The Pressure System endurance range of paddle boards are an amazing thing. I have spent a hell of a lot of time this year using my PS storm front race for training. The main reason was that we had the Pambula surf club’s pub to club race back in September, but I also became extremely addicted to the fitness side of things and the ultimate feeling of achievement when completing a long-distance session. Another attraction has been that I have noticed a massive improvement in my sup surfing. The reason for this improvement, I think, is because 1. the race boards are so narrow that they really improve your balance 2. During a session you’re paddling in all conditions, strong wind, strong currents etc. and you need to be able to adapt to all conditions quickly, thus helping to develop your resilience. 3. As you are consistently pushing yourself to improve your time, you focus more on your stroke technique and over time develop a nice efficient, flowing rhythm which enables the board to surge through the water with greater force (in the surf this makes it easier to catch waves and allows you to paddle through larger conditions). But by far the best part of my winter training experience has been finding the zone. For those of you who don’t know what or where the zone is, it is a magical place that I would love to be permanently positioned. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of hard work to find it and it can disappear as quickly as it arrived. You find this place when everything around you, including you, is working in the same perfect flow.
Let me explain a little more about this. If you want to reach this place, it requires a hell of a lot of practice. Firstly, you need to perfect your stroke technique and get your body very comfortable on the board. You enter the zone when you’re flying along, and your stroke just feels like the natural movement of your body. There is absolutely no splash when the paddle enters the water and even less when it exits. The board is sliding through the water producing a powerful surge of curling waves off the bow on every stroke and the tail of the board is producing a fan of perfectly lined wake. But ultimately, it’s what’s going on inside your head that really counts. During this period, you are completely focused. You have no idea what is going on around you and your body is functioning like a well-oiled machine. Time appears to stand still. Your senses are performing at 100%. Dopamine and serotonin are flowing and it’s a pain free blissful ride. Welcome to the zone.
The zone is like any good thing in life, it does not come easy, but the reward is amazing and horribly addictive. Endurance paddling is like everything else in life it has its peaks and valleys and we have all heard the saying that life has its ups and downs, well that is one of the laws of the universe and this fact will never change. The zone usually appears right after the hard bit. The bit where it really hurts. The bit where the little voice inside your head is saying “I must stop now! You don’t have to go the whole 10km every time you hit the water big fella! Come on the car is just over there let’s call it a day”. Its when you push through this hard bit that the zone will appear. The tough bit is you never know how long the hard part is going to last. Anyway, I have gotten to a point where I have developed a way that I can find the zone more often and stay there for longer. I carry my phone in my pocket with my headphones on playing the album Come with Us by the Chemical Brothers, I found this music works a treat when loud! I also have my GPS tracker on so every km a voice cuts into the music and gives me a time for the km I have just completed plus a total distance time. This technique really helps me to maintain focus and gives me time goals every km to beat.
The trick in developing stamina is to remember that if you do the hard yards you will reap the rewards when you enter the zone. The mysterious thing about the zone is that it sneaks up on you very quietly and you’re usually deeply entrenched in it before you even realise it is upon you. Finally, yes, I have tried a few good drugs in my younger days, but I have to say you cannot beat a good hit from a natural high. A good session in the zone can leave you sitting on cloud nine for many hours and in some circumstances even days. The best part is that it is free and extremely good for you! All it costs is a hell of a lot of hard work and commitment!
We not only sell a wide range of stand up paddle boards, we also run summer SUP lessons and tours in beautiful Merimbula. You can link directly to our lessons website from our SUP lessons page.
or go to merimbulasuplessons.com.au
Check out this YouTube clip I made which shows you how well our new seasons range of all-rounder SUP's glide and also how straight they track. In this clip I only paddle the 10'6" and the 9'4" which is the longest and shortest all -rounders in our collection. I hope you enjoy and please contact me if you have any questions at all.
I must get a smaller board as soon as possible!! This is an interesting thought process that seems to be part of the chain of thoughts that goes through every beginner to intermediate surfers head, especially when surfing SUPs. I put it down to being just a thought habit that we have developed over time. What I mean by this is sort of like when we are growing up and we are taught things by our parents that we treat as gospel. It’s not until we reach a certain age and develop our own understanding of the world that we begin to question these teachings and we start to realise that some of the things our parents taught us are not necessarily the exact way it really works. There’s a thought habit that has developed over the years of surfing that tells us that we all need to go smaller and lighter with our boards as soon as possible and if we do this we are going to rip the waves! Unfortunately, for some of us, this is not the case. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not for everyone. Some people are really fit and ooze natural surfing talent and absolutely rip on the smaller boards in any conditions. Let’s be clear here, I am talking about the average joe who has been bashing away for years and not getting anywhere in a great hurry. I am speaking from experience as I went through this whole thought habit process during my years of surfing short boards. This is where holding onto that old thought process, that you must get on the smallest lightest board as soon as possible, can really hold your surfing back. I spent years through my more influenceable years trying to ride small light boards just because that’s the way things were supposed to be done and because that was the rules of surfing that had been handed down to us from the older surfers (kind of like the teachings from our parents). It wasn’t until I finally started to allow my own thought processes to develop and defeated the old thought habits, that I got myself a broader selection of boards and from that point on my surfing improved rapidly. More importantly, the enjoyment I have in the water has escalated as I am now riding boards that suit me and have boards that suit all conditions. See, when your punching above your weight and riding ridiculously short, light boards that are not suited to your body size, skill, and fitness level the number of waves you catch is drastically minimalised. On these super small boards, you can only ride the suckiest waves as you need maximum wave power to push the board with your weight on it. You can’t push through the flat sections of the waves and 95% of your surfs just end up being a bundle of frustration! Personally, I found by swallowing my pride and getting on some boards with a little higher volume and even throwing a Malibu into my collection I found myself getting heaps more waves. I get out on more days as I have boards for all conditions and best of all I eliminated the frustration from my surfing and replaced it with enjoyment and fulfilment. Now how does this relate to SUPs? Well the same thing comes into play here. There seems to be a belief that your board needs to get smaller and smaller as quick as you can, but does this have to be the case? Is this necessarily what is going to work the best for you? I think the first step is to be happy with the big old board you’ve got (if you have one). Big boards are nice and easy to balance on and easier to catch waves on. If you can’t ride the big old board, are you going to be able to ride a smaller one? Do you need to spend more time on the big board working it out? Start to question the system and make your own decisions. If your learning to surf on a big SUP and you’re having trouble, is it the big board that is holding you back or is it yourself? Is it your fitness? Is it your knowledge of how things work in the wave zone? Is it where your feet are located on the board? I think these are important questions you need to ask before you place total blame on your board. We live in a society now where we want everything fast and we want it now, but is this always the best way to get things done? Has it not been proven over time that to achieve great results, sometimes it’s best to take one step at a time and be patient to achieve the best results. Remember when learning to SUP surf, repetition, repetition, repetition. I believe the best method is to start big and master each board before you decrease the size and volume of your board, this way your surfing will progress a lot faster. I often say to my customers, if you start on a small SUP you will probably be able to surf it in a couple of years, but if you start on a big board you will be charging a few nice little waves in 6 months! Eventually, with time and practice, you will be ripping on the small boards!
You’re probably asking yourself, so what’s with the weird looking board in the picture? well this is a little, or should I say rather large project I have been playing around with this winter. So how did I come to be playing around with these weird looking boards? Well I noted last summer that when I took customers for SUP trial sessions prior to purchase the same questions were arising repeatedly. these questions were, “am I going to be able to get the board on the roof racks of my car by myself?” “Is it going to be too heavy for me to carry?” and “do you think I’d be able to get away with having the smallest one and would that still work as a family SUP?” See the problem here is that everyone wants to jump on board and get into SUP, but everybody is also looking for ease of use and some Sups are so damn big they can be a real hassle especially for ladies of smaller stature.
Now there has been a couple of answers to this problem and the first is to purchase a small surf SUP. To a beginner this may sound like quite a rational solution, but to be honest there are quite a few problems associated with this. Firstly, as the name suggests, these boards are designed specifically for the surf and most of these boards are nowhere near as good to paddle on flat water as the larger all-rounders. This is due to the lack of volume in these boards (the shorter length + the lack of thickness + the lack of width). The lack of volume can also be a major negative factor on the boards performance as a family SUP. Secondly, most surf SUPs tend to have a bit more rocker for wave riding than all-rounders (rocker is the curve of the board from nose to tail). this has a massive negative effect on the flat-water paddling performance of the SUP as the large upward curve in the nose of the board tends to plough through the water rather than glide like the flatter all-rounders. Now the other option is to buy an inflatable SUP. This is fine if you like paddling around on a large air mattress, but the ride cannot be compared to a nice glass board. And then what happens when the kids are having fun down at the beach with their friends and are running the inflatable over all the rocks that are encrusted with sharp Oysters?
So, what I have been trying to do with this new interesting shape is to design quite a short board that tracks nice and straight but still has enough volume to accommodate the whole family. I focused on designing a board specifically for the flat-water paddler of smaller stature who needs to be able to get the board on and off the roof racks of a car. I also took into consideration that lugging a board onto the roof racks can be a bit of a pain so if the board is small enough it can be transported in the back of a ute or even in a station wagon or larger hatch back. It’s quite easy to bulk up the volume of a short board as to make it substantially buoyant and stable but it is another thing to design a short board that tracks as straight and glides as well as the longer cruising style all-rounders. These two functions are essential if you want a SUP that is comfortable and enjoyable for reasonably long paddles.
Anyway, I took this SUP for a long paddle yesterday and here are the results. This board is 8 feet 6 inches long, so it is quite short. The board is still a little heavy to carry but this could be rectified by changing to carbon fibre construction. This board is extremely buoyant. I weigh 90kg and the board could have easily handled a bit more weight than that. This board takes a little bit of getting used to as it I so very different but once you get your head around it, it feels quite nice. I even wandered out to the bar and caught quite a few little waves, and this is where I was extremely impressed. Although this board was not specifically designed for the surf environment it certainly stood up and was very impressive. It is extremely easy to paddle onto waves and surprisingly lose in the turns! I had an absolute ball in the small bumpy conditions. As I paddled back to the car this board had my head in a spin. I feel like I need to keep riding this strange piece of Supping equipment to work out all its secrets. As far as the tracking goes, no it is not perfect but for a board of this length it works OK.
Some good friends of ours, Barb and Geof recently came down to Merimbula lake to spend a bit of time with us trialing our brand new range of SUP's. Barb was interested in a small board as she is a very small lady and did not require a high volume board. After much discussion she chose the sexy new 8'6" surf SUP. She wants to mainly paddle it on flat water but I think I am going to have to take her out for a surf lesson on it because I rode mine in the waves yesterday and it was amazing. This board will be great for Barb as it paddles really nicely on the flat and tracks quite well for such a short board. Check out the pic I have attached of Barb having a sunset paddle at Wallagoot Lake on the far south coast on Saturday night. Great choice Barb and welcome to your new lifestyle! SUP! Thanks for sending me the pic!
Robyn picked up her custom pink 9'8" Classic All-Rounder this week and she was totally stoked! It was a total surprise for her when I opened the board bag as she had no idea at all of how it was going to look. It looks absolutely amazing! She could not get the smile off her face. We even gave her a bottle of Pink Champagne so she could go home, pour a glass and drool all over her new stick. ha ha ha ha.
Our all new summer range of SUP's have arrived. We have a wide range of sizes in a selection of colours. The images of the new boards will be on our website soon so stay tuned to this site. Please see the attached images for a sneak peak. If you have any questions please contact us as we would love to assist you.
Boards are available now to view or even test paddle. contact via our contact page or call me on
0407 420 496.