We hear from this two-part video a discussion between Jim of Tropical Blends Surf and a Pro Surfer about stand up paddles. They talk about the different aspects of the paddle — from the grip to the blade — and even the history and global influence put into the stand up paddle.
I think the bottom line here is that stand up paddle surfing is still in its early stages and it’s good that people are out to try new stuff for the sake of the development of the sport.
Jim: You know what, off the top of my head I say 8’6” and 7’8” or something like that. Definitely smaller 80-pound, 90-pound kids. That’s sort of a result of many conversations and some experiments that we’re doing.
Man: I like the concept – just how much pull you get just because you have long deeper blade so you can go deeper or just tap on the surface for shallow. Then you don’t get like yaw, you know what I mean, like for big blades. Unless you got a 14-foot, 15, 16-foot board, you’re just going to go across the channel then big blade is good, because all that rail, the board is just going straight anyway. But the shorter you get the more yaw you get and the less blade you can – it’s weird huh? I think that has to do with how big this is. Like how much blade you got on there is dependent how big a board you’re riding here – because for smaller boards you need smaller blades.
Jim: What’s interesting about what you’re saying is, if you take a regular blade, let’s just look at our friends here for a second. If you look at where this is placed when you dig it in the water, right? Now I dig this through the water and I got all of my surface area basically at one place and if I want to take this a little, it’s very difficult just to…
Man: …tap on top.
Jim: …just to get a little bit of this paddle especially when the board is like this. And as I was saying to these guys earlier, “How many times are you ever parallel to the water like you are in a canoe? You’re always something, up, one way or the other.” You take this paddle and if you want half or you don’t need that much of a dig, you can take that much of a dig. You want the whole thing you got the whole thing.
Man: The only good thing about like a shorter fuller paddle for different applications is as a cane, like I’m falling over, “Whoa!”, or I’m turning, “Whoa!”
Jim: But you got the same area, almost the same if we were to measure the actual area of the paddle on that one, it’s almost the same. We’re actually going to do another one. The newest one I have coming take a quarter inch all the way up on this. Like I was saying to these guys earlier, I’ve got a customer who is helping me on this project. He is the director of hydrology at Pearl Harbor, so he’s literally a rocket scientist for water.
Man: Right, hydrodynamics, yeah.
Jim: Yeah, and he’s telling me that we have a direct relation to the efficiency of the paddle and – X equals work, right? If we pull this stroke through, what is the efficient area of this to actually give us the work we want? So we both we went out and paddle a few times with this and we decided that this experiment is going to go with the next, a little bit smaller size.
Man: Check it out…
Jim: Bigger shaft – the shaft is too narrow.
Man: And you know, it’s weird because we’re so in like the development and like every season we ‘re going to keep on seeing new stuff that’s why it’s exciting you know, because then you got the guys, the fans of Keo loa, and those guys like those paddles because the shaft is small. And then so some people go, “Oh, I can wrap my whole hand around it.” But then other people go, “It’s not that comfortable.” But there’s different size too for different size shafts.
Jim: This kind of shaft would be perfect for women and smaller – if you got a smaller hand this is perfect. But for me, I want a little more shaft. Another thing is, the difference in the grip, Dave Chen was here the other day and he said this is a fresh water grip. I never realized what it was, it doesn’t matter. But I did notice, what I started doing was pushing the blade, I was palming the blade forward rather than holding it. I’m basically pushing it down, which actually is giving me a little bit more relief on my shoulders, my elbows, whatever. I’m using both hands to work.
Man: Even like this, now I’ve seen new paddles coming from Tahiti. They got more angled out, really aggressive ones, right? Then my friend Edmond, he loves those. But I paddle them and they were just like different. He likes them because his strokes are just like right here because of so much angle, but it felt like it was almost pulling too much, too aggressive. There’s so many different schools of thoughts, you know.
Jim: I was telling these guys earlier and I just demo it, we’ve already been down this path but we’ll do it again. I spend a lot of time researching with the guys who develop this stuff, right? I’m not a canoe paddler so I don’t know a kid from (____). But the stuff makes logical sense to me. This was designed for a six-man canoe. All the guys are going forward at the same time for their stroke. The canoe is nosing in the front. You got a lifting stroke that comes through here right at the beginning; you’re lifting the canoe back up. And then you got maximum efficiency for the length of your pull. Now there’s couple of descriptors here that are important; one, where is the canoe on the water relative to the water and how often do you make the same consistent stroke and you’re locked in. Even if you get off a little bit you can hold yourself from that pull or wobble or whatever, because you’re actually powering the canoe through your strokes. Now you take that whole thing and stand up. And I’m in a completely different, more vulnerable position. I don’t see this thing as going through and the need for it. I’m not thrusting forward to need to lift the front of the board. So, I see and I’m not alone in this thought process that while this works extremely well for the outrigger canoe, it’s not in my opinion for stand up paddle.
Man: Yeah, the evolution is still happening. But you know, just when you can take canoe paddling the same thing you can take up stand up, the zone is right here. Too far out there, you’re pulling too much and that’s not good for your shoulders. Back here, that’s completely (_____), that’s a waste of strokes. So you see the Tahitians, all the canoe paddlers, the same thing applies to stand up surfing. It’s right there. Because with this, there’s no more power once you go there.
Jim: …And once I get the skill set that I can eliminate any other moves, then I agree with you a hundred percent.
Man: But until then, yeah?
Jim: People are all over the place with their paddling. And I think the only thing I’m trying to say, which I said today, and I’m just saying it, is that it would be really nice for us to take litter minds go free, which we’re doing, and just try everything and what we can find out, what we can learn, where we can get with the paddles so that they’re actually more efficient for us, is all the end goal is.
Man: It’s always good to try new stuff.
Jim: This is the one I paddle mostly and I found it – it was two inches too short for me. I found that I bend over more. But I’m going to try another one. You notice this has a little bit more of tear drop bend on it and this one is a little bit more elongated, the actual blade pattern. I like this grip better than this one when I put it in the water. It’s a little too wide.
Man: A little too wide so it almost forces you to pump because you can’t get your hand around it.
Jim: Exactly. You can’t really get around it.
Man: This would be cool with a T. Just a simple T would be nice.
Jim: Oh it would work really well with a T. That was another thing. If you talked to that paddle maker, he’s third generation.
Man: This guy is making paddles for a long time.
Jim: 1876, you know long time. He was saying that the T-handle actually came from cost effectiveness. It’s a very cost-effective way. Now if you ask Dave… he gives me… we have the thumb thing. So that’s what Dave’s thing is. But actually, these guys from here say this was made for financial reasons. It is very cheap and very effective.
Man: …and the outrigger influence on was like first season, 1972 or whatever. Tahitians coming over.
Stand Up Paddle Discussion with Pro Surfer and Jim from Tropical Blends Surf - Part 1 [8:08m]: Download