Another great event from Dave Samuels and the guys at Paddle Round the Pier Brighton. Sadly the stand up paddle enduro race did not have enough entrants to run, however this event is still the best in the UK to come and see the latest and greatest stand up paddle products and talk to the people behind them.
On the Saturday a 5 mile Summer Sizzler SUP race was held, and the usual race crew were there in attendance. Ryan James awed everyone as usual in the 14ft category.
Sunday was a good chance to go to all the SUP stands and talk to the brands so here is the round up:
Richard and Jon at Kai Sports bring in Nah Skwell board, X-Paddle, Whiskey Jack wood paddles, Victory Kore Dry tops, a new range of sun glasses for paddling and an excellent paddle guard product.
Nah Skwell have introduced some new boards for schools and hire centres which have a foam soft top all over the deck, but a hard epoxy finish on the bottom, it also has rail guards so the boards will last. These look perfect for beginners and learners. They have also introduced a new range of shorter SUP surfboards that have higher volumes than the surf series, so they are perfect for paddlers who want to make that first step down to a shorter surf board, without losing much in stability.
The Nah Skwell race range was a new edition of an 11ft board, that also doubles as a good flat water paddler. It has a great hull shape, but for those paddlers who want to compete the 12ft 6" has had a make over and now possesses a slight convex in the nose section of the deck so that water rolls off the board immediately.
Nah Skwell are definitely an up and coming brand, I think they produce the lightest SUP boards in the European market, with a good mix of high end surf and race performance, mixed in with entry level equipment as well. The price point is also very competitive. Contact Jon or Rich at Kai Sports to find out where you can try one.
X-Paddle produce an almost bewildering range of carbon, fibre glass, kevlar and wood paddles and you can pretty much choose any combination of those materials for blade and shaft. The pricing is very competitive and I am seeing more and more of these out on the water.
Whiskey Jack is new to the UK stand up paddle market, they are an American firm producing beautiful hand made wooden paddles. They are only slightly heavier than carbon paddles and very nice to paddle with, we have one at SUPGlobal HQ - a review will be coming soon.
Victory Kore Dry produce a range of hoodies and T-shirts for men and women to paddle in, some are specifically branded for SUPers. Once again we have some of these at the HQ and will be publishing our review very soon.
I did not see anything new on the stand from when I saw the Fanatic guys in Bournemouth earlier this year, but the bigger Fanatic news is that the SUP team continues to grow. Jay Manning and Charlie Grey are now joined by Jock Patterson and Tony Peters. Fanatic do have a nice range of race boards with the 12ft 6" light weight race model being the best of the offerings in our opinion.
SeaSprite are the UK importers for RRD and Kialoa. Kialoa have introduced a lot of colourful prints on the blades of the paddles as something new for 2011, the products themselves have an excellent reputation for build quality and performance.
RRD are producing quite a large range of SUP boards, the ones on show at PRTP were aimed at the entry level to intermediate market. All of the boards are well made and look very stable, like the Nah Skwells they would be perfect in hire centres and schools due to the robustness of the construction.
Starboard was one of the first brands to introduce SUP into the UK, and they are pretty ubiquitous in the water. At previous paddle round the pier events they have had the biggest product range and stand to go with it, this year they had a smaller presence at the festival, but I guess that reflects the fact that the market is getting bigger and more competitive.
I have a good look at the starboard 7ft 4" POD quad which I have seen Nick Watt surfing, it looks like a great shape for those SUPers wanting a very short board to get into UK waves.
Also on the stand was Red Paddle inflatable boards. These are becoming attractive to people who just don't have the space to store a normal board or who want to travel without the headache of watching airport staff drop your prized possession on the tarmac. They seem to be well constructed and thought out, although we have yet to have a test on one.
Surftech had a nice stand with the latest Jamie Mitchell 14ft, Bark Dominator 14ft, Gerry Lopez Surf Music, Pearson Arrow etc.. Paul Clark the UK rep was generously lending the boards out to all and sundry to race on the Saturday and to test on the Sunday. The Jamie Mitchell 14ft is proving to be a very popular choice for distance boards.
Walk on Water
Ed, Brian and Paul probably generated the most excitement in the UK stand up paddle community because they are bringing into the UK Luke Short and Simon Anderson shaped SUP boards. For those who need to be told Simon Anderson is the guy who bought the thruster to the surfing world and literally revolutionised it. He shapes for surfing legends such as Tom Carroll so I was very interested to see the products. First off the boards have fantastic graphics and finish on them. The Luke Short fish is a great looking board. The Simon Anderson shapes are more longboard oriented but once again with a great finish and graphics on them, very unique. Contact Walk on Water for more details.
Tim Mellors brought his not insignificant range of C-Point branded paddles, boards and fins to PRTP. Tim is almost unique in the UK as all his shapes are created specifically for UK conditions. Tim, who is based down in Newquay, has a lot to say about board design and has laid down the challenge that he has shaped and produced the best 8ft 8" SUP surf board on the market. We hope to get a chance to try the board later this year to put that bold statement to the test!
Tim has years of knowledge about surfing and was able to tell us about the difference a good set of fins make to a SUP board. If you are wondering how to get better performance without spending money on a new board this could be the perfect solution - so give Tim a call and ask his advice.
Conspicuous by their absence was Naish, I did not see one Naish board at the event, they have been keeping something of a low profile in the UK, which is a shame.
Other things of interest at the event were Surfplugs - custom made ear plugs that will prevent surfers ear, worth checking out, Rob, an ex NHS audiologist, was giving free ear examinations to members of the public. Also Whats SUP custom board bags had a stand. These guys have a nice business creating bags for the weird and wonderful shapes that SUP boards come in. Indo boards had a nice stand and Hunter, the CEO of indo boards had flown in from Florida to visit the show.
Congratulations to the PRTP crew for another excellent event, lets hope next year is even bigger and better for SUP and raises even more money for great causes.