A Golden Age

SUP is still a very new sport. Almost anyone who surfs in Maine knows about it, but very few have tried it themselves. A few older surfers, with busted knees and lousy backs, have discovered they can once again paddle out and ride waves in comfort. The cold water doesn’t bother them as much when they are gliding over it. They can stand tall, and look around. Soon they realize their paddle isn’t a crutch at all, but a powerful set of wings that open up a vast, new horizon of possibilities.

Younger people often come into the store looking for surfboards. I apologize that I don’t carry surfboards, and then ask them if they have tried SUP. I often get the feeling that what they really want, as much as a board itself, is a prop that signifies “I am a surfer”. The surfing culture has undeniable appeal. Lets face it, who doesn’t want to be a surfer? The beach, the wind and waves and sun, and the communion between those primal forces and our own mind, body, and soul. Thats what its all about.

But surfing is not an easy art to master. In fact, its hard. It takes a huge amount of time and effort to become even a decent surfer.

Standup Paddlesurfing is different. You ease into it, learning the skills you will need in the surf one at a time, first on the flatwater of marshes or ponds, then moving into the rolling swell and chop of the ocean and bays, and finally taking your skills through the whitewater of the surf to catch your first wave.

We are at a unique point of time, where anyone can very quickly become proficient and find themselves among the best that do this sport. In another ten years, half the people in the line-up will be on SUPs. Whether you embrace this or decry it, its going to happen. If you are a surfer, particularly a young, athletic fast-learner with opportunity to spend some solid time in the water, now is your chance to catapult yourself to the front ranks.

It simply isn’t true that SUP surfing isn’t as hard core or critical as shortboard surfing. SUP is as fast or faster, can handle any size, anytime, anywhere with just as much power. What is true is there are not enough “hard-core” SUP-surfers out there to display the range of possibilities. And so I finish with this challenge to the next generation of watermen and women of Maine and beyond: elevate yourself above the mass of your brothers and sisters, take a paddle in hand, and become one of the vanguard. Decades from now, you will look back and recognize this as a Golden Age.

Kai Lenny, 18, flying high

Surf Report

updated 06/23/2017 3:04pm

swell:
2 ft @ 8 sec from SSE

wind:
ENE (Cross Shore) @ 2 mph

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