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General Category => SUP Advocacy => Topic started by: photofr on February 20, 2018, 01:50:52 AM

Title: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: photofr on February 20, 2018, 01:50:52 AM
Wow -
That's how I see paddling in France after living here for 4 years - but there's good and bad.

THE BAD (because it makes you want to read this)
- Where are the paddlers? People tell me that the sport of SUP is booming in France. Sure, I'll bite, but where? Cote d'Azur, Brittany - during one month of the year???

I live in Lille (France's 5th largest city). There are about 230 000 people who live here. Meanwhile, there's only one SUP club (as of a week ago) and now just two of them. On a gorgeous Sat or Sun afternoon, dead flat water, no wind, I counted a grand total of 5 paddlers.

- Arthur Arutkin is from the city, and still hardly any one paddling.

- For the most part, the paddlers I meet are powerful paddlers, with horrible techniques.

- I don't think they have ever fallen in the water - because I have been told that it would be nearly impossible to get back into an Ace.

- They work about 35 hours a week, most have a 2-hour lunch, and most have at least 5 weeks of vacation a year. Meanwhile, most do not realize that they could be paddling before and/or after work.

- While people do not go to church, there are churches everywhere, so I don't understand why more people aren't paddling on SUNDAYS.

- Outdoor sports isn't really in the culture. Although you have known athletes who do very well, the majority of French people aren't very active at all. The percentage of Hawaiians or even West Virginians enjoying the outdoors is far greater than what I am seeing in France.


THE GOOD
- Remarkably, France is producing some very good athletes in the SUP World.

- Almost all high ranking French paddlers have extensive training sessions over seas.

- Average body mass (smaller bone structures of the French) make them great contenders for SUP paddling.

- SUP clubs in France provide free gear for you to paddle your hearts out. Clubs are either free or totally reasonably priced.

- There's a French shaper - who travels a lot - willing to shape any custom board you want. He's fairly priced, and actually creates beautiful boards.

- France (seemingly) has more water than pretty much any other European country (including amazing inland flat water).


All in all, it's a cultural shock to me - and I still don't really understand WHY.
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: addapost on February 22, 2018, 04:45:15 PM
This response kinda applies to your "kids and SUP" post too. You might be suffering from what I call the "enthusiast syndrome". That's when someone gets interested and excited about something thinks it's the greatest thing since sliced bread and can't understand why everyone else doesn't feel the same way. I've been selling boards, renting out boards, and teaching SUP for 8 years now and find that most people really don't give a crap. If you step back and think about it objectively it really is a weird activity. Plus it is ridiculously expensive. Just enjoy yourself and be glad you like it. The other 43 of us who share your passion are right here for you.
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: Ichabod Spoonbill on February 22, 2018, 05:42:52 PM
BIC is a French company, no?
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: warmuth on February 22, 2018, 05:46:07 PM
  I live in Florida and while you will see Sups here and there Im frequently the only one on the water when I'm out. Sup is super laborious and slow. A lot of people probably try it looking for a fun relaxing time on the water and find it's anything but that. It also has an expensive entry and requires a fair bit of planning for a lot of people to just get their boards to and from the water. You're lucky you have clubs, there's nothing of the sort anywhere near here.

 
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: photofr on February 23, 2018, 12:36:39 AM
@ADDAPOST
You killed the buzz :(
Seriously though, it's a sad day - but it goes to perhaps explain why video games are so popular.

Looking on the bright side, FRANCE doesn't have:
- Alligators while paddling
- Crocodiles to eat you alive before you get on your board
- Sharks that will have you wondering
- Snakes that will make you flip out
- Grizzly Bears that will chew on your stuff while you are out paddling

WHAT FRANCE HAS:
- About 25% of its coastline provides water that's warmer than Hawaii (11 out of 12 months of the year)
- Access to more water than all of California put together - inland and seaside.
- Clubs everywhere - that do not offer SUP because for the most part, they are living in the past.
- and yes, BIC is a French company.

But perhaps, when it comes to water sports - France is no different than CA, FL, GA. Seemingly, humans are just afraid of the water.
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: oceanAddict on November 05, 2018, 07:42:26 PM
 I noticed it too.  We traveled to Southern Italy recently and being all-things-water enthusiast I asked at the hotel's reception (beautiful waterfront property with private beach and dock) where I could rent a SUP. Got a blind stare and offer to try kayak... I'm bringing iSUP next time.

I think this is a business opportunity.
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: Bean on November 05, 2018, 08:00:23 PM
What state is France in again?😁😁😁

In Waikiki, back in August, I noticed that there were relatively few SUPs in the water.  Sometimes personal observations are distorted.
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: PonoBill on November 05, 2018, 08:25:47 PM
Geographic weirdness and the twists and turns of personal perspective. I live in Hood River and Maui. An SIC Bullet 14 V2 on a car in Hood River is as common and unremarkable as a bellybutton. It's cold out, we're headed into winter, and I saw five or six today. I've had little old ladies walk up to me, point at the board on my truck and say "is that a 17?"

Less so in Maui but only because now it's all foilers.

The last long motorcycle ride I took in Europe covered a lot of coastal France and Italy and quite a few lakes. Beautiful beaches with lots of facilities, and not a soul using them. It wasn't the dead center of vacation season (August, right?, as I recall this was September) but there was no one--at the lakes, at the beaches, or really doing anything that looked even moderately active. My notion of Europe was that everyone was an outdoor athlete, and I've never seen evidence of that firsthand. I'm probably just looking in the wrong places at the wrong time.
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: TallDude on November 05, 2018, 08:28:11 PM
What state is France in again?😁😁😁

In Waikiki, back in August, I noticed that there were relatively few SUPs in the water.  Sometimes personal observations are distorted.
I was there just a month earlier. I actually saw a number of people on those Hobie Mirage Drive SUP's. At one of the rental places right in front of the Hale Koa Hotel was a whole bunch of nice looking Blue Planet Surf SUP boards. Robert has definitely put his mark on a number of the Waikiki SUP rental places.
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: photofr on November 06, 2018, 01:11:48 AM
UPDATE:
Now travelling through France to really discover the country. I've racked more than 14000 km in my travels so far, and my prospective has only changed ever so slightly: France seemingly produces amazing athletes, but they are very VERY FEW of them. You are likely to spot more runners / joggers on a regular basis, along with quite a few bikers, depending on the season...

As a whole, I still only spot two categories of people on SUP:
- The SUP athlete who trains rather consistently for races.
- The SUP paddler who takes his or her board out 5 weeks out of the year.

Something that I JUST NOTICED:
Back in history class, we were told that France had a lot of "water". To my great surprise, A LOT OF WATER is an understatement!!!

After racking up all these miles (nearing 10k miles with my board atop the camper van) take note that you can paddle just about anywhere in this country. There's water in places you'd least expect, lakes to no end, and endless coastlines.

It all makes me wonder even further: why aren't there more paddlers???

Clearly, I still do not have answers. One possible factor is the French lifestyle:
The mere fact of taking long lunches (2 hours) and long dinners (2+ hours with family) may make it impossible for families to find time to paddle on a given day.

The French seem a lot more stressed on a "regular basis". They seemingly would rather take a pill rather than go out and play to chill.

After working the 8 to 12 and 2pm to 6pm for a while, I was the only one taking off at lunch to go paddling - enjoying my surroundings.  While this was clearly odd to the French, comments about that lifestyle went on for months.

Paddling immediately after work also brought a lot of questions: "Do you even work"?

All and all, I'd say that they French aren't yet ready to enjoy the outdoors as part of a ritual, as part of a habit, but here and again, it may just be a very different culture, because they have a blast during their 5-week-long summer vacation.
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: Bean on November 06, 2018, 06:04:18 AM
What state is France in again?😁😁😁

In Waikiki, back in August, I noticed that there were relatively few SUPs in the water.  Sometimes personal observations are distorted.
I was there just a month earlier. I actually saw a number of people on those Hobie Mirage Drive SUP's. At one of the rental places right in front of the Hale Koa Hotel was a whole bunch of nice looking Blue Planet Surf SUP boards. Robert has definitely put his mark on a number of the Waikiki SUP rental places.

Yes, it was nice to see Roberts SUP's at the beach rentals.  The lagoon next to the Hilton Hawaiian Village was loaded with his SUPS.  But, for some reason, very few SUSers at Queens, Canoes and even Kaisers while I was there.  (I did a 2 week rental from BP, and Nalu board storage, a 10' Nose Performer - excellent!).  So, I surfed virtually every morning and some mid day. 

My point was simply that a 2 week window might not tell the complete story of the state of SUP in any given location. 
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: eastbound on November 06, 2018, 08:06:13 AM
whatever the case, sounds like it was a fun trip.....
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: Bean on November 06, 2018, 08:41:21 AM
Trying not to stray form photofr's topic too much but, yes it was Eastie.
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: Timi on November 06, 2018, 09:05:04 AM
I live in Germany, right next to the french border and spend a lot of time in France, mostly travelling the coastline for windsurfing and paddle surfing plus the alpes and vosges mountains for mountainbiking.

My perception is completely different from yours. In my eyes, French people are very active in all kinds of mountain and water sports (don't know much about other sports). I think it all depends on where you go and what you look at.

The coastline near where you live is more known for windsurfing and kiting. On a good day, you will find much more people on the good spots than you would like to... You`ll even see quite a few prone and paddle surfers from time to time, but not a lot, because you don't have groundswells there, only short period windswell.

If you go to britanny for example, you'll find a rich surf culture, loads of georgeous spots and allways people out in the water. Even more so, if you go down south on the atlantic coast. You'll see much more proners than paddle surfers, but one thing is sure: you'll see a lot of surfing.

Don't stop exploring! ;)

Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: yugi on November 06, 2018, 09:37:12 AM
...
 I've had little old ladies walk up to me, point at the board on my truck and say "is that a 17?"

...

<deleted response>
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: yugi on November 06, 2018, 09:52:14 AM
...
As a whole, I still only spot two categories of people on SUP:
- The SUP athlete who trains rather consistently for races.
- The SUP paddler who takes his or her board out 5 weeks out of the year.
...

and what about that makes it any different from any other sport that you know of?


...
Something that I JUST NOTICED:
Back in history class, we were told that France had a lot of "water". To my great surprise, A LOT OF WATER is an understatement!!!
...

History?

Geography perhaps?

Or maybe the part of history where the Vikings help defend the King near Orleans. And where there are Vikings there is ... water.

...
It all makes me wonder even further: why aren't there more paddlers???
...

What the hell are you complaining about? That it isn't crowded enough ... yet?

You're a skier too, right?
Here's what I have to say: the skiing here SUCKS. Really. No need coming to see how bad it is. Just trust me.
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: surfinJ on November 06, 2018, 10:03:43 AM
What I see in the sup surf scene is a small but experienced group. Not much activity at the beginner level so no real growth.

The French in general seem quite active in this region in many ocean and lake activities. The number of surfers continues to grow and they are getting more active. 
When I first moved here over 20 years ago the dawn patrol was empty. The locals got a slow start. Now, though not like CA or HI, the early wont beat them when its good.
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: stoneaxe on November 06, 2018, 05:03:44 PM
I live in a town with 50,000+ people (swells to 70,000+ in summer) that has miles of beautiful coastline and beaches, a lake or pond for every day of the year, estuaries filled with wildlife, fish, and birds...an amazing offshore sandbar that on a sunny day would remind anyone of the Bahamas....and sometimes has amazing waves.

I'm usually the only SUP in the water for miles..... :o.

Summer I'll see a few other folks with boards...but there is nobody else in my town that is anywhere near as into it as I am...and I'm not what I used to be.

Brittany has been on my bucket list  a long time because of this vid.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaCXjnGXp14&t=36s&index=57&list=FLetRdTMKVzMbNGDqRZ8FmgA
Title: Re: Cultural Shock - SUP Paddling in France
Post by: comeu on November 06, 2018, 05:12:36 PM
Funny, were a few Frenchies on the zone but nobody replied to our fellow Frenchman Photofr... and why to complain here and not on the few french forum dedicated to SUP???
I learned the lesson
Better to ignore sometimes