Summer Glide – My Thoughts on the Popdart and Video

Summer Glide – My Thoughts on the Popdart and Video

Summer Glide – Costa Rica on a Popdart from The Progression Project on Vimeo.

I’ve been sitting on writing the full review of the Popdart from L-41 for a bit now.  I didn’t want to write it until I felt that I understood the board, and have always felt that the board had so much more potential than I was getting out of it.  It did, and after the breakthroughs I have had on the L-41 and in my paddle surfing in the last week, I’m stoked to give you my thoughts.

To understand the process, we’ve got to jump back a few months.  When I bought the board I was envisioning a shortboard feel.  Thinking about the 2017 contest season, focused on “performance.”  My hope with the short size, it’s a 6.10 x 26.5, and the stepped rails, was that I’d be able to drive it hard through turns, and fit in smaller spaces.  And while using the framework of surfing like I would on my small Hobie or the 7.4 Starboard Pro, the L-41 was faster, but lacked the drive to draw the tight lines that either of the other boards could draw.  I got out of the water frustrated on a few occasions, and then put the board away.

That was late November and the next few weeks I was running retreats and coaching, which means I’m not focused on personal surfing.  The sessions I did have on all boards felt flat, and I knew that my surfing was stagnant.  Stuck in old lines and mental frameworks.  This is about the time that Fisher Grant, who was here for 3 weeks in December (and coming back on Thursday for a few weeks of helping with the retreats) said I should hop on single fins for a bit.  I bought Donna, the 6.9 Takayama, and for the next 22 days, only surfed that board.  For the first few sessions I was stuck in the framework of shortboard surfing.  It didn’t work.

Extrapolating on that point, my paddle surfing model has always been shortboard surfing.  I come from a shortboard background and I’ve modeled the best in our sport, but their styles are largely shortboard inspired.  (Not Colin, Kalama, Fisher and a few others).

When I dive into a new skill, my approach is to start with consumption.  I’ll watch every relevant video, try to talk to anyone who is farther ahead on the learning curve and use that knowledge to prioritize my focus.  In this case, on the single fin, with the goal of learning to draw more true lines, I went back a few decades.  Gerry Lopez, Buttons, even old longboard videos.  Modern inspirations were Colin McPhillips, Fisher Grant, Alex Knost and Devon Howard.

My goal is to add a new framework through which to see waves.

I’m not a martial artist, but there are so many similarities that martial arts provides a good analogy.  If you had trained in Muay Thai for decades, you’d interpret a fight in a Muay Thai framework.  If you decided to learn boxing, at the beginning you’d see boxing through Muay Thai, relating techniques and principles.  Then at some point you’d see boxing from a boxing framework.  The beauty happens when you transition back to Muay Thai and can analyze it with the boxing framework.  Now you have a new framework in which to interpret your true passion.

I want to learn the single fin framework and bring it back to paddle surfing.  And for 22 days I went about as deep as it’s possible in that short window.  I averaged about 5 hours in the water per day and studied video another 2-4.  I’m at my happiest in the middle of a binge learning session, and it was a great few weeks.  (It’s not over, but has to taper a bit as we’re running retreats and I’m coaching for the next few weeks.)

And this all comes back to the Popdart as the board provides an amazing platform for the lines I’ve been trying to learn on the single fin.

So, my review on the Popdart is that it’s an incredible surfboard.  I’ve already written about how solid the build is, top level, but I’ve waited to talk about the ride.  Once you learn the board, and stop imposing the shortboard framework, it’s one of the best paddle boards I’ve ridden.  The glide and carry in flat sections is unmatched.  The board smooths out choppy paddle surfing.


Fins, The Guide – Video Podcast with Tyler Callaway of FCS

Fins, The Guide – Video Podcast with Tyler Callaway of FCS

Tyler Callaway dropped some knowledge about fins on Episode 34 of the Podcast.  Tyler is a return guest, so if you’d like to, know his story, listen to this.

This is a video episode, and should be watched as a video, especially the first 20 minutes when Tyler is using fins to explain different principles.  I’ve also produced an audio show, but you’ll miss a bit.

Enjoy this technical discussion of fins in SUP paddle boards.  Some key points from the show –

  • Wider tails generally work better as quads
  • Quads are faster, but they draw wider lines
  • Thrusters excel in turns past 90 degrees, surf better vertically, but take more to get going
  • If you want to turn harder go bigger front fins and smaller back fin/s
  • More rake will draw out turn, less rake will feel faster and turn harder, but slide out first
  • Tyler advocates trying different sets of fins in your board before settling, you never know what set will flow with the board
  • FCS2 center box fin is a game-changer, adjust placement during a surf

PaddleWoo’s $3,000 Video Contest – VOTE NOW

At PaddleWoo we believe that Paddle Enhanced Surfing is the future of surfing. We are currently in the Dog Town era of our sport and athletes like Justin, Mo, Fisher, Kieran and Noa are leading the charge in progression. We at PaddleWoo want to encourage, promote and showcase their passion and talent for this sport we love so we created the PaddleWoo Video Contest and threw down a $3,000 prize for the top videos.

Enjoy the videos and vote below and by sharing and liking your favorites on our Facebook page at and on Standup Journal’s Facebook page at this week.

We are also taking registrations for the 2nd PaddleWoo Video Contest. Videos will be due by November 31st, 2015 and we are already guaranteeing at least a $3,000 prize. (if you want to sponsor the contest and help grow the prize pool contact us)

Thanks for tuning in and enjoy!!!!!

Vote for the PaddleWoo Video Contest

  • Mo Freitas (45%, 306 Votes)
  • Noa Ginella (38%, 260 Votes)
  • Justin Holland (7%, 46 Votes)
  • Fisher Grant (5%, 36 Votes)
  • Kieran Grant (5%, 34 Votes)

Total Voters: 682

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