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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.

GeoSUP is a mobile app available on IOS, developed by the passionate team of SUP experts at SUPboardermag.com.  Launched in 2017, GeoSUP tracks and records your paddles, and allows you to share your experiences with others in the GeoSUP community, as well as follow other peoples paddling experiences.  Furthermore, all sessions are collated in a world map, so you can search locations for great paddle spots all over the world. You’ll never get bored of stand up paddleboarding when you’ve got GeoSUP!

We interviewed SUPboarder co-founder and lead on GeoSUP, Will Rogers as well as the development team, Marcus from Squareapple and Simon from Studiose, who have all been working hard behind the scenes for many years to bring GeoSUP to life.  Hear what they had to say about the GeoSUP journey and what’s still to come!…

Lucy: When did the idea for GeoSUP come about?
Will: We came up with the concept in early 2011, even before we had decided to launch SUPboarder.

Lucy: Why did you want to bring GeoSUP to life? What was the vision?
Will: Simply, we wanted to help make the worlds most accessible board sport MORE accessible!! The rise of SUP got me completely inspired. I wanted to see what other people were doing, where they were exploring, what wind/tide conditions works etc…but there was very little out there to help.

We also knew that this incredible sport was going to attract many millions of people in the years to come, and for many it would be their first board sport/watersport because paddleboarding is so accessible.  But even in a very simple sport, challenges exist to the newcomer e.g knowing where to go, which spots work in which wind, where to launch/park, hazards and dangers. These were all things a community of people could contribute to and share, helping others stretch their legs, get inspired and be able to SUP more!   

At that time, I used Strava a lot for cycling and liked what it did, but we wanted to really develop something that included the community aspect and ‘spot finder’ which we felt would really be great for SUP particularly as a young sport with lots of newcomers entering it. We also wanted to design a tracking app specifically for the needs of SUP, not just use something designed for cycling and running.

“We wanted to show people at all levels within the sport where SUP can take them. And who’s better to do that than the paddling community?!” 

Using GeoSUP you can see exactly where others are paddling near you, as well as further afield, allowing you to discover new spots at home, whilst on holiday, or on a work trip with your iSUP.  You can get inspired by the feed and see people paddling some insane long distances, or short mini adventures. It can motivate you to push yourself to the next level. When I’m adventurous or push my paddling boundaries, it makes me feel really, really good.  And I think the same is said for many of us. We just need to do it!

For me personally, I love all disciplines of SUP, but I’m particularly keen on SUP adventure and I was getting tired of finding new paddle spots using google maps. I wanted GeoSUP to be a tool to help me easily find an adventure.  I still remember the first time it did…. I saw this session in the feed near Bath, UK and I went and did it – it was a wonderful feeling!

View this Avoncliff loop paddle on the GeoSUP world map website here : https://www.geosup.com/app/www/ext/share.php?sid=1001&wid=13

Lucy: GeoSUP launched in 2017, yet you came up with the concept in 2011, why did it take so long?!
Will: Back in 2011, SUP was just getting started in the UK. We had seen similar community based products available in other sports such as climbing, but these sports were way more established.  A lot of discussions led us to conclude that not enough people were SUPing yet, the market wasn’t ready for GeoSUP. In the same year, the concept of SUPboarder was tabled, as it was clear that a magazine was needed to support the growth of the sport. So we went ahead and contracted with a developer to create SUPboarder.   

But, we wanted to keep the idea ticking over so asked the developer to prototype GeoSUP. The first GeoSUP in 2012 was a browser based solution that we tested with friends, family and other SUPers, but it soon became clear that it needed to be app based to take advantage of the incredible technology packed into smart phones that was rapidly developing.  App development was a scary and expensive prospect for us, and we parked the idea because there was no way we could fund it. Instead we focussed our efforts on establishing SUPboarder as a leading magazine.

Lucy: So what changed?
Will: We were looking for a new developer to support the growing traffic and development needs of SUPboarder. Our search led us to Squareapple who we also told about our plans for GeoSUP. When Squareapple said they also had the capability to develop apps, we were sold on developing a partnership and we quickly dusted off and updated the GeoSUP brief.

Lucy: You mentioned GeoSUP has some SUP specific features? Tell us more.
Will: As long as you have an internet connection, GeoSUP will capture wind data as it records your location. Wind is one of the biggest environmental factors when SUPing, so it’s important to capture.

“The app is 100% for paddleboarding, so the community is all passionate paddlers with one thing in common… SUP!”

Lucy: Where did the name GeoSUP come from?
Will: We took inspiration from Geocaching which is an outdoor recreational activity where participants use GPS to hide and seek containers called caches all over the world.  A big part of GeoSUP is finding spots to paddle, so it seemed to fit well.

Lucy: Marcus, tell us about your involvement as lead developer.
Marcus: GeoSUP is a really exciting app to be involved with. It’s been a long journey bringing it to life, but amazing to see the app being used and submitting so many interesting sessions all over the world. We know it’s not 100% perfect yet, but we are working on improvements all the time and of course battling to keep up with mobile technology changes. I’m not a big board sports guy, but learning to SUP while we developed the app was amazing. My novice level helped us create an app that was also useful for beginners getting into the sport.

Lucy: Simon, you designed the look of the app and how users interact with it. What was the goal from a design point of view?
Simon: Studiose was approached to design the user interface for GeoSUP and I started paddleboarding while we were working on the project. I’m now a regular paddler with my wife and children, and we’re looking at buying our second board now! Being ‘easy-to-use’ was critical in the design of the app as it would firstly be used before getting on the water with cumbersome kit. We made it quick to start recording a session by making the ’START’ button the first thing the user sees after opening the app. We designed a simple, yet bold UI that’s responsive to operate while on the water with the phone protected inside a waterproof case. Users can quickly view and share their SUP session data for all to see and enjoy, and to become part of a global community – which is ultimately the overall goal for GEOSUP.

Lucy: So Will, who is GeoSUP best suited for?
Will: GeoSUP is a great tool for anyone who’s into SUP.  Its packed full of features to help you get more from your paddleboarding…..Record and track your progression, find and follow friends, see what others are doing on their SUPs, find new spots, see how you rank against others, promote your SUP business, promote yourself as a SUP athlete… The list goes on!

Over the last 18 months we’ve learnt a lot from the users and we’ve plans for loads more developments and improvements.

Lucy: Go on, tell us more about what’s next for GeoSUP?!
Will: We are hoping to start development for android very soon, as there’s a lot of demand for it now.  We will also make some improvements to app stability and add some new features to improve the experience. There’s also demand for smart/gps watch integration/syncing particularly from the racing community.  We are also looking into that but a lot of SUPers who really benefit from GeoSUP don’t have this type of technology and like to paddle with their phone from a safety point of view. More phones are waterproof now as well, so there’s less and less barrier to having it on the water with you.

We will also see elements of GeoSUP integrated into the next generation SUPboarder website that will launch this autumn – when we survey our readers one of the biggest requests is tips on places to SUP, and GeoSUP helps with just that. SUPboarder reviews, comparisons and head to head board tests will also use GeoSUP more and more going forward.  Real data is very useful to support these reviews and tests, and recording them on GeoSUP keeps everything transparent so the consumer can see exactly how the kit performs.

“GeoSUP is still very much developing with lots of exciting new features and improvements planned. The GeoSUP adventure has only just started! Watch this space!”

Find out more about the app here: www.geosup.com
Or download at the app store here: itunes.apple.com

SUP Ireland

The west coast of Ireland is famous for many things – welcoming people, the craic in the local pubs and a very friendly dolphin. But it’s not so well known for SUP, as Chris from SUPboarder found out when he had the opportunity to travel there recently with his daughter and 2 iSUPs. Chris explains what’s there and why Ireland’s west coast is the perfect place to explore by SUP…

SUP Ireland
Quiet river near Ross Castle, image Sarah Jones

Sometimes it’s best to put a board in the van on the off chance that you’ll find somewhere to paddle. And so when packing for a week long trip to Ireland with my daughter to catch up with family I put two inflatables in hoping that there would be somewhere to paddle and optimistically hoping for good weather when we got there. We got lucky with both – locations and sunshine!

First stop was Killarney, and with dozens of lakes to choose from we were sure to find somewhere to get wet We got lucky first time, on Lough Leane near Ross Castle, with stunning views all around and glassy smooth, albeit cold water. There was easy access to the lake from a slipway near the main car park and, in April at least, very few other craft on the water. A great start to the paddling part of our trip that wetted our appetites and had us vowing to come back and explore properly. With enormous paddling potential the lakes of Kerry could take weeks to explore properly.

After a detour for whale and dolphin watching at Dingle our next stop was the Ring of Kerry, a popular drive for tourists in the summer and in mid April a simply stunning place to be. With countless small bays and inlets all around the peninsula we were spoilt for choice. First was to find a campsite and as luck would have it we found one with a slipway, a private beach and a spot overlooking the Atlantic. Perfect. Up early for a paddle around the bay amazed at how clear the water was, crystal-clear doesn’t do it justice. Visibility below was as near unlimited as I’ve experienced, forests of kelp teeming with wildlife; fish, crabs and the occasional sea urchin passed under my board.

Keeping one board inflated and strapped to the roof of the van we were free to stop and get on the water in minutes wherever we saw a beach and a place to park. If anything there were too many spots to choose from – perfect sandy bays, rocky inlets, islands, estuaries. And everywhere the water clarity was amazing.

In the four days we had exploring and paddling we only saw one other stand up paddler, so it would be fair to say that SUP isn’t big in Ireland, yet! With no obvious options to hire kit, particularly out of season, it’s best to take your own. We took two Red Paddle Co inflatables which were perfect for exploring the rockier sections of coast and were easy to store in the van for the ferry crossings. During the summer there are seasonal SUP Schools which open up along the coast, and they may be able to help out with rental kit.

Out of season somewhere to stay was easy to find. We used campsites throughout our trip but for those needing a roof overhead everywhere had B&Bs and hotels with vacancy signs on display. However in high season I’m sure it would be advisable to book ahead. Outside of the main towns there is a refreshing lack of nightlife, the local pubs being the center of things in villages and with very little development along the coastline. Find one, get a pint and chill out.

Local tourist information offices are a brilliant source of information and the Irish Tourist Board have produced a series of free books and maps covering each of the regions. These offices are also the place to go to find out about any local SUP, Surf and Kayaking companies in the area.

We found access to the water was simple with a refreshing lack of signs telling us what not to do. Use some common sense, check conditions before you go, paddle within your limits and you should be fine. But always bear in mind that one of the attractions of paddling there, that feeling of remoteness, also means that help might not be around if you need it.

Getting there

We took the short ferry crossing from Fishguard to Rosslaire which at under 4 hours is a quick way to get to the east coast. Driving in Ireland is pretty much stress free out of season and the roads are quiet. If the ferry crossing doesn’t work for you then flying from the UK and Europe is relatively easy with major airports in Cork and Shannon and a selection of low-cost airlines.

Ireland’s west coast is an isolated, rugged and beautiful place to be. Everything runs at a slower pace, and true to the stereotype the people are warm and generous. The paddling opportunities are almost limitless, and therefore if the conditions aren’t right in one bay drive to the next and check it out. Slow down, chill out and paddle.

Words – Chris Jones

Images – Sarah Jones

SUP Bike Run around the world
Adrianne Hill trying out her Red Paddle Explorer 13'2"

Leaving home in Northampton, UK on the 4th March, and travelling over 18,000 miles around the world by SUP, cycling and running. That’s the challenge being set by 26 year old Adrianne Hill. 

Having recovered from both aggressive cancer and mental illness Adrianne wants to not only challenge herself by being active and doing what makes her happy, but also use her experiences – good and bad – to help and inspire those suffering from both cancer and mental health problems. By embarking on this epic, round the world challenge Adrianne hopes to break records as well as stigmas about both diseases, as well as raise £100k for Mind and Cancer Research Uk charities. 

SUPboarder catches up with Adrianne to find out more about the reasons behind her motivation and exciting plans for her ’World SUP Bike Run’ challenge.

Adrianne Hill trying out her Red Paddle Explorer 13'2"

SB / Hi Adrianne, tell us a bit more about yourself and your motivation for this epic journey.

AH / I’m 26, flame haired, ambitious and crazy in a good way haha! I think that sums it up pretty well?

In 1999 I was diagnosed with cancer at just nine years old and given six months to live, plus a potential leg amputation. I was a typical cutey. I loved sport, learning, schools, my friends and especially horse riding (I volunteered at my local stables), but once the diagnosis hit, that all changed.

I ended up in hospital for just under two years, watched 11 of my fellow chemotherapy cycle friends pass away from the vile disease and watched my own body change and fight for its life.

I can’t say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been through because I feel it was actually the following 15 years that I found the hardest, but I grew up. I actively knew I didn’t want to die and my mindset changed. It changed to believing that if I work hard enough, I can do it.

Despite my school being extremely supportive, I ended up being bullied for being bald and fat (apparently I looked like a boy), I had to teach myself to walk and run again and I actually found myself a lot smarter simply due to the fact I had private school from the hospital so that irritated people…I didn’t realise it at the time though. I was still only small.

Looking back, I now realise that my eating disorders, mood swings, shy-ness were down to the fact I’d been affected by everything and had bottled it up. That’s never good. But on the flip side, I’ve always been a happy, smiley person. My grandparents used to always say they never really saw me without a smile on my face.

Earlier this year (2015) I was diagnosed with depression after a number of stressful workplace incidents, but I’d felt something niggling for years previously. I think the tipping point was being ground down because of my passion for fitness and exercise – my release – in a place where they didn’t even have occupational health let alone any care for their employees well being. The perk of being freelance though, I didn’t need to stick around.

Perhaps media wasn’t the best choice of career? Haha!

Before that I’d worked at high levels of a well-known broadcaster, been a freelance writer since I was 17 and also worked at various PR agencies

The experience and the job I loved, unfortunately I cannot say the same for most of the people I met. Ruthless is probably the best way to describe it and I found myself bullied, targeted or whatever you want to call it for a number of years. One person even threatened me not to go for a promotion because they wanted it and were afraid I’d get it. Again, ridiculous and I don’t really understand that sort of mentality.

Looking back it was crazy. I simply wanted to do well and be happy but that wasn’t happening. I left work everyday nearly in tears.

Adrianne Hill trying out her Red Paddle Explorer 13'2"
An iSUP is a perfect board to take on a world trip. Adrianne will have to get used to pumping.

When I started my own company a couple of years ago, I set out on a career change into sports and marketing. Being able to be my own boss was incredible and immediately I was learning new skills. I’m not a qualified windsurf and cycling coach – amazing! For the first time, my energy was appreciated and no one was asking me to change! I could smile all day, every day hahaha!

The above is just a snapshot of the motivation behind my challenge. The above is the two main reasons why I want challenge the odds and raise money for Mind and Cancer Research UK – the first reason is proving that despite adversity you can do anything and also to raise awareness to those who feel bullying is a way of life. It’s not and your words and actions hurt. I’d like people to be nicer to each other and workplaces to understand that working their employees to the bones will not be positive for them or the company in any way shape or form.

I was speaking to the charity Mind and said that the whole culture of “yeah technically you have a lunch hour but nobody takes it” is insane,. How do people expect their best work in that sort of environment?

I’m hoping that this challenge will not only raise vital money for the two charities, but also raise awareness that the help is out there.

I’m a women in sport columnist and a huge advocate for the positive effects sport can have on people’s lives. Look at me? A normal girl, about to go round the world and I’ve already met some amazing people and can’t wait to meet more!

Adrianne Hill trying out her Red Paddle Explorer 13'2"
Adrianne Hill trying out her Red Paddle Explorer Co 13’2″

Lady of Avenel
Lady of Avenel Tall Ships Race Falmouth-Greenwich

There are SUP trips and then there are SUP TRIPS! Heading to the beautiful and remote Western Isles of Scotland aboard the stunning 102ft tall ship ‘Lady of Avenel‘ and then exploring the surrounding area by paddleboard is definitely an opportunity not to be missed this summer. Guided SUP trips and coaching by the London based Active 360 team, all your catering and sleeping arrangements covered afloat, media coverage and SUP kit provided too (if required). You’ll definitely be traveling in style and there couldn’t be an easier way to explore the westernmost islands of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides with your SUP. Taking place in just afew weeks time, means you’ll have to make your mind up fast! More information about this exciting trip from Active 360 below…

Trip Details…

When – 29th August – 6th Sept 2015
Duration – 7 or 8 days
Location – St Kilda islands, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Itinerary – Castlebay – St Kilda – Monach Islands – Castlebay (weather dependent)
Cost –  Book now and get it for £750 (normally £950)

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A chance to be the first SUP ocean paddlers to explore the remote cliffs and historic village of St Kilda supported by your own Tall Ship the ‘Lady of Avenel’. On this trip we explore the highest cliffs in the British Isles by Tall Ship and paddleboard. We circumnavigate Hirta, the Stags and the Island of Soy. This is a must on every seafarers list – Be the first one to do this with a paddleboard.

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The mere mention of the St Kilda archipelago can fire a seafarer’s’ imagination – remote and distant islands set deep in the Atlantic, far off the Outer Hebrides with the highest cliffs in Britain, myriad caves and arches. The surrounding ocean is rich with marine life while the cliffs support thousands of birds. The human connection to this isolated landscape is equally fascinating abounding with prehistoric remains and of course the more recent village with its evocative abandoned houses.

The experience of sea paddleboarding beneath the immense cliffs with the teeming bird life soaring above will leave you speechless. There will be a powerful sense of exploration on the far western fringe of Europe in an area that few have been fortunate enough to venture to.

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ACTIVE 360 have teamed up with Heritage Sailing to offer a unique once in a lifetime sea paddleboard and sailing experience. Aboard the Brigantine tall ship “Lady of Avenel” we will sail from Castlebay to St Kilda where we will anchor in Village Bay. With the ship in support and weather permitting we will explore the magnificent islands of the St Kilda island group. The exact itinerary will be determined by the weather but we hope that will be able to spend two or three days in the vicinity of the island group. This will enable us to explore the main island of Hirta where the St Kilda population lived and kayak around the islands. If there is time we will return to Castlebay via the beautiful Monach Islands which we will explore by board.

The Lady of Avenel offers a comfortable base from which we will set out each day for our explorations. Accommodation is in twin cabins or two four bunk cabins. There are showers with hot water and flush toilets aboard. The catering will be to the highest standard and meals will be taken in the comfortable and well-appointed saloon. We will need eight bookings for this trip to run, so please keep this in mind if you are thinking of joining the tour. We are happy to take provisional bookings for this trip.

The Lady of Avenel will be captained by Stefan Fritz with Charles Lyster as first mate. If you wish to be – you too can be the crew and experience tall ship sailing at first hand, literally learning the ropes, taking responsibility on the helm, and with harnesses, climbing high into the rigging. There will be no compulsion to work the ropes, but being fully involved will certainly add a new and enjoyable dimension to your sea paddling trip expedition and holiday.

Active360

Our experience spans paddling and coaching SUP around the World from the icy seas of Greenland to the warmth of the Indian Ocean. Our home patch is on the River Thames with its strong currents and big tides.

We can work on your paddling technique and your understanding of safety and enable you to become a strong and independent SUP paddler in all types of water.

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 10.53.20What’s included?

  • Guided SUP trips catering for intermediate and above skill levels
  • Hands on sailing on this wonderful Brigantine.
  • Boards, leash, PFD, wetsuit and paddle on request (you can bring your own equipment and save £75)
  • Coaching and skill training including video analysis
  • Accommodation in comfortable berths on the Lady of Avenel
  • All meals cooked on board

 What’s not included?

  • Travel to and from Oban / Bara Scotland   You have the choice of joining the trip on 29th August from Oban or 30th Sept from Bara.

To find out more and to book your place email info@active360co.uk

 

Travel guide |SUP Portugal - Lisbon & Cascais

With 800+km of coastline, a pleasant climate, and easy access via car/ferry/plane Portugal is a great SUP surfing destination for all abilities. It’s a swell magnet, picking up all the swell that passes up through the Atlantic. You’ll rarely get a flat day, but if you do there are plenty of beautiful bays and inland waters to explore,  plus other sights to see.

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The Lisbon & Cascais areas of Portugal have some excellent SUP conditions for surfing,race training & coastal and inland exploration. Only 20-30 mins from the city, and with a paradise of waves. Alex from Moana Surf School shares with SUPboarder his local knowledge of the area and why it’s worth a surf visit with your SUP.

Surf spots

The coast from Lisbon to Cascais has numerous waves spots, great for SUPers of all abilities. If you take the (Marginal) coast road you’ll pass many well known spots plus plenty more (I’d have it write a book not an article to go through them all!) These spots are best in north or easterly winds, and during the months of September/October.

The first is Carcavelos Beach. This is a powerful beach break which works best in northerly winds. It doesn’t normally break in summer as needs a bigger swell to wrap around from the west. It’s a fast, unforgiving wave that needs good timing, and changes depending on the sand banks and tide. An urban beach and only a 15 mins drive from Lisbon means it can get very crowded with surfers.

The next break is Sao Pedro (20 mins from Lisbon). This is a right handed point break, which faces south and therefore best in a northerly wind. (There is also another reef further down with a left at high tide and a right at all tides.) All can be reached from the main car park on the top of the cliff, and have an easy launch off the beach. These reefs need a bigger swell to break and therefore are mainly a winter spot. The main point at Sao Pedro is great for SUP but can also be crowded with surfers. So you need to go early and be lucky, or catch an uncrowded moment on a bad weather day or just be lucky!

Further along the coast and 25 mins from Lisbon, Parede is a popular SUP spot. An easy right hand reef break with easy water access. When small it’s the perfect spot for learning to catch your first few waves. Works summer and winter, but closes out when big. There is an easy vibe in the water amongst the SUP community and not many surfers. But you must still respect the peak and take off area. Launching is easy apart from on a high tide with big swell.

Next you’ll find Praia da Rata in Cascais, next to the train station, and only a 10 mins drive from Sao Pedro. From the bay it’s a 10min paddle to the jetty where there’s a really fun break. For the more experienced you can jump in off the jetty.  The wave breaks on the reef and off the jetty, and is perfect for SUP.  Just line up with the jetty for a point of reference when you’re in the water. It’s an easy right and breaks even when big. Summer is often flat but it’s a great winter spot. Mid tide is best, high tide OK, and low tide recommended only for more experienced SUPers due to the rocks. Offshore in a northerly wind. If you are lost and can’t find the train station or bay for launching ask for the Albatroz Hotel.

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When flat, the above spots and many more in-between are perfect for just cruising and exploring. The Bay of Cascais itself is very protected making it a perfect race training location.

From Cascais the coast turns and faces more west. Here you’ll find the spectacular Guincho Beach. Only a 30-40 mins drive from Cascais and yet so wild and unspoilt… so far at least! An amazing beach break and a MUST place to visit. Guincho breaks in both summer and winter months, but is often too big and messy in winter. In summer depending on the sand banks, it has lots of different peaks to choose from, but the conditions can change very quickly depending on the wind, banks, tides and swell. Easterly offshore winds are best, but it’s also good in a north east and sometimes a south wind too. In the summer it’s worth getting there early before the thermal winds pick up (mid afternoon). Be careful of the currents and rocks in the middle of the beach, and the rocks at either end. It’s always a good idea to sit on the beach and watch others first. Moana Surf School is based at the North End next to Bar do Guincho. A great Bar/Beach bar/Terrace/restaurant.

There is also a point break at the northern end of the beach called Ninja. The beach and views are amazing whilst on the water. The place is magic!! After a good SUP session go to ‘Bar do Guincho’ for a great burger! And come visit us at Moana Surf School where we’ll happily give you more knowledge about the area. There are loads more surf spots up and down the coastline, aswell as inland rivers and lakes if you want to go and explore more.

Getting around and places to visit

The best way to get around is probably to rent a car (online beforehand) from Lisbon airport. You can then easily explore the surf spots and other nearby areas of interest. If you want a break from SUPing it’s worth visiting the castles and gardens in Sintra, a 20 mins drive from Cascais. The coastline is also amazing for biking and hiking. Stop at the most Western point of Mainland Europe, Cabo da Roca. Great place and views. Lisbon the capital city of Portugal is also a great place to take a day off from SUP and explore the streets, sights and nightlife!! In Lisbon there are plenty of things to do and see, and there’s a great friendly multi cultural population.

Accommodation

1.Guincho Wind Factory has some rooms and Paulo Silva has a great SUP shop below the accommodation. Close to Guincho Beach and Cascais.
2.You can also stay at Muchaxo Hotel on Guincho Beach. The location and views are amazing.
3. Try www.myfriendshouses.com. They have all types of accommodation. Send an email to Celine.
Mention myself, Alex at Moana Surf School as we’re good friends and I’m sure they’ll give you a good deal!
4. There is also camping near Guincho called ‘Camping Guincho Orbitur’. Here they also rent bungalows walking distance from Guincho Beach. And the nearby village of Areia has some great places to eat.
5. If you want somewhere a bit more special (and expensive!) check out ‘Farol Design Hotel’.
It’s best to book all accommodation on line – cheaper and easier that way.

Places to eat

In the village of Areia near Guincho Beach you’ll find a good choice of restaurants. The ‘Biscoito’ waiter Fernando is the coolest waiter ever and serves very good, cheap local food, as does ‘Carloto’ restaurant. There is also a great indian restaurant in Areia.

Nightlife

Cascais has lots of Irish and English bars. But if you explore the back streets you can find some really nice local bars and restaurants. For real nightlife you have to go to Lisbon. From Cascais a taxi is approx 40 euros. Go to the old town ‘Barrio Alto’ for some drinks then if you want onto the clubs! e.g Lux & Urban Beach.

Top tips for travelling in Portugal with your SUP:

  1. Respect the surfers in the water.
  2. Drive safely.
  3. Try and explore the coastline as much as possible.
  4. Don’t speak Spanish with the locals!
  5. Lock your car properly and don’t leave things in sight.
  6. Top Tip: Enjoy and have fun!!
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Alex about to take a pounding on a big day at the harbour wall in central Cascais.

I hope this information inspires you to visit Portugal and this fantastic area. I can only write so many words to try and describe how good it is. As they say on the big days… if you don’t go you don’t know! – Alex Unwin from Moana Surf School.

For more information about Moana Surf School in Portugal check out their website and Facebook page.

Have you ever sat at your PC watching video clips of races abroad and wondered if you could just pack up your board and go? Crispin Jones did just that for the recent Lost Mills Euro Tour event in Germany.

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Last year I thought about the races I really wanted to compete in and what I hoped to achieve in each race. The Lost Mill’s is one of Europe’s biggest events, not just in terms of prize money but also in the level of competitor it attracts from around the world, because of this I wanted to experience the buzz of a top European event and see what makes it so special and appealing. However, not one for making things easy for myself I decided that I wanted to perform a little experiment.

How easy is it to enter a top international race on standard gear? And can you still compete with it?

Can it be done on a budget?

Solid board or Inflatable: This would be my first main choice I’d have to make, a solid board will always be more competitive and naturally I wanted to check my options on this first. I could drive out and take a board on the roof, however, this would cost a lot in fuel and with the added ferry or channel tunnel costs would hinder my main objective to keep within a budget. I could fly and pay to get my board added but would still require a hire car to travel to the event, or as I ended up choosing, Take an Inflatable with a 3 piece paddle.

I took out a Starboard 2014 14’x26” Astro Racer and a 3 piece alloy Red Paddle Co. Vario paddle. This would be the makeup of my standard gear which most recreational paddlers could have in their garage or boot of their car. I decided the best bet was to fly out and get a hire car, I could get a return flight from Stansted to Nuremberg for less than £100 however travelling from Devon this wasn’t the easiest choice, I paid £150 and flew from Birmingham, affectively costing the same but saving a few hours driving.

In Nuremberg I hired an economy car, perfect for my needs as my board and paddle tucked neatly into the boot, alongside my hand luggage, T-shirts and shorts don’t take too much room. I stayed in a Hotel around 12 miles away from Brombachsee the Event location and paid £30 a night with buffet breakfast as opposed to the Hotel right next to the lake which was in excess of £70 a night. Initially, the event was due to take place from 2-6 June so I needed a week in order to take in the full offering the would be ‘The Lost Mills’

Tuesday – I arrived on the 2nd at Brombachsee to find the event was going to be compacted down to just the 4-6th, no big issue. I had a car and board and time to explore. I pumped up my board and decided to scope out the lakes that would play host of the main event come Saturday.

Wednesday – I travelled 20km North East of Brombachsee to another Lake called Rothsee, this also was split into 2 parts with a cycle lane dividing the lake and acted as a good training practice ahead of Saturday.

After exploring the entire lake I spent the rest of the day exploring some of the history of the surrounding areas. Small villages and towns with forts and castles littered the area and impressive buildings and market stalls lined many of the streets of these picturesque German Towns.

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Thursday – The Parallel Salome wasn’t due to take place till 13:00, so I arrived a few hours early in order to prepare. To my horror they had re jigged the event times/activities again and the registration for the Fastest Paddler on Earth had closed at 09:30 (I arrived at 09:50 and was unable to compete, despite trying to argue the fact they had changed the times) Such is life though, I took to the water and witnessed some of the most impressive sprint work from the world’s best, including some on the UK’s top racers, Ryan James and Pete Holliday. Unfortunately unable to qualify for the next round the guy’s paddled with everything they had but the level of competition was staggering, perhaps not being able to compete on my inflatable was a blessing in disguise. I spent the rest of the day taking in the atmosphere of the event and chatting with some of the top names in our sport.

Friday – Parallel Salome, take 2. This race format is certainly a thrilling form of race, short, fast paced and technical. 2 identical courses mirrored, with 6 buoy turns but essentially a sprint. The inflatable actually held its own in this format, what it lacked in speed in made up for in stability for step back turns. I was unfortunate to not progress to the next round having been cut up across the line, but I didn’t feel having an inflatable for limiting me from competing in this race. Another chilled out afternoon in the Sun, mentally preparing for the main event on Saturday, watching Electro boards blast round the course once the Salome’s had ended.

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Starboard Astro Race

Saturday –   The Lost Mills, Feeling good about a distance race which I prefer over sprint work any day I set about my preparations alongside some 130+ paddlers from around the world. I patched up my inflatable which had sustained a minor leak along one of the seams and tried to keep hydrated. The air was still, the lake like a mirror and the sun was blaring down. As I lined up amongst Carbon race boards or various designs and makes I felt a little out of place, there were only a hand full of other inflatable’s in the line up but I would give it my all. The pace off the start was something else, the water turned into a cauldron of bubbling water but my inflatable just hugged the surface and I never felt unstable even on a 26” wide board. I got my racing head on and started clawing back some lost positions. By the time I got to the portage It felt as though almost everyone was ahead of me, I ran the 150m gap and threw myself onto the big lake and got into a draft train with Moutsakos Christian, we worked together and clawed back valuable places, whenever he tired I would take the lead for a sprint in order to try and catch the next group in front, he would then take over to maintain a good average pace. The heat was the real issue though, 32 Degrees was taking its toll on guys from Hawaii, Australia and Spain, us UK paddlers really struggled but fought on with true British grit and determination. As I passed group after group of paddler and I received both words of encouragement as well as some unhappy words as my Inflatable cruised past, all in a good natured tone though. The end of the race couldn’t come soon enough, I had spent all off my hydration (1.5L) and finished the 18.69km course in a little over 2 hours 7 minutes, finishing in 54th place.

Considering the field of competitors and boards I was up against I couldn’t have been more stoked to realise that my initial goal of competing on the international stage on ‘Stock Gear’ had paid off, true I was never going to bother the likes of Connor Baxter or Casper Steinfath but I certainly held my own and showcased that you don’t need to have the best gear out there to turn up to big events, enjoy the atmosphere and witness true sportsmanship and friendships that the world of SUP can offer. I implore that more people truly don’t feel intimidated to jump on a plane with an ISUP or in the car and experience these events for what they are, great fun and a major life experience.

Sunday – I finished up the week like just as I started, Exploring more lakes around Germany, this time taking in Muhr Am See, a fantastic lake to explore with plenty of wildlife, also the paddle proved to be a great stretch out before headed back on a plane to good ole Devon.

My entire week’s ‘Holiday’ cost me £500, plane, hire car, Hotel, event tickets. What I learnt and experienced in that week well exceeds that! See you on the Water!

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Words and Images: Crispin Jones

Events, where ever they are do not have to be all about the racing. Any event away from your local area can be about exploring and finding new places to paddle, new friends to paddle with and memories to keep forever. If you want to find out more about Crispin and Waterborn SUP in Kingsbridge check out their Facebook page or their website  Waterborn SUP

Starboard Team rider Bart de Zwart is always out paddling and it’s always somewhere different. Whether it’s between tropical islands or taking on the cold and icebergs of Greenland, Barts been there with his SUP. But his next adventure sees him grabbing his iSUP and booking an around the world ticket, along with photographer Franz Orsi, to explore and capture some more unique, and remote SUP spots.

Post below from Bart on the 12/05/15. Follow Bart on his blog here.

Sup World Trip Part 3 / Ethiopia: vast landscapes, brown crocodile water and Kalashnikovs

Bart De Zwart - The Ultimate Crossing

Air Ethiopia brings us to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Although the country is known for the scorching temperatures that exist here, I am surprised by the cool temperatures, the high altitude (2500 m./ 7500ft) in this city, explains it.
Our destination will be Omo valley. Because of the long distance to this very remote valley and relatively short time on hand, we have decided to use a car with a local driver. The following day we found out how quickly we run out of time.
Once you leave the big and relatively wealthy city, we see the vast and dry landscapes of Ethiopia. Along the road, houses are no longer made of bricks and mortar but wood and mud instead. Not just a few but basically all of them.

Bart De Zwart - The Ultimate Crossing

We paddle and explore along the coast line of the many lakes we encounter, some big, wide and deep, (up to 260 meters), some salty and slightly pink and covered in flamingos and some others the home of hippos and fisherman.

On lake Awasa we paddle into the village during the fish market.  Coming into the village, locals told us to stay away from the banks because of the hippos, we try to makes sounds to warn them but don’t see any popping up.  At the beach many of the villagers surround us and stare at our boards.  We let two of them try them, which proves to be the best entertainment, specially when one almost falls in. After some fried fish for breakfast we continue to Omo valley, another long drive.

Bart De Zwart - The Ultimate Crossing

After an overnight stay with very good sleep in Turmi village in a very simple accommodation, we continue on to a village where the Dassanech tribe live. We get the boards ready and enter the river which has a lot of current towards Kenya, only 60 km down river. After only a few kilometers down river we already get to a small village with 3 kids watching us from the high banks. When we paddle towards them 2 of the 3 run away scared.

Bart De Zwart - The Ultimate Crossing

We make clear that we are friendly and gesture him to come and try our boards. Slowly and with some hesitation he comes down to the river bank and looks at the boards and the paddle. We show how it works and he goes and tries. Before you know it we have the whole village around us taking turns paddling. I take the smaller kids with me and the bigger ones try by themselves. The ones too scared to try, have a good laugh while they watch the others.  It turned out to be the highlight of our and their day. Later at night we visit another tribe a little more North where we put up our tent. The tribe lives in the most basic conditions possible: their only possessions are  their huts and cattle. Men and women only wear a goat skin around their waist.

Bart De Zwart - The Ultimate Crossing

A few in their tribe own a riffle (AK47) to protect their cattle from being stolen by other tribes. We offer them a goat which they then kill and roast above a fire. We were offered to drink the blood, known to them to be very healthy, but we kindly decline and let them ‘enjoy’  Only 2 hrs later everything has been eaten by the whole tribe.

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After we set down with them, the next morning, in one of the huts and drank coffee, we break up camp and drive back in the direction of Addis Ababa.
Along the road we see how hard women work in this country. They are responsible for finding wood and water, two very tough jobs in an environment like this. Men take care of the cattle, compared, a very easy job.
We fly the next day to Istanbul, Turkey and leave with mixed feelings about a very poor but very beautiful country.

image002When most people think of Israel they think of a place with plenty of history and religion. But did you know that Israel is also a great watersports travel destination, and perfect for SUP, surf, windsurf and kite? Despite being a small country the beautiful Mediterranean coastline and unusual inland waters provide a huge variety of unique SUP conditions. And what makes it even better is there’s surf too!
The SUPaway surf club based at Michmoret Beach recently went on a ‘4 seas in 4 days’ SUP road trip which shows just what Israel has on offer for SUP and that there’s definitely no shortage of places to explore! SUP surfing in the Mediterranean, SUPing where Jesus walked on water (the Sea of Galilee), SUPing on the Jordan River which flows down to the lowest point on earth (the Dead Sea), and finally they headed to the sunny town of Eilat at the southern point of Israel, to SUP over coral reefs in the Red Sea. All this within 400 km from North to South!
SUPaway tell SUPboarder all about their latest SUP road trip and why Israel is the place to go to SUP…

Day 1 & 2
We headed off in the afternoon towards Tibearias and arrived just in time for a sunset paddle on the Sea of Galilee. Although called a “sea” it is really a lake, surrounded by the Golan Mountains – which are luscious green in winter, and yet dry and yellow in summer. The look & feel of the beaches that surround the entire lake change according the local geography, creating different landscapes as we paddled along the lake shores. We camped right on the Leedo Beach, and with a full day ahead we woke up at 5am for an amazing sunrise paddle. SUPing on the Sea of Galilee is a great way to explore this lake, enjoy the view, and paddle where Jesus walked on water and held his last SUPper :>
Sea of Galilee 2Sea of Galilee

Just half an hour away, we drove to explore the Jordan River. In winter time the Jordan River can be up to grade 5 rapid but water levels get much lower through summer time, when it can just be a cruise down the stream. The Jordan River is also famous as the place where Jesus was baptized and right nearby there are lots of interesting historical and archaeological sites to visit, including kasser el Yahud – the actual site of the first baptisms, Capernaum – where the 12 apostles were chosen and more. We had a pretty tight schedule so we continued our paddle down the river. Since it was early Autumn it was a cruisy flat ride.
Jordan River 1Jordan RIVER

The next sea we visited was the Mediterranean. We stopped in Akko (a.k.a Acre) a biblical sea side town with a rich history, and one of the only cities which has been continuously inhabited from BC to this day. The city is fortified by a tall stone wall, which still exists and we paddled along it in the Akko Bay. To finish off we stopped for freshly caught seafood, in one of the local restaurants built along the wall, overlooking the bay and the Carmel Mountain.
Akko WallsAkko Bay 

Day 3
Out homebase, Michmoret, located in the centre of the country, is a small surfing (once fishermen) village. This is where SUPaway surf club is located and the hometown of its founder- Amit Inbar, former Olympic athlete and windsurfing world champion.
Michmoret Med SeaMichmoret

Starboard Team rider Bart de Zwart is always out paddling and it’s always somewhere different. Whether it’s between tropical islands or taking on the cold and icebergs of Greenland, Barts been there with his SUP. But his next adventure sees him grabbing his iSUP and booking an around the world ticket, along with photographer Franz Orsi, to explore and capture some more unique, and remote SUP spots.

Sup World Trip Part 1 Yap, Micronesia

Post below from Bart on the 21/04/15. Follow Bart on his blog here.

Grass skirts, Stone money, and western influences

After our first trip with inflatables in Europe with a rail pass. We wanted to take it one step further and explore far away places in the world. This time we bought a round the world ticket with stopovers at all the continents.
Our first destination was Yap. This tiny island belongs to one of the 186 islands of Micronesia. And is known for their traditional culture. One of the last islands in the Pacific that still resists to the western ways.
At the airport we are welcomed by 2 bare chested women in grass skirts who hang two leis around our necks. With only two planes a week arriving in Yap,  it is not a busy airport.
We get a ride from a police man to a small piece of land in the middle of town where we inflate our tent for the first night (yes we also have an inflatable tent, at least the poles are).

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In the next days we travel to the North of the island, to a village,  Wanead, where we ask permission to put up our tent. On Yap the land is owned by the people. You always have to ask permission to use the land or visit certain villages. As soon as we had made camp, we inflate our boards and paddle for hours along the coast.

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Yap has a lush green interior full with palm and betel nut trees. The coast is mostly covered with mangroves and around the whole island is a protecting reef where you can find manta rays up to 20 feet wide. One big oasis with only 10,000 inhabitants and no industries.

The pace is slow on the island. Partly because there is not much too do other than fish and find foodPartly because almost everyone is chewing betel nuts. A subtle narcotic which produces orange stained teeth and lips. The Yaps do this all day every day.

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When we paddle here we see the man-houses at the beech and the Seaworthy outriggers with which they, until very recently, sailed to the outer island and Guam or Palau, often 7-10 days at sea relying only on the stars for navigation.

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One day we paddle to Rumung, the utmost northern island of Yap.  This time with special permission and with a local inhabitant of Rumung. Without him no one can enter the island.

There we see the biggest stone money of the island. A form of payment with giant round carved stone with a hole in the middle. Stone money once the only form of payment, is still in use today for certain transactions or settling fights.

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There is a lot more to say about this little paradise in the Pacific which we will safe for later

Now  we are on our way to Kathmandu, Nepal where the story continues.

 

The gear we bring on Sup World Trip

On this Sup World Trip, Franz and I keep it very simple and bring as little gear as we can.

Boards

We bring 2 inflatable Starboard SUP boards. They are packed ready for traveling, in a back pack.
One 14’0 x 30 Touring deluxe with bungees front and back to bring gear for longer trips.
Perfect board longer tours almost anywhere, crossings, rivers, lake, open ocean
And one 10’5 x 30  Drive Zen, good allround board which also works in the waves, good for rivers and shorter tours.With these boards we cover most places we will find on our trip.

Paddles

This time, we choose for the Starboard 3- piece Tiki Tech paddles. Theses are almost indestructible and easy to travel with because the pieces fit in the inflatable backpack.

Rest of the gear
Inflatable tent (3-man, so all the gear fits inside) HeimPlanet
2 ultra compact and light sleeping backs
2 short sleeping mats
2 leashes
Suunto Ambits3 GPS watch
Underwater goggle
Utility knife,  rope and repair kit
Mini iPad and IPhone
Drybacks
A few shirts and shorts
And a lot of cables and other sh!? Franz brought along, ok he is the photographer, I understand
One long pants ( at home I call them my fly pants)
One shell jacket
Trail running shoes and flip flops

Photo gear
2 DSLR Nikon Cameras
2 Go Pros
1 small Nikon underwater camera

Truly beautiful, has to be words to describe Slovenia. It’s a place that has so many different places to SUP, but is relativity unknown as a SUP destination around the world. The idea of escaping a winter, or making the most of summer, to explore and paddle this amazing country sounds like the perfect adventure for the whole family.  The SUPboarder team, like many other SUPboarders knew very little about this beautiful SUP rich country. So in our search to find out more about different places to paddle around the world, we asked the experts ‘Sup Slovenia Discovery‘ about their perfect Slovenia SUP locations and more…

Stand Up Paddling In Slovenia

Slovenia is a miniature, picturesque country located in the heart of Europe between the Alps and the Adriatic sea. Due to its extraordinary geographic diversity and amazing water scenery it offers a huge variety of SUP terrains – from still Alpine lakes, emerald-green rivers, ever-changing intermittent lakes, to warm Adriatic sea and urban paddling in the capital’s Old Town. An all-year-long SUP season and easy accessibility from UK and mainland Europe make Slovenia a perfect SUP destination.

The Savica River
The Savica River, Bohinj, Slovenia
Each Day A Different SUP Experience

In Slovenia you can find some of the best SUP spots in Europe and the contrasting SUP conditions make each of them totally unique. The list of hot spots is long enough to fill a week-long holiday with a one-of-a-kind SUP experience day after day.

Alpine Lakes Bled and Bohinj

One-hour drive from the capital Ljubljana you will find Lake Bled, where you can take a scenic paddle around the little island with the church and walk up to the Bled Castle, perched atop a steep cliff rising 430 feet above the lake.

Lake Bled
Lake Bled, Slovenia

Just 18 miles further awaits Lake Bohinj, tranquil and perfectly untouched, surrounded by mountains and idyllic Alpine villages. A three-mile paddle across the lake takes you to the mouth of the emerald-green Savica River, the water source of the lake.

Lake Bohinj
Summer and Winter on Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

Piran coast & saltpans

Piran, a 1500-year-old town with narrow streets and compact houses offers numerous possibilities for short or long SUP tours along the coast. Visiting Saltpans of Sečovlje and the surrounding wetlands is one of them.

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Sečovlje Saltpans & Piran, Slovenia 

The Soča River

Because of the rapids on the upper part, Soča river is mostly too wild for SUP (except for whitewater experts). Great touring on emerald-green water is possible on the lower part of the stream. It is said to be one of the rare rivers in the world that retain such a colour throughout their length.

The emerald-green Soča River, Slovenia
The emerald-green Soča River, Slovenia

 Lake Cerknica – The Lake That Vanishes

The illustrious Lake Cerknica is the largest intermittent lake in Europe, filled mainly by autumn rains and the early spring thaw. Paddling on the lake reveals a spectacular, ever-changing scenery, such as gliding just a foot above submerged green pastures.

Lake Cerknica, Slovenia
Lake Cerknica, Slovenia

Urban SUP in Old Town Ljubljana

In Ljubljana you can take a paddle on The Ljubljanica River to discover its lively Old Town from the water perspective. A night paddle under the numerous bright-lit bridges is especially magical.

Old Town Ljubljana, Slovenia
Old Town Ljubljana, Slovenia
When To Go

The typical SUP season starts in March and ends in mid November. The average temperatures in summer reach 20-25°C, and around 0°C in winter. The weather near the coast is typically warm and sunny through most of the year. Winters tend to be milder and if there’s no wind you can easily paddle for Christmas.

How To Get Here

Slovenia is easily accessible from all major European airports. Many low-fare airlines also fly to the nearby airports (Venice, Trieste, Klagenfurt, Zagreb), all within two-hour drive to Ljubljana.

SUP Rental, Lessons & Tours

There are quite a few SUP clubs where you can rent your gear or take SUP lessons. One of the most recognized is Sup Slovenia Discovery which specializes in SUP trips and holiday tours in Slovenia and Venice.

Discover a new SUP spot every day: Piran, Slovenia
Discover a new SUP spot every day: Piran, Slovenia
Top tips

Insider tips

  • While exploring Slovenia’s SUP spots you can also discover its rich historical and cultural heritage, delicious local foods and world-renowned wines.
  • To get a quick taste of SUP in Slovenia, check out the SUPer Weekend Tour to discover six spots in just three days.
  • There are more things to do while you are here: mountain biking, canyoning, hiking, paragliding, climbing, horse-back riding, a trip to Venice, Italy …
  • English is understood and spoken everywhere in Slovenia.
The Ljubljanica River_003
The Ljubljanica River, outskirts of Ljubljana

 Wow…. Slovenia really does sound like an ideal SUP destination, and that SUP is the perfect way to explore this beautiful country . So if you haven’t already got Slovenia on your SUP holiday bucket list it should be!

For more information about SUPing in Slovenia click here

Traveling the world or having that trip of a lifetime is a must for any SUPboarder. UK SUPer Mark Ellis headed to the biggest SUP mecca of all… Hawaii. But as Mark explains you don’t have to be a big wave surfer yourself to enjoy Hawaii. As well as big waves and SUP legends, there’s also beautiful scenery, big whales and much more…

I’m a very lucky guy. I’ve just got back from the trip of a lifetime to Hawaii, visiting some of the most famous surf breaks in the world. Granted, a lot of our travels revolved around the annual hump back whale migration between Maui and Molokai, but if not on a whale watch boat, I’d be looking for the next board to hire.

I may not be the best surfer in the world but that doesn’t make me enjoy my time on the water any less than anyone else, I started out surfing almost 10 years ago, then moved over to SUP when I got tired of being utterly land locked (living in the Midlands) and I haven’t looked back since. That doesn’t mean there’s not still regular visits to magicseaweed.com to check for the next swell!

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Maui is an incredible place, from the moment we arrived on the beach at our hotel, we were seeing blows from whales just off shore, it actually took only a few minutes before we saw our first breach, how 7 tons of hump back whale can propel itself almost completely out of the water astounds me, a beautiful set to see, and only the tip of the iceberg of what we were to see on the whale watch trips. Baleen whales such as the hump back were almost hunted to extinction. Thankfully the barbaric practice of hunting these beautiful creatures is almost eradicated now, and the the waters of Hawaii are a safe haven for them to have their calves, mate and rest before their return journey to Alaska. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

”Good point: there’s board hire at the hotel
Bad point: they wouldn’t let anyone hire them out because of a big shore break!”

This called for a trip a few miles down the coast to Lahaina where there was a great little break near the harbour wall. You could even see the whales breaching out in the channel as you paddled out. The surf was small but great fun, and you’d have trouble beating the view.

After 6 days we had to say a fond farewell to Maui, only to say aloha to Oahu, and Waikiki.
Only having 2 days before having to fly home, this called for a plan to get to the north shore. Luckily I came across a flyer for a “surf bus” tour on our last day, this turned out great! So (after we made the most of our first day with a trip to pearl harbour and a quick surf at Waikiki beach), we set off early for our bus. After getting out of built up Honolulu, you eventually find yourself winding through pineapple fields on remote roads, soon you see your first glimpse of ocean. Once we stopped, we had a couple of hours before we had to get to a paddle board trip we had arranged, so we took a couple of hire bikes and headed first for Wiamea Bay. I got to pay my respects to the first of 3 legends here, Eddie Aikau. Eddie was a lifeguard and big wave surfer at Wiamea, and is the namesake of the Quicksilver big wave surf competition that honours his name. It is only run if the surf is 35ft plus, leading to the expression that when no one else would paddle out, “Eddie would go”! He was lost at sea while trying to paddle for help after the Polynesian voyaging canoe “Hokule’a” (of which he had helped build, and was also a crew member), capsized in 1978. A legendary waterman who’s story is inspiring.

The first thing that struck me about it was how narrow it seemed. I had an image in my mind of the bay being huge, but that turned out just to be the waves! It was stunning. Looking out to sea the you could spot the sets coming in, it’s only when you caught a glimpse of something way out back to give perspective, (like a surfer, yes there were a couple!) you realised just how big the swell today was. You could almost imagine Eddie Aikau sat in the lifeguard tower, keeping a protective eye over all who dared enter the water here. (No one ever drowned while he was on duty).

Pipeline 2

While on Maui we’d been watching the pipeline pro on tv in the evenings, so that’s where we headed next, banzai pipeline. This was a different scene altogether, a long golden beach stretches out in front of the Gerry Lopez house (now owned by Volcom), and right outside is pipeline. The shape of the wave is unmistakable, it’s incredible to think how shallow the water is underneath, and it doesn’t seem that far from shore either. It was a shame that we’d missed the competition by only a few days, John John Florence had a deserved win. Little did I know there was another competition at our next stop, Sunset beach.

As we cycled up the path we started seeing SUP boards up the beach, and a small scaffold tower covered in the banners of a tour. As it turned out, this was the Waterman league round 1, day 1, sunset beach pro… my luck was in!

The swell was definitely a big one, but the conditions were proving very difficult for the competitors. At first you could hardly see anyone out back, then you’d see the safety jet skis…. then the paddle boarders, so far out you could hardly see them. You could see just how big the swell was by watching a paddler disappear behind it, down into sets I could comfortably fit my house in… twice!

sunset beach

Looking round you also notice how many snapped boards there are around the beach, the power in these waves is immense.

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The scene didn’t seem quite as big as the prone surf tours just yet, but it’s only a matter of time I hope.

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David and his son Austin Kalama

As I stood watching I noticed a guy getting ready for the next heat, and another crouched down in the sand next to him that I recognise. Turned out to be David and Austin Kalama. I was lucky enough to meet David, really nice guy, and very gracious when a random English guy wanted to say hello and thank him for his help. His technique blog has helped me out loads!

All too soon we had to be leaving, but we had some paddling of our own to do. A quick trip down to Haleiwa and we were soon heading down the river in search of sea turtles. We didn’t have to look for long. The turtles come into the river when it’s rough out at sea, and they were everywhere! Sunbathing on the banks and swimming around and under the boards, they’re incredibly graceful, gliding through the water underneath you.

Back in Waikiki that night, I payed my respects to my 3rd legendary Waterman of the day, the father of modern surfing, Duke Kahanamoku, who’s statue sits on Waikiki beach. I wonder what he’d think of the stand up paddle scene as it is today, and as it grows into tomorrow?

”All I know is that surfing, and SUP has inspired me to take trips like this one, and to go to places that I’d never have thought of before, seeing them from a perspective that only the water can provide, I’m grateful for every last moment. Roll on the next adventure.”

Pretending to look like i know what i'm doing!

Words by : Mark Ellis (Central SUP)

Has SUP inspired you to travel? If so, where has it taken you? And what travel adventures have you got planned for 2015?