Kook, Barney, Newbie, all nicknames for un-experienced waterman(or woman) and often shouted from angst locals upon entry of a line-up. Surf culture is inherently engrained with a “pay your dues” mentality and can be intimidating at times, as I found out first hand. Don't let this deter you though, for every bad egg there are plenty of people willing to share their knowledge and insight about the water. I've dealt with what I call the “bro/brah attitude” in the snow culture which leads to the scaring off of new participants. Unfortunate yes, but the main basis of this reaction is fear. The fear of looking/sounding “stupid” in front of seasoned veterans. I know I felt awkward and tried to “play it cool” when I first walked into a local surf shop here on Oahu. Getting over that fear is your first step. I truly believe that when starting out; THERE ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS! And if any SUP sales people make you feel like you just asked one, then I guess they forgot they were “new” once too. Besides, how many people do you know are good at something the first couple of times they try it?
The reason I am starting this feature on our Blue Planet Surf blog is I to am a kook, barney, newbie. I moved to Oahu in November of 2012 from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Packed away my snowboard gear and eagerly looked forward to spending more time in the water. So how did a land locked snowboarder come to work at Blue Planet Surf selling SUP's you may ask. Well, long story short, I've worked in Action Sports retail for over a decade now, and I've been standing on a board sideways for fifteen years. So I traded in the white snow capped peaks for tan sandy beaches and tasty waves. With that, my goal for this blog series is to drop the iron curtain of surf culture and allow us kooks, barneys and newbies a forum to ask anything without the fear of ridicule, laughter and teasing.
So a common question we get is “Where do I start?” With the growing popularity of SUP and the hundreds of brands popping up everywhere, you have endless choices. My biggest piece of advice with this is that if possible you should rent or demo first. Every board handles differently, and even boards with similar specs can be worlds apart. Here at Blue Planet Surf we have a rental credit program that allows you to credit up to $250 of your rentals towards the purchase of a new board. And while we're special in the fact we carry our own in-house brand of SUP's, a lot of shops offer rentals and demos. The biggest factor (besides the size of the person) in determining what size SUP you need is your main objective on the water. Are you looking to just cruise around? Yoga? Surf as many waves as possible? Throw some kids on the front and paddle the bay? These decisions will weigh heavily in your SUP choice. Generally, a 10'-12' SUP will work great for flat water recreation and I would stay on the smaller end of the range if you want to possibly surf as well. Again that is a general range that would be narrowed down further depending on your size. We do have several boards that work for both but it's finding the size in that range that works best for your main objective on the water. With that said, I really do recommend you rent or demo something first. Speaking of demos. Our next demo is Sunday May 5th at 8am. And you can go to getupstanduphawaii.com for more details
Like I said earlier, we want this blog to be a forum as well. Feel free to comment, suggest topics or ask any of those “stupid” questions you weren't able to get answered elsewhere. Hope to see you on the water. Mahalo.