Growth. Do we care?

Erik Antonson
Erik Antonson
July 7, 2016

Long-form it is.  I’ve got a good handle on the project now and it’s fully in-line with what Paddlewoo has been focused on since the beginning.  I haven’t talked to Kalama, Boehne and Colin yet about the change in mission, but it’s the first time I’ve felt solid.  I hope they’re stoked too.

It might mean I have to push back a bit from September because the interviews don’t hold up with the new objective.  If I can solve that from Costa Rica we’ll be on time, but my guess is that I’ll need to be with the guys to get the audio or it will sound horrible.  Best I could do from here would come out like a podcast and that is lacking.

In the past few days I’ve written three journals that I didn’t publish.  That’s a first for me.  I’ve been thinking about the industry and sport and have some big thoughts, some that I’m not ready to commit to forever.

Here are a few questions that I’d like to get your insight on…

  • Do you think the hydrofoil videos and popularity online is good for paddle surfing?  Or, does it marginalize the sport?
  • Have we hit our tipping point, where even though the industry is in the midst of hard times, and we’ll see brands go away, that the sport will continue to grow.  And do we, the passionate few, even care?
  • Where should growth in our sport come from?  Do you think we should be actively trying to recruit surfers?  Should we bring new paddle surfers up through the ranks of race and recreation?  And, do we care?

To the latter, I’ve landed on I don’t care.

In the espresso-fueled, rabbit-hole of the last few days, I’ve decided that Paddlewoo’s mission and focus will be the enhancement of the already passionate.  I’m open to any ideas that further that goal.

We’ve got our core.  I’m beyond stoked at the amount and thoughtfulness of emails I get from all of you.  And I think the highest and best use of Paddlewoo and this platform, is to help raise the collective performance of our sport.

I’m convinced that’s the way forward for paddle surfing.

Progression Journal


  • Shane

    Noticed you had gone a little quite. Hard to keep up that pace and no doubt your climbing into that movie . Cant wait.
    Foils .. after Kia posted that prone surf clip yesterday everyone will be fizzing on foiling for a while. Tried it at the beach on Sunday and got up with out to many problems on a 8’5. Its going to be a complete nightmare once a few people get out there. Steep waves faces and crowds will be ugly. Still I think the investment in foils and boards will keep it at bay. Everything that moves will have a foil attached soon so they will be flavour of the month for quite some time yet.
    I doubt we have reached the peak yet as many surfers are moving over and all those mainstream people will find themselves trying waves. Kitesurfing was the same and now even windsurfing is making a come back. SUP is just taking a breath. In fact a lot of people who come from surfing end up racing like Mo.
    Keep up the stoke brother

  • Dave

    I think the hydrofoil video is cool but will have no effect on anything.

    I don’t think the sport is anywhere near the end of growth but I’m not sure it can sustain all the companies servicing it. It is still expensive to get into and after your first cheap all rounder your looking at serious money for a decent surf or race SUP. It’s taken me years to build a quiver of surfboards and even they are getting old now and to buy a name SUP is about twice or more my custom longboard. I moved from an 11 footer to a 9’6″ but would like to try something smaller but can’t afford to buy another board. I never took up windsurfing for a similar reason, it was too expensive to buy something to learn on and then have to buy another not long after to actually pull out any performance.

    I really like your podcast and a couple of times you’ve discussed the where will they consume from question that got me thinking. I came from surfing. I’ve surfed for over 30 years, was anti-SUP when they first started mainly because they were just big chunks of foam but picked it up to supplement surfing. As it is now my surfboards gather dust as I either SUP or handplane. It’s partly because of the waves but also SUP is a new challenge. The same types of moves that I did on my surfboards are new on my standup and I get to think about the little nuances to improve all over again. I think SUP isn’t a single thing. I like your concept of paddle enhanced surfing and see the SUP as just another surfing thing I have. If the conditions and me are right for a SUP I do that, if it’s good for a shortboard I do that, if it’s good for my handplane I do that. I see the recruits for this style will be from surfers, especially older surfers, with some other existing beach users such as surf lifesavers and windsurfers who like to do anything on the water.

    Racing, flat water and touring will have a different pool such as canoe or more athletic focused people. I consider them different sports. Just like motor racing F1 and motoGP are all motor racing but they have different equipment, skills, participants and audience.

    Great to hear your going the long form route. That’s something that will help grow the sport.

  • Bodie Shandro

    1. The hydrofoil has to be a fad if it even develops to that level. I grew up a water skier and there was a toy called the “air chair”. Essentially a seated hydrofoil. My father would not even consider getting one close to the boat as it was so heavy, cumbersome and just plane difficult to use. Is it cool in surf, not sure, looks fun but a don’t expect we’ll see it on a world tour ever! Good for paddlesurfing….no impact in my mind. Won’t see me packing one down to Mexico or Costa Rica for a vacation !

    2. Consolidation of the sport = a good thing. I am 52 years old, living in the mountains in Canada. Witnessed what happened in snowboarding and that was good for the industry. Too much junk on the market today and very confusing for the average consumer. I am an industry rep, own a school with rentals and a pro shop. The sooner all the crap Chinese wanna be board manufacturers fold the better, leaving passionate, objective oriented brands building better products for all!

    3. Growth, again as a Canadian company operating inland, our market is exponentially bigger on lakes and rivers than ocean surfing. That being said, I have taken guests that have never ever been on the water from a lesson, to a rental with friends, to buying a board(s), coming back for advanced lessons, and then coming on my paddle surf trips. Now thats the methodical way to grow the sport through education and experience.

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