Monthly Archives: March 2013

Big Winds’ Junior Elite Team Rocks in Sayulita

Two of our Junior Elite Team (JET) athletes, Fiona Wylde and Sofia DeWolfe, competed in the Punta Sayulita Longboard and SUP Classic recently, March 8–10. They did exceedingly well, placing first and second in the Elite Women’s SUP race, and first and third for women, respectively, in the 10K Distance Race. All of us at Big Winds are super proud of them.

Here’s a link to the results.

Fiona wrote up a great recap about her experience during this grueling event, so we want to share it with everyone. Thanks for sharing Fiona!


The contest consisted of a 6K course race, a 10K distance race, a SUP surfing event and a longboard event. I competed in three of the four events — the course and distance races, as well as the SUP surfing contest.

The course race was a blast, with buoys placed in the surf just like in Battle of the Paddle. It was just as gnarly, but there weren’t as many people as BOP. At the beginning of the race it was neck and neck for first with one other girl. She would get a head of me, then I’d catch up, then she’d pass me, then she’d fall in and I would get ahead again.


That pattern continued for two of the four laps. Then, when we were heading back out through the surf to start our third lap, she got taken out by a wave and had to swim to get her board. By the time she got her board back, a set came in. Fortunately for me, I was just enough ahead of her to make it over the set before it took me out as well. For the rest of the race, I just had to maintain my position and keep paddling hard. I ended up coming in first for all the women in the course race! I am really stoked to have won my first big elite race!

Here’s a video of the course race.

After the course race was over, I had my first heat of SUP surfing. I was exhausted and didn’t advance, so I was automatically put in the losers bracket for the following day. Sunday morning I woke up and headed down to the event site for my first SUP surfing heat. I had a good heat and surfed reasonably well. As soon as I got out of the water, the beach marshall announced the start of the distance race. It was a frenzy, but we got everything together and made it to the start on time.
The distance race used a beach start, where competitors ran to the water, threw their boards in the water, jumped on, and paddled through pounding shore break. Miraculously I made it out through the shore break. Unfortunately, all the other girls got caught and got worked. As soon as I was clear of the waves, I started paddling as hard as I could to get some separation between myself and the other girls. By the first buoy, there was about a 200-meter gap between the second woman and me. The race itself was brutal! There was a side wind the entire time, so I could only paddle on the starboard side for 5K, then only on the port side for the remaining 5K, after the turn around buoy. I came across the line first for the women and eighth out of all the men.
Once I got back to the beach after winning the distance race, my mom told me I had won the losers bracket of the SUP surfing. Now I had advanced into the semifinal! I was stoked! This was the first SUP wave contest I had ever competed in, so I was stoked to make the semi. I surfed well, and it turns out I made it to the final by placing second in the semi! I was even more stoked! The worst I could get now was fourth!

By the time the final began, the wind had really picked up, and the waves were pretty blown out. However, I still had fun and surfed the best I could. I ended up getting third in the Women’s SUP surfing contest.
All in all, it was a pretty good weekend for me in Sayulita, Mexico. Now I am heading to Maui for more training to get ready for the next contest.


It’s Always Summer on the Inside

It’s spring and time to get out on the water! But it seems so cold! Well, it’s certainly chilly, but that’s no reason not to get out and paddle!

When it’s chilly, think of paddling as the aquatic equivalent of skate or Nordic skiing. You’re going to warm up really fast. The more clothes you have on, the more clothes you’re going to end up putting in your backpack, as you warm up really fast. The same thing is true with Stand Up Paddle boarding. The trick is to not over dress.
Many people have this feeling that they’re going to be falling in the water so they wear a bulky wetsuit. If you are paddling on flat water in relatively calm conditions, you’re not likely to fall in. And if you do, you’re going to get right back up on your board. However, if you are going on a downwinder, paddling in rough water, or SUP surfing in the ocean, you will likely need to wear a thicker wetsuit more appropriate for the conditions.

What TJ and I like to wear best in cold conditions is a really simple farmer-john-style O’Neill Superlite, an inexpensive 2mm throwback to the old days. The Superlite John has front and ankle zips. It works great, is stretchy, easy to get in and out of and is inexpensive, priced at just $99. O’Neill also has a version for the ladies called the Bahia Jane for only $85.

I wear a very thin capilene zip turtle neck underneath the Superlite — the same base layer I would wear skiing — and a fleece or hoodie over the Superlite that I usually peel off once I get going and warm up.

There you have it: chilly conditions for SUP, don’t overdress. If you’re going on a downwinder and know you’re going to be in the water a lot, dress appropriately to stay warm. If you’re paddling in relatively flat, calm water, you probably won’t get wet. So don’t overdress and you’ll be a happy camper!


2013 Naish Ride, 2nd Edition

The Ride caught us all by surprise here at Big Winds last summer. We all expected a 2 strut kite to be unstable in our gusty Gorge winds. We have now had the opportunity to fly the Ride in all conditions from 6m nuking winds to 12m light days on the Coast and stability has never been an issue.

TJ takes the Naish Ride for a ride.

TJ takes the Naish Ride for a ride.

The Ride 2nd Edition comes to us now with an even more simple bridle, with guides and no pulleys. I had the opportunity to fly the 9m here off the the Event Site in Hood River in rather stormy conditions: average winds of around 20 mph, gusting to 27, lulls to 12 mph. I was immediately attracted to the sheet-in and go feel of the kite. It accelerates upwind efficiently, which is a key characteristic for a good entry level kite. It drifts well downwind, something we are all attracted to for wave riding.

The Ride is able to punch out the gusts effectively, and certainly maintains its position in the lulls. All in all, it is a kite that can handle pretty much anything thrown at it.

If entering the sport as a newbie, you’re in luck! The kites are getting easier to use, more durable, and simpler. Simplification also means less money at the register. The 9m Ride retails for only $1050! Give us a call about ordering yours today at 1-888-509-4210.

2013 Starboard Wide Point

The 2013 Wide Point Series from Starboard proves to be a favorite for our Oregon Coastal conditions, as it retains a high performance feel on the wave, yet remains stable and forgiving in bumpy waters. After a wonderful summer of surfing the 8’10” Wide Point, I chose to step down in size to the 8’2″ x 32″ this year. At 130 L, the 8’2″ has a great sense of float for a guy my size (165 lbs.), and has been ridden by friends of mine pushing 200 lbs. With the continuous single concave, there is an added sense of stability complimenting the oversized width.

widepoint I can use this to my advantage when blasting through the whitewater, or trying to keep my balance in the moving currents and rips. Like any board, it took a little getting used to, but I’m hoping after a summer of surfing the 8’2, I’ll be able to eventually feel good on the new 7’8″! We have the new 2013 8’2 Wide Point AST Silver in stock for only $1599, a great value for a high performance shape weighing in at only 20 lbs!