In the early days, kitesurfing relied on winds above about 12 knots. Now though, the wind minimum is lower with the rise of foil boarding. However, the even lighter wind days can be a drag sometimes. In steps stand up paddling boarding.
After 10 years of sitting on the beach, waiting for the wind to pick up, I discovered paddle boarding. It turned into a great way to pass the time on those light wind mornings, or days.
Back when I started paddling (about 9 years ago), stand up paddle boards were large, clunky things that weren’t easy to handle, move or store, let alone travel with. Allow me to introduce the inflatable stand up paddle board. As kiters, we’re used to blown up sporting toys, so the inflatable SUP, or iSUP, isn’t too far of a stretch for us to understand and potentially enjoy.
Inflatable stand up paddle board industry leaders, Red Paddle Co, have been developing exclusively inflatable SUPs since 2008. With this experience, they’ve developed some amazing boards, several of which have appeared in my quiver at one point or another. Anyway, an inflatable SUP means we are extremely mobile, just like we are with our kites. Imagine an entire inflatable SUP, leash and paddle packed down to about the size of 2 packed kites. Or, in the case of the new 9’6″ Compact by Red Paddle Co, the whole lot is as big as one kite packed down!
Armed with this knowledge, the family purchased an inflatable SUP and we don’t travel without it. It’s great for me to get out on days when the wind is light, keep fit and active, and be ready for when the wind does turn on. Not only that, the family get to enjoy it and be on the water too. A recent trip to the river mouth allowed the kids to paddle around freely, no chop, no waves.