For those in the know Vassiliki in Greece, while windy during the summer months, can be a little inconsistent in terms of how steady the breeze is. It’s easy to fall into the trap of going slightly bigger with your windsurfing kit to compensate. If you’re on the lighter side of the weight spectrum, happy to bog about and wait for the gusts or an instructor then maybe this isn’t an issue. When you want/need to maximise your water time, however, it’s a different ball game. Fast forward to the first session of our Vass trip and my immediate choice of sled was the biggest Flare in Starboard’s freestyle range, the 111.
With it’s high level of finishing and distinct electric green to carbon fade Starboard’s attention to detail shines through as always. Footstraps and pads appear top spec and adjustments are fairly easy and swift.
As with all Starboard windsurf boards fitting the mast foot and UJ are extremely obvious with bold markings pinpointing optimised positioning – advanced sailors may still choose to experiment here though. A Taty Frans signature 20cm G10 fin sits in the back, which is milled to perfection.
It may not look particularly extreme but land paddling/SUPing (whatever you want to call it) – basically pushing yourself around on a longboard skateboard with a stick/pole/paddle – really does help improve paddling surfing. Riding ramps and skate parks really makes you focus on paddle placement and how to manoeuvre the board as you would on a wave.
Skate ramps are static so the opportunity of repeating similar movements, over and over, allow muscle memory skills to develop and be consolidated. This means when next out on the brine and confronted by swell your autopilot can be engaged and riding level increases.
I appreciate this isn’t for everyone, and let’s be honest, hitting the concrete deck is far more painful than splashing into water. If you really want to develop your SUP surfing, however, then land paddling is definitely worth a look. In particular, trying to get up to the top of the ramp and turn on the most vert part is exactly the same feeling as a big lip hit on the water.
If the thought of stacking it turns you off then there’s always land paddle crusing which doesn’t result in so many bruises!
The March issue of SUP Mag UK features an in depth feature on land paddling – check it out: www.joomag.com/magazine/sup-mag-uk-lo-res-free-to-readers-march-2015-lo-res-free-issue/0712655001428518728?short
Thanks to Shoreham Beach Land Paddle and Land Paddle UK.