We have had an amazing time on our East Coast tour. Charleston put it on for us, Mex1 and Morgan did it right and the film played to a packed house.
It’s tough to evaluate how good something is in reality when everyone tells you it’s great. I’m a natural contrarian and if everyone is saying the same stuff I get skeptical. If we’re looking through the lens of deliberate practice that isn’t actionable feedback.
The metrics I’m looking at during the film are smiles, laughs, hoots and engagement. From that standpoint I do think folks are enjoying it. And from a personal standpoint, it’s getting harder and harder to watch as more time passes since I’ve surfed a real wave. The countdown to Cali is on, and the swell is looking solid for our whole first week. I hope Colin’s ready because the froth is frothing over right now!
Yesterday I attended a JP demo day on Isle of Palms. Charleston has a vibrant paddle surfing scene. As it should, given the amount of surfers and lack of quality waves. It’s a natural progression and I’d guess that as surfers in towns like Charleston realize the amount of fun possible on paddle boards we’ll have massive conversion.
I used the opportunity to borrow Corey’s 7.2 x 25 at 82Ls JP. I’ve been wanting to paddle that board for a while given I’m a fan of the 7.4 (too wide and fat in the nose) and the 8.0 (a great board, just long). I’m about 4kg from where I normally paddle, 3 weeks in the states will do that to me, and on this trip I’ve actually be trying to pack on a few pounds. I get cold in Costa Rica and think having an extra few natural millimeters on the body won’t hurt in Cali. Water temps are about 62 from what I’m seeing online and I haven’t put on a wetsuit since 2006.
Even with the extra kgs the 82L JP paddled great. It’s a definite sinker, I was at my thigh, but the grip is so good that I was able to hold. She’d be tough in choppy surf, but in clean conditions it would be no problem.
I can’t comment on how it surfs because the waves were about knee high and lacked any power. I did get into a couple and it has that JP feel. I’d expect a smaller feeling pro model. It’s all going to be in the bottom turn. The 7.4 lacks drive off the bottom, the 8.0 has it, but it requires a lot of rail which then limits you off the lip. Maybe the 7.2 is the one. I’m going to talk to Garry to see if there’s a way to test this board in some waves in Cali or back home.
My second objective was to drill on the paddle technique Larry Cain talked about on the podcast. I use a very similar stroke. Where we differ is in leaning forward and getting your weight on your paddle. My contention during the show was that it would be difficult in riding smaller boards. I felt that yesterday.
I tested it on two boards – first the 7.2. I could get the weight forward on the toes, but every 2nd or 3rd stroke the nose would bury and require a massive shift to the tail, at times a correction back-stroke, and all momentum was lost. I fell a number of times. While the stoke may be faster, at this point I don’t think it’s possible on sinker boards. I’m sure there is also a component of nose surface area, and that JP has a small nose.
The second board I rode was the 8.6 pro, pretty sure it was at 29 wide. It was a big board but surfed much like the 8.0. My wife shot this photo on an iphone.
Drilling on paddle weighting on the 8.6 was 100% different. The board felt stable in the water and the nose volume, rocker and surface area held the forward weight with no issues.
At this point there is something to explore further in the stoke and the final decision may come down to the size board you’re riding.
Just like in surfing, techniques that apply to large boards don’t necessarily apply to small boards. It’s one of the reasons why I advocate racing to the bottom ASAP. No sense in learning techniques that won’t apply to where you want to end up.
The Progression Project East Coast tour has given me a glimpse of the real folks who paddle surf. It’s been hugely beneficial to see where you are in the progression curve and hear what you love about the sport.
I’m stoked that a resounding theme has been embracing the race to the bottom and flattered that many paddle surfers have said the show and journal have inspired you to push your limits.
I’m looking forward to Charleston on Saturday night and Atlanta on the 21st. Then… I got to get some surf!
Board update – It’s torture to be getting these photos in Thomson, GA.
Today marks two weeks on the road. And while we’ve spent a good amount of time on the water, mostly fishing, surf time has been a total of 90 minutes. We caught some fun Jacksonville Beach lines yesterday. Ideal for the monsters. I got to try an 8.2 Stu Sharpe. It was a bit wide, 32, but after a bit I got the hang of turning her. Worked well for a board that big if you got all your weight back and really used the tail rocker. Just felt good to get in the water!
I hit the surf expo on Friday. Some observations –
In the whole show I really only saw two performance paddle surf boards. The Focus Mo Model is insane! I spent the majority of my time at expo chatting with Pat Rawson. I think we’ll be doing a board series together, like that with Kirk. Pat is a good dude, was great to get to hang with him. I was stoked that he enjoyed doing the podcast and said he got some orders off of it. Good to know that guests value the experience.
Also saw the new Starboard 7.4, the 2017 Sean Poynter model. I think it will surf much like the 2016. Tail looked a bit wider than the 2016, but rails were thinner, which might help my biggest complaint about the 2016 – rail turns. They did something strange with it, and that’s the ability to change from a squash tail to a pin tail. Might help in bigger surf. It doesn’t look like it would add any volume.
Met Gerry Lopez! That was pretty cool, and he said he’d do the show. I know he’s busy, but it we could line that up I’d be stoked, and I think you all would too. What do you want me to ask Gerry?
Been showing the Progression Project film. Incredibly stoked on the reaction to the film and the comments about the podcast and focus on the sport. I live on a dirt road in the middle of the rain forest. So I don’t get much in the way of feedback on what I’m doing. Also, the audience for the show tends not to be much for facebook commenting, which I get, I’m not either. I see how many folks listen and know how long folks spend reading the journal, so I know you guys enjoy it. But it’s cool to hear it, and to hear that something I’ve done has inspired someone. Lots of folks this week have told me that the podcast and journal has pushed them to drop liters and try new techniques. All that will make the sport better and that’s the goal, so I’m beyond stoked it’s working.
Incredible to see the passion. We’re a small group. But the fire burns bright. Guys like Mike McGann, Mike Grant, Tony Lippi, Matt Hite, Fuller Callaway, Morgan Hurley. Guys that love the sport enough to go out of their way to host the showings. So cool to get to meet you all and you’re local tribes! I can only be optimistic about the future when I see and hear folks amping!
That passion isnt’ shared by the industry from what I saw at expo. The industry of SUP isn’t my sport. At least when you walk around the surf vendors or wake board vendors you get the impression that the companies understand what’s happening at the pinnacle of their sport. I didn’t get that feeling from the SUP area. A yogi, or fisherman would feel just as at home as a true paddle surfer. The smallest board that most vendors, companies that pride themselves as surf focused, and have top athletes, had on display was about 8ft and super wide. Only Focus was showing videos of performance surfing. A Mo reel on loop.
Tonight is the St. Augustine show. Tomorrow we’re in Jax. Hope to meet some of you folks! E
We’re working on the East Coast Progression Project Tour. It’s lining up. If you’re interested in showing the film to your local group of paddlers let me know. This is a grass roots sport and we’re spreading the love in a grass roots way. Small groups of passionate folks in cool places. Here’s what we’ve lined up so far. It’s all subject to change, and I’ll update if anything does.
September 8th. Sushi Jo’s in Juno Beach
September 9th or 10th in Orlando, Location TBD
September 12th (pretty sure on the date) in St. Augustine at Panama Hattie’s
September 15th or 17th in Charleston, Location TBD
September 20th (pretty sure on date) in Atlanta at Patagonia
And… I’ve been missing journaling in the last week. Life catches up at times, but tonight I had an incredible session. Paddle surfing is broad sport. It encompasses everything surfing has – the art of it, zen, flow, speed. But it also comes with power, work and aggression.
Tonight was one of those nights where I felt like working hard. 10 years ago I would have hit Gold’s Gym and done legs. When you just want to mess yourself up, change your chemistry in a positive manner.
I love that paddle surfing provides that opportunity.
So tonight, I found an empty peak, put my head down and went 100% for an hour. Heart rate maxed out, tons of waves and an incredible workout. It was also an amazing surf. I’m finding lines in the past month I didn’t know I could muster on a standup. I credit spending more time on the shortboard and drawing sharper lines, then bringing that mindset back to the SUP. Playing around more with using the tail coming through turns and less paddle. Aiming more vertical and working on releasing the tail. I’m getting solid release and fins out the back, but not pulling it often, yet.
Definitely being influenced by Caio and Gio watching the Progression Project every day 😉
Can’t wait to share it with you guys. I enjoy the immediacy of the podcast, and sharing what I learn – been more difficult sitting on this.
What up folks! Here’s what I’m working on this week.
Progression Project! Finally… It looks like we’re nearing the end on this 8 month project. We’ve set a date in Juno, FL at Sushi Jo’s for the first release party. Mike from 27 is helping to coordinate there. That will be the 8th of Sept. Might look into doing one in Orlando during the expo and then St. Augustine a few days later, maybe at Panama Hattie’s. If anyone has a good idea about Orlando let me know… Not sure if there’s a following for paddle surfing in Atlanta, but we’ll be there for a few days also, so maybe we could set up a showing. If you’d like to organize a showing at your hometown, send me an email.
Then it will be off to California.
We’ll be spending about a month in Cali, and I’m trying to figure out what board I’d like to have shaped and waiting. I’m going to go with one of the following – Hobie, Infinity, L41 or Rawson. I’ve had great Hobies and Infinities. I love the way the L41s look and if you look at progressive surfing and Mo’s videos, it’s tough to argue with a Rawson.
For dimensions, I’d like to go smaller, but keep volume. I had a conversation with Kirk from L41 last week, and we’re toying around with using a step rail. He makes a SIMSUP, a wider board, but short, and thinks that I could hit 7ft or under at 85L. I love surfing retro twinnies, that fat, floaty feel. Not sure how it would translate to a paddle board. When I do a rail turn, I really like to bury the rail, but longer boards flatten out the turn.
It makes me think about the 7.4 Starboard Airborne. That board had tail rocker dailed in. I think better than their pro shapes. When I look at the lines it could draw and the wrap-arounds that I was doing 2 years ago, at a much lower level, I’d like to get some of that in my next shape. It was just a boat up front.
I’ve also considered going a touch longer, but really bringing the width down. Going 7.7 at 24, still hitting 85.
I think 85 is my mark. At 85 I still have fun in choppy or windy surf. The Starboard and F-One, both at 82L, become more about paddling than surfing. But then you get to the 7.9 Infinity and it’s too long, but dreamy to paddle.
How do we find that middle ground? Fun to paddle, but still radical??? I think we’re missing something. To me, it doesn’t make sense that boards are modeled after shortboards. The requirements are different. There’s going to be a better way to distribute the volume.
If you’re a shaper and have an idea, let me know… I’d love to be the test pilot.
The first leg of this fall trip will be in FL, likely without much surf. It’s funny, I get a touch nervous at the thought of a few weeks without much water-time. For the last decade my life has revolved around the ocean and surfing, more so this past year with the kids surfing. Generally a few days into a vacation I’m daydreaming about being home, at a week, I’m looking for excuses to leave. So, I devised a system that works for me. When I know I’ll be undertaking a run of non-surfing time I focus on a project. The last 2 trips were about photography/videography, getting ready for the Origins trip which we shot. You can see that trip, and some photos I took, in the latest SUP the Mag Issue. The goal was to be a published photographer.
I think for this trip, with the timing, I might try to learn to race. The Pacific Paddle Games will be a month after I get back to the states. I’ve never paddled a race board. So, it would be an excellent challenge to break down race technique and see how far I could take it in a month.
I haven’t vetted this idea yet, and it will require borrowing a race board from someone in Florida and then again in Cali. But I think I can figure that out. Since it will be only a month, I won’t be able to get into distance shape, and I hate distance anyways, so I’ll focus on the sprint.
Any racers out there read this? If so, where should I start? My initial thought is breaking down Mo’s start and Danny or Connor’s stroke. What about buoy turns? I hope the steam from last year’s event is still online, got to be a ton of gems in there. Any other insight???