I got a call from Jono on saturday morning to see if i wanted to do a distance SUP paddle on the sunday. John was doing a two way over the weekend. Leaving his car at Queenborough on the saturday. Then paddling over to Faversham. Where i was going to meet him and we were going to paddle back to queenborough on the sunday.
The weather forecast for the sunday was perfect. Bright and sunny with a light North Eaterly breeze. I met Jono at his friends boat at favershams Standard quay. On which Jono had spent the night. We were going to leave from Standard Quay. However there was still no water in the creek when i arrived. So we revised our plans and decided to leave from Harty ferry. As there is water their at all states of the tide.
We left Harty ferry at around 2pm in lovely bright sunshine with a light breeze behind us. Exactly what distance Supping is all about. This tripwas not about eating up the miles. This one was more about soaking up the sunshine and tranquility. We still made good progress though and on our way decided to make a small detour up the creek to Conyer. What i little gem Conyer is Quiet peaceful and picturesque. We were just about to head back out of Conyer when we spotted a long time friend of ours on his boat. Chris Calthrope was just getting ready to go out on his sailing boat for a sunday afternoon play in the summer sun. We had a quick chat and catch up with Chris. Then we were back on our way.
The rest of the paddle up to Queenborough Was very peaceful apart from a short time where we met some people on jet skis that looked like they had bought them but did not really know what they wanted to do with them. They seemed to be going round in circles aimlessly. Once out of site and sound of the jet skis. We had a quiet paddle up to Queenborough. With the wind just building as we got to our destinatioin. We arrived at Queenborough at about 6.15 in the evening. Not a cracking pace but a great paddle in great weather. Possibly the most pleasent paddle i have had in a long time.
It does not matter what sport you are doing. Some days are going to be better than others. Then occasionally you get a day that is a real treat and when you have finished you look back on the day with a big smile on your face. This is what happened to richard and myself on our last day in the Algarve. We had been staying in Albufeira just up the road fromwhere Lee and Emma had been staying. They had flown back the previous day and after a week of chasing waves on the south and west coast of Portugal. Wedecided to have a relaxing paddle right off the beach where lee and Emma had been staying for the last month.
Richard took the above video while taking a drink break and applying some more sun screen.
We had been wearing a wetsuit all week while we had been surfing. Well sup and a waveski as the water in portugal in march is pretty cold. However as we were only intending to have a leisurely paddle. We decided to just wear a pair of board shorts and soak up the sunshine. The treat started when we got to the beach. We were treated to a chest high wave breaking in the exact spot where we were launching from. With the rest of the long beach being completely flat. So Richard on his waveski and myself on The starboard POD. Spent the next two hours catching waves totally on our own and just in shorts. This was the best SUP surf i had of the whole trip. Not the biggest or fastest wave we saw but the most enjoyable. This wave was what the sup was invented for. We both finished with huge smiles on our faces and went home very happy people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
The forecast was for a front to go through over night and then the wind to swing to the NW between 6 and 9 in the morning. I had spoken to Richard and we were hoping to wake up with the wind already in the NW and starting to clean Camber up for a good surf. So i went to bed in anticipation of some wave riding coming up the next day. The front though was a bit slow clearing the south east of the UK. The wind never clocked in to the NW until about 9.30 so it was a matter of waiting a couple of hours and then having a sup at Broomhill sands on the dropping tide.
When we arrived there was a fair breeze from the WNW. Which is just off shore at Camber. With hind sight i should of taken the starboard pod up to the harbour arm and not gone out at the stoney car park at Broomhill Sands. The problem was though there was a lovely looking head high shoulder running to the left. So i got sucked out by the great looking wave. Richard with his waveski decided to wait a while and see how i got on. Which proved to be the right decision. Once out the back the wind was blowing quite hard and because i was supping it was hard to just not get blown down wind. I stayed out about 45 min and only managed to get on one decent shoulder and managed to get 3 bottom turns in. Not the best day i have ever had at Camber on the sup. Ol well the forecast for tomorrow is for head high waves over the high water. So a sup up by the harbour arm is on the cards.
The forecast had been showing a lot of swell for friday the 12th all week. Also the forecast was showing the wind going NW. Which would bring some over head high clean waves at Camber Sands. High water up by the harbour arm looked the best bet.
On the day there was plenty of swell. The Greenwich light ship buoy was showing 14f at one time. The wind had dropped out and was light from the west. Richard gave me a ring and said he probably would not make it due to a bad back. A few ibuprofen managed to get him to the beach with his waveski though. He was so glad he did as he caught the best wave he had ever caught at Camber.
Tom from the kitesurf centre came out on his Starboard Pocket Rocket Unfortunately he bought a squally shower out with him. Just as the waves were cleaning up nicely.
Over all it was not the epic day the forecast had hinted it might be. It was however a great day to be on the water with the Sup.
The autumn was basically a waste of time for any kind of stand up paddleboarding at Camber. The low pressures that came through tracked in a way that the wind stayed onshore for Camber sands meaning no chance of a Sup wave.
So the chance to catch a few waves was well over due. I will be honest when i left home i thought i would get to Camber take a look over the top of the sand dunes. See that the wind was still blowing and to onshore abandon it and go for a swim in the pool instead. It was a great surprise to look over the dunes and realise the wind had dropped and swung westerly which is cross shore. Also there were some chest to shoulder high sets rolling in.
It was high water so the best place to go was up by the harbour arm of the river Rother. The thing that i was most chuffed about this sup session though was that there was a shoulder to ride at the green light and also off the post. Just a bit further down towards Camber. Hopefully this means that the sand bars have sorted themselves out. With the forecast looking really good for friday. Hopefully an epic day is going to be on the cards and also hopefully i will not be billy no friends on friday as well.
It had been a while since Rich and myself had had a trip down to Saunton sands. We had been keeping an eye on the weather for a few weeks. All they had down the west country during this time were westerly onshore winds. We had been looking for a weather forecast with light offshore easterly winds and some waves. So that we could drop down to saunton in Devon and have a surf. Well a Sup surf for me on the starboard POD and to catch some waves on the waveski for Rich.
Then the weather did us a good turn and the weekend of the 15th and 16th of November promised some 4-6 foot waves and a light easterly wind. The Monday was supposed to be light winds and 2-3 feet that however turned in to onshore mush.
We got to Saunton about lunchtime on the saturday. To our pleasent surprise we saw Dave Gayda,s van in the car park and Rich joked about whether he would have his windsurf sails in his van that he had given him a couple of weeks beforehand to get fixed. Dave was already out surfing so we had to wait on that one. What a surprise when we saw Dave later and he did actually have the sails in his van. So Rich was a well happy bunney.
The saturday proved to be nearly double over head high surf and both myself on the sup and Rich on the Waveski took a battering getting out through the white water. It was well worth the effort though as the waves that were caught were some of the biggest i had caught on the sup for a long time.
The sunday did not disappoint either. The waves were a bit smaller and more manageable. Still maxing out at head high and a half though. It was however a bit easier to get out through the white water. With Rich on the waveski almost cruising out the back. I got a bit of a hammering in the white water again. It took me about 10 minutes to get the starboard pod out the back. Again there were some cracking waves to be had. With Rich having the fastest drop down a face of a wave that he has ever had and myself being goofy footed so i love going left. I did however have one of the sweetest rights i have had. With a lovely peeling over head high right and i managed for me 4 bottom and top turns all without any loss of speed. Dave had been using the rip by the rocks to help him get out the back. So that looks like the best bet for next time. He also said he had caught one of the best waves in a long time. So all in all a great weekend had at Saunton Sands in November.
The wind had blown from the south for most of the night and then dropped right out about 4.30 am. So in theory there should of been a nice bit of ground swell left to have a surf on.
There were 4 surfers out when i arrived at just after high water. They had gone in from the centre of camber at the sandy car park. They were catching a few short rides on thigh to waist high waves. The weather was good and i hoped the waves would get a bit better as the tide dropped and the ebb came through. So i decided to keep optomistic and get wet.
I had about an hour and a half on the water and there was no problem catching waves on the starboard POD. They were only small however and had very little speed to them. There again i caught a few waves, The weather was warm and sunny for november and it was good exercise.
So all in all another non epic days sup surfing at Camber Sands but fun none the less