Monthly Archives: April 2013

Inflatable SUPs

Inflatable SUPs have gained popularity over the past couple of years for a few reasons:

1) They are durable
2) They are light
3) They pack down to fit in the trunk of your car.

Starboard Whopper

For 2013, we are witnessing a stiffer construction due to 6″ wall thickness. At Big Winds, we offer a number of inflatable options, so we put a couple of our favorites to the stiffness test. In the first test, we pumped up the 2013 Starboard Inflatable Astro Whopper (10′ x 35″) to the manufacturer’s recommended 18 PSI. We placed the board on a couple of sawhorses and bounced on it to see how much the board deflects. The Deluxe construction offered by Starboard this year makes for a very stiff ride, with only 1″ deflection.

Naish Mana

We next tested the 2013 Naish Mana Air (10′ x 33″). We pumped it up to the manufacturer’s recommended 14 PSI and found it stiffer then any of our 4″ wall thickness offerings. With only 1.5″ deflection, the 2013 Naish Mana Air proved to be another great contender in our 2013 inflatable line-up.

2013 Big Winds SUP Team

April 4, 2013

The Big Winds SUP Race Team is accepting applications for the 2013 summer season. Now in its third year, Team Big Winds is made up of a select group of kids, ages 12-19, who are interested in SUP Racing. Team Big Winds has established itself as the premier youth SUP race team in the U.S., with podium finishes at events all over the west coast and Mexico.

groupClick to enlarge

The Team is headed by Steve Gates, with coaching assistance from Jim Stevens and MacRae Wylde. All three have extensive coaching and SUP racing experience. Team Big Winds is split into two groups, the Devo Team (limited to 10 kids), where all the kids start, and the Junior Elite Team (JET). Membership on JET is an earned position.

tandemClick to enlarge

The Team trains and races from mid-June through the end of August. Training takes place early mornings at the Event Site with races in Hood River and Portland. Training sessions are focused and kids must be willing to show up on time and be ready for a challenging workout. The emphasis is on proper stroke technique, paddling in a variety of conditions, racing tactics and strategies.

team-morningClick to enlarge

The Team trains and races in all conditions and, consequently, kids must be comfortable in rough water. To be considered for the Team, kids must meet the following minimum criteria:

1. Must be a strong swimmer.
2. Must be comfortable in the Columbia in rough, windy conditions.
3. Must be comfortable in a disciplined team training environment.

downwindClick to enlarge

The fee for joining the Team is $125 for those kids who have their own boards and $295 for kids needing to use Big Winds’ boards. Kids must have their own PFDs (inflatable belt style is recommended) and are encouraged to have their own paddles. There will be approximately 15 training/racing opportunities for the Team through the summer.

Those interested in joining Team Big Winds should contact Steve ( for more information.


Click to enlarge. Photo: Mike Godsey

O’Neill TechnoButter

Every now and then something comes along to earn the designation of “Game Changer”. One such innovation this year is “Techno Butter”! Say what? Yep, this new proprietary wetsuit material by O’Neill totally changes the wetsuit game.

techno-butterClick to enlarge

O’Neill has a number of suits featuring this all new neoprene and they are light years ahead of other wetsuits in comfort and light weight. Techno Butter suits are 17% lighter than other high end suits and retain 30% less water! The difference in feel is HUGE!

Treat yourself and get either the Psycho 3 or Psycho 1 wetsuit. Ladies too! It will absolutely amaze you. Guaranteed.