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Author Topic: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding  (Read 2694 times)

StarboardSUPMan

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Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« on: August 29, 2020, 06:28:45 PM »
I decided to do a video to document my progression in paddle boards over my 12 years of paddle board surfing.

https://youtu.be/YGyW_9nZzx4

Here are my notes for those that would prefer to read.

Background. 
Started surfing at 15 on a fun shaped board. 
Progressed to a performance longboard. 
Never a good paddler. 
Lived in MA so only surfed 3-4 months a year
Low wave count and always struggled due to lack of waves
Mostly east coast gutless waves with no push.  When it did get big I didn’t have enough experience to even get out.
Stuck there for 6-7 years
Introduction to paddleboarding
Paddled out to a bunch of older guys on 9-10’ paddleboards and they were catching everything in sight.  Small waves, set waves, the boards moved so fast they could paddle left or right and catch a wave 200 yards away.  I was blown away, they could even do turns in the whitewater.
My First Board
First thing I did was rent a board to try it out.  It happened to be a 10’5 x 31 Starboard Drive.  At first I ditched the paddle and just prone paddled and it worked great.  The glide was amazing and early wave entry was so great, you could catch a wave that didn’t even break.  When I got confident I started to stand and use the paddle.  After 3 days of renting the paddleboard I was hooked and ready to buy.  I noticed my wave count went through the roof.  Before the paddleboard on a good day I would get maybe 5-10 waves, now I was getting 50+ wave in the same time.  Also the length of the ride drastically increased, instead of 5-10 second rides I was getting 15-30 second rides with time to turn and walk around to the nose/tail of the board.  With time to experiment I was able to start to learn how to surf.  I ended up purchasing a brand new Starboard Driver 10’5 and I was off.
Move to Florida
A few years passed and I decided to move to Florida.  We ended up moving to central florida but took trips to the east coast beaches.   I knew I wanted a paddle board so I started by renting again and discovered anything above 9’5” would not fit in the hotel we were staying in.  I needed something portable so I rented and purchased a Riviera Nugg 9’2 x 31.  This board has been the best board I’ve ever owned for east coast surfing.  Just all around a great shape and a do it all board.  Flat water, small waves, big waves, nose riding, performance manuevers it could do it all.  This board opened my eyes to the possibilities in SUP surfing.  If I could only have 1 board in my quiver it would be without a doubt a Riviera Nugg or a board shaped similar. 
The quest for performance and L41
After a few more years I decided it was time for an addition to the paddle board family and started looking into a L41 SimSup.  I heard great things and wanted to try one, but there were none at that point on the East coast.  So after some rave reviews and researching online I took the plunge and ordered a custom 8’4” x 31 – 130 Liters.  It was the best looking and highest quality build of a board I’ve ever owned.  When it finally arrived I was blown away.  My first test ride on it was on a lake and I floated me so well and was quite stable for the step down I took.  A wide nose and wide tail lend themselves to stability.  It still had some good glide as well.  When I got it out in the waves it was fantastic.  The quads really let you maneuver the board and do some serious turns.  The board would plane instantly and down the line speed was insane.  This board showed me the path forward in performance and what could be achieved on a SUP.  Prior to this I would do longboard pivot type turns, this board I was doing tail slides, hitting the lip, cutbacks.  Everything exploded it took me a solid 6 months before I had everything down.  The other lesson this board taught me was to get your foot back when you want to do a turn.  Not back a little, back as far as you can, back to the kick pad.  If you don’t you fight yourself.  I’ve spent many a day learning this lesson. 
Next Set of Boards
From here one thing changed that put my SUP progression into Hyperdrive.  We decided to move to the east coast and bought a house right on the beach.  Now instead of 3-4 trips a year, I could surf every day.  So from here I started to experiment with a variety of shapes and sizes picking boards up on craigslist for cheap usually 300-400 and would end up selling them for a similar amount.
8’0 x 30 – 120 Liter performance shape. This board showed me the path to a performance shortboard SUP shape and how to pump and start to do power turns where you throw spray.
7’4” x 31 – 130 Liter Holiday Custom.  This board was my favorite board for 2 years.  Fat and Wide with quads you could still get that instant speed on powerless waves and it allowed you to really snap a turn and have fun with it.  As soon as the waves got chest high though the board was too much for me, I couldn’t slow it down even with my foot over the tail.  But I had other boards for those days
8’4” x 28” – 105 Liter Lokahi. I found this board on craigslist for a steal and I wanted it cheap because I thought 100 liter boards would be impossible for me.  I was quite wrong the transition was pretty easy, sure I fell but the board more than floated me and had tons of glide.  In 1 week I had it wired where I could ride it in 15mph onshore chop, catch ankle high sets.  This board is where my performance took another step forward.  This board was a pro board through and through, sharp pulled in nose, razor thin pulled in tail, aggressive thruster setup.  This board was meant for speed and it needed a more powerful wave to really work well.  I still keep this board as sort of a gun on bigger days.  This board gave you feedback like no other board, if you pumped the board you could feel the speed generated.  If you wanted to turn it would turn as hard as you wanted.  I could turn it so hard you would lose the wave.  It was mind bending.
8’0” x 27 – 95 Liter brusurf.  Same as above I got a deal because I was still convinced sub 100 liter board was impossible.  This board had a less pulled in nose and swallow tail and ended up being just as stable as the lokahi.  However I did notice that I was starting to sink the board, not underwater but I was getting closer.  This board is an amazing board, this was my next step forward in progression.  With the side fins place up a little further on the board and an adjustable center fin I was able to loosen up the thruster setup and really get some performance turns.  On a big day I would have the center fin all the way back but on the smaller days just moving it 1” forward made a night and day difference and really let you perform.  The only place this board lacked was overhead waves, it was not quite pulled in enough and would get going too fast and out of control.  It also let me try out quads since it had a 5 fin box setup, and made me conclude that quads were not for me when it came to performance paddleboarding.  Perhaps a different configuration or a different board, but they were too loose and unpredictable rail to rail.
7’7 x 27 – 85 Liter Custom. Finally I decided it was time to try my hand a shaping a SUP.  I decided to take the plunge and bought all the shaping equipment and just did it.  I couldn’t find a cheap board and new boards ranged between 1500-2000 so I decided for 350 bucks I’d take a risk on shaping one myself. It didn’t come out perfect but I was more than satisfied with the result.  Naturally when it was completed we had no waves but I still took it out for a float test.  It floated me better than I expected, but my ankles were wet.  Stability was fine, it was noticeably less stable than my previous board but not significant enough that I couldn’t handle it.  When we finally did get some knee high surf I was pleasantly surprised with how well it did.  My friends couldn’t believe that I could still catch as many waves on it, and catch them just as far out as my previous boards.  Being lighter and more pulled in it turns on a dime.  It’s still a new board so I can’t wait to see how it does in bigger surf but so far so good.
Next Steps
I always keep an eye on the paddle boarding pro’s and I’ve been lucky enough to do SUP training sessions with Zane Schweitzer and Sean Poynter.  Having said that I think when you start to get onto a board that truly sinks down to your knees or hips and you need to paddle to bring it up, you start to lose a lot of what brought me to SUP surfing in the first place.  Early wave entry, glide, wave count, etc.  At that point I would think a surfboard would not only give you a lot less board to move around and provide more performance but also the ability to duck dive and get out easier.  I understand why the pro’s surf those low volume SUP’s to win contests.  But I’m not competing I’m out there for my own enjoyment.  Having said that I will probably keep pushing it until I do get an un-rideable board.  But the great thing is there are still tons of shapes and combinations to try in-between. 
Conclusion
I wanted to make this video to talk about my personal SUP progression and give some insight into why I made the decision to keep pushing my limits and going smaller.  The most important thing at the end of the day is that you’re out there surfing and having fun.  I surf with longboarders, shortboarders, kayakers you name it and as long as everyone’s having fun and catching lots of waves and that’s what it’s all about.  Getting out there an enjoying yourself on any type of craft you ride.

PonoBill

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2020, 07:22:37 PM »
Great progression. I'm a little surprised though that you haven't circled back to a shorter L41. I haven't bought a smaller one, but I tried one that a friend had--a 7'2 X30". I thought it would be impossible for me, but it was literally the same as my 8'8", it just turned a lot quicker.  Based on my current foil experience I'm wondering what a sub-7 foot L41 would be like. My guess is that it would be like foiling, only without the foil.
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

StarboardSUPMan

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2020, 06:09:21 AM »
PonoBill.
Great suggestion.  Now that l41’s are more popular I think I have a better chance renting a lower volume board and testing it out.  I still like that wide tail/ wide board feel paired with a more performance board of a similar size.  Appreciate the feedback.

TallDude

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2020, 10:56:22 AM »
Nice Vlog. I've gone down to nothing but the tip of the board about water. Having to paddle around in circles constantly. I not convinced the performance out weighed my sessions being shorter because I was gassed. I went down to 115 liters and weighed 245 lbs. I love my L41 on so many levels, but I weigh 225 now and 146 liters is a little more than I need. It was a CL find, so not custom for me. I would get the same board, but less liters. It fits my local break the best. The other thing is the age curve. My balance is still good, but not what it used to be.
It's not overhead to me!
8'8" L-41 ST and a whole pile of boards I rarely use.

StarboardSUPMan

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2020, 12:07:23 PM »
TallDude.  Thanks for the feedback I like hearing how you took it a step further and had a board so low liters that you just had the nose out.  I'm wary of that but always interested in how others handled it, I think I wouldn't like it too much like you.  My L41 was great and I do need to give it another chance.  At 130 liters an 8'4x31" it was too much board for me from the start.  I need to give them another try now that I've stopped downsizing so rapidly.  Age curve is another important factor that I didn't mention.  I did most of this progression in the last 3 years so for me from 33-36 years old. 

The other piece I wanted to touch on was how quickly you lose your edge if you don't keep riding a board.  This summer we had no waves for about 1 month and I bought a 9'6 Gerry Lopez so I was getting that dialed in.  Going back to my 95 liter board after 1 month was like starting all over again.  I got my balance back after about 30-60 min but I could only imagine what 6 months or a year of not riding would do, probably couldn't ride it for a few days!

supthecreek

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2020, 01:52:42 PM »
That was good Dana, thanks for doing that!
You parsed out the different boards very well... it's hard to recall stages over the years, but you were very clear on what each board brought to the progression.
It will be a good watch for people who are in their early stages... let's them know how far they can take their own story.

It's been a long time since you let me try that Starby Drive!
Maybe I'll get to Florida again this winter and catch a session with you.

By the way, Sean Poynter agrees with you... he gave up "waist deep", his new boards float him at his ankles. He feels it's a huge advantage on the World Tour.

Personally, I feel board design has gotten better and it is very easy to find the performance you need without sacrificing comfort and utility.
My bigger boards surf so well, that I have to actually make myself grab a smaller board for a session... but then, I'm like a hundred years older than you  ;D







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StarboardSUPMan

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2020, 04:55:24 PM »
Rick.  Thanks appreciate the feedback. 

It was difficult remembering all the feelings of each board and memories change as you move on but I tried  :D

I'm kinda glad Sean Poynter made that call makes me feel a little more sane for not wanting to go that low volume too.  His surfing is top notch and he is someone that makes me aspire to improve my form and technique. 

I also wanted to say thank you!  You've been a true inspiration for me on my journey and actually the inspiration I needed to make this video.  I always enjoy watching your videos and posts and they've helped keep me going over the years.  I saw your recent video where you were discussing all your Sunova boards and thought what the heck I should take a stab at it too.  There were times in my progression where I would stop and be afraid to take another step and you'd have a video or a post and already be out there doing it!  That motivated me to at least give it a shot and keep stepping down.  Your surfing is great and I wanted to let you know that you inspire a lot more people than you think with everything you do.  SUP Surfing is a niche sport and there isn't a lot of guys out there posting reviews or discussing tips and techniques like you do.  Keep up the great work and hoping to get a session in with you soon!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2020, 04:58:00 PM by StarboardSUPMan »

justsomeguy

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2020, 07:37:50 PM »
Well done video SSM. I also came to SUP surf from prone surfing for similar reasons (i.e. seeing others catching more waves in conditions where I was struggling to get just a couple).
And I've also gone the 2nd hand route for boards due to my inability to stomach the large price tag on new SUPs, when I know I'll eventually want to change boards again (always looking on CL, couple L41s out there now).
My path hit a fork in the SUP road at the end of last year when I picked up a used 12'6" race board to help with staying in surf shape (fitness, balance, paddling). I've found that I enjoy that paddling experience too (on both the IC and ocean) and am now hunting for a reasonably priced used 14' race board to go with my surf SUP (I'm sure I can rationalize having space for all of them).
And oh yeah, we're sorta neighbors, I'm down in Melb Bch.
Fanatic Allwave LTD 9'4"
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+ a few prone surfboards nobody here cares about :)

StarboardSUPMan

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2020, 05:02:44 PM »
JustSomeGuy
Awesome.  I didn't mention it in the video due to time, but I have a 12'6" kompressor race SUP that I use when the surf is flat on the Inter Coastal as well.  I took it out surfing a few times but man you gotta keep that pointy nose out of the water or it throws you off  ;D  I haven't tried it any further offshore do you do any downwinding with it?  I never got into that but always looked fun.  At any rate glad to know another guy from Central Florida that enjoys paddle boarding as much as I do.  If you're ever up near cocoa beach look me up maybe we could do a session together!

supthecreek

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2020, 08:08:28 AM »
Rick.  Thanks appreciate the feedback. 

I also wanted to say thank you!  You've been a true inspiration for me on my journey and actually the inspiration I needed to make this video.  I always enjoy watching your videos and posts and they've helped keep me going over the years.  I saw your recent video where you were discussing all your Sunova boards and thought what the heck I should take a stab at it too.  There were times in my progression where I would stop and be afraid to take another step and you'd have a video or a post and already be out there doing it!  That motivated me to at least give it a shot and keep stepping down.  Your surfing is great and I wanted to let you know that you inspire a lot more people than you think with everything you do.  SUP Surfing is a niche sport and there isn't a lot of guys out there posting reviews or discussing tips and techniques like you do.  Keep up the great work and hoping to get a session in with you soon!

Wow, that is much appreciated Dana!
I am glad that I had a part in your journey.... keep chasing the dream!!
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SUPJorge

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2020, 01:27:16 PM »
SSN,

Great video and written analysis. I'm a couple of steps behind you in the progression and about 100+ miles south of you. Although I too live right on the ocean, Miami Beach is a world away from you in wave count and quality, so you have the advantage. I will be studying what you put together to get the most out of it and try to close the gap some.

Thanks for doing it,

Jorge

Ps. If you don't mind my asking, how old are you, how much do you weigh, and has the weight varied during the progression?
 
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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2020, 03:21:07 PM »
Dana,
Thank you so much for sharing.  I love your attitude on surfing and what SUP brings to it.  May I ask how tall you are?
On the topic of the race to the bottom, I remember Colin Mcphillips saying that when he is not competing, he is on his 9' (I believe it is 27" and thinned out to bring the volume down) longboard sup, mainly for the fun factor (wave count, travel to peaks, etc).
A wide tail 85L sounds like the logical next step for you, have fun.
Here is the breakdown of your progression with respect to the guild factor:
Starboard Drive 10'5" x 30" 173 L [gf=2.1]
Rivera Nugg 9'2" x 31" 152L [gf=1.86]
L41 ST 8'4" x 31" 130L [gf=1.59]
8' x 30" 120L [gf=1.47]
7'4" x 31" 130L [gf=1.59]
8'4" x 28" 105L [gf=1.28]
8' x 27" 95L [gf=1.16]
7'7" x 27" 85L [gf=1.04]

This past year, my guild factor progression has gone 1.67 pintail (@29.125" wide), 1.52 pintail (@33" wide), 1.55 squash tail (@32" wide), 1.4 pintail (@ 30" wide), 1.44 squash (@30" wide), L41 ST 1.4(@30.5" wide), L41 Simsup 1.37(@31" wide), L41 TV Dinner 1.28 (@29" wide).  At my present level, my fun factor seems best at 1.37 or above, as my local spot has strong currents, wind, and chop.  For some reason I find the pin tail boards easier in chop.  I found more fin area helped my progression.  Using big fins helped my progression with a board (i.e. progression from bigger to smaller 2+1s => thruster.  I found 2+1 more stable than quads.
If you want to get motivated to go small, watch clips of Mo Freitas on his 23" wide quad no handle Pat Rawson SUPS.  He used a 6'10" x 23" fat tail for the SUP Movie (his choppy condition board).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0RPjoj8JWU
« Last Edit: September 02, 2020, 03:24:18 PM by sflinux »
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liv2surf

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2020, 07:55:47 AM »
I really enjoyed your discussion of your SUP progression. Thanks for sharing it. Really interesting to hear about the benefits and trade-offs of your incremental step downs and how the incremental approach allowed you success while still having some fun. I am on a much shallower (nearly flat) curve of SUP progression in part because I spend considerable time with other water+wind sports. Maybe this winter when we get some more surf at the end of my street I can make some more SUP progression (if I can and chose to resist the foil). I think progression requires consistency, focus, vision, drive and passion which you clearly have for SUP surfing. I applaud you for your life well surfed. Many more good waves to you.
6'6" CRUZ 'CIM' Wing Foil SUP (130L)
9'6" CRUZ Surf foil SUP (152L)
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Axis 1020; Axis 1150, standard fuse, 500 stab
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Chinook Thrust 92 Paddle -- fixed 78" length
Me: 190 lbs, 64 yo Half Moon Bay, CA

StarboardSUPMan

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2020, 09:21:36 AM »
SUPJorge - Thanks appreciate the feedback.  Glad I finally got around to doing it.  My height is 6'2" and I currently weight 175lbs.  Yes my weight does fluctuate but it's fairly predictable each year 170-175lbs in the summer and 175-185lbs in the winter, plus you add a wetsuit.  It will be interesting to see what my small board does with the added winter weight and wetsuit.

sflinux - Thanks I'm glad you enjoyed the video.  I'm 6'2" - 175lbs.  Thanks so much for breaking out my progression by guild factor, I totally forgot about that!  It's neat to see the drops along the way.  You have a very impressive progression for just the past year yourself!  Quite the board selection, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the different boards you went through.  While Guild Factor is an interesting data point and shows progression, you also want to make sure to consider board shape, which has so much impact on how stable a board is and what it will do.  Wider boards vs skinny boards with the same guild factor can be drastically different.  I recall someone telling me width of the last 12" on a board defines how well it will turn.  It went something like this, take a measurement of board width at 12" off the tail, anything under 18" wide would be performance turns, anything over 18" wide would be more drawn out.  Obviously that is a over simplification and doesn't consider fin choice, but I've found it to be true in a lot of my boards.  So applying that to the last 3 boards in my progression
Lokahi 8'4" x 28 - Width at 12" off tail  - 17.5"
Brusurf 8'0 x 27 - Width at 12" off tail - 18.5"
Custom 7'0 x 27 - Width at 12" off tail - 16"
I've also found board length to be important when dealing with chop, when I start dropping below 8' I have to compete with side to side and front to back balance, where as a bigger board say 8'5 I don't have to deal with the front to back balance.  This happens regardless of board volume or width, it just seems to be based on board length.  Just thought I'd give you some other data points to consider if you haven't already done so.
Colin McPhillips has the right idea, in that any day it's not clean or sluggish waves I'll jump on my 9 or 10' board and just have fun.  Back to basics can help in progression too.
Mo Freitas is an animal on SUP's and someone who I love watching.  He makes it look easy on those tiny boards and takes on barrels and massive waves like it's nothing!

liv2surf - Thanks for the feedback.  Yes progression requires everything you mentioned and it's easy to get stuck along the way.  I've done some foiling and that is amazing as well!  It's hard not to get distracted sometimes!  It helps me to treat SUP surfing like an exercise program, it doesn't matter what board ride just try to get out and paddle every day.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2020, 09:43:56 AM by StarboardSUPMan »

jpeter

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Re: Board progression over my 12 years of paddle boarding
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2020, 04:32:31 PM »
The Mo Freitas video is great to watch.   See the duck dive standing up at 3:00 ?  Amazing he stands on the other side of the wave.
JP

 


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