Do you have a favorite board? What is it and why do you love it?
Don’t get me started. But, okay. Of my six current SUPs, my favorite all-round board is an NSP Carolina 14’ x 24.25”. I race on it in all conditions and it catches waves and bumps well. It arrived at a shop with a hole from a forklift tine clean through it – another shipping damaged board. Jonathon Bischoff at at Vermont Ski and Sport – a great paddleboard shop – helped me out with it because I can fix anything on these boards.
My clear favorite board for surfing is an early 10’ Pearson Arrow “Laird” model. It is hand-shaped and glassed by Bob Pearson (Santa Cruz,Ca). While the Surftech Tuff-Lite model I own (my first board) is based on this one, interestingly, the hand-shaped version is an order of magnitude more sensitive and joyful to ride. It has no deck-pad; gotta wax it. I wonder if that in itself contributes to the excellent feel. I’d been searching nation-wide for one for years. This one showed up in Rhode Island on Craigslist (a contributing source of my board -acquiring financial ruin). I drove and bought it the next morning. I never need another wave board.
Do you have a favorite paddle board event? What is it and why is it your favorite? (i.e. Blackburn Challenge, Chattajack, IOS Invitational)
My favorite event would have to be the Isles of Shoals Invitational. It is that event that started it all for a bunch of us – the challenge of ocean paddling and distance. Paddlers of varying abilities trained for months for the 14-mile round trip out to a clutch of rocky islands 7 miles out to sea. It was a fund-raiser and different every year – calm, rough, clear, dense fog, thunderstorms. Leave before dawn. Meet the escort boats a mile out as the sun peeked over the eastern horizon – or not. Cook out afterwards. It was a ton of work and worry for Chris putting it together, even with some help, but it was always a great event. Everyone involved should be proud of their contribution and participation.
If you could take a paddling trip anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
Hawaii, because it’s Hawaii. I’m totally going, too. Summer ‘21 or ”22.