Tag Archives: sup

LOCATION HOTSPOT: USA Raft Erwin, TN

Over the past few years I’ve started paddling more & more. My main focus has been Stand-Up Paddleboards or SUPs. Starting out on flat water and soon migrating to moving water, rivers. It’s opened up even more places to paddle and explore. Naturally after mastering slow moving rivers I began to explore whitewater. Now what used to be boring wave trains in a kayak, are hard and challenging obstacles to stay standing up thru. From my first rapid on the Winooski River, Hugo & JunkyardI WAS HOOKED!

Over the past two years my girlfriend and I have been spending our summers in Vermont and our winters down in Florida. With this option we get the best of both worlds. The warmest months up in the beautiful Green Mountain State and the coldest months down in Florida where sometimes its warmer than the warmest months in Vermont.

This spring, before we travelled back up North, we did a little research. Knowing we were going to driving up through western North Carolina and possibly Tennessee we started looking for outfitters in those areas where we could test out some whitewater SUPs. We quickly came across USA Raft on the Nolichucky River in Erwin, Tennessee. I contacted them and spoke with Matt Moses, the owner of the company, who told us they have some of the best whitewater in the Eastern US. He also had lodging options right there on site. It sounded good to us and we decided to stop and paddle on our way to Vermont.

Two days into our trip up North we arrived at USA Raft, and were impressed by the property. It has several larger buildings to support the staff, retail store, mess hall and lodging options for their customers. Walking around the property was amazing. It’s right on the river with beautiful mountain views within the Cherokee National Forest. The vibe is relaxed and casual, something you’d expect from a paddling outfitter. There is a pond next to the river where they offer weekly Sup Yoga lessons. After speaking with the staff in the office they said there was a Sup Yoga class that afternoon we could join if we wanted. I Love to paddle board but I’m not much for Yoga especially on a SUP so we graciously declined but said we’d love to come and watch.

The weather was beautiful and was expected to stay in the low 70s that night, so we decided to setup our hammocks in the trees near the Yoga pond. After getting settled in we walked back up to the office to rent a few paddle boards to run the 2 mile stretch of river below the outfitter. There were several different SUPs to rent and we decided on two of the Corran Streetfighters. They were short, wide and made of strong plastic and reminded me of a whitewater kayak only with a flat deck rather than a cockpit.

The rocky beach area on property was our launch spot from where we  began to paddle down the Lower Nolichucky River. Almost immediately there were some fun wave train sections of Class I/II. Its a shallow river, on average about a foot and a half deep so there were rocks to maneuver around and small wave trains to follow.  Further down there were some more Class II rapids with many different waves and eddies to play on and around. When we reached the end of the 2 mile stretch we loaded the boards onto my car, which the staff helped shuttle down earlier, and headed back up to USA Raft. 

We quickly ran to the grocery store within just a  few miles to grab provisions for the night, before the evening paddle session. The Hala Sales Rep, Jack Nelson, brought his boards to USA Raft for the yoga sessions and after yoga, the company does a group SUP paddle. We were able to join in, and I jumped on a Hala Hoss and my girlfriend jumped on a Hala Atcha with the StompBox (a retractable fin). As a group we headed down the Nolichucky as the sun was quickly dropping below the mountain ranges. This was the same section we had done earlier in the day, but it was even more fun to share the rapids with 8 other SUPpers of varying ability level. This was by far the largest group of white water SUP paddlers that we’ve encountered! USA Raft’s shuttle driver was waiting for us at the take out with van and trailer which we loaded and headed back up river.

After the typical post paddle drink and chat session, we all went our separate ways. My girlfriend and I were abel to hang out on the porch of USA Rafts tiny house as darkness took ahold of the valley and the stars began to twinkle. The tiny house is rentable on Airbnb and sleeps 6 people! The tiny house was actually made on Tiny House Nations so it has some really specialized features! It has a full bathroom and kitchen, although all miniaturized! But our favorite part is the deck, its wraps around the house and is ideal for relaxing into the evening.

 The next morning we got up and joined USA Raft for their most popular trip, The Nolichuky Gorge with a river side lunch. First, the raft guides did their safety spiel and tried to scare us all away before boarding the bus, but it didn’t work! We gathered our gear and loaded up. The bus took us up river over a sketchy, twisty, turny mountain pass. Thanks to our skilled driver, we made it safely without problem. I’ve always found, the narrower, the steeper and the twistier a shuttle ride is, the better the rapids following it are… so we just got more and more excited as we continued up river. At the top we unloaded and helped carry the rafts down to the river and off we went. The river was on the low side, but still plenty of fun. We had 6 people in a 6 person raft so we had no problem maneuvering around the rocks and getting through the numerous class 3-4 rapids while enjoying breath taking canyon scenery. About half way down the river we stopped at a river side lunch spot and the guides unloaded a feast! it was set up buffet style and we helped ourselves. After lunch, we continued downriver and landed back at USA Raft. Yup, thats right, they are right on the river at the perfect take out location after a morning of fantastic whitewater in the Nolichuky Gorge!

After rafting we reluctantly headed out of town. USA Raft was so welcoming that we found it hard to leave, but we’ll be back again!

A huge thanks goes out to Matt Moses the owner at USA Raft for hosting us and sharing his truly unique place in TN.

3rd Annual Onion River Race and Ramble!

Click the link below to view all the photos from the day.

Onion River Race & Ramble Photos

 

 

Gear Review: SUSTAINABLE ACTIVEWEAR FOR SUP WOMEN

As paddlers and active outdoors women, it’s important we have the activewear that allows us to perform at our best.

But it’s also important that the activewear we purchase is produced responsibly to avoid inadvertently harming the environment that gives us so much. With endless activewear brands offering the latest and greatest in textile technology, we figured we’d take a look at the companies that are taking the extra steps to create products that are seriously sustainable as well as stylish or cutting-edge.—Shari Coble

prAna Sabin TBack Top1 activewear

prAna Sabin T-Back Top
Designers at prAna updated the Sabin T-Back Top, but fear not, it still features the same lightweight, quick-drying and shape-retaining performance “Chakara” fabric, which is unique to the brand. The top’s gathered front and ventilated racerback allow for extra comfort while you’re working it, and the built-in shelf bra with removable cups give the option for more or less fitted support. You’ll be doing something good for your performance and for the planet when wearing prAna, as they’re a Bluesign Certified brand, which means that the company is held to the textile industry’s highest standards for environmental health and safety, as well as chemical management.
$65, prana.com

Jala SUP Yoga Legging activewear

Jala SUP Yoga Legging
Whether you’re practicing SUP yoga or paddle surfing, these extra long leggings will protect you from the elements while also keeping your style in check. Constructed from eco-friendly, quick-drying fabric with UPF50+, the leggings are long enough to wear over the heels or to bunch around the ankle. Four-way stretch material helps you stay comfortable and makes for a perfect fit on your backside. With a name like “Jala,” which means “sacred waters of life” in Sanskrit, we can’t help but think this brand speaks directly to SUP ladies.
$76, jalaclothing.com

Cozy Orange Vesta Jacket activewear

Cozy Orange Vesta Jacket
Designed for function, the Vesta Jacket provides support and compression without sacrificing breathability or comfort. Created from Cozy Orange’s own Revive Eco Lux—a recycled polyester and lycra blend—this jacket has pilling resistance and stretch for added comfort to the already super soft material. The fitted waist and the chafe-free side seams flatter all body shapes, while also adding a little flair. Thumb holes in the sleeves allow for extra coverage when your hands are chilly, and the zipper pockets keep your accessories safe while providing easy-access. And, the company takes their sustainability practices super seriously by continuously going under evaluation by sustainability teams to ensure their production process is truly eco-friendly.
$78, cozyorange.com

Patagonia Active Mesh Bra Howling Turquoise activewear

Patagonia Women’s Active Mesh Bra
If you’ve never had a seamless bra, this one by Patagonia is the one to try for a chafe-free future. Redesigned from its original, now a few generations ago, the Active Mesh Bra is a v-back and offers moderate support while staying flexible enough to move with you. Wide reinforced straps help keep everything in place without digging into your skin or obstructing movement. The recycled polyester, nylon and spandex jersey blend is double-layered and moisture-wicking, while that annoying clothes tag that usually needs to be cut out of the back can be easily torn out so you stay scratch- and itch-free. The sizing on this item tends to run small, so we suggest trying one on in-store, or, ordering a size up.
$39, patagonia.com

Threads for Thought Zabrina Long Sleeve activewear

Threads for Thought Zabrina Long Sleeve Tee
Threads for Thought came to creation on the notion that apparel should be more sustainable and they’ve carried that concept as they’ve grown from graphic tees to a full apparel line that even offers activewear, like this performance long-sleeve tee. Lightweight, with moisture-wicking fabric the scoop neck top is fabricated with a recycled polyester-spandex and features a laser-cut detail on the center back for a stylish touch and extra breathability.
$55, threadsforthought.com

Alternative Apparel Eco Jersey Joggers activewear

Alternative Apparel Eco-Jersey Jogger Pants
Once you put these joggers on, you won’t want to take them off. Constructed from Alternative Apparel’s eco-jersey fabric—a blend of polyester, cotton, and rayon—the material on these is dyed with completely non-toxic, chemical-free dyes and feels extra good against your skin. Side stripes add some detail to the outer leg, and a back right pocket keeps you from having to carry your junk. Oh, and we forgot to mention that the Alternative Apparel is a Certified Green Business, as designated by Los Angeles.
$52, alternativeapparel.com

Teeki Mermaid Fairyqueen Teal Tank activewear

Teeki Mermaid FairyQueen Tank
Channel the waterwoman goddess within while you sport this trippy tank by Teeki, which features a mystical mermaid scale pattern. The high neck top is a shorter cut (you’ll most likely show some belly in it) and lining-free to stay lightweight, while the breathable, stretchy material makes you feel like you’re not wearing anything. Teeki’s entire line is made from recycled or sustainable materials, which we think is crazy cool—just like their apparel.
$38, teeki.com

The OM Collection H2OM Capris activewear

The OM Collection H2OM Capri Leggings in Sri Yantra
Designed specifically for SUP women, the H2OM Capris feature a unique pattern of the sacred Sri Yantra mandala over an image of the ocean, designed by artist and outdoors lover Marisa Aragon Ware. Constructed of recycled polyester and lycra, these capris will take you from land to sea as they’re quick-drying and stay in place when wet. The material is a medium-thickness, offering extra support and coverage, while keeping you as comfortable as these are funky.
$79, theomcollection.com

Updates: First-Ever Solo Transatlantic SUP Expedition

Updates on the First-Ever Solo Transatlantic SUP Expedition Attempt Planned to Launch January 2016. 38-year-old French firefighter planning first-ever solo SUP expedition across Atlantic, Africa to Caribbean


Meet Nicolas Jarossay—38-year-old French paddler, firefighter and soon to be the first person to attempt an unsupported crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, via SUP.

In January 2016, Jarossay plans to paddle 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers) from the northwest coast of Africa to the French island of Martinique in the Caribbean, with only his gear, provisions, a very unique standup paddleboard and a deep, lionhearted sense of adventure. He expects to paddle an average of 33 miles (53 kilometers) each day, estimating the voyage will take a total of roughly 75 days to complete.

Read more about his planned journey on supthemag.com.

The following two updates from Jarrossay’s Facebook page seem to show that his mission was a failure for this season. It looks like he’s had some great innovations in his custom board, but will need to continue to work on his design for a future attempt!

Top left!!! This is it nicolas jarossay raced home this afternoon from the port of praia for the first attempt of the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean In Stand-up paddle and lonely. After spending the night in the bay of praia aboard his boat (moored to a sailboat of a group of French), Nicolas was able to finish taking his marks on board of the new board by being calm in the middle of the water. It’s so serene he raced for his crossing there’s a few minutes and is now almost out of sight of the technical team that had remained in Cape Verde. In the evening, visuals will enrich this information. Thanks to one and all to follow this adventure.

Nick Jarrosay's Transatlantic SUP
Nick Jarrosay’s Transatlantic SUP

Press Release sup transatlantic, Monday, 11 April 2016.
Nicolas took the sea Sunday 10 April by favorable weather conditions. For a reason, which is still undetermined at this stage, the system of rudder has suddenly broken and has exposed the boat through the middle to a flood. The boat capsized. All attempts to put her back afloat are in vain and then more and more exhausting.
The continuing deterioration of the situation (exhaustion, hypothermia, night) has made unfortunately inevitable the outbreak of the distress beacon. The chain of relief could be mobilized in an orderly manner, in a context of great modesty of resources available in Cape Verde, severe technical constraints, and admirable dedication of rescuers. Nicolas is safe and sound.
In collaboration with the embassy of France, he organises itself to regain the hexagon. The analysis of technical reasons that have been an obstacle to this first attempt will soon be committed. Nicolas wishes to express its appreciation to the rescuers, including the coast guard Cape Verdeans.

FIRST TO CIRCUMNAVIGATE LAKE SUPERIOR ON A SUP

DULUTH, Minnesota – 23 year-old Jared Munch isn’t your average college student. Rather than living carefree and with no responsibilities Jared wanted to experience more. A couple of years ago, Jared decided and committed to circumnavigate Lake Superior by SUP and after two long years of preparations he was the first person ever to do so. The journey covered 1350 miles over 46 days on the lake and was largely a solo and unsupported expedition. To learn more about his expedition over the summer we caught up with Jared to talk about what his experience was like out on the water. Take a look:

Lake Superior is quite the task, what was your motivation in doing this extensive paddle?

I had originally been looking at a study abroad option in Patagonia that was designed specifically for whitewater kayakers. It looked awesome, but it was expensive and wasn’t going to help me with my major (civil engineering). I started looking for other ways to broaden my paddling experience and the idea came to me as soon as I looked out my dormitory window. I remember thinking “Why am I trying to travel hallway around the world to have a cool adventure when I have THAT right in my backyard?” At first I thought paddling around Lake Superior was just a crazy idea. It had never been done before on a SUP. I at least took the dignity of writing the idea on a whiteboard for further considerations. After a month of staring at the whiteboard, I knew that it had to be done. This all occurred almost two years before I actually departed.

lake superior sup adventure
Views of Lake Superior as seen by Jared Munch. | Photos Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
Did you train for this beforehand? What was your training schedule like?

Training? No. That’s for people with time and money haha. My “training” consisted of me frantically scrambling between school and work for the two semesters leading into the summer. I was working anywhere from 30-50 hours a week on top of being a full time college student just to fund my summer adventure. Physically, I wasn’t in tip top shape when I started. I was over prepared mentally though. I spent a lot of time in class 5 whitewater and surfing Lake Superior. I was totally comfortable being out there in some big water. In addition, I had gotten pretty good at making use of little supplies, and just being miserable in general over the last year during my “training”.

How long did it take you?

It depends on how you look at it. To me, it took me two years on planning and squirrelling away money to pull it off. My total number of days actually paddling around the lake was only 46. I left in early May, then returned to Duluth for two weeks to teach whitewater classes and raise more money for the rest of summer. I left again in June and got back at the end of July.

lake superior sup adventure
It wasn’t all easy paddling on Munch’s 46-day expedition. | Photo Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
How far on average would you paddle each day?

Over the summer, including my days off for waiting out the weather, I averaged just under 30 miles/day. My biggest day was 52 miles.

Was your adventure supported or unsupported?

Out of the 1350 miles, 1150 were solo. The other 200 miles were in the company of my dad, brother, and friends. I carried all of my food and gear on the board. I shipped resupplies of food to myself at 150-200 mile intervals.

What gear did you take with you?
  • Board: C4 Waterman Wai Nui
  • Paddles: C4 Waterman Carbon X-Wing, Two-piece sea kayak paddle for heavy headwinds, and a flatwater canoe paddle for beam winds
  • Clothing: NRS farmer John Wetsuit, 7mm booties, semi-dri wear, down jacket, camp clothing
  • Food: Lots of dehydrated food from Camp Chow and lots of Cliff Bars
  • Tent: MSR Carbon reflex
  • Stove: MSR pocket Rocket
  • Others: dry bags, GoPro, first aid kit, small sail for emergency use only, compass, gps, sleeping pad, and my trusty Pillow Pet
lake superior sup adventure
lake superior sup adventure
Gear Shots. | Photos Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
Hardships?

Dealing with the wind was a huge thing for me. Keeping a 14’ board tracking well in a strong beam wind is one thing, but put a bunch of camping gear on it and you will have a much larger problem. Hunger was also a big thing for me. I had no possible way of eating as many calories as I was burning. I lost 15 pounds in the first three weeks. The remoteness was difficult at times, but I mostly enjoyed the thrill of having only myself for any type of support.

Biggest thing you learned after going on this adventure?

Paddling flatwater all day isn’t very fun. You start to hope for some storms and nasty weather just for an ounce of excitement.

lake superior sup adventure
Munch getting the nasty weather that he had hoped for. | Photo Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
Would you consider doing it again?

The exact same trip? No. A circumnavigation of the lake was a one and done thing for me. I would feel weird doing it again. There’s kind of a spiritual thing about the lake to me. The memories from the trip are so vivid in my mind that I don’t want to relive them or change anything about them. I’m sure I’ll paddle parts of the shoreline again, or tour to some of the more remote surf breaks that I found, but I will not do another full circle continuously.

Do you have any other SUP adventures planned in the future?

Yes I do. Next spring I will be completing the first descent of the Steel River of Norther Ontario. We’re going to hit it as the snow is melting, which means living in a drysuit for a week and paddling lots of whitewater with camping gear on the board. Very little about the trip will be easy, but that’s what makes it an expedition.

lake superior sup adventure
Munch enjoying his solo time on his 46-day expedition of Lake Superior. | Photos Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUp Connect

We look forward to seeing a lot more expeditions from this young talent and we wish him the best of luck in his endeavors. To see a sneak peak at the documentary that Jared is editing check out the video preview below!

A SUPerior Adventure Teaser from Jared Munch on Vimeo.

Chuck Patterson visits Vermont

If you missed it, Vermont had a living legend from the outdoor sports industry visit our beautiful state this week. Chuck Patterson enjoyed a paddle from Shelburne Bay to Burlington visiting Juniper Island along the way.

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Photo Credit: Chuck Patterson via Facebook

We connected up with him at Perkins Pier where he talked about his experiences and tips and tricks to make us more efficient paddlers. WND & WVS, the local paddle shop in Burlington, setup the whole event and their staff was on hand with the Naish and Starboard SUP fleets for us to demo.

It was such a great time and with a 50% chance of thunderstorms that never came it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon and sunset. Come back again soon Chuck!!!!!!!

wndNwvs chuck peterson-243

Here are the photos from the event.
Photo Credits: Vermont SUPKazmin Thibault Williamson

2nd Annual Onion River Race & Ramble – June 6th 2015

What a great day for a river race!

If you didn’t know… today was the 2nd annual Onion River Race & Ramble  held on the Winooski River in Vermont. The course started below the Bolton Dam and finished at the bridge in Richmond. This ten mile stretch is a gorgeous scenic cut through the green mountains.

2015 onion river race-8900

The morning started out a little chilly for early June but attendance wasn’t affected from the cooler temps. Close to 90 people signed up this year to show their support and have fun at the same time which was almost double the turnout from last year. Umiak Outfitters helped out again by providing the shuttle for the eager participants. Noah from the Friends of the Winooski River led the group with a safety briefing before the heats started.

2015 onion river race-8915

Early in the race was the biggest obstacle, a set of rapids and rock garden, that stood between the racers and the flat water below. The tricky eddy lines surprised many paddlers letting them feel the cold temperatures of the Winooski River in June. There were many safety boaters on the water to help people to shore and recover their gear.

2015 onion river race-8935

Below the rapids lay many many miles of reasonably flat water on a normal day but today was different. A Northerly wind of 17 mph gave the paddlers a steady head wind most of the trip. At the end of the ten mile stretch you passed under the Richmond bridge and thus the finish line.

2015 onion river race-9078

After the racers finished and pulled their boats to shore they celebrated with a feast provided by Richmond Grange and sat down to reflect on the past few hours and enjoy some much needed food.

2015 onion river race-9094

All in all the day was beautiful, the people showed up to had fun and the Winooski River was once again conquered…at least for today.

2015 onion river race-9110

Big thanks to all the sponsors who without them this event wouldn’t have been possible. Sponsors include Friends of the Winooski River, with support from the Vermont River Conservancy,  Umiak Outfitters , the Vermont Paddlers’ Club , and the Richmond Grange.

Click the link below to view all of the photos from the days events.
Onion River Race & Ramble – June 6th 2015

 

DIY SUP Deck Rigging

Don’t have enough bungee on your board to hold gear down? There are two easy DIY fixes to add deck rigging on your board.

The first option is cheap (about $5), but doesn’t look great. At your local hardware store buy a pack of zip ties, a pack of zip tie mounts and a couple tubes of super glue.

Position the mounts where you would like to attach the bungee. Before glueing the mounts onto your board, lightly sand below them for better adhesion. Once attached, loop a zip tie through each mount; and then string your bungee through! I used this method on my homemade board and they held great!

DIY SUP Deck Rigging
DIY SUP Deck Rigging

The second option for adding deck rigging to your SUP is a little more pricey, but looks much better overall. Buy the Surfco EZ-Plug 2-6 PC Deck Rigging Kit for about $15-$45. They come in either white or black. You can also buy just the mounts if you’d prefer. The procedure for attaching the mounts is the same, they just look classier.

deck rig kit

If you have deck pad where you’d like the mounts to go, you can easily cut away a small piece of the deck pad with a utility knife and scrape away the extra adhesive. Just make sure the spots you are attaching the mounts to are as flat as possible.

EZ Plug mount
Cut Away Deck Pad with EZ-Plug Mounts

Airhead SUP Anchor Kit

Check out this review for the Airhead SUP Anchor Kit! Seems like it would be a great product for those wanting to float in one spot without drifting.

This is ideal for…

  • Fishing
  • Yoga
  • Stopping to enjoy lunch on the water
  • Taking a break in the sun

Basically it eliminates the worry of floating away down the river or across the lake or too far on the ocean, when you really just want your SUP to stay put.

The nice thing about the Airhead SUP Anchor Kit is that it is super lightweight and compact. It only weighs 1.5 lbs.

It’s not too heavy to lug around on your paddleboard but it’s strong enough that it works great.

It is a grapnel anchor that is made for small vessels. It hooks easily into rocks, branches, or coral.

The four tines however have a little harder time clinging to sand and mud but it’s still possible. I found it worked really well in several different environments.

For more about this product go to www.isupworld.com.
Airhead SUP Anchor
Airhead SUP Anchor

GEAR SPOTLIGHT: Werner “Prodigy” SUP Kids Paddle

Here at Vermont SUP we’re excited to see Werner has announced a new SUP paddle designed specifically for kids. The Prodigy’s lightweight construction and smaller design makes it an ideal model for those young enthusiasts looking to get out and enjoy the water.

werner-paddles-prodigy-kids-SUP

“Great fit is a core element of Ultimate Paddle Performance and no where is that more vital that with the youth paddler. The Prodigy features a small size blade, shaft and grip to fit your kids perfectly. Light swing weight, from fiberglass and carbon construction reduces fatigue for even the smallest statured child. Our innovative slender, rectangular blade shape gives power with a softer feel, so more time on the water, more fun, better performance.” -Werner Website

werner-kids-sizing-chart

Paddle Specs:
Shaft Options: Straight Adjustable
Weight: 18 oz.
Length: 60″-67.5″ (Adjustable)
Blade Surface Area: 85 square inches
Blade L x W: 17.5″ x 6.75″

For more information on The Prodigy and to see their full lineup of paddles visit their website. www.wernerpaddles.com