Gong SUP paddle review. (Wave)

For about the last 4 years i have been using a Starboard full carbon wave paddle. With the largest blade that i could get my hands on. I have been using this paddle for wave riding and also distance paddling. The problem though with only having one paddle for all occasions is that everything is a compromise especially with the length of the paddle itself. For wave riding you are going to want a lot shorter paddle than for distance paddling. So i decided it was time for a second paddle.

a picture of a gongsup wave paddle.
The blade size gives you plenty of power on the wave

Fortunatly for me but not so fortunate for my age. I had a big birthday coming up. So my daughter Lisa and son in law Dan insisted on buying me a new paddle. With already having bought a board from Gong. The 6.10 fatal which is a cracking wave board. I decided to give one of Gongs paddles a go. At 139e for a carbon wave paddle this seemed the obvious choice. So i ordered the paddle which arrived very promptly from their warehouse in France.

A picture of the carbon shaft of the paddle
The oval carbon shaft is very comfortable and light in hand

Program :

Surf high performances. 100% dedicated to the glide and the moves.

Specifications :

Blade :
- Height : 45.7 cm = 18’’
- Width : 23.4 cm = 9’’ 1/5

Total weight for a 185 cm / 73’’ paddle :
- 727 g.

Price :

- Paddle Carbon Surf Cut & Glue : 139 € sold with the handle not glued.

Gluing option by the after sales GONG costs 10 €.

Order :

To order this product on line, please follow this link to gongsupshop.com :
GONG PADDLE SUP CARBON SURF

Sizes :

Cut & glue :
Available at 215 cm long with the handle not glued. You can cut and glue it yourself to make it at your perfect length. Or you can ask to our after sale to do it for 10 €.
By this way you can be sure to have the exact length you need, 193 cm for example.

A picture of the head of the gongsup wave paddle
The angle of rake on the blade is just right for wave riding, Giving great paddle power to catch the wave.

This is the charte size to choose your paddle’s sizes.
Before, please, note these points :
- Usually, a small SUPer prefers the smallest size in the charte, the opposite for a tall SUPer.
- A shorter paddle than what this charte advise will be more maneuvrable on the wave and allow you shorts turns and to put more angle on the board.
- On hollow waves, use a shorter paddle to be closer to the face in barrels and to reduce turn’s diameters.
- A shorter paddle means more frequency but is painless for your shoulders.
- A shorter paddle is advised for short and thin boards. This charte is designed for beginners on a big board from 11’ to 12’ like a NFA 12’ for example. Please, reduce the size of 1 or 2 inches per foot less. For example, a 6’2 tall SUPer will use a 79’’ on a 11’ or 12’ board, a 77’’ on a 10’, a 75 on a 9’, and a 73’’ on a short board like 8’ or less. So it is usefull to ride a paddle of your exact size when your are an expert.
- A short paddle is great for windy conditions.
- A long paddle is so powerful and efficient for take offs.
- A long paddle gives you a better balance.
- The more your paddle is long the more “row effect” you have, so the most difficult is to paddle straight.
- You definitely need more than one paddle in your quiver : you can break it and you need to choose it regarding to the conditions of the session and save your shoulders.
The paddle components don’t change this charte.

- Paddle of 63’’ for a SUPer size from 4’7’’ to 4’10’’.
- Paddle of 65’’ for a SUPer size from 4’9’’ to 5’0’’.
- Paddle of 67’’ for a SUPer size from 4’11’’ to 5’2’’.
- Paddle of 69’’ for a SUPer size from 5’1’’ to 5’4’’.
- Paddle of 71’’ for a SUPer size from 5’3’’ to 5’6’’.
- Paddle of 73’’ for a SUPer size from 5’5’’ to 5’8’’.
- Paddle of 75’’ for a SUPer size from 5’7’’ to 5’10’’.
- Paddle of 77’’ for a SUPer size from 5’9’’ to 6’0’’.
- Paddle of 79’’ for a SUPer size from 5’11’’ to 6’2’’.
- Paddle of 81’’ for a SUPer size from 6’0’’ to 6’4’’.
- Paddle of 83’’ for a SUPer size from 6’5’’ and more.

The information above was taken from the Gong website.

A picture of the whole sup paddle
The gongsup Paddle is a great cost effective way of getting your hands on a carbon paddle.

So now to the important part what does the paddle perform like. All though being a bit heavier and the blade being smaller than my Starboard paddle. The Gong carbon wave paddle gives you plenty of power to catch waves with ease. The paddle is light and balanced in your hands making transitions easy. it also keeps your speed up when trying to make different sections and reforms on the wave.

Overall 4 out of 5, Only reason not giving 5 out of 5 is that the paddle could be a little lighter. This really is knit picking though. As if you are looking at a cost effective carbon wave paddle then the Gong should be right at the top of your list

 

Snowboarding in Milton Keynes

Still in Milton Keynes on our adventure weekend. It was time to g  o Snowboarding. Lisa,Lee,Emma,,Dan and myself were all up for this one. We were booked in for an hour and a half taster session to give us an idea of what Snowboarding is all about. Also to get us going down the slope in one piece.

we had a great time at Snowzone in Milton Keynes
The Snowzone arena in Milton Keynes is a joy with real snow toboot WAHOO

Snozone in Milton Keynes is such a good venue. You have real snow and a decent length slope to go down. So we were in for a treat. before we got on to the slope we were acquainted with our kit. This took 10 to 15 minutes. Then it was time to get on the snow. Apart from Emma we were all familiar with board sports. The lesson concentrated on getting us going down the slope on out toe edge. Starting with simply sliding down backwards. Which was more of a balancing act rather than Snowboarding. It did however teach us how to stop safely.

After we had all mastered sliding down baxkwards we got on to some traversing backwards and forwards down the slope. Which was much more like it as you actually felt like you were actually snowboarding. Unfortunately by the time we were getting the hang of things our time was up. Which definately left us wanting more. We were all agreed that this would not be the only time we would go Snowboarding so watch this space.

GREAT FUN HAD BY ALL…..

The Climbing Wall

During our Adventure weekend in Milton Keynes Lee spotted a 45 foot climbing wall. Well actually 2 climbing pillars with various routes up them. Some being a lot more difficult than others.

the climbing wall at Milton Keynes.
Lisa,Lee,Dan and myself ready to attack the wall.

Once Lee had spotted the climbing wall you could see instantly that he was not going anywhere until he had had a go at scaling his way up. He then asked me do you fancy a go. I thought i could not miss the oppurtunity. Emma decided to give this one a miss and sit down with mum with a Latte. Lisa and Dan on the other hand were well up for the challenge.

barry going up the climbing wall
Myself going up the climbing wall at too leisurely a pace

We were lucky as there was no one else on the walls. So we had them all to ourselves so after a quick safety briefing. It was time to put on some very uncomfortable climbing shoes, donne a harness and head for the walls.Lee and Dan immediately went for the higher and harder wall. So this left Lisa and myself on the slightly lower and easier wall to climb. It turned out Lisa was very good at this. She was definatly quicker up the wall than i was. I think my problem was i had never been clipped on to a safety rope before. So my mind set was if i full it ends with a trip to the hospital if not worse. It was only after we had finished that i managed to get my head round to the idea. That you just go for it and if you fall all that happens is that you come back down to terra firma very slowly and sedately.

Lee going up the climbing wall
Lee literally flying up the harder route on the wall

Lisa ,Dan and Lee on the other hand were starting to make it look quite easy. I found out afterwards that Lisa had done this sort of thing quite a few times with her year 6 students. Lee and Dan were making the most of the experience. After a while on the wall your fore arms start to burn and your grip goes so a half hour slot is the perfect amount of time on the walls. Near the end it was just Lee really left on the wall and he was flying up almost as fast as the instructor who climbs it every day. He could not believe that Lee had never been on a climbing wall before.

Lisa going up very quickly
Lisa showing me how it is done.

Overall the experience was an excellent one. For me i was a bit frustrated that i had not got my head round sooner. That falling off was no problem and to just go for it, We all though are determined to get to Edinburgh where they have the highest indoor climbing wall in Europe. So 5 out of 5 for this one WAHOO …

Indoor Sky Diving (Airkix Milton Keynes)

Ever since my daughter Lisa and her husband Dan got back from their honeymoon to Florida. They have been going on about how much they had enjoyed their go at indoor Sky Diving. So with me turning 50 it they sprung it on me as a surprise, Along with a snowboard lesson which i will go in to in another post. We were also supposed to meet up with relatives that we had not seen for a long time. Circumstances meant that we had to put that one on hold for a while.

So it was off to Milton Keynes for the weekend. Coming along for the weekend was Mum,Lisa,Lee,Dan and Emma. So it was a real family outing. Lisa decided not to do the indoor Sky Diving and Mum never intended to get inside and was more than happy taking photos. So this left Dan,Emma,Lee and myself to learn how to fly. Well hover in a large tube.

Barry at the Airkix indoor sky diving arena at Milton Keynes
Indoor sky Diving is such good fun everyone has to do at least once.

After a safety briefing it was time to get suited up and get ready to Rock and Roll. by the time we were ready to go in there was plenty of nervous energy flying about. A bit of a pun there ok not really very funny. Once inside the hardest thing seemed to be getting in to the initial position where you are able to just hover without flying off in all directions. After a few seconds though you find yourself starting to relax. Once this happens everything suddenly seems a lot easier. By the end of our second go we were all managing tohold a good position. raise ourself up and down and also attempt some dodgy looking turns. At the end of the session everyone gets the option for an extra £5 you can go right to the top and back down a couple of times. With the help of the instructor of course. Left to our own devices this manouvre would of been a certain crash and burn. The extra £5 is definatly money well spent. As there is a good chance you will only go indoor Sky Diving once. So you have to make the most of it why you are there.

Overall Indoor Sky Diving is one of those things you have to do at least once. We all had a great time and i know all of us would recommend everyone to put it on their bucket list of things to do.

Sup Surf in Albufeira Portugal

After a week charging around the Algarve trying to find waves that were not blown out by the Northerly wind. Rich the Ski and myself decided to have a leisurely paddle down by the hotel that Lee and Emma had been staying at.

supping at albufeira in a pair of shorts
What can be more fun than surfing in just a pair of shorts

So we just grabbed our boards well i grabbed my board and Richard grabbed his Waveski. Put on a pair of shorts and headed for the beach. What a pleasent surprise we were greeted with. A lovely little fun wave to finish off a great week in Portugal.

backside wave ride in the algarve
The sun was shining a fun wave and a great setting.

Rich the ski took these pictures while taking a break on the beach. What great memories. I ask anyone how many times can you remember surfing in just a pair of shorts.

front side wave riding in Albufeira
A cracking little fun wave

This sup surfing session is our last memory of Albufeira in the Algarve. We were sitting on the plane home feeling pretty smug with ourselves.

nose riding in albufeira
A wave with not another person out apart from Richard and myself

WAHOO

Broken dreams in the Turks and Caicos

I only spent a few days on the main island of Provo. One of the islands in the Turks and Caicos chain. We were stuck there sitting out a blow which was forecast to last for 3 days. I was helping friends dave and Cal sail their moody 44 up to the island of Exuma in the Bahamas.

The ruined prop and shaft from the wrecked power boat.
The mangled remains of one of the props and shafts> The shaft had been sheered completely off.

The north side of Provo is where all the tourists are and i for one was more than happy to be on the south side of the isl;and in South side marina. The south side of the island is a place of broken dreams.

A sunken boat in sapadilla bay provo
I have no idea what happened to this boat. I had a swim around it and it certainly is a broken dream.

There are parcels of land for sale everywhere. One potential development consisted of 8 lovely plots of land on a headland. With great views over the crystal clear shallow waters that surround the Turks and Caicos. The plots started 1 million dollars now however they were already down to 400 thousand and with only 3 sold i imagine the price was only going lower for the remaining plots of land.

a 60 foot ketch that has been infested with turmites
Bob from south side has just sold his 60 foot ketch. That has been attacked by turmites. Hopefully this wont turn in to a broken dream also. ” Australian dive instructors are currently restoring her.

Then just to the west of South side marina there were canals cut in to the coral. That were shaped so that people would be able to buold their house and have their own birth for their boat right at the bottom of the garden. Unfortunately these canals had been dug over 25 years ago and that was as far as the development had got. In these canals laid a mish mash of boats i presume tying up for free. On the hard next to  a part of one of the canals lay a high 30 foot mono hull now laying on its side and a trimaran now lying upside down. Also 2 30 foot yachts were tied up near bye.

A written off power boat
This large power boat may look in perfect condition. However it is a total write off after running up on a reef at 25 kts

After speaking to a local man i found out that the 2 boats that were wrecked on the hard. Had been lifted out by a local man who was in the process of working on them. When a storm came through and pushed them off their supports and turned them over. Which made them both in to unviable projects. So had been abandoned where they lay. He also informed me that the 2 boats that were afloat near bye. Had been given to a local man by a guy who had just had enough and just handed the keys over and walked away. Then add in the large Ferretti power boat that sits in South Side marina you start to get the idea.

Broken dreams of 2 boats that were walked away from
Two broken dreams here, The boats that were walked away from and the canal that they lay in that never got developed.

Unfortunatly the whole south side of the island of Provo is covered in such broken dreams. The north side is flourishing and pulling in the tourists by the 1000. In total contrast the south side which i must add i loved is in a state of disrepair. You would never think you were on the same island. So if you have some money to invest in a slice of paradise. There is a multitude to choose from on the south side of Provo in the Turks and Caicos.

an abandoned sloop in the canals on the island of Provo
This yacht was blown over in a storm while been worked on and has since been abandoned where it lays.

A must visit….

73 Ferretti runs up on a reef at 25 kts in the Turks and Caicos

The picture below of a 73 foot Ferretti may look in perfect condition. That is what we thought when we tied up at sout side marina on the island of Provo in the Turks and Caicos archipeligo. It was only when we spoke to the owner of south side.  That we found out exactly why the ferretti power boat was tied securely to the dock in the marina.

A written off power boat
This large power boat may look in perfect condition. However it is a total write off after running up on a reef at 25 kts

Apparently it had been delivered by ship to Miami and then it was on its maiden voyage over to the virgin islands. When with only 40 hours on the engines. For some reason that i am none the wiser it ran up on a reef at 25 kts. It then took a vast amount of money to get it refloated and off of  the reef. Once off the reef it then had to be patched up in a home made dry dock. So that it would keep afloat on its own. From there it was taken to South side marina on the island of Provo.

The Turks and Caicos islands are surrounded by reefs.
The tender may look ok but on closer inspection got a battering when the boat ran aground.

This is where it still sits now. With no one we spoke to having any idea what the insurance company now intended to do with it.  You could probably by this boat for practically nothing. The problem is it would cost you a kings ransom to get it sea worthy again. Even then if you did i am not sure that any insurance company would ever want to insure it again.

The ruined prop and shaft from the wrecked power boat.
The mangled remains of one of the props and shafts> The shaft had been sheered completely off.

So if you are looking for a large power boat with one unlucky owner. Then speak to Bob at south side he may have one going cheap.

New Sup Short Board Gong 6.10 Fatal XTR Pro

Just got my hands on a gong fatal 6.10 xtr pro. I have been riding my starboard POD for at least 3 years now and it has become second nature riding and paddling the POD. So i thought it was time i took a look at a radical short board SUP. After looking around and ruling out most of the major manufacturers as soon as i had a look at the price that they are now asking for their boards. I decided on a gongsup. I decided on the 6.10 fatal xtr and bit the bullet and ordered one. They only sell on line direct so you get your board much cheaper than you would do from a shop.

Gongs 6.10 short board sup
The 6.10 Fatal by Gong is a pure short board sup.

The new 6.10 fatal arrived promptly from their wear house in France. At 95l the 6.10 fatal is a good 10l less volume than the Starboard POD. I  thought how hard can the drop down in size be. My first outing on the board in choppy small waves soon answered that question. Very, To start with just trying to stand on the 6.10 fatal seemed hardly possible. I soon found out that i was now back on a steep learning curve to try and get used to the 6.10  fatal. I have now had 4 sessions on the board all in small surf. The hardest thing about the board is the initial getting up on the board. I have changed my technique markedly from the starboard Pod. I will go in to more detail in my full review of the board in another article. Simply put though it is all down to keeping your centre of gravity as low as possible. I have only used the board in small slow surf so far and basically the board comes alive instantly it is on any sort of a wave. It accelerates and turns on waves that the Starboard POD would just be meandering along.

quad fin set up with 4.5 inch and 3.5 inch fins
With quad fin set up and plenty of nose and tail rocker. This board turns like a dream and gets you more vertical than you ever thought possible on a sup.

So watch this space as i will give a full unbiased review of the board once i am riding it to its potential and have ridden it in a whole mixture of different conditions and wave sizes. My first opinion is though that the Gong 6.10 Fatal is going to totally change my supping in clean waves up to head high.#

WAHOO.

I just took the gong 6.10 and the starboard POD to north devon for a few days. We had head high and a half down to shoulder high waves. This board has now proved to me just how quick it will turn and is manageable in the white water. At the moment it seems a perfect board for chest to head high waves. It is going to be so good over the next few months trying the 6.10 out in different conditions. There is nothing like a new learning curve to get you going.

Starboard POD 7.4 Sup, Board Review

a picture of the starboard POD 7.4 from above
great all round board turns well and nose rides as well

I have owned a Starboard POD 7.4  for over 3 years now and have surfed it probably well over a 100 times. In waves from literally just over knee high to double over head. The board is a quad fin set up which in my opinion is the best set up for a short sup. The volume of the board is a 105l and is 29.5 inches wide.

the starboard POD has a quad fin setr up.
Quad fin set up which gives you great tight turning ability.

I weigh just under 75kg and stability wise the POD is fine. As you can imagine at only 7.4 long the glide you get from the board from each paddle stroke is very limited. Also if you are coming down in size from a much larger board you will have to concentrate much harder on your paddling technique. Once you have got it though you will be able to paddle the POD in pretty much a straight line. As far as the the shape of the board goes it is probably now classed as a bit old school for a short sup. There is plenty of volume up towards the nose of the board and the nose of the board is fairly wide. The tail of the board is pulled in and pretty narrow.

an epic day stand up paddle surfing at camber Sands.
As good as it gets at Camber Sands.

Now the main priority of any board what does it surf like. Where we live on the south east corner of England. The majority of the time we get short period wind driven swell. even in these far from unideal conditions the starboard POD will get up and perform in anything over waist high. It will accelerate really quickly on to a wave and the majority of the time you just need a couple of paddle strokes to make the take off. Even in these mushy waves that we get the POD .

Another great sup wave at camber.
Who says you cant surf at Camber

will turn tightly in the bottom turn and get you back up to the lip with plenty of speed to get a top turn in. Also this great board from Starboard with its fairly wide nose is a doddle to nose ride.

Paddling out through the shore break at Camber.
Waves always come when you are paddling out

I have also had 5 trips down to Devon with the starboard POD. In better quality surf from waist to double over head high. The pod takes it all in its stride. On the smaller stuff the acceleration is instant and you can really tighten up the turns. In the larger waves long drawn out turns are a real joy and the board never seems out of its comfort zone.

a picture of a wavesup and a waveski
My wave SUP a starboard pod and richard,s waveski

So as you can guess my over all opinion of the Starboard POD. Is that if you want a single SUP wave board that does everything pretty well. Then this is a board you should put on your short list. That is if you can find one. Starboard did not make this model for very long. Why i do not know and i have never seen a second hand one for sale.

WAHOO.

Best waves at Camber so far this Winter Thursday 8th January

What a great session thyursday the 8th of jan turned out to be. The forecast had the wind swinging from south west to north west by lunchtime. They did have though the wind staying at about 20mph though. So we did not get our hopes up to much for an epic session.bThe wind swang mid morning right on cue and we were also in for a pleasent surprise. Once the wind went north west it dropped out almost completely. So by the time we got afloat for a surf a couple of hours later the conditions had cleaned up and there were some lovely over head high waves to be had.

barry on the starboard pod going back side.
There were both lefts and rights to be had

These waves are the best we have had at Camber this winter by far. There were lefts and rights to be had with only the odd wave closing out. out that day was Tom from the kitesurf centre on his starboard pocket rocket. Richard on his pro design waveski and myself on my starboard pod. the bar up by the green light at the entrance to the river Rother was definitely the place to be and we had about 2 and a half hours of sheer fun

barry going front side on the starboard pod.
Great waves and blue skies WAHOO

Hopefully we will have more days like this before the winter swell ends in a couple of months time. Tom, Rich and myself all came off with huge smiles on our faces.