It’s spring and time to get out on the water! But it seems so cold! Well, it’s certainly chilly, but that’s no reason not to get out and paddle!
When it’s chilly, think of paddling as the aquatic equivalent of skate or Nordic skiing. You’re going to warm up really fast. The more clothes you have on, the more clothes you’re going to end up putting in your backpack, as you warm up really fast. The same thing is true with Stand Up Paddle boarding. The trick is to not over dress.
Many people have this feeling that they’re going to be falling in the water so they wear a bulky wetsuit. If you are paddling on flat water in relatively calm conditions, you’re not likely to fall in. And if you do, you’re going to get right back up on your board. However, if you are going on a downwinder, paddling in rough water, or SUP surfing in the ocean, you will likely need to wear a thicker wetsuit more appropriate for the conditions.
What TJ and I like to wear best in cold conditions is a really simple farmer-john-style O’Neill Superlite, an inexpensive 2mm throwback to the old days. The Superlite John has front and ankle zips. It works great, is stretchy, easy to get in and out of and is inexpensive, priced at just $99. O’Neill also has a version for the ladies called the Bahia Jane for only $85.
I wear a very thin capilene zip turtle neck underneath the Superlite — the same base layer I would wear skiing — and a fleece or hoodie over the Superlite that I usually peel off once I get going and warm up.
There you have it: chilly conditions for SUP, don’t overdress. If you’re going on a downwinder and know you’re going to be in the water a lot, dress appropriately to stay warm. If you’re paddling in relatively flat, calm water, you probably won’t get wet. So don’t overdress and you’ll be a happy camper!
The Ride caught us all by surprise here at Big Winds last summer. We all expected a 2 strut kite to be unstable in our gusty Gorge winds. We have now had the opportunity to fly the Ride in all conditions from 6m nuking winds to 12m light days on the Coast and stability has never been an issue.
TJ takes the Naish Ride for a ride.
The Ride 2nd Edition comes to us now with an even more simple bridle, with guides and no pulleys. I had the opportunity to fly the 9m here off the the Event Site in Hood River in rather stormy conditions: average winds of around 20 mph, gusting to 27, lulls to 12 mph. I was immediately attracted to the sheet-in and go feel of the kite. It accelerates upwind efficiently, which is a key characteristic for a good entry level kite. It drifts well downwind, something we are all attracted to for wave riding.
The Ride is able to punch out the gusts effectively, and certainly maintains its position in the lulls. All in all, it is a kite that can handle pretty much anything thrown at it.
If entering the sport as a newbie, you’re in luck! The kites are getting easier to use, more durable, and simpler. Simplification also means less money at the register. The 9m Ride retails for only $1050! Give us a call about ordering yours today at 1-888-509-4210.
The 2013 Wide Point Series from Starboard proves to be a favorite for our Oregon Coastal conditions, as it retains a high performance feel on the wave, yet remains stable and forgiving in bumpy waters. After a wonderful summer of surfing the 8’10″ Wide Point, I chose to step down in size to the 8’2″ x 32″ this year. At 130 L, the 8’2″ has a great sense of float for a guy my size (165 lbs.), and has been ridden by friends of mine pushing 200 lbs. With the continuous single concave, there is an added sense of stability complimenting the oversized width.
I can use this to my advantage when blasting through the whitewater, or trying to keep my balance in the moving currents and rips. Like any board, it took a little getting used to, but I’m hoping after a summer of surfing the 8’2, I’ll be able to eventually feel good on the new 7’8″! We have the new 2013 8’2 Wide Point AST Silver in stock for only $1599, a great value for a high performance shape weighing in at only 20 lbs!
Location: Harbour Island, Bahamas
Wind: 25-35mph (NE)
Board: 2013 Cabrinha X-Caliber 136cm
I recently had the opportunity to do some kiteboarding off of Harbour Island, in the Bahamas. The 9m Switchblade became my go-to kite as a tropical storm blew through for a few days. I’ve been always setting up the bridles on the steering lines on the second knot up. But, after reviewing the Cabrinha Kite Tuning Tech Tip, I thought the 3rd knot up sounded more like the traditional feel of the Switchblade. You can review this Tech Tip HERE:
As I had imagined, the tighter rear lines on the steering bridle made for a bit more responsiveness and heavier bar pressure. 3rd knot for big boosts too! If unhooking, the 2nd knot might be best suited for ultimate predictability and perfect balance, but for the traditional “bow-kite” feel, bump up to the 3rd knot.
I really liked how much faster the new 2013 Switchblade turns, which had always been the limiting factor on the design in the years past. For ultimate versatility, range, and user friendliness look no further then the 2013 Cabrinha Switchblade!
Rocked the new 5′ 11″ Trigger. Loved it! Besides being great on the waves, the board is super fast and points ridiculously well. The skillet out points the S-quad and the Trigger way out points the Skillet. Pretty cool when point sailing. Lots of rides!!! The board is extra sensitive to foot placement which is great once you get it. It will make any kind of turn you want. I also dig the extra nose flip. The waves were really steep and pitching and I swear, that extra kick saved my butt on several big drops. Cant wait to get on it again. – Randy
Here in the Gorge, we are fortunate enough to see and test the newest gear to hit the market. The 2013 Switchblade has been highly anticipated due to the improvements in turning speed and bar pressure. Pumping the 2013 Cabrinha kites is a cinch with the new Airlock allowing for a higher volume of air to pass through the one way valve. It doesn’t require an adapter either, and attaches directly onto the valve. The ultra durable dacron frame is noticeably stiff and ridged right out of the bag, helping lock in the kite’s intended shape.
The 2013 Switchblade has a bit of a wider looking wingtip, which probably helps in the faster turning speed (quite noticeable in the bigger sizes). This probably adds to the improved relaunch too! Once in flight, I noticed how much lighter the bar pressure was from the previous models. Out of the bag, the Switchblade is set on the “lighter steering impulse” setting. If you want heavier pressure in the bar, there is a slight adjustment on the trailing edge bridle (shift the bridle from A to B).
One more huge improvement is on the 2013 Quicklink Control System. First off, the quick-release has been improved for reconnecting on the water. To reconnect, you push the quick-release up until it catches on the hook (new for 2013). The new flying lines are thick, like cables! They have an improved finish reducing stretch over time, and making running out the lines easier.
The 2013 Switchblade works in a wide range of conditions, making it a very versatile kite. We have had a chance now to fly the new 5m (28-38 mph), the 7m, 8m, and 9m.
New for the ladies this year is the Switchblade offered in the Siren collection (sizes 6/8/10/12). The Siren colorway was inspired by the ever talented Suzi Mai. The Siren Quicklink Bar has a longer, easy to reach trim adjuster, and smaller harness loop. This makes reaching maximum depower much easier for the ladies!
Just returned from another wonderful week-end of SUP surfing on the Oregon Coast, this time with the 2012 Starboard Wide-Point 8’10″ SUP
. Short and wide is a good thing! The under 9′ length allowed me to make bottom turns without having to trim the board off to the rail so aggressively and the tapered tail helps a ton too. For my first session out I was set up as a thruster configuration, allowing for a nice tracking, stable feel. Round two, I swapped out for the Gerry Lopez Quad (GL-1 Quad), which loosened everything up on the wave, and made the board much easier to carve.
The 8’10″ Wide Point is offered in the silver construction (as seen in this photo), which would be a great windsurf board once the wind picks up, with mast base connection, and footstrap inserts added to the SUP.
Great board to build confidence up with, not too long, not too wide…Just right!
After a brief taste of summer back in March when we got to test some gear in Maui, it finally felt like summer in the Gorge last Sunday! Windy, warm, and a good crew of people sailing at the Hatchery. I couldn’t wait to take my new Naish Chopper for a spin. I rigged up the Small and headed out. For the next 90 minutes, I was pretty much smiling nonstop. My session was elevated even further when my dad joined me on the water (on a matching Chopper, of course). Despite the gusty conditions (with some pretty large lulls), we were planing nearly the entire time due to the Chopper’s wide range and stability. As I carried my rig up the rocks, I felt satisfied. Perhaps my satisfaction was due to the fact that I hadn’t sailed in over two weeks—but I have a sneaking suspicion it could be due to my new favorite sail: the Chopper.
Erin and Steve Gates take their new Naish Choppers to the Hatch. Thanks to Trudy Lary for the photo
Date: Friday June 15th
Location: Hood River Sandbar
Kite: Naish Fly
Bar: Universal w/ 24m lines
Board: Naish Alaia
Wind: West, 4-10 mph (average 8 mph)
Naish just released the new light-wind specific Fly kite and I just had a chance to ride it on an unusual, sub 10 knot day here in Hood River. This kite doesn’t have a designated size, but it looks like a 15m in the sky. Big wingtips gives it a Park like appearance from the side, but looking at the main canopy, it adopts its shape from the new, two-strut Ride kite. My first impression was how well it turns, quick for a light wind kite. This turning speed really helps maintain a consistent pull, and on the Alaia board, not much is needed.
No white caps in sight, and planing across the pond….big smiles! I looked over my shoulder to see no one but SUP paddlers! My only concerns with big kites are back flying (stalling in lulls) and light wind relaunch. Well, I’m not to concerned any more with the Fly. I couldn’t get the kite to stall, even with an extra tug on the outside lines. It relaunched easily with just a single pull on an outside line. This kite packs down so small, you can fit it into a 12m Park bag. Indeed a kiteboarder’s vacation saver, without destroying the wallet!
Feel free to call toll free for more information….Available, NOW! at Big Winds. 1-888-509-4210
Date: May 13th, 2012
Location: Manzanita, OR.
Wind: 19-29 mph, on-shore/slight side shore
Kite: Cabrinha Drifter 9m
Board: North Pacific Epoxy 5’10 strapless
Not TJ ripping it up. Photo: Cabrinha Kites
This was my first week-end out to the Oregon Coast, riding legitimate waves with one of my favorite kites for 2012. The 9m Drifter does exactly what the name reflects: Drifts down the line, even when lines get slack. Not only does the simplicity shine in this three strut kite, but the performance is instantly recognized once the kite is in the sky. Faster turning speeds allow for clean down-loops, and the medium bar pressure is sure to extend your session.
The 2012 Drifter has already proven itself here in the Gorge, for both hooked in and un-hooked swell riding, and incredible flatwater freestyle/wakestyle. The Drifter will be packed with me for any/every Oregon Coast mission. Come demo one this summer from Big Winds!
Available at Big Winds.