The holidays are just around the corner and it’s a great excuse to gear up your friends and family with stand up paddle equipment for the new year. . . and maybe to pick up a little something for yourself as well. Looking back on where the industry has come in the last 12 months, the variety of equipment available seems to have at least doubled, making it a piece of cake to find the gear that you’re looking for in your local area. And, if you don’t have stand up paddle equipment distribution in your town, many of the larger companies have finally got their shipping systems in order so you can order your equipment from anywhere in the world. Here s quick holiday guide for your stand up paddle gear.
Boards: Ho ho hoooo Daddy! There is a huge assortment of boards available today. Local shapers and well know brands are bringing quality equipment to the masses making it possible for you and your crew to get out on the water. If you are looking for a board with rugged construction and a proven shape, Surftech, Boardworks/C4 Waterman, and Paddle Surf Hawaii are some of the bigger companies that offer and wide array of shapes and are sure to have something for everyone. Also, Starboard, Wave Rod, and some other companies may be available in your local area or online for production shapes. Contact the company direct or check with your local surf or kayak retailer to see what they have in stock or to place an order. For custom shapes, Steve Boehne at Infinity is scrubbing out stand up paddleboards like crazy on a regular basis. You could also check in with Tropical Blends in Hawaii for a custom board. If you’re willing to wait, shapers like Blane Chambers and Dave Parmenter are also putting together custom shapes from time to time. If you get lucky and are willing to wait, you may be able to score some equipment from one of them. Finally, never count out your local shaper. There truth is, whether they’re loud about it or not, many prone-paddle surfboard shapers are achieving great results with their stand up paddle board designs. Your local shaper will be able to get you a board customized for your ability and weight with design elements perfect for your local waves. Whether it’s a custom shaper or proven design, you’ll be stoked this holiday season paddling out on a shiny new board. There are some killer holiday discount running as well, so do you’re homework and you could walk off with a free paddle or a super discounted board.
Paddles: Whether you’re looking for a wooden beauty or a carbon fiber stick, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for this holiday season. While paddles used to be a matter of what you see is what you get, now there are dozens of paddle makers producing tough equipment for demanding stand up paddlers. For carbon fiber production paddles, it would definitely be worth your time to check in with Kialoa, C4 Waterman, Surftech, Quickblades and Werner. All of those paddle manufacturers have new designs for the new year and are constantly researching and developing improved equipment to help you get the perfect fit for your local conditions. Wooden and hybrid wood-carbon paddles are can be found with C4 Waterman, Kinimaka Paddles and others. Also, most companies offer a cost effective alternative to all carbon or wood paddles with their fiberglass production line. Fiberglass paddles are slightly heavier, and almost imperceptible, than an all carbon paddle but will save you about $100 on your new gear purchase. For extreme durability, look for an aluminum shaft paddle. Aluminum paddles are heavier, but their cheap, strong, effective and should last forever. As with boards, do your homework and you’re bound to find a killer deal.
Accessories: The holiday spree wouldn’t be complete without some accessories to round out your stand up paddle gear binge. Check with your local and online retailers to get the leashes, deck pads, sun protection, and wax you’ll need to get out on the water. Bob’s Mission Surf, NSI, Becker and others all have excellent customer service and can get you your equipment in a timely manner.
The holidays are the perfect time to stoke out your friends and family with some new equipment and to expand your own personal quiver. Also, the new year is just around that corner, and we all know what that means. . . another recommitment to lose weight, get in shape, and spend more time on the water. You’ll be extremely hard pressed to find a better core workout that stand up paddling. So, if you’re looking to justify purchasing your new stick, quit the health club, get your gear and get out on the water for the coming year. Have a happy holiday and we’ll see you on the water with some shiny new equipment.
If there are any other must see shops or websites for stand up paddle holiday gear, feel free to add them as a comment at the end of this article. Stoked!