What a beautiful weekend for an SUP festival! Glassy water, hot weather and lots to do. The National SUP festival is combined with the National Windsurf Festival, and with almost no wind at all on Saturday SUP took to the water in a big way.
As we arrived on the site we could see stand up paddlers out on the water and it looked absolutely perfect for trying SUP for the first time, racing or generally having fun. The festival site itself is based around the Inn on the Beach on Hayling Island. With a large area for trade stands there was plently to look at when not on the beach.
Trade Tent at NSF
When we got to the Coreban stand Ryan introduced us to Charlie Head who is stand up paddling from Lands End to London Bridge, over 500 miles, starting in September 2012. He will be taking all of the stuff he needs to live on a waterproof back pack for the trip. Very impressive - he would like SUPers to join him during parts of his trip so we will help getting the word out as to when and where he is!
Also, of course, on the Coreban stand was the fantastic looking 14ft Carbon board, our local distance SUP hero, Paul Burgess, was the first person in Europe to get his hands on one of these and he loves it.
RRD, Ezzy and Kialoa stand
Round the corner we had the impressive RRD and Kialoa stand, with the the new RRD inflatable boards that have been selling as fast as they come in, we also had a look at the RRD westsuits, we have some of these and once again testing will follow shortly. Kialoa have a new paddle out called the Toro with a rounded tear drop shaped blade. More on these soon as reviews will be on the way.
Richard Marsh on the Kai Sports Stand
Nah Skwell, Whiskey Jack and X-Paddle had a really great selection of gear to get you going, Richard Marsh and Jon Popkiss were manning the stand and very busy with a lot of interest being generated, especially with the Nah Skwell scow, a rather unusally shaped distance board. Another board that we are looking forward to taking for a test.
Fanatic, as always, had a nice stand, they had a carbon 14ft board on display that has been attracting a lot of interest, it certainly looks like a board that will be winning races and turning heads. Jay Manning, Mark Slater, Nik & Ant Baker were all on hand to chat to customers and run coaching sessions.
Ryan James, team Starboard.
Starboard had a good selection of SUP on display, and with team rider Ryan James winning in the SUP races their profile was once again high.
Newcomer to the market K3 Designs had some really nice looking paddles, with bamboo within the blades. These guys are also designing some SUP board that they will be bringing to market later in the year. We had a look at the work in progress blue prints and they look good so far. The surf orientated board will be around 9ft with a nice swallow tail on it. Can't wait to see the finished product.
Taboo had some SUP boards that I have seen before, but they also had a really good looking downwinder style board (in day-glo orange!), but the shape, especially the hull, makes it look like a really nice board. Another one to have a go on I think!
In the curious product category we had some pretty cool chairs made out of snapped surf and windsurf boards from Surf Chairs, some pretty amazing surf mirrors and in the plain odd category a wetsuit, by Ianovated, with a breathing tube that allows you to blow warm air from your lungs to your hands. Odd it might be, but it certainly had attracted a crowd!
No more cold hands from Ianovate....
Sunday 9th September is the final day of the festival -go if you can, if not watch it live here: http://supglobal.com/stand-up-paddle/event-reviews/289-the-national-sup-festival-is-now-live.html