Hydrofoil, Different Sports of SUP and Chinese Crap Boards

July 8, 2016

It’s been a banner week for the family in the water.  The lead in photo is from this morning.  After a run of the biggest surf in the past few years, the Pacific went docile and local weather has been mellow making for massive family fun out front.  My goal as been to get the monsters on their own, so I could still grab waves and yesterday was our first day where we were all surfing.  The problem is that they follow me around and then ask me to push them into the best waves 😉  I’ve explained they have a few more months of that, then we’re battling.

There are so many beautiful ways to enjoy the ocean, seeing it anew through the eyes of your children might be the best.

Yesterday I posed some questions in the journal.  One was about the new hydrofoil trend that’s sweeping the internets.  Is it a good thing for paddle surfing?  Most of the responses, and I’m stoked you guys are chiming in with some excellent thoughts/ideas – folks who read paddlewoo spend time thinking about our sport – didn’t think that hydrofoil was good or bad, just a passing trend.

To that point, I agree.  I think it will prove too difficult to surf, too annoying to transport and too dangerous in lineups to take off.

But, the hydrofoil in the surf, the supsquatch, and guys BBQing or surfing on lawn chairs marginalize the sports of paddle surfing and racing.  Outsiders view those images and those associations are sticky.  It makes the path to legitimate sport that much harder.

Especially the BBQing and chair surfing.  I cringe every time I see a popular magazine run a photo of someone being an idiot on a paddle board.  It’s that InstaTwitBook, lowest common denominator, virality that is killing quality.

Some notes on comments from yesterday –

Dave wrote:

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.

I agree 100%.  I have used bikes as an example on the show numerous times.  There isn’t much commonality between a road bike and a Freestyle BMX.  Different sports.  We’ll see this differentiation over the next five years in performance SUP sports.

Right now a number of the top surfers are also top racers – less so in distance racing, think Travis Grant, Connor Baxter, Danny Ching.  Specialization will put an end to that.  The time required to master one discipline as the talent rises and athletes focus on racing or surfing will mean those who try to be dual sport athletes will be at a disadvantage.  Unfortunately, for surfing, the money is in racing and we might see the best athletes opt to race more than surf.

From Bodie:

The sooner all the crap Chinese wanna be board manufacturers fold the better, leaving passionate, objective oriented brands building better products for all!

There is nothing worse to me than someone who tries to profit off of someone else’s passion without sharing that passion.  As a group we should direct all of our business towards the passion driven, surfing first companies.  Hobie and Infinity, East Coast Paddle and L41, 27 North and QuickBlade.  The companies pushing innovation that will take our sport to the next level.

The companies that jumped into paddle surfing for profit will jump out when they don’t find it.

Ok, done with that…

This next week I’ll be doing a new series.  I’m coaching Jason, a private week, and it looks like the surf will be pumping.  The journal will follow our week and his progression (if it’s cool with him).

I love private weeks as they are more of a surf trip than surf camp for me. It’s a great excuse to tell the wife I’ve got to surf twice a day for the whole week, nap in the afternoons and have food prepared.

We might do an episode for the podcast.  I did one fan questions show a while back, and think the timing is good for a second.  So, hit me up with what you’d like to hear discussed.  Maybe we’ll conference in someone depending on the discussion.

Thoughts???  Let us know in the comments below.  Erik


Progression Journal

One Comment

  • Morgan Hurley

    Hey Erik, great article as always. I do have a question for ya in a way. My question is are we going to see the cost of sup surfboards go down anytime soon. As you remember the best shortboards out there sell for about $500-$700 and the best longboards typically go for $700-$1,000. The sup surfboards we are all progressing towards should be somewhere in the middle (considering the relative amount of foam needed) but companies like Infinity, Starboard, etc. range from $1,500-$2,500 for a board! I know they are using things like kevlar/carbon fiber to enhance the boards, but this is still way up there in price. So I guess my question is will there ever be a way to decrease the price to under a $1,000 for semi-custom boards (tried and true surf sups not the off the shelf 32″ wide boards) and still keep the quality up. I have been eyeing a custom Infinity for about a year now but no way can I justify spending $2,000 on a sup! I could buy 4 shortboards for that price! I am working with a shaper here locally who can shape the boards cheaper but would prefer getting it from the best (like buying a Merrick or DHD). Anyway, keep up the great work as always. I am bummed we didn’t link up in Costa but I am stoked you did well in the contest at Hermosa that weekend! Thanks

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