Here's the introduction to my soon to be released ebook on SUP downwinding! When it's ready, I will be sure to link it to this blog. I'm doing a final edit tonight and will release it next week. Anway, here's a little taste.
Downwind paddling is a one-way trip using the wind and waves to help propel you forward. It combines elements of surfing, touring, and racing all into one fun sport. The wind at your back helps you maintain a high average speed, while catching bumps gives you bursts of extra speed and, well, something you just have to experience yourself! Be aware though, a downwind run can be super fun, challenging, or downright dangerous depending on the conditions.
Essential skills include: ability to adjust trim, good bracing, good cardio, ability to quickly get back on your board when you fall, good trip planning, and the ability to paddle upwind. Surfing or rough water paddling experience is big plus.
A downwind run is not a lazy sight seeing trip, it’s a lot of hard work. It’s extreme multi-tasking – constantly scanning the water, paddling in short but all-out bursts, using subtle strokes to adjust heading, bracing, moving around on the board, trying to connect bumps all while trying to not fall in the cold water right on top of that shark that is surely right under your board! It’s hard but rewarding work! This is not flat water paddling where you just put your head down and paddle as hard as you can. Good downwind paddlers are efficient paddlers. They know when to paddle and when not to paddle. They never paddle “uphill”, they are always scanning the water looking for a free ride “downhill”. They are not afraid to change course to find a better bump to ride. Their feet are never glued to the board, they are experts at adjusting trim. The experienced downwind paddler is looking to get the most speed with the least amount of work. They are trying to get the board to plane, that is, to skim across the water using only the wind and the waves. This is where the magic happens. This is where you want to be and what keeps you coming back for more. This is the sensation that surfers crave, the glide, the release of the board from the water. Paddling on the water is fun, no doubt about that. Skimming across the water with the wind at your back is something else entirely.