Keahi de Aboitiz – Aussie Prodigy talks Barrels, Airs, Videos and Travels

Keahi de Aboitiz – Aussie Prodigy talks Barrels, Airs, Videos and Travels

Keahi de Aboitiz joins the PaddleWoo Podcast and gives us a rundown of this travels, how he does those crazy airs and gets so barreled on a paddle board, his thoughts on volume and why he’s spending his winters in Hawaii.

As a huge fan of the sport you have to appreciate no only Keahi’s surfing but also his consistent videos.  I am excited to see his next edit for the 2nd PaddleWoo Video Contest which will kick off in a few week!!!

Enjoy the show and hit me up with questions, comments, or if you want to come down and surf for a week in Costa Rica with the crew!  Erik

The Vaz Brothers – Caio and Ian record from the Blue Zone in Costa Rica

The Vaz Brothers – Caio and Ian record from the Blue Zone in Costa Rica

Thanks for tuning into the paddlewoo podcast. Today’s guests are Caio and Ian Vaz. The famous Vaz Brothers. They have a reality surf show in Brazil, running 3 seasons. Caio is the current World Champ of the Standup World Tour, the most prestigious title in paddle surfing. He also just won the Male Paddler of the Year at the SUP awards last month in California.

Caio and Ian recorded this episode here in the Blue Zone of Costa Rica, on the Progression Project. I haven’t mentioned it on the show yet, but now that it is finished, I can let the cat out of the bag. Back a few months ago, I was talking to Mo Freitas, and told him about an idea I had… The idea was to get 8 of the world’s best paddle surfers, get them all in one location and run a peer voting contest. And to award the most progressive paddle surfer with a $5,000 prize at the end of the week. Mo liked the idea and so I started kicking around dates and the invite list.

Well, then I was out in Cali for the Huntington event and right before the event started the Standup world tour announced at a meeting there that the event in Huntington would be the final event for the year and the world champ would be crowned at that event. This meant that their schedules had just opened up for early November. I talked to some of the guys that were in on the project at that time, Mo, Noa, Fisher, Kieran and Zane and we decided to have a get together to talk about the project. I had rented a house right by the pier in huntington and right after the surf event we got together to talk about the Progression Project. It was pretty wild… by that point I had also talked to Caio and Giorgio and some of the surfers had mentioned it to other surfers… and we had about 12 or so guys in the house stoked on the project. We talked for a bit and everyone was super into the idea, but no one wanted it to be a contest. These guys travel all around the world competing with each other and they just wanted to go on a surf trip together. That was fine with me, and we decided to do a movie around the Progression Project.

The dates were set and for the last 13 days I’ve had 9 of the world’s best paddle surfers here in the Blue Zone absolutely killing it! It has been one of the best projects I’ve worked on and I’m super excited to get the finished product out to you guys. That’s going to be a few months, post edit, but I can say we did score and the boundaries of paddle surfing were defined on the trip. Caio and Ian arrived first and after our second surf, we sat down to record this podcast.

Before we get to the episode, I need to say that Blue Zone SUP sponsored a large part of the progression project and we’d be stoked to surf with you here in the blue zone… Email us for information about camps and check our Facebook page for photos of the Progression Project and our new headquarters. During the progression project we had at one point 13 guys living in the compound. Normally we like smaller camps of about 6 guys, but apparently we’ve got space to do bigger groups. December is a great time and we just opened up the week of December 6th — shoot us an email if you want to come down. We need a group of 4 to run, so bring some buddies.

Alright, lets get into it…

Giorgio Gomez has a very real discussion about the SUP Industry

Giorgio Gomez has a very real discussion about the SUP Industry

I was going to write an article about this episode, but I’ve decided not to.  I’ll just outline the discussion and I would like to get your thoughts on it in the comments.  I appreciate Giorgio’s candor and think that this discussion will create a needed conversation about evolution on standup surfboard design by the larger manufacturers.

Production Boards vs. Custom Boards – who should be riding what and what athletes are riding

Why are SUP Surfers racing more and more?

The Vibe in California vs. East Coast vs. Europe for SUP Surfing

Giorgio gives a Backside Surfing Clinic

Why is SUP Surfing Closely Linked to Big Waves and Should it be?


Hawaii 2015 from Giorgio Gomez on Vimeo.

Fisher Grant

Fisher Grant

Episode 7 of the podcast features Fisher Grant.  Fisher is an inspiration to me as a surfer, as he is arguably the most well rounded 18 year-old in our world.  In the Surfing America’s Championships this month in California, Fisher placed 5th in shortboard (missing the final by less than a point), 2nd in longboard, and he won the SUP surfing event.

I wanted Fisher to come on the show as he is in a unique position to comment on where SUP surfing fits into surfing as a whole, what he loves about it, and how he feels surfing multiple disciplines helps each.  He is candid and thoughtful with his responses and I hope I get the opportunity to surf and play some music with Fisher at some point in the future.


I feel that I can push a lot harder on a Standup than I can on a Shortboard. – Fisher Grant




Fisher’s Website –

Fisher and his brother Kieran’s Facebook page –

Fisher’s Instagram –

Show Notes:

  • 0:45 – Fisher Grant gives us some bio info, surf history though shortboard, longboard and SUP.  Started contests at 10 years old.
  • 1:30 – Travel history.  Lots of California, Mexico, Nica, France and Morocco with Standup World Tour
  • 2:50 – USA National Championships, Fisher won SUP, 2nd at Longboard and 5th in Shortboard.
  • 3:30 – Fisher talks differences between Shortboard, Longboard, and SUP.
  • 4:50 – Longboard is all about style, Shortboard fits into tight pockets.
  • 5:50 – Erik explains when he fell in love with SUP surfing (perfect marriage between style, flow and power)
  • 7:00 – Does SUP make Fisher a better shortboarder?  Longboard?
  • 7:44 – Is it an advantage to do all three sports?  Fisher says definitely
  • 8:30 – How does the paddle fit in?  How do you think of it while surfing?
  • 9:00 – What is Fisher’s take on “paddle tricks?”
  • 10:10 – How does Fisher approach backside surfing on a standup?
  • 11:30 – Fisher uses 27North paddles, cut about forehead high
  • 12:48 – Fisher is 5’10” and 155lbs, riding 65-70L, he’s underwater when he’s waiting for waves
  • 13:21 – Tail high technique, doing a duck-dive with your feet…
  • 13:49 – Erik gets honest about why he’s doing the podcast
  • 14:10 – Fisher loves futures fins, they’re more responsive.  Futures you should sponsor Fisher Grant!  He uses Futures Blacksticks
  • 15:12 – Fisher is an artist, he explains his work.  He is getting into playing guitar.  His dad is his agent.
  • 17:10 – Fisher’s plans for the future?  Full time on Standup World Tour
  • 18:40 – Payette River Games, why did the surfers have the advantage?
  • 19:20 – What is the most difficult?  Shortboard, Longboard, or SUP?  He says SUP.  Is it harder to catch waves on a SUP?
  • 20:40 – Informational advantage on a SUP.
  • 20:50 – Would it change shortboarder’s attitudes to know how hard it is to SUP?
  • 22:00 – SUP Native vs. SUP Immigrant
  • 24:00 – What does a Paddle Enhanced Video look like in 10 years?  Where are boards?
  • 25:00 – Fisher says not to rush into a very low liter board, you need to work down to it.
  • 26:00 – Fisher surfed a normal longboard at the Carolina Cup contest?  He got 2nd to Colin McPhillips in that event.
  • 27:45 – Closing Thoughts – Just do what makes you have fun!
Colin McPhillips comes back for a BIG Announcement!  We talk how to get out in big beach breaks and Best Videos

Colin McPhillips comes back for a BIG Announcement! We talk how to get out in big beach breaks and Best Videos

Episode 6 of the podcast features our first returning guest, Colin McPhillips.  After Colin’s first episode aired I received a number of emails asking for Colin to come back on and go deeper into technical aspects of paddle enhanced surfing.  I asked, he agreed, and Episode 6 is now live…

On the show Colin and I discuss our favorite SUP surfing videos (most linked to in the show notes below), how to get out at beach breaks on bigger days and our vocabulary/terminology….  Do we need our own vernacular?

The third point is something I want folks to start thinking about…  We have a sport that is 80% similar to surfing, but because we use a paddle the maneuvers do not correlate 100%.  Currently, we are trying to fit surfing terminology on top of paddle enhanced surfing, and it doesn’t fit.  Moving forward, how should we define our sport?  Without defined maneuvers it is hard to have technical discussions about progression.  Just a thought.

Of note from the episode is the announcement of PaddleWoo’s Pro-Am Video Contest, with Media Partner Standup Journal!  PaddleWoo is hosting a Video Contest with a Guaranteed $3,000 cash purse and the top Amateur spot wins a free week here in Costa Rica, daily pro video sessions and local knowledge…  everything except airfare.  (full details on the contest will be available very soon)

Listen and Enjoy!




Show Notes

  • 0:45 – Welcome to the show!  Colin McPhillips is here to discuss technical ways to get out in bigger surf.
  • 1:30 – Big Announcement Teaser!
  • 1:50 – Inclusion of Mo Freitas (possible future guest???)
  • 2:30 – Erik and Colin Talk Videos, what videos pop out?
  • 3:05 – Stand Up Paddle Move (Laird, Kalama, McPhillips) –
  • 4:30 – Kai Lenny’s SUP Movie –
  • 5:20 – Power rail surfing vs. flicky turns (do boards define how you surf?) – are we limited by design?
  • 6:30 – Keahi de Aboitiz – 7.4 JP, small beach break –
  • 7:40 – Keahi in Indo Part 1 –
  • 8:10 – Is Keahi riding the production 7.4 in those videos?  Erik bets no, looks thinner with less rocker
  • 8:50 – How does he get those barrels without slipping in the barrel? What fins?  (gotta get Keahi on the show!)
  • 9:30 – Colin educates us on side slipping in barrels on bigger boards.
  • 10:10 – Erik talks setting up barrels and waves way ahead of time on a SUP
  • 11:00 – If you’re not putting yourself in the right place before you take off on the wave, you’re already behind the 8 Ball
  • 13:20 – Kai Lenny Air Reverse Video –
  • 14:00 – Caio Vaz’s huge air in the wave pool
  • 14:30 – Caio and Ian Vaz Nias –, VazBrothers Youtube Channel
  • 17:30 – Are there surfing riding very low volume ratios who are tall?  Sean and Mo are both about 5.10. – Colin says Mo’s skills are unreal for paddling
  • 19:00 – PaddleWoo’s BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!  The PaddleWoo Video Contest.  Prizes for both Pro and Amateurs.  $3,000 Cash Prize overall, and Top Amateur Prize is a free week in Costa Rica (excluding airfare)
  • 21:00 – Colin calls out Fisher and Kieren Grant, wants to see their videos
  • 21:40 – Little McPhillips entry???  Will they make Colin film?
  • 22:15 – Colin says the week in CR is worth more than the top cash prize.
  • 23:00 – Videos have to be original and fresh.  You need to have music rights.
  • 24:20 – Surfing caliber is more important than production value
  • 25:00 – Colin McPhillips agrees to be a judge live on the show
  • 26:00 – Colin calls out Poenaiki Raioha
  • 27:15 – Conversation gets technical on getting out in big surf at a beach break
  • 28:00 – Colin’s favorite move is to shoot the board over the whitewater, it doesn’t work for Erik. Colin explains why…  mostly timing
  • 30:30 – When you let your board just go you run the risk of breaking boards
  • 31:00 – Colin and Erik both use 6 foot leashes.  Colin uses On a Mission 6ft. comp leashes.  Erik swears by Ocean and Earth Premium 6ft.
  • 33:00 – In Cali, at home, Colin doesn’t wear a leash too much
  • 33:30 – Colin explains that it makes him a better surfer to surf without a leash, the challenge sharpens the skills
  • 34:40 – Tactic – longboard move of sitting down with the nose up and letting the foam hit the board and pop over.  Only works on bigger boards
  • 35:30 – If you do get caught right by the lip, just try to get your board out of the impact area.
  • 36:40 – Get your board parallel to the lip so if it does get hit by the lip it is on a stronger axis
  • 37:20 – Standing duck dives… more of a novelty, they get you super worked if done wrong
  • 39:00 – Tactics for swimming with your paddle
  • 40:00 – Where do you hold your paddle when paddling prone
  • 42:40 – Do you use your paddle when your underwater getting destroyed?  Can it be helpful?
  • 44:00 – Erik tells a story about almost knocking his head off
  • 44:30 – It’s surprising how easy it is to hold a paddle underwater in turbulence
  • 45:00 – Pushing off the bottom with your paddle when you’re getting held down
  • 46:00 – Last topic of the episode – Vocabulary/Terminology for Paddle Enhanced Surfing
  • 49:40 – Backside vs. Frontside, Colin calls out Giorgio Gomez for the video contest, says he has incredible backside game
  • 51:15 – Starboard’s better backside???  Because of weight?
  • 51:40 – Colin really likes light boards.
  • 52:40 – Erik says he’s confused about what board to ride next weekend in the contest here, Colin says bring 3 and pick one and go with it…
  • 54:00 – Colin love Boca Barranca, Fiesta Hotel
  • 56:00 – Colin bought a jet ski back in the day just for point breaks, Erik’s wife is against Erik getting one
  • 57:40 – Colin gets so stoked talking about surfing that he has to go out there and surf… Last thoughts from Colin are go get some incredible footage for the contest!