SUP report #1:

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Chuck_Hardin's picture
Joined: 02/18/2002 - 05:27
Posts: 275
SUP report #1:

If you go to the coast and you don't get "out there" because the the wind doesn't blow, you never know what you might miss.
John Laing and I loaded up for a little road trip to S. Daytona this past weekend. The excuse was to retrieve an inventory order from the Aerotech/Epic Gear warehouse. The real intention was to get in a session, but we ain't worrying about what wind we might or might not get-- we have SUP's in the trailer! Sails and paddles, too. It's gonna be good. Always. We didn't even know WHAT the wind forecast was. Now that I think about it, it didn't occur to us to look.
We had a wonderful SUP surf session (paddle mode only) Saturday at Ponce Inlet on excellent waves and beautiful water, but the highlight of the trip was a unique dolphin encounter on Sunday.
The basic swell was much less -- maybe 2- 3'-- but glassy and fun enough for guys like John and I who have no real clue how to surf. We were SUP-ing in our area -- a 100 yards or so away from the local surfers. And, we're catching more waves than most of them since we're faster and more mobile on a SUP. Anyway, very soon, we weren't at all alone: a pod of dolphins came to hang around. They were very close to us, paddle-length away quite often. Very cool but not THAT unusual. Most of us who have spent much time at all in the water have experienced similar encounters. However, just like the day before, about 30 minutes apart, we'd get this bizarre relatively huge set of waves that humped up from way outside and came rolling in for no apparent reason. Just freaky sets of 3 or 4 perfect, almost 6' waves out of nowhere, about 30 minutes apart. This happened maybe only 3 times during the day, both days. Anyway, the dolphins thought that was a blast. These were the waves they were waiting for! Several at a time would come leaping out of the wave faces, doing multiple jumps heading straight at us. They leaped right by us and between us, or dive directly under the board at what looked like 40 miles an hour. Thank god I had missed the wave I tried to catch! When I looked back I could see it all unfold. Being on a stand up board --with your eyes 5'+ off the water (vs. laying down in normal surf mode) made all the difference in the world in this experience. These strange waves humping up from a glassy flat sea, the dolphins turning and lining up, and then, not only could we see them down under the water, but we could also look over the oncoming waves and see 4 in the air at a time leaping horizontally out of the wave face. John was trying to stand there on his board, being thin and still as possible, to keep from getting hit. No danger of that, of course, they were in their element and knew exactly what they were doing. We could hear all the people on the beach going crazy watching this show and we were smack in the middle of it. Very cool experience to see another species just hang around like that for a 1/2 hour, like any other surfer, waiting on that perfect wave, and then catching it and getting a great ride out of it - just for the sheer joy. Doing it for the smile. That's what it's all about.

Chuck Hardin
Whitecap Windsurfing, Inc.

c:706-833-WIND (9463)

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jibes's picture
Joined: 03/18/2002 - 06:56
Posts: 370

very cool experience-wish I could have been there...


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Joined: 09/06/2005 - 12:52
Posts: 61

I'll have that memory forever...I just lazily paddled around with those dolphins, and ended up right in front of the big wave they took off on...very cool. I've also had them under my SUP on St. Simons with a 7.5 in light wind. I've always enjoyed my Superlight and now the SUP lets me try surfing the easy way. A good point to those not familiar with SUP is that they catch waves BEFORE they begin to break, so a lot of the mysterious dropping in stuff is easier, and a little less painful. But, trust the surf kings (the dolphins) it is most fun...I am still smiling and can't wait to go back, probably this weekend!

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