Category Archives: Stand Up Paddling

Free Stand Up Demo

Test the newest race and tour boards in Hood River this weekend!

JET-Team-8.20.14-by-Gorge-Us-Photography-11

No registration required.
Just show up!

When: Sunday, 4/19, 1-3pm
Where: Hood River, Event Site

Will will have various performance paddles for you to try as well as some, if not all, of the following boards:

Amundson
TR-12’6 x 29

TR-12’6 x 27
TR-T 14′
TR -X 14′
TR- 11’6″ 

SIC
X-Pro 14′

V2

Starboard
Elite Tour 12’6
All-Star 12’6 x 24

Elite Tour 11’6
Naish
Javelin 14′ X 26 LE

Bark
D2

Downwind 14’
Contender 12’6
Appleby Race 12’6

Naish
Glide 12’6 x 30 GS

 

Let’s Go Paddling!

An Introduction to Stand Up Paddleboard Technique

Stand Up Paddleboarding is taking off in all corners of the world for several reasons: it is relatively easy for just about everybody, it is pretty unintimidating, you don’t need waves, you don’t need wind and it is great for fitness! It’s the perfect complement to windsurfing, kiteboarding and surfing, which is why so many people are adding it to their list of water sports.

Even though it’s easy to get on a board and go, good technique allows you to paddle longer, faster and have way more fun! Here are some tips for getting started.

SUP boards are surprisingly light and easy to carry with a convenient handle. Keep the board on the downwind side of you, and also help stabilize it with the hand that’s holding your paddle.

 

Getting Underway

1) Wade out into knee-deep water and ease your way onto the board on your knees. Place your paddle across the board well in front of the carrying handle.

 

2) Stand up and place your feet on each side of the carrying handle, which is generally the balance point of most boards.

 

3) Bend your knees slightly and hold your paddle so that the angle of the blade is pointing forward.

 

Proper Forward Stroke Technique

The Reach: A good long reach is the foundation for an efficient and powerful forward stroke. The lower arm is straight and the lower shoulder and hip are rotated forward, knees and back are slightly bent, and the upper arm is also slightly bent with the upper hand over your forehead. This position allows you to achieve a nice long reach, setting up a great stroke.

 

The Catch: The catch is the act of plunging the blade into the water and is the beginning of the power phase. At the catch, try to plunge the entire blade into the water, creating maximum power right from the start. The upper body “collapses onto the blade”, with the upper arm straightening to push the handle forward, adding power to the blade. The lower arm stays straight. Engage your core as you exhale, protecting your lower back.

 

The Power Phase: The power phase should be short and smooth, with relatively little effort from any single muscle group. The key is to get your whole body working in sync with a compact, efficient motion. Here’s what’s happening in this image: the hips and shoulder that were rotated forward are now rotating back, adding power and allowing the lower arm to stay straight. The lower arm is drawing the blade backwards, allowing the board to glide by it (the blade travels only a few inches in each stroke, but the board moves 10’+). The upper arm continues to drive the paddle handle forward, also adding power.

 

The Release: When the blade reaches your feet, lift it out of the water with your lower hand, while you lower the top hand and move it away from the paddling side. The Power phase is over.

 

The Recovery: This phase is key to an efficient stroke. As the blade is pulled from the water, twist the paddle as if you are opening a door handle by turning your thumb forward, “feathering” the blade so it can move forward through the air with little resistance. The body has becomes more upright, as the hips and shoulders once again begin to rotate towards the blade and follow it as it moves forward. Both arms stay straight, and the upper arm stays high and swings slightly outward to allow the blade to be drawn forward again.

Those are the keys to an efficient and powerful stroke: A nice long reach, a deep and powerful catch, a smooth and short power phase using your entire body, a quick release and a fluid recovery with minimal motion.

 

Turning the Board

Now you have a nice forward stroke, but at some point you’ll need to turn around. Here are some basic turns.

Bow Sweep: With your legs bent low, point the blade at the bow of the board and draw it backwards, scribing a nice wide arc with the blade from tip to tail.

 

Cross Bow Sweep: From the same preparation position as the Bow Sweep, rotate your upper body across the board and begin to sweep towards the bow, then lift the blade over the bow and continue to sweep back to the stern.

IMG_8207

 

Pivot Turn: From a surf stance (with one foot behind the other) and both feet well back towards the tail of the board, use the sweep stroke to turn the board towards your backside. With your weight back, the front of the board is lifted out of the water and is free to turn quickly. As you complete the turn, move quickly back to your forward stroke position.

IMG_8208

 

Upwind Paddling Technique

Here in the Columbia River Gorge, many of us paddle in all conditions from calm and glassy to windy and bumpy. We’ve developed techniques, which allow us to be able to paddle successfully into strong headwinds and crosswinds, and are great for a killer workout!

The key is to choke down on the shaft and STAY LOW! A short, compact stroke is what many of us have found to be the most efficient when to working our way into a stiff 20+ mph headwind. Here are the images that demonstrate our Upwind Reach, Catch, Power, and Recovery.

Now that you have the basics to paddle efficiently in a range of conditions, get out there, get fit and have fun!

See you on the water!
– Steve

Fiona Wylde: First Woman to Qualify for Men’s Sunset Beach Pro

Big Winds favorite waterwoman, Fiona Wylde, checks in from Turtle Bay:

fiona1Hi All,
The Men’s Stand Up World Tour Sunset Beach Pro holding period started directly after the completion of the Women’s Turtle Bay Pro. Myself and one other girl, Izzi Gomez, last year’s World Champion, received the opportunity to enter the Trails to see if we could make it into the main event. When I was put in the brackets, I wasn’t concerned about making it to the main event, I was concerned about making it out of the shore break. On Thursday, Sunset was stormy and surging between 10-15ft Hawaiian, so I put on an impact vest and paddled out. Once I got out there, I caught the best, most exhilarating waves of my life! I placed second in my first heat of the trials and advanced to the Quarter Finals. If I made it out of the Quarters, I would have a place in the main event. I didn’t think of it like that, I concentrated on staying safe and not getting caught inside, but also to catch good waves. I got second in the Quarter Final heat and qualified for the Men’s main event! Unfortunately Izzi did not qualify. This makes me the first woman to ever make it to the Men’s Main event!!! They did not continue the trials to get a winner, but stopped after the Quarter Finals so they could begin round one of the main event and save some time. fiona3

The following day, Friday, conditions calmed down and we had fun 6-8ft Sunset to enjoy, but not without tricky Kona winds for round one and two of the Main event! In round one, I got fourth in my heat, but still got some fun waves and started to figure out Sunset more. In round two, I placed second in the heat and scored a 5.67 backed up by a 2.93! I only caught two waves because I broke one of my boards and it took me a while to get back out to my caddy who had my second board. However, only the first place in the repechage heats move on along with the two highest second place heat scores out of the round. I had the third highest heat score out of the repechage and missed out on round three by only 1 point!
fiona2
This has been such an amazing experience and I have learned so much about my surfing and my personal levels. I was not necessarily competing against the guys, but against myself and seeing how much I would push myself. What I am most excited about is that I didn’t back down when it was big and gnarly, but I went out and actually had fun.
fiona4
My good friend and amazing cinematographer, Forrest Ladkin, is making an edit of the event for me and I will send it out once it’s complete. In the mean time, here are a couple photos from Brian Bielmann, some screen shots and the video recaps of Day one and two where you can see me surfing and doing some interviews. Thank you all so much for your support!

Talk to you soon,

~Fiona Wylde

Review: Paddle Grip Wax

Highly experienced Big Winds paddlers weigh in on the virtues of Grip Wax from Element Expeditions.

Steve Gates:

In putting together my kit for the Molokai to Oahu Race (M2O) this past summer, one of the first things that went into the bag was a tube of the Warm Grip Wax from Element Expeditions. I made sure my Team’s paddles were all appropriately waxed. I know from experience it helps in relieving the grip tension on the shaft, so it’s especially effective in long distances races like the M2O.

Grip Wax at M2O

Matt Morrow:

I just returned from three days on SUP surfing on the Oregon Coast. It was my first time paddling using gloves and I was worried the gloves would cause my forearms to fatigue. I happened to borrow a paddle for the trip that was freshly waxed up with Element Expeditions Grip Wax and I was blown away. The wax allowed me to use a MUCH gripwax-cold-ssofter grip, and I experienced less forearm fatigue in 3mm Gloves using Grip Wax than when I am paddling with bare hands and no wax. I think the Grip Wax works exceptionally well with gloves as the wax allows the gloves to almost stick to the paddle shaft like glue and therefor your hand can be relaxed on the shaft. There was no residue on the gloves after paddling, probably less wear and tear actually as I was not gripping so hard. I certainly was able to stay out longer, catch more waves and have more fun because of the grip wax, it was amazing. Furthermore, in 3 days of getting pounded by Oregon Coast surf, I never lost my paddle once and believe the Grip Wax played a big role in this. I will be recommending it highly.

T.J. Gulizia:

I’ve been using the Paddle Grip Wax for awhile now, and honestly, feel it a necessity for all types of paddling. During the summer months, I swear by the Anti-Sweat wax. A little of this stuff goes a long way, and lasts awhile before needing to reapply. It goes on as a very thin, clean layer, doesn’t sluff off or clump up, and doesn’t attract sand. If my hands are wet or get sweaty, the wax comes into play so I don’t have to apply the gorilla grip which means less fatigue and fewer blisters. For surf and whitewater, the Cold Water Wax is the ticket, especially when wearing gloves. A finger tip grip is so much more relaxing than a tight grip and the blood flow into my hands allows for better circulation and a warmer feel in frigid waters. Great product, all natural, and inexpensive.

Grip Wax on the Oregon Coast

And, straight from founder Seann Feldmann:

Our story is quite simple. Years ago, my co-founder, Frank Frankovitch and I were attending MooseFest Whitewater Festival near Old Forge, NY in the heart of the Adirondacks. As Frank and I were preparing our boats for launch, I noticed a fellow paddler applying a brand name surf wax onto his paddle shaft. As a surfer and a paddler I thought it was curious that he was applying a top coat surf wax directly onto the paddle shaft. I wondered if there were any alternatives on the market and when I returned home my search came up empty. So, I decided to make my own and started experimenting in my garage.

Knowing that most surf waxes require a base coat and are notoriously messy, I set out to solve two problems. The first being to create a non-petroleum based sport grip that could be directly applied to the paddle without the need of a base wax. The second, was to create a delivery system that reduced the mess involved when applying wax. Countless formulas and delivery systems later, I came up with a 100% organic formula that could be stored in a twist-up recyclable tube. Frank and I attended many paddling events and would hand it out to our friends for feedback. We listened to comments, then tweaked the packaging, made revisions to the formula, and finally expanded the line to include a grip for every season and paddle sport. The rest is, as they say, history.

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2014 Naish Mana 8’10

Reflecting back to Christmas Day, 2013, on the Oregon Coast, it was my introduction to what has become one of my favorite SUPs in the surf, the 2014 Naish Mana 8’10. In 2015 the Mana 8’10 will have only a graphics change so Big Winds nabbed some of the remaining 2014s to offer our customers at a screaming deal.

The 2014 Mana 8’10 GT (wood construction) is a beauty both on the water and off. With the exposed wood veneer on the top deck, it is arguably one of the cleanest looking boards on the showroom floor. This full wood sandwich deck offers more than a naturally pleasing look, it allows for the board to flex more naturally and freely too. A wood veneer laminate optimizes strength, and reduces weight to only 20.7 pounds, including the 3/4 deck pad.

2014 Naish Mana 8'10 at Big Winds

photo: Gorge-Us Photography

The 2014 Mana 8’10 is also available in the GS construction (standard glass matrix w/ wood standing area). This is a great option for the same shape at a price point value. The GS construction only weighs 2 pounds more, but is $200 less!

The 8’10 Mana is one of the most forgiving boards I’ve ridden, not too wide, and not too narrow. I really enjoy the 30.5″ width and at 133L, it’s super stable for riders up to 200 pounds. The compact design works really well for us here in Oregon where conditions can get challenging. When you’re on the wave, the exaggerated tail rocker and V bottom shape makes it easy to turn and carve down the line, too.

Now is the time to secure a great surf SUP for “real world conditions” at a discount of $400 off the retail price! Big Winds offers 10% discounts for any accessory with the purchase of a new 2014 Mana 8’10 GT, so if you need a board bag, an upgraded fin set, paddle, leash etc, now’s the time to grab one!

-TJ

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Starboard Astro Inflatables

Of the many disciplines one can pursue in Stand Up Paddling, the Touring Inflatable category has become an increasingly popular one. Using an inflatable SUP for touring has many advantages: easy to travel with, light weight, very durable and stow-able. Starboard has been offering two different touring sizes in their Astro line up, a 14′ and 12’6. These boards are stable and fast, allowing one to show up at any flat body of water, pump up, and go for a casual paddle or more.

Starboard Astro at Big WindsThe Astro Touring boards are a great choice for people who don’t have the space to store a long SUP or don’t have a rig to transport one. They’re for folks who are vacationing to far away places, where wave riding isn’t the primary goal. They’re for the adventurer who is hiking into a remote area for the solitude of paddling where people are few in numbers.

Starboard Astro at Big WindsThese boards are stiff enough to paddle with little to no bounce, when inflated to the recommended pressure of 18 psi. They have enough volume to accommodate any paddler weight, including your favorite SUP buddy or gear for self-support overnighters. I keep a couple of boards on hand in the RV at all times and forget they are even there. We have a 12’6 for my wife and a 14′ for me. We’ll stumble upon places we hadn’t even thought about paddling at and be ready at the drop of the hat. The idea of packing away a 12’6 board and 14′ board and completely forgetting that they are with you is great! They travel by air easily, too! Taking the 12’6 to the Caribbean for touring and snorkeling was one of the best trips I can remember.Starboard Astro at Big Winds

The 2014 Starboard Inflatables are still in stock, and we are closing out the 14′ and 12’6 models. When considering size, don’t let the 14′ fool you, it packs down almost as light and as small as the 12’6 and paddles faster, too. Give us a call if you are in the market for a new Touring board, as the inflatable options are better than ever.

-TJ

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Review: Imagine Connector SUP

When Hawaiian waterman Dave Kalama teamed up with Imagine Paddle Surf, we knew there was something in the works for the ultimate downwind SUP. Leave it to one of the guys who started it all to shape a fun, forgiving and fast downwind board. The 2014 Imagine Connector is a very worthy SUP and is a steal at only $1599.

Available in 2 sizes, the 14’x 27″ and 14’x 29.5″, the Imagine Connector looks different than any other downwind board we’ve carried here at Big Winds, with lots of volume up front and thinned out through the tail. This works so well in the swell and has been tested in some of the

Imagine Connector

Imagine Connector. Click to enlarge.

biggest swell the Gorge has to offer. No matter how deep the bow wants to penetrate, the high volume, sleek piercing nose prevents the board from pearling. It allows you to really want to punch into the bump ahead of the trough you are gliding in and keeps you committed with little to no worries of diving the nose deep. The thinned out tail makes sense, as there is nothing for the wind or side swell to push on laterally throwing you off balance from behind. Foot steering is also super responsive due to the low volume tail section. Once committed to the glide, the board really accelerates to the next bump and “connects” with ease.

The 2014 Imagine Connector is available in one construction, but is relatively light for a non-carbon board. The 27″ wide model weights 28 pounds and the 29.5″ wide model comes in at 29 pounds. When the 2015 Connector launches, it will only be available in a custom carbon/wood construction, and will retail for close to $1000 more! Now’s the time to grab a 2014 Connector at a steal of a deal!

Smaller Sizes for Quickblade Trifecta and V Drive

The hottest race paddles on the planet for 2014 are now available in smaller sizes and Big Winds has them!

Since last spring when the Quickblade V Drive and Trifecta blades burst onto the racing scene, they have pretty well dominated almost all events. From the M2O, to the Naish Gorge Paddle Challenge, to the BOP, more podiums have been claimed by racers using these two blades than any other.

The Trifecta (a Travis Grant / Jim Terrell design) previously only offered in a 96 square inch blade now has an 86. The same goes for the V Drive (a Dave Kalama / Jim Terrell design). Previously offered in a 91 and 101 it is now available with an 81 square inch blade. This is a huge opportunity for lighter paddlers looking for powerful, high cadence blades.

Quickblade paddles at Big Winds

Big Winds GM Steve Gates with the Trifecta 86 (left) and the V Drive 81.

Sound too small? Maybe, maybe not! Consider that Quickblade owner Jim Terrell and 10 time M2O Champion Jamie Mitchell, both used a new V Drive 81 at this fall’s BOP!

A couple of days ago, our new V Drive 81 and Trifecta 86 arrived and I jumped at the chance to put them through their paces on the water. Never mind that the air was 40°, it was raining and the water had dropped to a cool 45° — I had been looking forward to testing these new blades for awhile!

Quickblade paddles at Big Winds

Steve, with the (left to right) Trefecta 86 and 96 and the V Drive 81, 91 and 101.

I’ve logged a ton of hours on the V Drive 91, including this summer’s M20, and was anxious to see how the smaller 81 felt. Being a lighter guy, at 150, and after talking with Jim about it, I guess I was predisposed to thinking it would feel great in the water. It didn’t disappoint. In fact, both the V Drive 81 and the Trifecta 86 felt magical. A solid catch, with zero flutter through the power phase, trademarks of the larger sizes in both blades, were there in spades and both blades generated plenty of power.

Either one of these new blades, the V Drive 81 and the Trifecta 86, will be a perfect choice for those paddlers looking for a powerful, smooth blade that can go the distance.

-Steve

Quickblade paddles at Big Winds

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Autumn SUP Testing: Naish 2015

October 9th, 2014
Waterfront Park, Hood River, OR
Big Winds Naish Glide SUP Testing

Steve: We had a nice afternoon of testing here in the Gorge on a beautiful October afternoon. We were able to test five of the new Naish 2015 Glide series SUP boards. The first board was the 2015 Glide 11′ X 33″.

TJ: The board is stable! It’s got a really nice keel up near the nose that allows a short, wide board to actually track rather well. Typically, short, round boards want to pivot around like a saucer but this one goes right along in a straight line. You might try different fins, depending on your weight and style, that could improve directional stability even further.

Steve: Then we jumped onto the all new 2015 Glide 12’6″ X 30″.

TJ: This board really impressed me. It’s a huge upgrade from from the 2014 model. I really think that people will enjoy this for every day paddling, flat water to downwinding. It’s a good, stable board. It’s got a new recessed deck shape that allows water to flush out the back.

Steve: We tested out the 2015 Glide 14′ X 29″. This board is stable and has good downwind potential, aided by slightly uplifted nose. It will work great for touring, enjoying downwind ocean runs, recreational racing and fitness training.

Then, we tested the all new 2015 Glide 14′ X 30″. The extra inch of width adds a surprising amount of stability, making it a great touring board.

TJ: And again, it’s got that new recessed deck that reduces water accumulation to nothing.

Steve: Last, we tried the 2015 Javelin 14′ X 28″ GX. TJ, do you think this board is as fast as I do?

TJ: In a word, yes. With every stroke, it just wanted to accelerate. Drag was almost non-existent and yet it felt stable.

Steve: It will also serve well as a very high performance touring board for someone who doesn’t necessarily want to race but wants to feel the speed.

So, we’re excited about the Naish 2015 Glide line-up. Stop by, give us a call or visit us online and we’ll provide all the information you need.

Big Winds Naish Glide SUP TestingBig Winds Naish Glide SUP TestingBig Winds Naish Glide SUP Testing

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com