Last weekend after the 2008 Surf Expo in Orlando, Florida, Todd Bradley and Dave Parmenter from C4 Waterman came out to spend a couple days on the Florida Space Coast to take in some Right Coast swells and perform a couple of local stand up paddle Demo/Clinics.
Todd and Dave bunked at my home in Melbourne Beach for a couple of days and besides partaking in some great Sushi and sharing some of their 10 plus years of “Long Blade” experience (and lifetimes as World Class Waterman); they shared some of their newest Stand Up Surfing equipment advancements…one of which is The C4 Waterman High Performance Paddle Fin.
You will notice in the photos that there appears to be a yellow “Happy Face” now adorning the leading face of the paddle. After some raised eyebrows (yes even from me), the madness behind Todd Bradley’s method started to make sense.
Both he and Dave (as most of us) come from more traditional surfing beginnings…prone paddle, catch the wave, pop up, bottom turn, set the line (repeat to gain speed and get around close out/mushy sections), enjoy.
In short, high performance ASP style boards radical directional turns are aided by fins, rails and the all purpose hand gouge…
The “Hand Gouge” is what set Todd on his journey to develop the new C4 Waterman High Performance Paddle Fin.
After countless proto types in various sizes, shapes, angles, volume and materials (Todd Bradley is a big fan of 3M adhesive film and can make just about anything stick to a board and now a paddle)…The C4 Waterman High Performance Paddle Fin was born (see photos).
I asked Todd, “Why would you need THAT on your paddle, doesn’t the blade offer us a huge turning device as it is??”…
Yes, but as Todd explained, when we drop down a wave face and extend the paddle out to our front side (or behind us to dig and turn back side), we lay the face of the blade on to or in to the face of the wave. Though I have not noticed it before (see photo of myself this past Fall, laying the blade face in to the wave face, to set up down the line), the blade does in fact slide…and when you add the C4 HP Paddle Fin…well, it doesn’t…
The C4 HP Paddle Fin duplicates the action of a surfers cupped hand that is utilized on shorter traditional boards. The fin gives a SUP surfer a new “Grip” on the wave that dramatically enhances the ability to turn and increases the performance considerably (are we starting to see a SUP equipment trend here…more HIGH PERFORMANCE).
Todd told me that since he has refined this fin, he literally can’t SUP Surf without it (or won’t).
I have to admit, I was well…skeptical; that this small stick-on fin would really do anything substantial except add a “Cheshire Grin” to the face of my blade (SUP Surfing gives me the same type of grin on a daily basis anyway, so what could it hurt).
You would think by now that with Todd Bradley’s extensive years in paddle design and world class OC knowledge (both of which I have very little by contrast), that I would realize he doesn’t waste time on things that do not really work or are not efficient (there is that word again).
I have to say that the C4 Waterman HP Paddle Fin works…it REALLY works. It’s strange however…it is so subtle at first…I stuck mine on (the cardboard package that the fin comes in, doubles as a template to make alignment a snap and it can be applied to ANY brand of paddle). I then proceeded to paddle out in some wobbly chest high surf that we had this past Saturday.
On my first front side bottom turn, I felt something different…more control; my 10’6” SUP felt more agile when I would dig my blade in to initiate each turn. The more aggressively I gouged in turns, the more powerful my turns became…
My confidence kept growing and it was like I had found yet one more way to take my SUP surfing to another level…but it wasn’t me really; it was the ever evolving creative minds at C4 Waterman and Todd Bradley’s crazy little yellow fin.
So go to www.c4waterman.com or your local C4 waterman dealer, slap a silly little yellow grin on your paddle and start ripping!
Like the saying goes; “Smile…and the world (and your paddle) will smile back at you…”
Aloha from the Right Coast and see you in the water,