This (2010) Summer around Vancouver has been an absolutely amazing for Stand Up Paddleboarding in every way.
We got a bit of a late start with the weather, but one things got going at the start of July, its been perfect with sunny skies and calm waters.
The second week in August was particularly great with super glassy conditions every single day… Save for the one day when we got a sneak Westerly system roll through, resulting in some nice waves if you were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time 😉
Forecast for the rest of the week looks for the smooth conditions to continue so get out there and enjoy while it lasts!
In part due to all of this great weather, participation in the sport has grown exponentially since last year. In my paddling last year, it was very rare to see another paddler whereas this year it’s rare NOT see someone else out on the water.
And general awareness of the sport is also way up… In 2009, people I met on the beach were very curious about what SUP was all about, asking all the typical questions… Is it hard? Do you fall in? How much is one of them things? etc. This year people are still curious, but most seem to know what it’s all about. A little 4 year old boy even came up to me a few weeks ago and asked me “Hey, are you going paddle surfing?”
The race scene is growing too. Deep Cove Kayak’s Tuesday Night Race Series featured SUP a few weeks ago, and almost thirty racers showed up. Though subsequent weeks have seen smaller numbers, I’m sure that the Tuesday Night Races will see a large SUP contingent as the core group of SUP enthusiasts continues to grow.
The shops I’ve spoken with are all reporting huge increases with interest and sales, a lot of that with sale of more recreational oriented price-point boards. Though some may see these mass-produced boards as a thorn in the side of performance and custom oriented board designers, I think they’re one of the main reasons SUP has grown so quickly this year. Sure, in the short run they may eat away sales from the high end producers, but their low price is introducing a ton of new people to the sport and these paddlers will soon grow out of these entry level boards, looking to upgrade to a more performance oriented board, perhaps even quivers of them!
SUP introductory classes are now selling out on a regular basis and shops are strongly recommending reservations for board rentals. All little factors sure, but they all point to the fact that SUP is experiencing a major growth in the Vancouver area.
Post up in the comments section to let us know how your Summer’s been going, it’d be great to hear from ya!