California provided a nice dose of life and added insight into stand up paddle. Al Merrick, as previously mentioned in this series blog, unfortunately had business to attend while I was out there and didn’t make it for our interview and action footage filming. Surfing being what it is brought me in connection with surfing/shaping legend, Mickey Munoz. Mickey, through our connection of his appearance in my upcoming documentary film about Felipe Pomar, wanted to provide his insight and knowledge about SUP. Mickey and I spent a wonderful afternoon together talking story about stand up surfing, surfing, sailing, exploring, living - all things waterman.
Mickey spoke of his larger Surftech longboards as being one of the first designs utilized for modern stand up paddle. Our conversations specific to SUP ran the gamut from boards to paddles. The paddle conversation touched upon the possibility of utilizing them for not only SUPs but also for smaller boards. The shorter board paddles we brainstormed could be made into tools which fit around ones hands to be used as foils to allow for radical direction change, increasing speed, stability and also exploring ways of using parts of the wave (such as the ceiling of a barrel) as never before. Imagine hanging from the ceiling of a barrel on specialized hand paddles/foils with a shortboard strapped to your feet dangling below - literally, hang body. The hang body thing might take a bit of developing but the catalyst of the SUP conversation takes surfing into unimagined directions. Through my upcoming film about ancient Peru’s surfing I’ve become interested in the possibility of the ancients and SUP. Mickey believes most coastal or water related ancient people have done a form of stand up paddle. During my visit with Glenn Hening we watched his video from Peru where a clip showed a Caballito de Totora fisherman standing on his craft utilizing the paddle for maneuvering in the waves upon approach to shore. If the standing position on a surf craft is natural today it is quite possible it was relevant during ancient times.
The perfect waves and set ups of California provides a great place for SUP to thrive. A certain San Diego reef has become a center of stand up paddle in the area. The overall group, consisting of all boarders, make it work. The SUP guys, from what I witnessed, were considerate of the other surfers and the vibe was mellow. With the cold water of California’s Pacific Coast, SUP provides a prefect fit with less contact of the cold water adding more time staying happy riding waves.
As this film production continues so do the advancements and future developments of SUP. Many manufacturers now offer new and diverse models of SUPs, where not too long ago only one general design was available.
With the numerous ideas currently in SUP the future looks fun and full of possibility for all of surfing.
Stay tuned for future entries related to this production - SUP: The Next Step