Did you know that when someone writes ‘an SUP’ it means they say Ess Yew Pea?
Uh huh. Indefinite article vibes.
Surfers of the lie-down-arm-paddle variety say Ess Yew Pea all the time. And why is that a problem, you may ask?
Well for starters I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s a teeny weeny clue that the person may have a bit of disdain for stand up paddling.
You never know, maybe I have it all wrong and Kai Lenny says ess yew pea? But actually, even if Laird Hamilton says ess yew pea it’s still almost as annoying as when people say “Muscle turns to fat if you stop exercising” or “Shaving makes your hair grow back thicker” or my all time favorite ”You’re from PE? Do you know so-and-so from East London?”
Now that we have all the hills that I’m prepared to die on clear…..did I mention reading over my shoulder? Slooshing your coffee back and forth through your teeth? How about using a toothpick in public? No? Just don’t.
Anyway, let’s get back to stand up paddle boards.
There might be one or two of you who say Ess Yew Pea but would secretly like to have a go. So as a public service, let me share the six degrees of the journey that lies before you. Even though you say Ess Yew Pea.
You know there are six degrees of Kevin Bacon? Well there are also six degrees of Kai Lenny. Or maybe not Kai Lenny. Maybe it’s six degrees of being…..
…just a stand up paddler, standing in front of a wave, asking it not to kill me.
Anyway, here they are, the six people you will meet (or become) along the way . Like me. I’ve done/still do ALL THE THINGS. (except say Ess Yew Pea)
- The Downhill Charger – this is when you catch a wave and ride it straight to the beach in snow ski stance, one hand clinging to the paddle like a ski pole and the other clinging to, well, nothing.
- The Surf Stance Thumper – this is when you are so stoked to catch a wave that you switch to surf stance with the vigour of a hippopotamus. You land on your extra large board so hard that your belly wobbles and you send cross chop across the face of the wave all the way to Bailey’s Cottage.
- The Frothing Giraffe – this is when you ride a wave with the stance of a giraffe at a waterhole. Straight, wide legs, butt in the air, head hovering over the water. For a moment. Before you fall*
- The Bob Dylan – the answer to this is blowing in the wind. You find yourself way beyond backline, feeling alone. You forget that a stand up paddler is a a human sail and that while blowing out to the tuna fishing grounds means you’re safe from the whitewater, it does make wave catching impossible. Not to mention making the NSRI anxious.
- The Sniper – one minute you’re there, standing up, scanning for sets. Next minute there’s a splash and you’re gone.
- The Captain Hook – this one walks the plank. I mean the SUP. In reverse. You don’t lean forward enough to pull off the Downhill Charger, instead you run backward off the tail, accelerating as you go. (You can hear it if you don’t see it. It goes steppity-steppity-steppity-steppity-splash.) .
Once you have mastered all these, you will feel closer to Kai Lenny. In spirit. But most likely never in Ess Yew Pea.
*my go-to stance
P.S. FYI :