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27th of April 2012

Easter weekend saw the annual round hayling island race take place, light winds but glorious sunshine kicked the season off in style for this, and the BSA racing that followed. [more]

Stand Up Paddle Surfing


Stand Up Paddle Surfing, or SUP for short, is a great sport to compliment your windsurfing.

Originating in Hawaii, the sport involves standing on a board, similar to a surfing longboard but a little bigger, and using a paddle to propel yourself along rather than laying down and paddling. This makes it easier and more likely that you will catch even the smaller waves, meaning your session can be a lot more fun! It is the perfect light wind alternative and will get you out on the water in any conditions.

FLOW finds out more from all round water woman Shawna Cropas and young, talented British competitor Bobbie Cooper.


Shawna South shore: A Thousand Peaks: photo by Thorten IndraShawna South shore: A Thousand Peaks: photo by Thorten IndraShawna Cropas:


There's no better sport for social feminine style fun as SUP. 


It's relatively easy to learn and it's great outdoor exercise on the water while catching up with your girlfriends doing coast runs or surfing mellow kind. Last summer a friend of mine, Suzie Cooney organized a mellow paddle down the Wailea Coast on the south side of Maui and more then four hundred women showed up for the fun! It's almost of unheard of to get that many female participants in a water sports event!  The beauty of Stand Up Paddling is it's accessibility,  you can do it in all sorts of different conditions and environments from dead calm lakes to roaring ocean, breathless to nuclear winds, flat as a pancake water states to double over head barreling waves, river channels to ocean crossing. You name it and you can do it on your SUP.... What more could you want from a board!  


Here in Maui when the waves retreat and the winds crank during the summer months on the north shore, we have a blast  getting groups of girlfriends together to do coast runs. We sweep (Maui slang for SUP) the ocean clean from Ho'okipa to Kanaha surfing wind swells while chatting, goofing around and working out our core! It's almost better than chocolate!  


Shawna back in shape: photo by Thorsten IndraShawna back in shape: photo by Thorsten Indra

For me personally SUP was a saving grace when I got pregnant as I could no longer surf or windsurfing with my growing belly. I'm one of those people that need to get out on the water so SUP kept me sane and fit through out my pregnancy and got me right back into shape after Reef was born.


I was back  on a windsurfer in no time and doing the JP photo shoot three and half months after giving birth. Though I would not advise pregnant women to SUP unless they have loads of experience on the water doing board sports and know what they are doing as risks are involved. 


One of the best things I like to do on a SUP if I'm not doing a coast run or surfing is throw a snorkel around my neck and head out on a flat calm glassy day, paddle a ways off shore and go check out the sea life underneath with the safety of my board at arms reach in deeper waters.


SUP can also help your windsurfing as it will improve your board balance in general and wave awareness should you get into surfing wind swells or waves.


SUP covers it all, whether you're cruising in a daydream or looking for a full throttle adrenaline workout. 


Get a board, get a paddle and get out there!


check out Shawnas website for more info on SUP and windsurfing



Bobbie Cooper:

Bobbie photo by  www.jonparkerphotography.comBobbie photo by www.jonparkerphotography.comI first learnt to Stand up Paddle Surf in May 2008 at a demo day at 2XS/ X-Train, West Wittering beach. We were able to take boards out and have a play, we were also given some free advice. 


I’d previously seen my boss taking part in the sport and was intrigued to have a go. I’d surfed for a few years before taking up SUP and it definitely helped.  When I first stood on an SUP I was quite cocky and started from standing rather than my knees, I found it surprisingly easy and I really enjoyed it, from that day on I was hooked!


I just loved the feeling of being able to move on water without waves or wind! It’s definitely a great no-wind sport. After about half an hour of constant paddling I had the hang of it and was eager to hit the waves, luckily there were only baby ones that day! 

A week later I took part in my first competition as a bit of fun, I really enjoyed it.  At the time I was in the junior division and carried the competitions on to win the 2008 Junior title. I am currently competing for the women’s 2010 title. It’s great once you get your own board as you’re able to go out when and where you like, it gives you another kind of freedom. I love the distance paddling as well as the wave riding.

Bobbie photo by  www.jonparkerphotography.comBobbie Cooper photo by www.jonparkerphotography.comSUP is also a brilliant core work and a brilliant summer activity when the  beaches are rammed!

The events are not only for competing, there are free demos and often free coaching to go with it so head down to next event nearest to you and have a go! You don’t have to be an expert to have a go!


Some useful SUP links...