even prepared before your eyes right on the square. All of these tasty dishes and desserts will be enhanced even further with a rich selection of wines, beers, cocktails and other tasty beverages. I was now starting to wonder if it was not the Slovenian food and drink that was bringing me back year after year?

The rain was behind us and we were getting very comfortable temperatures in the high 20s. Unfortunately day 5 saw us pack our bags and head north to the Julian Alps but not before visiting some of the most mountain lakes Slovenia has to offer, Lake Bohinj in the morning and the infamous Lake Bled in the afternoon. It is no over statement to rank Lake Bled & Bohinj amongst the most beautiful Lakes in the Alps. 

Lake Bled is a world famous destination, named by Yahoo Travel as one of the World’s 10 Most Beautiful Lakes and not without good reason – surrounded by mountains and with a fairy tale castle perched on a crag overlooking a 17th century church on an island, it is an outstandingly beautiful place.

Lake Bohinj, less than half an hour’s drive west from Bled is located in the Triglav National Park and has an altogether more remote and tranquil feel – the serene lake, surrounded by beautiful mountains and quiet villages is a superb place to rest and unwind bobbing along its tranquil waters.

Our new accommodation was a self contained apartment in the Bovec Valley, surrounded by the most spectacular mountains and rivers, something like a scene taken straight from “The Sound of Music.” 

Day 6 took us along incredible mountain roads to the River Idrijca at Most na Soči. This river trip was the group’s favourite, turquoise blue waters, swimming holes and a little taste of wild water, will leave long lasting memories in many minds. All followed up by super Italian pizza and gelato, what more could one ask for…lol.

Our last day of paddling was over the boarder into Italy on another spectacular mountain lake. I’ve no idea what altitude we were at here but I swear I think I saw Ireland at one stage. 

Back to Venice on day 8 and we went our separate ways home. This holiday brought our little group very close together and lifelong friendships were begun. Awesome SUP locations, so much good food and drink, and great craic….. what more could one ask for….!

Already looking forward to next year’s trip… who’s in? 

Big thank you to Natasa and Źiga of Amfibija SUP for providing us with another memorable trip. Make sure you look them up if you’re ever heading that way…. they are the best!

Words: Paul Bryne (Irish SUP)

Well Slovenia certainly sounds like another great place to paddle. But to make the most of it and enjoy everything the country has to offer, be prepared to do as much chilling as paddling!

Hatha Aura 10’4” x 32” £625 package

In this SUPboarder review we look at one of the newest boards from the UK based SUP company Hatha. The Hatha Aura is an all round yoga/fitness board. At the competitive package price point of £625 including a 3 piece glass paddle, the Hatha Aura would be a great board for a beginner all round paddler wanting to get into SUP and take to the water to do some yoga and fitness too. A good looking inflatable SUP that show cases the brand Hatha at their best.

Hatha Aura 10'4'' / All round yoga iSUP Video review
Board details:
  • Length        10′4”
  • Width         32″
  • Thickness   6″
  • Volume      317l
  • Fin set up  2+1 (Single US box and 2 mini side fins)
  • Weight       9.8 kg
  • Rider size   50-110kg
Our photo gallery
Read on for brand details and website www.hathaboards.co.uk
Meet the Aura and take your fitness outdoors. The Aura boasts a full length deck pad with a discreet visual alignment guide to maintain the perfect position. The 10 inch FCS ii connect fin makes getting onto the water even easier. This is our first board in our range to boast our “TFT” Thermo Fusion Technology making the board both lighter and stronger. It is constructed using our premium Military grade PVC making it extremely durable.
Hatha Aura 10'4'' / All round yoga iSUP Video review
The Aura is packed with features, including front D-rings that perfectly align with the Hatha docking station. Front and rear paddle holders will keep your paddle safe and out of the way. As the Aura has no central carry handle so we have developed the Cario System which is a unique padded shoulder strap which attaches to the side of the board leaving your hands free! (patent pending).
Included is a three piece adjustable composite paddle with double locking clips and also stainless steel locking pins to minimise any twisting. It has a rubber ABS edge to the blade to protect your paddle as well as your board.
Also included is a colour coded heavy duty wheeled bag packed with features, including shoulder and waist straps, internal pockets, large front zip and a secret pouch to tuck away the shoulder straps when not needed. There is a double pump and a robust 10’ coiled leash inside the box.
Get at one with nature ……. take out the Aura.

In Trevor Tunnington’s previous video he was paddling in Iceland with icebergs, whales, and waterfalls. Now he has moved on to the stunning Lofoten Islands in Norway, as well as Arendal and Oslo. Trevor really is doing it all… paddling frozen lakes, surfing the new Starboard All Star Airline and hitting the white water rapids. Another inspiring watch which not only adds Norway to our SUP bucket list, but also shows the great versatility of iSUPs.

Aqua Marina Rapid 9’6″ x 33” / €599

There aren’t many boards out there that can do what the Aqua Marina Rapid can do, and at the price it can do it too. The Aqua Marina Rapid is 100% setup for white water / river paddling, but it can also get you out in the waves too. Many of you have been asking about the Rapid review and we can say that if it’s a good priced, action packed iSUP board you’re after, you’re really going to have to try hard to beat the Aqua Marina Rapid.

White water tester : Ben Payne
Whitewater photos : Polly Weaver

Board details:
  • Length        9′6”
  • Width         33″
  • Thickness   6″
  • Volume      289l
  • Fin set up  5 PVC fins
  • Weight       9.5 kg
  • Paddlers    50-95kg

Our photo gallery
Read on for brand video, details and website www.aquamarina.com

Short and nimble, the Rapid 9’6” is an advanced river SUP delivers easy surfing action with surprisingly radical performance attributes. Featuring stability, ease of use with desired speed and control, the Rapid guarantees unbeatable fun in all types of waves.

RRD AirRace 14’x26” V4 €1249

We have a look at the most user friendly race iSUP we’ve tested… the RRD AirRace. It’s the 4th edition RRD AirRace they’ve made, and year after year they have tweaked and tuned the shape and design. The complete AirRace collection comes in the ‘Prefo construction’ which means they’re made from their very best materials, as well as top RRD R&D going into every board. The AirRace is 14’x26” so it’s the narrowest and longest board in their collection. It’s built for full on racing or very fast touring/cruising.
True to all of the RRD equipment we have tested, this is one good looking iSUP that is fast and super easy to paddle.

RRD-Airrace

Board details:
  • Length        14′
  • Width         26″
  • Thickness   6″
  • Volume      300l
  • Fin set up  Single US box
  • Weight       12 kg
  • Rider size   60-110kg

Other sizes in board range;
14′ x 29″ = 315L
14′ x 26″ = 300L
12′6″ x 29″ = 288L
12’6”x 26″ = 270L
10’6″x 25″  = 230L Kids

Our photo gallery
Read on for brand video, details and website www.robertoriccidesigns.com

RACE

Can you imagine being able to go as fast on an inflatable board as you can on a full carbon board? This is what the AIRACE shapes do. Stable, practical and furiously fast! The special narrow nose and straight outline design, a 6” profile thickness and a super flat scoop rocker line makes the perfect recipe for a great competitive board to be used for flat water races and pure pleasure fast rides. Now available into 6 different sizes! Built with a new SDB “Sandwich Dyneema Belt” on bottom and TPB “Thermo Plastic Belt” on the deck that wraps the whole contour of the board from the deck to the bottom as a stringer, the board becomes about 50% stiffer than any conventional inflatable board. Thanks to the Edge PVC Soft Rail, positioned under the board tail, water flows away fast and clean without turbulences.

Features

  • Sandwich Dyneema belt
  • Superlight PVC dropstitch
  • 70% Double skin construction
  • Thermo Plastic Belt
  • NEW Soft PVC sharp rail edge on the tail drastically improves grip and glide!

What a great adventure a trip to Iceland with a SUP would be. If you’re looking for inspiration this video by SUP racer Chris Parker and Starboard Team rider Trevor Tunnington will certainly do the job!

But please be aware… paddling around icebergs is VERY dangerous and its well worth understanding the risks before you go near one.

Red Paddle Co has announced the launch of a revolutionary inflatable paddle board. The Compact 9’6” on pre-sale now, is a full-sized SUP that folds down to half the size of a regular inflatable paddle board while not compromising on paddling performance. The smaller packed size gives paddlers the convenience of being able to easily carry it around town, jump onto public transport or store in the trunk of your car, with space to spare. The ultra -compact nature of the package also allows for storage within small cars, smaller apartments onboard boats and in your van.

Red Paddle Co, Co-Founder and CEO, John Hibbard explains where the idea for the new board came from – “When I started Red Paddle Co 10 years ago it was motivated by the fact that everyone I took paddling loved the idea of paddling but the large, cumbersome composite boards I was using at the time just didn’t appeal to enough people. Storage, transportation and durability were the main barriers to entry not to mention the weight.”

Hibbard continues, “Our aim since then has been to produce the most compact and transportable board in the world, without compromising on performance. It’s been ten years in the making, but we’re very excited to present the International Patent Pending Compact board which features Red Paddle Co’s new PACT Technology ™.

PACT Technology ™ is a material with a new weaving process which creates an extra-high-tensile thread matrix at the core of the board that is combined with a super-strong but malleable outer layer. This means the Compact board is as stiff and durable when inflated but can be folded down into a bag half the size of standard inflatable boards.

Based on the plan of the award-winning, all-round Ride 10’6″ MSL, the Compact 9’6” is 32”/813mm wide and 4.7”/120mm thick and provides the perfect blend of stability and manoeuvrability. Weighing in at under 8kg (board-only) and supporting riders up to 95kg/209lbs the smaller length board offers a fantastic all-round SUP experience for most riders.

Length: 9’6” Width: 32“/813mm
Thickness: 4.7”/120mm
Volume: 222 litres
Rider Weight: up to 95kg/209lb
Full package weight: 12.7Kg

The Compact board comes as part of a full package including a newly designed backpack, revolutionary 5-piece paddle, Titan pump, leash and removable fins.

The innovation continues into the new backpack as Phil Hawthorne, Head of Design at Red Paddle Co explains, “Everything we do at Red Paddle Co starts with the paddler and how we can make their full experience better. The new highly engineered backpack for the Compact has unique levels of adjustability and comfort, plus incredible shoulder and back support.”

Hawthorne continues, “It’s the most highly engineered SUP bag on the planet, applying approximately 53% less down force on the carrier’s lower back, you can travel for longer in comfort.” The bag also features customisable lumbar support and adjustable height features so is suitable for any size of paddler.

Creating a compact paddle was not an easy task for the Red Paddle Team, but they have found the perfect solution: a five-piece paddle. As a result, it packs away perfectly, but it is still adjustable with no compromise on the water.

The modular design also means sections can be removed to create a paddle for smaller riders or kids, opening up the board package to be used by the whole family. The paddle is made of high-modulus carbon for extra rigidity, with a durable nylon blade.

Plus, the blade of the paddle is laser etched, with no printing or transfers. Meaning the design will stay on forever.

Completing the package, to fulfil their aim to produce the most transportable board on the planet, new click fins are used to enable fast secure fin attachment. The custom designed twin fins allow the Compact 9’6” to easily track through the water.

The Compact 9’6” is on limited pre order now while stocks last, through www.redpaddleco.comand selected retailers with products being fulfilled in November. General release nationwide from December.   RRP £1,299/1499 EUR/$1,899 USD/$2,199 CAD for the full package.

SUPboarder thoughts
We really cant wait to get our hands on this new Compact 9’6” board. Red Paddle Co have never disappointed us with the build quality and design of any of their products before, so we don’t think that we will be disappointed with the new Compact either. The board shape and size will be perfect for midsize paddlers. And with the overall smaller backpack size it will make it even easier to find new places with an iSUP.  We’re also very impressed how it all fits into the bag and its overall weight too.

Aqua Marina Super Trip 12’2′ x 34” / €579

This is the biggest board we’ve tested from Aqua Marina. At 12’2” x 34” the Aqua Marina Super Trip is a multi person/family board, ideal for taking up-to 2 adults and 1 child on the water for a mini SUP adventure or just lots of fun at the beach with friends. The super wide tail of the Super Trip makes the board super stable and easy to use. And with its €579 Euro price point the board is well worth considering if you’re looking for a family /multi person SUP to have some great fun on…

Board details:
  • Length        12′2”
  • Width         34″
  • Thickness   6″
  • Volume      415l
  • Fin set up  2+1 / PVC clip in side fins and plastic slot box centre fin
  • Weight       12.5 kg
  • Paddlers   Up-to 2 adults and 1 child

Read on for brand video, details and website www.aquamarina.com

Super Size, Super Fun
There are not many active outdoor activities that the whole family can join in.Super Trip 12’2” extends the family fun to the next level with its extraordinary length and width. Designed for 2 adults plus 1 kid, this family SUP is perfect rig for lakes, seaside, and rivers. A lovely mix of quick, agile and stable and ideal for family use or for clubs.

The inflatable paddleboard is being used by hundreds of thousands of paddlers as both a first time intro board to the sport, as well as a more specialist board. They have come a long way since the early iSUPs over 10 years ago, now being stiffer and lighter than ever before. But iSUPs still aren’t good enough to replace the hard composite boards many paddlers use in the higher end of the sport.

In this video we highlight and talk about the negatives to iSUPs. What are the biggest differences between the two board constructions? As a paddler it’s important you are aware of them, and know both the strengths and weakness of iSUPs and hard composite boards, to be sure you make the right decision and buy the best board for you.

This video of top SUP athlete Benoit Carpentier and his family is just great. It shows how SUP really is for everyone to enjoy, and a mega SUP makes it even more accessible. Love it!

‘Watch how my family and I took on the water my aunt and uncle with their wheelchairs for an unforgettable experience on the Starboard giant Stand Up Paddle board: the18’6″ x 60″ Starship
SUP is really a good way to include all.’ Benoit Carpentier

So, you’ve decided which iSUP you want to buy, but then you might have to start thinking about which construction (if there’s a choice). This is a tricky decision that many paddlers face, so in this video we take a look at one of RRD’s most popular boards – the RRD 10’4”x 34”. A great size and shape board for mid to heavier weight riders wanting to get into SUP. We take a closer look at what the differences are between these two different constructions – the RRD AirSUP in the Prime construction and the AirEVO in the EVO construction. RRD have put a lot of work into both these boards with good quality materials and design. We’ve found this board comparison/review very interesting and it really shows how you can make an iSUP stiffer with extra materials and R&D.

RRD AirEVO 10’4” x34” 9kg €818
RRD AirSUP V3 10’4” x34” 11kg €1145
Board details:
  • Length        10′4
  • Width         34″
  • Thickness   6″
  • Volume      275l
  • Fin set up  Single US box
  • Weight       9 – 11 kg
  • Rider size   70-120kg
Our photo gallery
Read on for brand video, details and website www.robertoriccidesigns.com

AirSUP V3 Prime

The most wanted SUP range of our collection. This super friendly and allround orientated type of board glides smoothly on flat water and rides effortlessly in small surf, allowing you to enter a new dimension of excitement. Rocker and scoopline together with a perfect fin placement allow for a great experience of pleasure in an incredible variety of conditions.

Built with a new “ Sandwich Dyneema Belt “ that wraps the whole contour of the board on the deck and bottom as a stringer, the board becomes about 30% stiffer than any conventional inflatable board.

AirEVO 

It’s the real inflatable board for everyone.
Easy to be paddled and easy to be inflated and rolled up.
Thanks to its special lightweight technology with one middle HD PVC fabric stripe to increase stifness and a lightweight dropstitch body, the EVO SUP becomes the perfect choice for the family or for any type of use, from lakes to waves!