I recently picked up a set of SUP Wheels from Island Surf Company, so figured I’d put a few words and photos together to give you an idea of how they are.
Bit of an aside, bit here’s an interesting bit of an interesting bit of trivia… We’ve always called it Tiddly Cove but wasn’t quite sure on the spelling, so I ran a couple of Google searches to find out that its real name is Caulfield Cove. Thing is, a West Vancouver cartoonist named Len Norris penned an editorial cartoon for the Vancouver Sun during the years of 1950-1988. In this cartoon, two recurring, fictional communities in the strip were Amblesnide and Tiddlycove, and Caulfeild Cove has unofficially been named Tiddly ever since. Well anyways, I thought it was interesting, so now you know.
The backstory… We live at the top of a fairly large hill near Caulfield Cove, also known as Tiddly Cove, in West Vancouver. Until recently, I’ve been conserving my energy for my time on the water, hopping into the car, and driving over to Stearman Cove, which gives me access to a large, flat, sandy beach.
I recently changed the routine with a set of SUP Wheels. Tough guys in the audience will laugh at the need for a board cart, but while it’s true I could manage the board down to the water and back, fact of the matter is it’s not only a pain in the ass bother, but it also increases the chance of me dinging the board by about a thousand percent.
So with that, enter SUP Wheels…
SUP Wheels are available in two flavours… The SUP Wheels Classic and the SUP Wheels Evolution. The Classic is just the wheelie part of the package, the Evolution package includes the strap and handle. Choosing between the two, just go ahead and get the Evolution… It’s only a few bucks more, and it makes all the difference in terms of easy of use.
I usually rig up the board, strap in the paddle, then strap my PFD/phone and water bottle near the handle, making for an easy, one handed trip to and from the dock.
I don’t bother using the collapsible feature, I just have a small cable ski lock that I use to secure the wheels to the dock, then push off from there.
What I like about the SUP Wheels Evolution
Overall, I really like the amount of freedom these wheels provide. In addition to getting a bit more of a workout to my routine, it may sound tacky but also feel more connected to my community. Plus, there’s no more rigging up the car, searching for parking or the like, I just leave my board rigged up on the wheels, sitting in the backyard and ready to roll down the street.
The design is very lightweight, portable, and for the most part, won’t corrode around the ocean waters.
What I don’t like about the SUP Wheels Evolution
The wheels work great on soft surfaces, but they are NOISY as hell on blacktop. I start my paddles early in the morning, so this time of year I try go get out there around 5:30 or 6:00, before the winds kick up around 9:00 or 10:00am. Problem is our neighbourhood is basically silent at that hour, and I’m almost as loud as a dump truck rolling down the hill. The solution would be to switch out the wheels for a set that are inflatable and rubber, but I’m guessing the simplicity and cost of production won out.
That all said, I’m going to experiment with some tweaks to the wheel surfaces to see what improvements can be made, perhaps a silicone bead or covering with a bike inner tube? Any other ideas, please post em up in the comments!
The loop fits the tail of a wide variety of boards, but it’s a jus bit too small to fit around the tail block of a 2014 Starboard All Star 14×28. I’ve attaching the board backwards which works OK, and it also works by attaching to the tail without the loop and just the bungee, but it’s not quite as stable as it could be.
The wheels and axle, while they are durable and solid, they do have a sort of cheap, unpolished kind of feel to them.
The cotter pins that secure the wheels to the axle have popped out on two separate occasions. Luckily I managed to find them in the lawn.
All in All
Overall, I’m super stoked with the added mobility these wheels provide and their overall ease of use. While I have a couple minor complaints, I’d have no problem recommending them to any paddler looking to increase their SUP-in-tow mobility!