Today I called my son’s girlfriend, Tori, to see if she wanted to hit the surf. She did and we did and it was small but glassy and I got more waves in this session than in any other since starting paddleboarding all of three months ago.
AND I took my first steps toward the nose. I couldn’t stop smiling.
Tori said I was shreadding, but you know, she may have exaggerated a tad.
But here we are, and boy can she smile.
Blogging 101 taught me that the name of the site and the site’s URL don’t have to match. That was great news. “WHAT SUP?” was my first choice for a URL when I started shopping for a name, but it was taken in all its forms. So I stuck with SUP Days, The Stand Up Paddleboarding Life, which really didn’t communicate my intent. So what is my intent?
Stand Up Paddleboard Surfing for Life is more like it. Not just for the rest of my life, but for life now, today, in this moment. I see the world differently when there’s surfing in my life. The pure joy of standing on moving water; the sound of a wave breaking around me while balancing on a board, is transcendent.
Once again, I’m getting into shape, working on my balance, keeping an eye on the weather, the surf, and my time. This evening I took a walk to the beach and got a shot of some rocks and watched waves.
It was chilly and windy and not right for me. The sun set and left a trail of light on the incoming tide. There might even be good SUP Surfing conditions tomorrow, or the day after.
I surfed today via Stand Up Paddle Boarding which is what got me into blogging. I’ve published 30 posts without really knowing more than write what I want to write. None of the pieces were long, and most included photos, since I love photography and find that photos tell a good part of my story.
In many of the posts I’ve included video, see below, since I do video for a living. And most posts are about Stand Up Paddle Boarding but sometimes it’s a stretch, like a post I did about Fenway Park while visiting Boston last month. But now it’s time to learn to blog from the helpful folks at WordPress.com, and my fellow Blogging 101 classmates including @michelleweber, @chrissiepollock
and @aisajib .
I live on the coast, about 15 minutes from San Francisco. I have a wife, two kids and a cat. We see the surf from the back of our home. My oldest son and his wife are about to bring us our first grand child who’s a girl that I nicknamed Sprocket. I’m a lucky man. Yes I am.
We’d heard about paddle boarding in waters where Manatees live and took a tour with Anik Clemens from Anik’s Perspectives. She’s lived in St. Petersburg, Florida the past 9 years and knows the SUP shops and venues for paddling. She took us to the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park where we put in for the 6 mile down-river paddle. She’d set us up with boards from the Kayak Shack that sat right on the water at end of the trip. We parked at the shack and got ferried, with our boards, to the put-in point at Weeki Wachee Springs.
The water was cool and clear. The surrounding jungle close. The river was teaming with small schools of Mullet and a smattering of Sheepshead thrown in for fun. Needlefish slipped in and out of sight while Anhinga and Kingfishers punctuated the trees.
We shared the river with a few tour boats, and some fun-loving folks who climbed a tree to a diving platform. As it turned out, Anik and our very own Donna were not afraid to take the plunge. Check out the video for a two minute look at our trip.
We’d found six Manatees by the end of the trip. The first one glided under my board like a ghost. Down river a pup scratched its back under a submerged log. My GoPro Hero 4 Silver captured most of the footage. Super Slow Mo thanks to iPhone 6S Plus.
The little one is Kyra, Anik’s lovely 4 year old daughter. Donna, Kyra, and Anik took a stab at singing Nimo’s song “Planting Seeds and Nothing More,” in front of one of the Weeki Wachee Springs mermaids.
If you like this post you’re sure to like our tour through the mangroves.
SOPOSUP is what. We met the owner, Raf Adams, at his store in South Portland, just a few miles from the surf at Higgins Beach off Cape Elizabeth. After driving around Portland for a few days we realized that all you need is for the wind to lie down and there’s paddle boarding everywhere. There’s so much water it’s just nuts.
The store was stocked with surf, glide, and race boards. I was drooling over the lovely shape of the Focus boards. Raf told us about great October waves they’d had at Higgins.
This Higgins right was photographed by Dustin Turin and it makes me want to see the place on a nice little 2-3 foot day.
We bought a SOPOSUP T Shirt and the latest STANDUP JOURNAL then drove out to Cape Elizabeth to watch the very flat ocean and grab a pretty solid bowl of clam chowder.
I took a minute to stick my hand in the water. It was cool but not the high 30s that settles in during the winter. Raf told us he wore 7mm boots and wanted 9mm. He’s seen below on the Presumpscot in January 2013
Wish there were waves since SOPOSUP rents boards too.
I started this post from the Fenway Park writer’s press box where sports writers craft articles about the Red Sox and their opponents. We’d just stood atop the green monster and heard how Ruth was sold to the Yankees back in 1912 for a stunning $100,000, then went on to set record after record while the Red Sox struggled. To this day some feel there’s a curse on the sox from that ill-fated sale.
Fenway fans are close to the action in this small, intimate ball park. I could be a Boston fan. I could live in Boston. There’s water all around the city, and waves in the winter just up or down the coast.
Among other Hollywood movies Moneyball, Ted, and Field of Dreams were partially filmed at Fenway.
There’s still a single red seat in right field that marks the longest home run ever hit in the park. It was a 502 foot blast by Ted Williams on June 9, 1946.
This past weekend I was in the lineup with other surfers for the first time since I started SUP surfing. It’s been two months, and I still won’t go out in a large lineup, but there were only 5 people in the water. We’d put in at New Brighton and paddled toward Capitola. It was stunning weather, with calm ocean and blue sky. On the paddle up the coast we were accompanied by otters, brown pelicans, caspian terns, murres, and the odd harbor seal. We even saw one humpback, but it was farther out to sea.
The waves at Sharks were small and there were only 5 people out. Maybe 1-3 feet with the majority of the waves flowing through at about a foot or so. To me it was perfect. Two of the surfers were clearly not comfortable in the water and hung to the side not making eye contact. The other two were friendly and we shared the waves. I caught a couple of nice little waves before the Golden Rule got broken. I didn’t break it, and I’m still not sure how to discuss this with the rule breakers. It’s so difficult to give a critique, especially to a surfer in the water.
Four young men with rented boards paddled into the lineup. They didn’t look right on the boards, like maybe this was their first time in the water. They paddled inside the area where the wave broke and then tried to paddle into waves after another surfer was already on the wave. I took off on a nice little right only to look up to see one of the “inside gang” trying for the wave too. I hollered “NO.” I don’t know if the guy stopped paddling or if he just missed the wave.
I finished the wave inside only to look up to see all three of them on the next wave, heading in my general direction. It looked like they might run over me and land on the rocks. I dove to the side releasing my board and paddle. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. I collected my board and paddle and headed back out, a tad shaken by the close call.
So how do you talk to others in the water without yelling, shouting obscenities, and the like. I mean, it was a beautiful day.
The surf in Pacifica was Labor-Day-weekend crowded with a bit of west wind wandering our way. So we put in at Princeton Harbor for some exercise, after a solid breakfast at 3-Zero Cafe. I spent a bit of time setting up my new GoPro Hero 4 Silver for its maiden SUP voyage.
The harbor was jammed with tourists, but the water was calm and bright blue. Boat flags flew, so the wind was a matter of minutes from getting us. We paddled through the lovely calm in front of Half Moon Bay Kayak, then turned around a jetty toward the pier where the west wind hit. It was just enough to chop up the surface, but not enough to thwart the scent of a few hundred Brown Pelicans lining the jetty. During our trip to the pier we were visited by harbor seals, sea lions, and plenty of folks on paddle boards and kayaks. We met a stand up catamaran guy who had paddled up to Moss Beach and back. It’s pretty much into the wind all the way there.
We chatted up some folks visiting from the city who’d built tall slender rock sculptures. We paddled back toward the pier and then down wind to our put in location.
The GoPro captured our journey and gave us feedback on our paddling form.
Some days we paddle and others we pedal. Saturday we paddled into a stiff Santa Cruz west wind from New Brighton toward Capitola. Well, to be clear, which the water and the sky were, Donna paddled all the way to the Capitola pier. It’s simply work paddling into that wind. I sat on my F-One Manawa and paddled like a kayak. I even bent forward at the waist, stuck my paddle in the water, and used my stomach to pull back.
I was more out of the wind than Donna and got to my destination more quickly, but I wanted to save energy to ride some waves at a little reef between New Brighton and Capitola. A place where I could lose my board and not worry about it hitting anyone. The tide was on the rise so I knew my time was limited.
It took maybe 20 minutes of pretty steady paddling to get out to the reef, and another 15 or so to catch the first wave. It was hard to know where the wave was going to break, so I guessed. Another friendly SUPer paddled out. While chatting it up I discovered that he and his wife had just had a baby; a nine week old girl named Lucy.
Donna was returning from the pier at a pretty good pace. I bid Lucy’s father farewell and headed in. That’s when the beauty of down-wind paddling got to me. It was a different ocean, no work, just stroke and cruise. It seemed that the wind kind of disappeared. We saw Otters and Harbor Seals on the easy ride back to New Brighton.
Sunday we stopped into Mavericks Paddlesports to check out some gear, and to try out my new GoPro Hero 4 Silver on a short bike trip with Donna. We saw humpback whales, thousands of Shearwaters, and a fair number of folks out enjoying the warm sunny coastside. Check it out.
First GoPro-HD 720p from Tom Adams on Vimeo.