Does SIZE MATTER?

When SUP first started it was mostly done on boards 10 feet or longer in the old long board shape. Early stand up paddlers were fairly tame in the maneuvers and tricks that could be done. As time progressed you saw boards drop down to about a 9 foot 6 length with more aggressive shapes and that was tottally unheard of ! As time has gone by it seems now that board manufacturers and PRO ocean athletes are all making the push for 7 foot boards and under. The sport is really becoming almost a short board  culture with people paddling their boards a foot under the water and having to constantly paddle to stay afloat. I think we have all become to divided by brand, shape, and size.

My first taste of ocean culture was on the westside of oahu at a beach known as MAKAHA. Makaha is famous for big right point break waves and longboarding legends. The people I saw surf were Buffalo Keaulana and his sons Rusty and Brian. These three guys are hugely successful in the longboard scene and had an interesting take on board size. I dont want to mis quote or anything but the basic idea was “Men ride big boards 9.5 -10 and over. It was basically a right of passage to drag your big old board to the beach. The difference between most surfers compared to the beach boyz out in Hawaii is that they treat every board like a short board and they absolutely shred! They taught about mastering style and not letting a board define your style.

So I am saying this to make the point that we as a SUP community SHAME people with bigger boards and make everyone try to go smaller when you can realistically use a bigger board and get really good then if you choose to go smaller you dont have to give up your bigger board. I believe we have to be more well rounded and basically stop hating on what size craft we are on. THIS might just be a problem I see in Southern California but let me know if I am wrong. I just dont see the need to use smaller and smaller boards or only stick to one certain size.

Paddleboarding already gets a pile of hate from “regular” surfers but if people were skilled on all shapes of board then we wouldnt be hating we would all have a more enjoyable day in the waves. This is just my take on a problem.

Author: Kalikookamalu

Waterman - Hawaiian- basketball junkie

5 thoughts on “Does SIZE MATTER?”

  1. Dude! Love the positive message here. I don’t get the hate or the scorn myself really. I say just let people enjoy SUP no matter what. I’m living out here in Berlin and the SUP out here is pretty chill, just lakes but there is definitely a nice inclusive vibe to it. Like the look of what you’ve started on this site, do you write about SUP anywhere else?

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      1. Sweet man! Well if you’re ever in Berlin, I recommend a lake called Schlachtensee. The SUP there is real mellow and in the summer it’s super relaxing and vibey. Are you on FB at all btw? We have a cool group of active people (gym goers, hikers, skaters, yoga etc) and I’d really love to introduce SUP to the conversation and help promote people’s awareness of it. Feel free to join in and drop an article or two in there if you like – https://www.facebook.com/groups/theactiveyou

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  2. Size does matter & sometimes bigger is better. Google the name “Haley Fiske” if you want to see some of the biggest waves ever surfed, on a SUP or other watercraft. Many of the pictures were from 2008 and 2009. What Haley realized was that to catch big waves you needed a long board. Back in 2006 and 2007 he was surfing Mavericks on the biggest outside sets with tow-in surf teams. Laydown surfers couldn’t catch the biggest waves because their boards were too short. He claims that for 2 years he had a competitive advantage over ALL the laydown surfers. A decade ago the biggest waves were only being attempted by tow-in surfers behind jet skis. That was until Jeff Clark, and the Hawaiian shapers realized the advantage that a few big wave SUP’ers had and started building laydown boards with the length and wave catching ability of SUP’s. Now they’er all paddling in on what are essentially big-wave SUP guns. How bout them apples!

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    1. Yeah ive seen alot of the big wave guys at waimea and they are basically on SUP lol Its stories likes this that should make it even more important to have a quiver of boards and take each board and learn from the different disciplines of wave riding

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