SOPOSUP in Portland Maine

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.

IMG_0477This 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

DSCN1549_1

Wish there were waves since SOPOSUP rents boards too.

Twenty-Nine and Counting

What SUP?  29 years, that’s what.  We spent our anniversary in a quiet Aptos AirBnB retreat.  A stunning little jewel tucked away in the woods.  Cora’s of California.  Sunday morning we got to the ocean with our SUPs and energy to paddle.  The tide was high, so we paddled from New Brighton up toward the Hook.  Donna had enough enthusiasm to push us both forward.  Keeping us company were sea otters, dolphins, murres, caspian terns, brown pelicans, harbor seals, and kids on the Capitola shore who sounded like they were at an amusement park.

Donna dropped me off at Sharks and continued to Pleasure Point where she stayed well outside the surf zone.  She was a spec on the horizon when I lost track of her.  But hey.  I found waves.  Little bitty things.  Just right for a newbie riding his bright white F-One Manawa.

Tom and Donna 29th-0022

And about those waves.

Donna and Tom Celebrate Their 29th Anniversary from Tom Adams on Vimeo.

Standup in Iceland

While reviewing the October issue of STANDUP PADDLE MAGAZINE I came across an article that started out interesting and then stopped me dead in my tracks.  A European crew had taken surf boards, paddle boards, and kite boards to Iceland, along with VERY THICK wet suits, in search of cool places to paddle and surf.  Sort of a search for the endless winter.

I was familiar with the terrain having spent a year there with the Air Force in 1968.  I was stationed on the south east side of the island.  I worked in a power plant supplying the only power the site had.  We called the place, Hofn-by-the-sea.  Just before I returned state side, a surfer from California showed up with board and wet suit.  Both board and wet suit were locked up by the base administration so he’d still be alive for his year of duty.  Here’s a photo of the installation shot from one of the Air Force jets.

Hofn002

The STANDUP PADDLE MAGAZINE article was well written, and had photos of surfing and paddle boarding with icebergs in the water. One full-page spread showed a black and white image of a standup paddleboarder riding a left with an extremely rugged rocky backdrop. The caption read, “Franz does a bottom turn. Hofn gives the word ‘solitary’ and entirely new meaning.” I had the same experience there though I never put my toes in the water.

Iceland SUP-002

This shot below is from the north side of the air base where I worked. The base, as I knew it, closed in 1992. It’s now a civilian-run air traffic control station.
Iceland SUP-003

The Guy Who Paddles Fast

You remember the post about Golden Rules.  Well, one of them is to learn from those with more experience.  Like the other day, it was sunny and warm in Pacifica. The surf was mushy and quite crowded. I saw a standup paddle boarder in board shorts out at Round House. I hurried to the water and walked along the beach with my long lens, a 70-200 f2.8 on my Canon 5DMII. The guy I’d seen earlier was paddling back. Fortunately he paused at each peak and caught a few waves. After each ride he paddled south to the next peak. He was paddling faster than I was walking. It was impressive.

After he’d ridden a maybe three waves he got out of the water just south of Taco Bell. I chatted him up and learned that he’d been paddling a few years. I told him that he paddled much faster than I could and how did he do it. He asked if I’d taken any lessons, which I had not, other than watch others and watch YouTube videos. He gave me a few tips and said we’d have to get together for a session some time.
Here’s a short photo montage of two waves.