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Created by Esky Two weeks ago, 1 Aug 2018
Esky
NSW, 3 posts
1 Aug 2018 4:49PM
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Long time lurker, first time poster.

I've read plenty of reviews on here, so thanks to all the contributors.

I've not really had much worthy content to add, so I've kept silent, but now seems like a good time to contribute.

TL;DR:
1. Why I started SUP: injury
2. Board reviews of SUPs I've had: 11'6 Chinese tanker, 9'6 SBW Vex, 9'4 Sunova Creek, 8'10 Sunova Speeed
3. SUP Travel: quite an inconvience but worth it, looking to do more whether it's in Australia or overseas.
4. I live in Maroubra and surf at Maroubra beach. I'm probably the most regular SUPer down there. Happy to connect with any other SUPers in the area and keen to get into some ocean paddling.

Why I started SUP
I've surfed (prone) for over 25 years. I grew up in Melbourne but spent every weekend and holiday down around Anglesea/Torquay as my dad worked on a farm in Freshwater Creek. My uncle, cousins and I would surf the reefs and beachies between Pt Impossible and Wye River. I lived in southern California for a few years and surfed around Trestles and the points of Santa Barbara. When I moved back to Australia I spent 2 years on the GC. I wish I never left, but I'm now in Syndey (Marourbra beach) and have been here for 10 years.

Just after moving to Sydney, I was riding my bike to work and I got cleaned up by a van who turned across me. I broke my spine in 2 places, and ruptured a disc, which required surgery. About 2 years ago, I had surgery on my neck for foraminal stenosis (bone spurs), which was possibly related to the earlier injuries, and probably related to cycling and surfing, which requires your neck to be held in an (hyper) extended position for long periods which puts pressure on the back of the cervical vertebrae.

After the surgery, I've cut back on prone surfing a lot, and to stay in the water, I've taken up SUP, which my neck tolerates well and I think has been very good for my core strength.

SUP Journey

Blackhawk Bondihawk 11'6, 32", 200L

I wasn't sure whether I would like SUP, so I wanted something cheap and big/easy to learn on. I was about 110kgs at the time. I'd put on 20kgs as a result of stopping surfing and cycling, both of which I did more or less every day. I'm happy to say that after doing the post surgery neck rehab, and changing my exercise routine, that I'm back in shape at 90kgs now.

I started off by buying a Blackhawk 11'6 SUP in an ebay auction. It cost me just under $500 for the board, fins, leash, carbon paddle and board bag. It was perfect for what I wanted. cheap and at 200L easy to learn on. At that price, it was cheaper than almost all the 2nd hand boards on Gumtree.The fins are basic moulded plastic, the leggy broke early on (not surprised), which the seller replaced, but I got a O&E SUP leggy and use the replacement on a mal. I wouldn't use a leggy from anyone but a reputable manufacturer with surfing SUP specific leggies. Creatures, O&E, Dakine.

The board bag was ok, but nothing like the new Sunova bags or other brand name bags. One of the zips broke off quite early, but I admit that I was probably forcing it.

The board is very durable - hard to ding and the finish and deck pad were fine. I never used rail tape on it and paint hasn't chipped. It surfs better than I expected: when you stand right on the tail, you can do nice swooping turns, but hey, it's a tanker and it is bloody heavy so I wasn't expecting much from it. I've kept it down at my folks house in Anglesea. It's great for logging on small days and Pt Roadknight and for stuffing around with the kids and letting friends use. The fixed carbon paddle was good - it seems to be the similar to the SBW carbon elixir paddle, but it hasn't had any issues like the SBW paddle (described below).

All in, it was good value and a good entry level purchase.

Atlantis Vex Profusion Carbon 9'6, 30", 145L

So the next board, after deciding that SUP surfing was something I wanted to pursue, was the (SBW) Atlantis Vex Profusion in 9'6. The board is light and seems quite strong - it's not easy to ding.

I find the deck pad relatively slippery. there have been times when I've been pulling hard for a wave and my feet have slipped right off the board. This has never happened with my other boards. Definately something SBW could improve.

I like the ledge style handle, and I prefer it to the liftSUP because, for example, if I fall off and need to grab the board in a hurry because another wave is coming, I can easily find the handle and hold the board. I've never had the time to pop up the liftSUP in the same situation. I don't find the liftSUP particularly better for carrying.

The carbon elixir paddle is a weak spot in the SBW package. The handle seemed to be a bit light on with the resin, and so it leaked water into the paddle from new. I was able to flex spots on the handle by pushing it with my thumb. definitely a bit faulty. SBW replaced it. The paddle shaft developed what SBW called stress fractures within 5 months of use, though outside of the 3 month warranty. They told me that the stress fractures occurred as a result of impact damage during a wipe out. I didn't realise they employ people to spy on every board they sell. As the person actually using the paddle, I know that the stress fractures came on progressively over time. SBW were otherwise very good to deal with, but I was disappointed that they weren't standing behind their paddle. I don't think it's a coincidence that both the paddle shaft and handle had issues, and as mentioned before, the Blackhawk Chinese carbon paddle was used for much longer and had no issues.

6 months after buying the Vex, I tried a friend's board that was 9'1, 32.25" wide and 138L. I expected it would be too small and tippy, but to my surprise it was much more stable than the Vex. I was learning that stability was much more about shape than volume.

So after riding a few other boards, my view on the Vex is that it's quite tippy for its length and volume and I find it gets tiring to stay up on more quickly than I'd like. It doesn't track particularly well, and it isn't the best at picking up a wave, but once on the wave it surfs and turns well, both from the middle and from the tail. All this is unsurprising given the narrowness and curvy rocker. I can't help but feel that it would be better if for the same volume it was shorter and wider. So I looked for a board like that.

Sunova Creek 9'4, 32", 147L

At 195cm and 90kgs, I was looking for something a bit wider, and 32" seemed to be the standard wide board.

I've had a great experience with Sunova surfboards and was impressed by the XXX SUPs that I had seen. A board went up on the forums at a price that I thought was great, so I bought a 2nd hand but near new 9'4 Creek from Surf FX. (They were great to deal with over the phone, as I'm based in Sydney and the board was superbly packed and delivered in 2 days).

FCS are antiquated now so it would be good if Sunova could do futures or FCS2 as standard, though I guess they do by request.

So I've had the Creek for just over a month, and took it to indo (more on that below). It is much more stable than the Vex, the deck pad has no slipping issues and in my opinion it surfs better. Getting the foot right back on the tail pad, the board pivots well and you can drift the fins too. It was fun at waist to head high, but by the end of the trip, I was craving a smaller board when the waves were getting above shoulder high. On the larger days, the 9'4 was too much for me and I had trouble turning it, so.

Sunova Speeed 8'10, 29 1/8", 130L
So I managed to pick up a Speeed for a great price off Gumtree. It's at a mates place and I won't be able to surf in for a couple of weeks but I'll review that when I've had a few sessions on it.

I'd be keen to try are a DC Surf Wide, which seems like decent value, and I can get an 8'3 at 138L. I can't bring myself to fork out for a Starboard carbon, but I'd be keen to try a widepoint. Any other suggestions regarding short and wide boards for big guys, I'd be happy to listen.

SUP travel
In July, I went to Bali for a week and then to the Mentawais for 2 weeks. I've been up there a few times, but this was the first time since my neck op, and the first time with a SUP. I took the 9'4 Creek, a shortboard and a step up. I should mention that I also took 3 kids and the boss lady.

I was in Bali for the first big swell and in the Ments for the second (25th July). It was pretty epic, definitely the best surf I have even seen with my own eyes and I managed to snag a bunch of good rides too. But, I wasn't out there on the maxing days. I'm happy to say my balls aren't big enough and skills not good enough for that. Uluwatu looks amazing at 5x overhead, with a bintang in hand perched up at Single Fin. Likewise Telescopes at triple overhead looks amazing, from the boat ??. But I was out there in the more protected corners.

I really like surfing Impossibles in Bali. Uluwatu, being the most famous break, tends to pull the biggest crowds, and there are plenty of euro and brazillian wannabes out there. In my experience, its only at size that it really lines up well, and most of the time the peak shifts around and it's quite lumpy. Padang and Bingin are dominated by the local rippers, and so Impossibles with its longer paddle out, generally has less of a crowd, and then the crowd is often spread over a large area. If you sit a bit wider, and don't get lured to the head of the reef, there are plenty of "possible" waves to be had and the take off is pretty cruisy, even at size on my backhand. Don't get greedy and surf into the end section at low tide.

I've always thought the SUP would be good fun out there and you'd just wait for the inevitable wide sets so that paddling back out wouldn't be an issue. You could jump in the channel at Padang for an easy paddle out and surf Impossibles and even paddle down around to Balangan. If getting in over the reef was a problem, you could paddle to the channel just passed Bingin, or if you were at Balangan, around to the protected beaches in Jimbaran. You could also paddle the other way, passed Padang and surf the end of the racetrack at Ulus and further into that bay.

So, that's what I thought, but when it came time to get out there, the surf was more than double over and at the limit of my shortboard experience and well above the size I have SUPed so I decided to take out my trusty 6'8 Merrick (it was great). One mistake on the SUP and getting caught inside would have been really nasty - and I don't think you'd be able to paddle back out. So in the end, I only surfed the SUP in Bali once, and that was at Old Mans. Was good fun but nothing special. I'm keen to find out some more SUP spots in Bali and I guess the reefs over at Nusa Dua and Sanur are better for SUP.

When we got to the Ments, it was the tail end of the first swell, and the exposed reefs where still more than double over. The resort we stayed at was on the north-eastern side of an island, facing away from the swell, and the left hand reef nearby (that faced north) was picking up waist to head high waves, which were perfect for the SUP. This wave is pretty cruisy by Ment standards, but got well overhead in the peak of the swells. I'd get up at 6am, about 30 mins before sunrise and paddle out and usually get 1-2 hours by myself before the day boats would show up at around 8am. At that time, I'd paddle back to my resort and either jump straight on their boat with the short board heading out for Telescopes and surrounds, or I would just have breakfast and hang out till midday, when the day boats go home for lunch for 2 hours, when I'd paddle out again and often get the place to myself or at most 2 others. If I could be bothered, the late afternoon was also very quiet. It was truly bizarre to me that people didn't surf early and that they didn't just take an early or late lunch to skip the crowds. That spot that had no one early, and a couple over lunch, had up to 30 people mid morning and mid arvo. Weird. Anyway, it was great for me!

I would have liked to take the SUP out at the name breaks like Telescopes and Suicides, but I'd only do it if the surf was much smaller.

The SUP was packed in a sunova bag, and then that was put into a SBW SUP bag, which was big enough to put the two short boards in as well, each in their own padded bag. So each board was double bagged. I think the SUP got one small compression, which was a good result. I'm surprised that board bags aren't made with something like PVC sheet inserts to offer more protection.

There's no doubt that the vibe towards SUP surfing in the Ments is still a bit hostile (no different to around Sydney I suppose). There are plenty of smaller, fatter waves in the Ments that shortboarders don't want to surf, so having a posse of SUP riders would mean that you could justify your own boat to seek out those spots. plus, I'd be more confident to hit the name breaks if there were a few other SUPers with me. power in numbers!

This has turned into a bit of an essay, so I'll leave it there. Hello again!

surfinJ
390 posts
1 Aug 2018 8:15PM
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Nice surf stories Esky. I think with some more time in on the sup you could easily handle the Bali reefs you described.

Souwester
WA, 901 posts
1 Aug 2018 8:22PM
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Sounds like you have really found SUPing at the right time of your life.

Great to hear you are enjoying yourself.

FRP
139 posts
1 Aug 2018 8:29PM
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Esky

Thanks for the post! Great details. Look forward to your experience on the Sunova Speeed, a remarkable board that has a lot of fans including myself.

cheers

Bob

supthecreek
1502 posts
1 Aug 2018 10:49PM
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Thanks for jumping in with your story!
I appreciate detail, and am always interested in where folks are from, as well as their travels.

Keep it coming

JEG
VIC, 839 posts
2 Aug 2018 8:41AM
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nice story Esky, SUP is

DHUSOUTH
WA, 80 posts
2 Aug 2018 7:31AM
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Gday Esky

Great story
Sanur , Nisa Dua and Serangan are way better for SUP in my view ( Oct - May )
Cheers

Shabadoo
NSW, 10 posts
2 Aug 2018 10:15AM
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Hi Esky,

Great to hear your SUP journey so far. I'm a couple of years into my SUP adventure and ready for my first performance board so it's especially good to hear your experience with the Vex and Creek and I look forward to reading your take on the Speeed.I'm based in Marrickville and usually surf Wanda/Greenhills but get to Maroubra every now and then and Malabar when the conditions are right. Hopefully, I'll see you about some time.

I'm guessing that's your Vex up on Gumtree at the moment?

Cheers

Esky
NSW, 3 posts
2 Aug 2018 11:28AM
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Select to expand quote
surfinJ said..
Nice surf stories Esky. I think with some more time in on the sup you could easily handle the Bali reefs you described.


Getting better on the SUP - that's the plan!

Select to expand quote
Souwester said..
Sounds like you have really found SUPing at the right time of your life.

Great to hear you are enjoying yourself.


I have, but I'm curious... how old do you think I am?

Select to expand quote
FRP said..
Esky

Thanks for the post! Great details. Look forward to your experience on the Sunova Speeed, a remarkable board that has a lot of fans including myself.

cheers

Bob


I'm hoping parallel rails help the tracking. People seem critical of the aesthetics of the board. I've never really minded about board shape, I just want it to work well.

Select to expand quote
supthecreek said..
Thanks for jumping in with your story!
I appreciate detail, and am always interested in where folks are from, as well as their travels.

Keep it coming


Thanks for developing the creek!

Select to expand quote
DHUSOUTH said..
Sanur , Nisa Dua and Serangan are way better for SUP in my view ( Oct - May )
Cheers


Good to know - I will explore more over than side next time.

Select to expand quote
Shabadoo said..
...I'm based in Marrickville and usually surf Wanda/Greenhills but get to Maroubra every now and then and Malabar when the conditions are right. Hopefully, I'll see you about some time.

I'm guessing that's your Vex up on Gumtree at the moment?

Cheers


What are you riding? I'll keep an eye out.
That is my Vex on gumtree. I gave it one more surf after returning from Indo but I can't see myself using it anymore. (It's not the same paddle though - I had to buy a replacement).

Zeusman
NSW, 1195 posts
2 Aug 2018 3:28PM
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G'day Esky And welcome to the breeze.
Im in Bondi so maybe we could get together for a wave.

Shabadoo
NSW, 10 posts
3 Aug 2018 10:03AM
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Select to expand quote
What are you riding? I'll keep an eye out.


I'm on an Evoke bamboo. I'll look out for the Sunovas :)



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"hello world" started by Esky