Stand-Up-Paddling has now had its chance to shine. Having successfully taken off in the last few years, it is a huge hit with windsurfers worldwide when the wind is light for a spot of wave-riding or just river cruising with your mates. However, we get an insight in to a pro-windsurfers personal life as Steve Allen, holder of ten World Titles, tells us more about the various uses of the SUP. Want to find out more about the man himself the check this interview of him with the PWA recently: www.pwaworldtour.com
Words: Steve Allen
I started windsurfing at the age of nine, having several sharks circling us while my father and older brother were trying in vain to right a capsized catamaran so far out to sea that the land was just visible on the horizon, I did not want to get back on that catamaran, so dad sold it and bought a windsurfer. I started learning the basics on a large dam on my uncles farm. Since then I was hooked and windsurfing has taken me to where I am today.
I now have two children Eva 8 and Andy 7 and I would like to give them the same opportunity that I had to learn windsurfing and all the other great water sports. However, I have really struggled to get them enthusiastic about it, as they seemed a little scared of the deep water to sail by themselves on the board. Then the SUP came along and I thought this just looked fantastic for the children and myself.
The larger SUP boards with the windsurf option is perfect, making the board so versatile. Eight months ago I took my children on the board for the first time, beginning with the standard SUP paddling. With the three of us all together on the same board it helped make them feel safe and they loved it from the word go.
Shortly after I put the windsurf rig on the board and this was able to give them the feeling of planning and windsurfing which they also enjoyed a lot. Soon they took just the board by themselves paddling, playing, pushing each other in, going further and further out without fear as they had already been there with me.
I then had the idea to make a tandem windsurf set up on the SUP board, which had not been done before. I simply strapped the iDO from Starboard to the nose of the board and off we went. It was great fun for my kids and for me. Suddenly we went twice as fast in the light wind, as with the two sails, even the front sail being for kids made us plane earlier and go faster.
Later that day Andy and I went surfing together on the SUP in small waves. He absolutely loved it.
The SUP board suddenly became super good value for money with all these amazing options on just a single board. Suddenly you can go to the beach and all your friends can try windsurfing again, the big windsurf boards have been made cool and fun again using the SUP.
Back in the 80s windsurfing boomed as everyone could try it and do it, then boards became so small for the advanced, and the larger boards were forgotten about. I believe this killed the growth of windsurfing as people came with their small cool looking boards that were impossible to put a learner on making it impossible for their friends to try. So if people cannot try windsurfing they cannot experience the feeling of it.
Now with the SUP we can surf, just cruise up the river/lakes, race them, fish from them, take the family on it, windsurf alone or with one or even two children (the most I had was 3 kids and myself on the board windsurfing) then you can also go tandem windsurfing.
If you have kids and have never been tandem windsurfing before this is a must try experience as it is so much fun for you and the children. I also went for a tandem sail with a 55kg girl on the Starboard 12ft Big and Easy board. It handled this fine and we both had a lot of fun.
Sitting around on the beach just became even more pointless as the SUP board really does allow you to go out whatever the weather. Im stoked to be able to use them as much as I do and that my family also gets a huge amount out of it.
All this is also why I have decided to import Starboard SUP boards to Poland. Seeing how much fun I could have on this one board, alone and with the family, I would like to show others how they can also have this experience. SUPing has to be the easiest board sport in the world and is an incredibly good work out for your core muscles, at the same time.
Finally there are all the innovations and accessories. The inflatable SUP boards, the iDO and I am also working on a windsurf rig attachment for the inflatable SUPs, so watch this space. It seems Starboard have also been thinking along the same lines and they have an attachment coming soon for the iDO on to their SUPs.
I look forward to seeing you out on the water, Steve Allen AUS-0 10 times World Champion in Windsurfing.