Blue Planet News

An unsolicited review of our "try before you buy" program

This is a unsolicited review of our shop written by a great customer, Ronnie Simpson:

About a year ago, I acquired my first standup paddle board in trade for a small egg-shaped surfboard that I rarely rode. The SUP was a 9'8" 7S-brand epoxy board with a big swallow tail, a lot of volume and virtually no rocker. Originally conceived as a way for me to get from my sailboat to shore in San Francisco Bay and for use on small wave days, the board has served me well over the past year and has ignited a passion for SUP'ing that burns greatly. One year later I live in Hawaii, surf that SUP more than all of my other surfboards combined and have even taken to racing downwind SUPs. As the waves got bigger throughout the summer here on the south shore of Oahu and my SUP skills increased however, I found myself wanting to add another surf SUP to the quiver.


During a recent week of swell where I surfed every day, I thought about how my next surf SUP should differ from my current one, and I came to two conclusions; it needed to be about a foot shorter and have more rocker in the nose than my current board. Beyond that, I was open to suggestion. Having purchased three 14' downwind race boards this year from Blue Planet surf shop and generally being a very happy customer, it was a no-brainer for me to head into the shop and see what they could do for me. With boards for days - new, used and consignment - in a range of shapes and sizes, I consulted with their friendly French sales associate Soliman and narrowed my search down to about a half dozen different models, all between 8'0" and 8'10" long.



One of the larger boards that I wanted to demo was already rented out, so I grabbed the most voluminous 8'0" that was on the rack and headed down the street to surf the Marine Land break on a dying swell. At 8'0" x 31 x 3.75 inches, and with 115 Liters of volume, the Taro Chip model impressed me from the get-go. Even in small, gutless surf the Taro Chip was able to accelerate quickly and get into a ton of waves and continue surfing even as the wave mushed out. With a relatively flat rocker profile, full wide nose and squash tail, the Taro Chip proved to be very stable and alleviate my fears of purchasing a board on the shorter end of the size spectrum that I was exploring. After three great sessions over the course of two days, I nearly bought the board outright but figured I owed it to myself to try something else on for size.



 Ronnie on the 8'0 x 31" Taro Chip

As a modest new south swell began to show up during the following week, I walked back into the shop with hopes of renting one of the larger boards that were on my list of boards to try. Once again, the board that I wanted to try was already rented out so I opted to try my hand at the 8'0" Ghetto Blaster model. At 8'0" x 30 x 4 inches, and with 109 Liters of volume, the Ghetto Blaster was the least voluminous model that I was considering purchasing, and so trying it out on a small day offered some merit. With more rocker than the Taro Chip, a pointed nose and a round tail, the Ghetto Blaster was a more traditional 'high-performance' shape than the board that I had just ridden. While the board initially frustrated me with a lack of stability and wave catching ability when compared with the Taro Chip, I was able to catch a few waves during my first session that allowed me to sneak a quick glimpse at the board's high-performance capabilities. With a bit of practice, I found that I could still catch small and mushy waves, yet drop in late and aggressively when necessary; and when the waves got larger, faster and more powerful.



I'm more challenged at this point in time by the Ghetto Blaster than the Taro Chip, but then again, when stepping down 20 inches in board length, that's a big part of the appeal. The Taro Chip on the other hand was easy to ride, a bona fide wave catcher, could support my 170 pounds on the nose if needed and was plenty fast down the line. Neither board had any glaring deficiencies, and either of them would have made me plenty happy. They both also proved to me that I didn't need to go any bigger than 8'0" for my second surf SUP. In the end however, I only had money and space for one of them, and I chose the Ghetto Blaster. As an older model, I could save a few more bucks, it's carbon construction made it a bit lighter for those long walks to the beach, it's blue and brushed carbon paint job looked ultra-sexy, but most of all, it's more high-performance shape has me convinced that i'll be able to ride it on more challenging waves once I step up my game.




As a surfer and a consumer, the most enjoyable and satisfying part of the whole process was being able to try out multiple boards for basically no cost and then purchase exactly what I wanted. Merely paying for two SUP rental fees and then applying those rental fees towards the purchase of a new board, I more than justified what has become my dilemma when purchasing a new SUP: Craigslist or Blue Planet. Being able to walk into the shop and work with a friendly and knowledgeable staff, speak directly to the shop owner and designer of my new board and then actually go try the board out in good waves is absolutely invaluable and a big part of the reason that i'll choose to support a good local shop like Blue Planet every time. Mahalo.



Thank you Ronnie for the great review of our shop and boards, and for the cool photos, below Ronnie is surfing his Ghetto Blaster model.Ronnie Simpson reviews 8'0 Blue Planet Stand up paddleboardBlue Planet Ghetto Blaster SUP review

Outdoor Retailer Show August 2016- Interesting products videos

Blue Planet had a booth at the Outdoor Retailer show, August 3-6 in Salt Lake City, right after the Molokai to Oahu race.  This was our first time to the show so I have nothing to compare it to but I was impressed by the scale of this outdoor recreation business trade show and by the booths of some of the SUP companies that were at the show. 
We displayed our Blue Planet gear in a small, simple 10x10 booth as part of the Hawaii Pavilion.  We were stoked to be part of this show and we did a lot of networking. It seemed like most of the VIP's in the industry were there and it was worthwhile for us to represent our brand.
I also walked around the show a bit and shot some video interviews of products that caught my eye whenever I had the chance.  Sorry about the poor audio in some of the videos, there was a lot of background noise at the show.  Links to the products in the videos are below.

The first interview is of Oscar Chalumpsky presenting the Motionize paddle logger technology and giving some great tips on how to catch, surf and connect bumps: 

Oscar Chalumpsky the surfski legend from South Africa, has won the Molokai to Oahu World Championship 12 times, the most recent win in 2012 at age 49 against much younger competitors, 29 years after winning it the first time. This is an interview at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City in August 2016, where he represented the innovative new Motionize paddle data logger that seems to be a great training tool, which is currently available for Kayaking and will be available for Stand Up paddle boarding and Outrigger paddlers soon.  For details, visit:

He also shares some tips for downwinders- how to catch, surf, and connect the bumps- learn from the master, thank you for the interview and tips Oscar!


The second interview is with Travis Grant a few days after the Molokai to Oahu Race.  I asked him about the 32 mile Stand Up Paddle race across the Pailolo channel between the islands of Molokai and Oahu where he placed second to Kai Lenny after winning the previous two years, this is his recap of his experience.  Clearly he is a bit disappointed but that takes nothing away from an amazing performance by a great athlete and friend.  To read more about this race, check out

Well done Travis!


The third video is of John Kleckner talking about the Catamaran fishing SUP's made by his company, Live Watersports.  These double hulled Standamarans are surprisingly stable and have good glide and seem to be ideal for fishing and cruising.  They also offer lots of accessories for fishing and touring, making these very versatile all-round Stand Up Paddle cruisers.


In the next video, Jacob Dildine show the 2017 Futures Fins lineup, including SUP race fins and Stand Up Surfing fins at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, August 2016. Some of the SUP models shown include: The Manta, Red Fish, Triangle Cutaway, Hawaii Downwind, California Downwind, Keel, Runner, Trigger, Red Fish, Bark, Gerry Lopez, and more. For more information on Futures SUP Fins, visit:

or check them out at Blue Planet Surf Shop in Honolulu

Next up is Dan Gavere of Starboards is showing off some of the 2017 Stand Up Paddle board models at the Outdoor Retailer show and talks about how Starboards is making their equipment and production process more environmentally friendly. For more information, please visit:
We just got a shipment of the 2017 Starboards at Blue Planet Surf Shop in Honolulu, for more information and videos of these boards, visit:

I got to try the OneWheel at the show and liked it so much I bought one to take home to Hawaii.  These are interviews with founder/ inventor of OneWheel Kyle Doerkson and Jake Mudd at the show and some footage of us using the board in the Blue Planet parking lot.  These things are a lot of fun and a great way to get around but unfortunately it looks like we won't carry them at our shop due to liability/ insurance issues.  So check out 

John Amundson was showing off the line of Amundson Hawaii boards.  He goes over the new features of the 2017 14' TRX Stand Up Raceboard model, which looks really nice.  John has been designing the Amundson line of SUP's for a long time and has recently taken on more responsibilities, good work John!

Sean Sweet of Sweet Waterwear and Kimberly Schamber or SUP Merge collaborate to create Sweet Kiss, a new line of Stand Up Paddle specific clothing. I talked to them at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, August 2016 about their new lineup, which will be in stores soon.

That's it, I hope you enjoyed these videos of things I found interesting at the Outdoor Retailer show.  As always, please give us the thumbs up on youtube if you enjoy our videos and subscribe to our channel and we will keep new videos coming every week.

Aloha, Robert Stehlik

Blue Planet Surf SUP HQ Outdoor Retailer trade show

Wet Feet/ Blue Planet WPA race recap by Noah Garfield, first over the line

First I would like to say mahalo to Robert and Jeff for organizing this event. I look forward to this race every year since it takes place on my side of the island. The Sunset2Haleiwa course has been my main training route this year in preparation for M2O. I have paddled it in probably every condition and have a good feel for the water on this side. I guess you could say a little home court advantage played a role in helping me to win 😉.

Most days on north shore the typical ENE trades will be blocked by the mountains and it can be a flat water grind. Race day provided a little more North in the wind and it was blowing nicely at our backs the entire run. A lot of people question inside line or outside? I chose an outside line knowing the wind had a little more strength and consistency on the outside. I've found that certain areas on an inside route can get sluggish, especially passing Waimea bay. This proved to be true when I started to pull away from Hobie Hammah Keoni - who was on an inside line - right around Ke Iki point. Around that same spot Roberto showed up on his unlimited a little further outside of me - he looked effortless and was just gliding along. I had to start working harder and focus on finding the bumps to keep up on my 14' board. Roberto and I went back and forth with the lead for next three miles till he started to make his move in to Puena point. Still about a mile away from the point I still held an outside line knowing that as you near Puena, the swell and wind kinda wraps from the outside right into the point. Working hard for the win, I eventually passed Roberto, hugged close to puena point and then stroked it home to the finish line. I was stoked to win, the Conditions were great, bumps the whole way, but most importantly another fun event with a great group of paddlers. Thanks Blue Planet / Wet Feet for making it happen!

Aloha, Noah Garfield

Noah Garfield, first place WPA race

We had a great turnout of over 60 prone and stand up paddlers and conditions were beautiful, thank you everyone for showing up!

Congrats to prone stock winners Kai Hall and Leane Darling, prone unlimited winner Anders Jonsson, stock SUP winners Noah Ho'omaikelani Garfieldand Jenn J Lee, and SUP unlimited winner Roberto Lopes. The series winners who won the cash were prone stock men 1) Pat Wong, 2) Johan Loo and 3) Mike Abbott and women 1) Colleen Tessler. For stock SUP Men it was 1) Kione Dahlin, 2) Tyler Jaggers and 3) Scott Ito and women 1) Jenn J Lee.

Complete results on Paddleguru:

Here is a video of the race on August 13, 2016:

WPA race Wet Feet Blue planet start Sunset Beach

Board Auction at this Sunday at Blue Planet (and SUP Clinic/ demo)

For those living on Oahu, this is a great opportunity to get a great deal on a FAST board:

Board Auction! Join the Blue Planet team for our free SUP Clinic at Ala Mona Beach park from 8-10 am (Clinic pass invitation required- please pick up at shop, click link for details) and try our fleet of 40+ demo boards. Then come to our board auction hosted by auctioneer Joe Teipel from 4-6 pm in the store parking lot for a chance to get incedible deals on boards made by Starboards, Blue Planet, SIC, Ohana and more.  We need to make room at our shop for new inventory and have too many 12'6 and 14' touring, cruising, and race boards that we will sell to the highest bidder- both new and used- so this is a great opportunity to pick up a board at a low price. In addition, we are also selling some surf and inflatable demo boards as well as shortboards and vintage surfboards at the auction. A protion of the proceeds will benefit AccesSurf. We have a complete list of auction boards available as well as a video showing the boards, see below. Aloha!

The video shows the boards offered in the auction, this is the link to the spreadsheet of boards:

For more information on the auction and SUP Clinic, please visit:


Board demo and auction

Connor Baxter on paddle length and SUP stroke technique video

I recently had the chance to sit down and interview Connor Baxter at the 2017 Starboard distributor meeting on Maui. I can't post the video on his updated version of the Bolt paddle yet though I can say it felt great.  This video features Connor talking about the length of his paddles for SUP racing and Stand Up Surfing (his paddles are dramatically shorter than they used to be) and has some great stroke technique tips.

Connor explains how he uses his legs and core muscles more and keeping his upper body relaxed.  He also talks about his choke down stroke, "porpoising" his board when sprinting and some other great insights.  You can't argue with his results, please give the thumbs up on youtube if you enjoy this video and subscribe to the blueplanetsurf youtube channel!



Connor Baxter demonstrates his stroke technique in this video and talks about how it changes over the years, including a dramatically shorter paddle length, and how he watches and tries to mimic the strokes of other top paddlers like Danny Ching and Travis Grant at races.   He uses the analogy of pulling and propelling yourself past a fixed steel pole on a skateboard by pulling the hips back and then throwing them forward, a good analogy. 

This is a link to a facebook video of Georges Cornsteadt that shows him using the forward thrust coming from the hips in a paddling drill:


Evan Leong and I discuss stroke technique and this video in this episode of Board Meeting:


Connor Baxter stroke technique

Blue Planet Surf 2016 Product Catalog

Preview the 2016 Blue Planet Product range, including our Stand Up Paddle boards, surf boards, paddles, accessories, team riders, distributor listing, shop information, construction options, and more in our new 78 page catalog, click on the arrow to browse through the pages, click on the bottom right corner to view it full screen:

For now we only have this catalog available online.  We do have some print versions on order but due to the high cost of printing this catalog we are unfortunately not able to send it out for free.

Photo credits: Terry Reis Surf Shooter Hawaii, Ryan T Foley, Miho Tanaka, and Blue Planet Staff

Please also watch this video featuring the 2016 Blue Planet SUP board lineup:


The Blue Planet Story:

At Blue Planet we are serious, competitive and passionate about watersports and running a customer driven business. We work hard and play hard. We aim to be the market leader in stand up paddling and surfing and strive to be the best business in the marketplace. Many things have to come together to make this happen, but in the end everything is based on one goal:

We want to help you have more fun on the water! 

Our mission is to share the stoke and help as many people as possible to enjoy the water. We make user-friendly equipment that is fun to use for beginners and high performance gear for those that are ready to take it to the next level. From weekend warriors to high performance pro level riders, we have the right board for you. We aim to make the best gear and offer the most compelling value combining leading edge design, quality and features at a great price.

When I started the business as a business college student in 1993, the goal was to build a business for surfers, by surfers that would allow us to enjoy our favorite watersports when conditions are good. I often have to remind myself of this when work and other obligations take over. The ocean is our playground and we need to remember to enjoy it and make time to play and have fun. We also need to protect it. We do our best to use environmentally responsible materials, conserve energy, re-use, recycle, reduce waste and try to minimize our impact on the environment and the oceans. We encourage our customers to do the same. So what are you waiting for, get outside and have some fun!


See you on the water,

Aloha, Robert Stehlik

& the Blue Planet crew

 Blue Planet 2016 SUP catalog front cover

Blue Planet Catalog back cover collage

SUP Tips: Catching Waves and Bumps- Flatwater drills to help you get ready for open ocean stand up paddle boarding

If you are new to downwind stand up paddle boarding, and want to get ready to do some open ocean downwinders, these are some tips and drills you can practice in flat water to help you get ready for riding bumps on a SUP.   Check the bottom of this page for information on coached downwinders. 

This post is focused on downwinders and catching/ gliding on bumps, but this drill is also helpful for catching breaking waves if you want to learn to stand up paddle surf.

In this first video I'm showing how to take a few quick accelerating strokes and then pause, glide and skim/ brace the paddle to keep you stable and balanced while gliding.  If you are doing a downwinder in light winds, this is what you will end up doing:  a few quick accelerating strokes, then pause and glide while you are getting pulled along by the bump in front of you.  In light wind you usually won't have to move the feet back, you can keep the parallel stance close to the center of the board.  It's good to practice this drill in flat water to break the habit of paddling with long, powerful strokes at a steady pace.  Downwinders are about quick sprints and glides, so you have to learn to break up your pace.   The first step is to practice taking 3,4, or 5 quick strokes and then let the board glide for about the same amount of time, so you are only paddling for about half the time.  Don't worry about moving your feet at first and just get into a good rhythm of accelerating and then gliding and skimming your paddle for balance.  Try to skim it as far out to the side as possible with the paddle at a low angle to the water for side to side stability and behind you for front to back stability.  Just skim the paddle lightly over the surface, you don't want to break, just keep the paddle very close to the water or skim very lightly over the surface.  While skimming the paddle acts as a third leg which will give you more control and will allow you to feel more comfortable in rougher conditions.  If you do loose your balance you can lean on the paddle and push your center of gravity back over the center of the board.


This next video shows how to start in "first gear" by taking quick, short strokes for powerful acceleration.  You want to focus on keeping your stroke in front of your feet and using quick bursts of power to accelerate.  Practice this in flat water as well as you will not have time to focus on this when conditions get rough. 

When the wind is stronger and the bumps get steeper, you will also have to move your weight back on the board to keep the nose from piercing and to allow your board to release and accelerate by planing on top of the water surface and to reduce the amount of wetted surface.  So, once you are good at stroking quickly to accelerate and then gliding while skimming the paddle, the next step is to also practice moving your feet back as you stop paddling and glide.  As the board slows down and the tail starts to sink, you then have to move your weight back forward close to center quickly and take some more quick acceleration strokes.  The video below has some helpful tips for moving your feet around on the board without rocking the board and loosing your balance:

 If you do this for a while, you will notice that these quick sprints followed by pauses of gliding will actually be very hard work and your heart rate will go up to a higher rate than when paddling at a steady pace.  I find that my heart rate goes up significantly higher in downwinders than when flatwater paddling which is why it is so important to relax and rest while you get a free ride when gliding on and connecting bumps.  If you don't rest it is hard to catch the next bump.  There is a misconception that when the wind blows hard you hardly have to paddle anymore.  The reality is that you have to accelerate more quickly and paddle even harder to catch the faster moving bumps on the really windy days if you want to keep up with the really fast guys.  The goal is to move as close to the speed of the bumps as possible and the stronger the wind is and the longer the fetch (the distance the wind has to create bumps), the faster you have to move to catch them.

The next video covers the five most common mistakes made by first timers on downwind runs and will be helpful to watch as well if you want to improve your downwind stand up paddle technique.


 In this Board Meeting Episode #13 Evan and Robert talk in depth about the drills shown in the first video:

Thank you for watching!


Robert Stehlik

Copyright Blue Planet Surf 2016,  you are welcome to re-post or share this content but please credit Blue Planet Surf and put a link to

Resources mentioned in the videos:

For more information on our weekly SUP training group, please visit:

For information on SUP lessons and downwind coaching by Robert Stehlik, please visit:

For information on downwind coaching with Jeff Chang/ Wet Feet, please visit:

For information on coached downwinders with Jeremy Riggs on Maui:

Safety first:  Downwinders can be dangerous.  Always go with a partner or group and if you are going for the first time, go with an experienced paddler or coach.  Have a plan and set up meeting places if you loose sight of each other, with can happen quickly in open ocean conditions.  Take a cellphone in a waterproof case and/ or a EPIRB.  Always wear a leash and make sure all your equipment is in good condition.

Equipment used in the videos:

Rasta downwind board: 14' x 28" 2016 Bump Rider:

Blue downwind board: 12'6 x 28" 2016 Bump Surfer:

Paddle:  Kai Zen with 88 blade:


SUP Downwind drill Robert Stehlik

 Direct link to the Downwind Drill SUP tip video on youtube


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