Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer SUP stand up paddling: Hydrate!

Okay folks, the dog days of summer are upon us and this is prime time for laying down those stand up paddle miles. Before you go embarking on a twenty mile paddle expedition, get yourself prepared. In the next couple weeks I'll run through your summer paddling survival checklist.

1. Hydrate: Drink early, drink often and don't wait until you're thirsty- that's the mantra of outdoor guides who know the value of keeping your fluid levels up when the thermometer is hitting its red line. Now is a great time to look into a nifty-new backpack style hydration system like the SUP specific versions made by CamelBak. A while ago, these guys sent me a unit called the Tahoe that I really like. The Tahoe holds 50 ounces of fluid and, best of all, it doesn't have shoulder straps like some of their other models. I find that shoulder straps can start to rub on me on long paddles creating hot spots and eventually a rash or blister.

My favorite pack- see that white string? That's for looping around your neck and keeping the sip tube near your mouth, now just remember to use it!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Paddlesurf shots with IronX camera... cool!

I was able to grab some screen shots from the video that I shot with the IronX Action Cam at the end of my paddle. Check them out- I think they're kinda cool!

8'4 CreedSUP Seed model. This is what it looks like to go down the line, surfing a stand up paddleboard.

Dropping into a wave. See that fluorescent green watch on my wrist? It's actually the remote trigger to start the IronX video camera that's attached to the end of my paddle. Cool little set up.
Kind of a cool little shot- you can see the break behind me, that's where I rode this wave from. This spot is called Venom's because if you put your foot down, you're sure to step on a venomous urchin!
Flying off the bottom.
And then coming off the top.
Here's a shot of the camera attached to the end of my paddle.
This was a sweet little camera set up, it took nice shots, was totally watertight and I loved the way that the remote triggered the camera- this made it easy to start and stop. Thanks IronX for supplying us with cameras!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Paddle Surf Gear Guide: Oakley Compression Shirt and Shorts

I'm pretty much the world's biggest surf gear skeptic. I don't believe much hype and I come from a, "Less is More" school of thought. So when my good buddy Andrew Pate, who is an Oakley sales rep and member of our current mainland Mexico surf assault team, tossed me one of Oakley's new compression surf shirts and said to pair it with what looked like a fancy pair of biker shorts, you can guess what my reaction was: "This is a joke right?".

Now I don't know about you but I'm not the type of dude to voluntarily wiggle into skin tight, lycra workout gear. The whole yoga pants thing just doesn't translate to dudes like us (or men in general- right?) so I was not fired up to try the stuff out. Andrew, however, explained to me how it works. He told me that compression clothing has been used for many years by all kinds of athletes from triathletes to Jai alai players- surfing was the last holdout to what is acknowledged to be an important piece of sporting gear.

Evidently, when you squeeze the crap out of your body, the veinous return that brings all the toxins out of your muscles and through your system so they can be metabolized is amplified. Squeezing is good. Compression gear squeezes you and allows you to do more Jai alai or, in our case, surf better for longer. According to Andrew, Oakley submitted some of it's guinea pig pro surfers to repeated blood tests to evaluate their lactic acid build up while wearing the compression gear; they observed a decrease in fatigue and lower lactic acid content in those surfers who wore the compression gear.

Compression good, lactic acid buildup bad: Oakley shirt and shorts... good stuff.

So I gave it a shot. No, you will not see a photo of me in the biker shorts but I will tell you that I think there may be something to this stuff. Oakley's compression shirt is pretty slick as a piece of tropical surf gear. First of all, it's very comfortable. Each of the seams is anatomically placed, there is no binding even though the thing is clamping down on you like a boa constrictor. I surfed every day with it on and I didn't develop any type of rash. The fabric is special too, it's got a texture to it that is hard to describe, it grips your skin and, how else can I say this... stimulates it. I know, it sounds weird but that stuff felt really good.

This is functional surf gear, in addition to its compression properties, the shirt carries a high SPF rating- I wore it without any sunblock and never developed any type of sunburn. Was I less fatigued? Yes, I believe that I was- it was strange but typically by day three of a surf trip, I start to really feel the soreness in my upper body. This time, however, I felt fine each afternoon. Don't get me wrong, I was cooked off at the end of each morning but the difference for me was that I didn't have soreness accumulating as the trip wore on.

I had to work myself up to the shorts. After a couple days of not wearing them I started to develop a crotch rash. I think this was a result of straddling the deck pad. So I took a deep breath and wiggled into those things. I'm not going to say it was a pretty site- some of us just weren't meant to sport biker shorts but, I have to say, they were comfortable and they did protect me from that crotch rash as well as ensuring that some wayward jellyfish tentacle wouldn't sting me in my tender parts (the longsleeve compression shirt was great protection for this as well). I ended up wearing them everyday for the rest of the trip and, guess what? I'm going to pack them for my next trip too.

In all, I'm going to say that these two pieces of gear are keepers and will now be my go-to pieces of protection for tropical surf trips. Andrew says they are equally effective under a wetsuit so I may give them a shot at home as well.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CreedSUP 8'4 Pumpkin Seed... in action!

I only brought one stand up board on this last mainland Mex paddlesurf trip, the 8'4 Pumpkin Seed. The board worked well- I'm 220lbs, 5'9 and the 8'4" is as small as I can go and still get a little glide into waves, it's got a pulled in, rounded pin tail which makes it a sweet board for turns. Here are some shots of the board in action.

These photos are all shot from our boat, or panga, the boatman posts up and when you hit this little flat section you rip a turn while he fires away.
I like this shot because you can see the track I just took across the face of this wave and you can see the whole outline of the 8'4 Pumpkin Seed.
Coming off the bottom on a stand up board requires leg strength- you want to push through the turn so that you get some projection out of it. Sure, you can stiff leg it through the turns but that doesn't lead to dynamic, fast surfing- if you're gonna make an SUP come alive, your legs need to get into the game.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mainland Mexico Paddle Surfing Trip: Photo Fest Part 1

Big Dave Parra ripping his 6'4
Kiwi on the wrap around.
Drew Pate, cool looking fan. 
Matty Field... cur-rack!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mainland Mexico Paddlesurf trip: Home!

Just got back from my mainland Mex paddlesurf trip. My body paid the price (severely strained my back knee) but my surfing soul is happy. Check this shot out:

That's the CreedSUP 8'4 Pumpkin Seed...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Iron X camera: Just goofing around

The good folks at Iron X sent me an action sports camera to play with- and this has been a great spot to get it figured out. The camera is tough, waterproof, takes clear video and snapshots and best of all... it's got a remote trigger that looks like a wristwatch so all you do is tap your wrist and the camera is rolling. I'm still figuring it all out- and I've got some great vid clips but here's something to check out for now:

This shot had a little fog on the lens (got it figured out now) but you can see how wide angle the lens is and I've got my finger on my wrist which is where the watch with the trigger is- tap it once and you've just snapped a pic.
Here's the set up: camera on the paddle so that when you get surfing, you can click on the 1080p video feature and record your ride. I've got some cool clips we'll have to edit them once we get back.
Here's what a non-foggy IronX photo looks like- you can see how wide angle the camera is- fun times.