As I write this the Pacific Paddle Games are currently wrapping up out at Doheny Beach in San Clemente California. To be honest the whole event was really lack luster. It was very plain and the turn out was just really depressing. I can remember going to BOP 4 years ago and just being in awe of the crowds, competition and overall atmosphere. Each year since has just become less and less interesting.
The SUP industry as a whole is in bad shape. Everyone and their moms are making boards and gear. Ask multiple brands and they will tell you “our boards are basically the same as (insert big brand design ) they are made in the same factory”. All of the integrity and purity seems to be stripped away. All of these brands are gobbling up kids and trying to find the next Kai Lenny by having them pay for race training while slapping stickers all over the kids to promote their board brand. I am not against team riders or starting them young but it seems so forced and the natural progression that once surrounded SUP also SUP racing has seem to come to a stand still.
With all of the racing events its the same people doing the same thing and its just really getting boring. The contests seem scripted and just overall played out. this is coming from a big big fan of the sport. I am not a hater I am not throwing shade.
On the flip side the “amateurs” that compete in races and are genarlly stoked are the ones keeping hope alive. When new people do races its for health- social interaction- and general stoke on SUP. For a long time SUP has had a big growth but it really seems to be bottoming out. People new to SUP will always have a positive out look and dont really see alot of the things that are wrong. I feel like I have been around enough events and companies to make a pretty clear evaluation.
Hopefully we see a more modest approach from the SUP brands. We need to weed out the fly by night brands. The SUP events will slowly need to be scaled back as well. If we take a SOUL SURFER approach and have a more grass roots out look we can restore SUP to its former glory.
MAYBE i am wrong, maybe I am just seeing it differently. If I am way off LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS