36th session in 2013
Sailed at Windy Point
Rated a 7 of 10
Board: Fanatic AllWave 9'2"
I took delivery a few weeks ago of my second SUP. It has been a hot windless summer for the most part this year and boredom has been settling in. My first SUP was purchased in the spring of 2007. Starboard had their first 2 models coming out then. The 12'2/27", which was a copy of the SUP Mark Raaphorst (Ding King) made for himself and others in Maui, and a 12'6"/30" version that Rasmussen and Drake made to improve the windsurfing capabilities of the 12'2" board. http://2007.star-board.com/viewpage.php?page_id=68 Warren Thomas, of Surfing Sports in Santa Barbara,CA, was talking to me how these boards were going to end getting skunked when the wind was light but the surf was up. We talked for a while, and I thought about it. Two years earlier, I had bought a closeout Starboard START board to teach my friends, kids, and hopefully wife on. It was really too big for the kids, I did not have many friends interested in learning, and Jill made it painfully clear she had no interest in learning. So, I quickly sold the board and told Warren to get me one (the bigger one). The first container of SUPs did not arrive until nearly summer. I then had to have a custom paddle made, since there were no production paddles long enough for my height. By the time I had everything, Lake Travis was flooded (really!) and Windy Point was closed. So I had to go to Pace Bend Park to put the board in.
Sup #1 @ Pace Bend Park in the summer of 2007
The motor boaters and skiers thought I looked crazy doing this. It was hot and sweaty, but fun. One of the reasons I pulled the trigger was to paddle/sail on Town Lake in downtown Austin close to my house. I looked for a place to put the board in, and found the rowing dock by Austin High School to be the best spot. I asked the guys if I could put the board in there, and they reluctantly agreed, as long as I stayed out of the way of their rowing boats. There was a summer camp for kids going on the first time I launched, and the kids were really distracted/excited by the SUP. That was a lot of fun. It was also really cool paddling under the bridges the first time. I had always wondered if Town Lake was windsurfable, but I quickly discovered the water is kind of nasty, and there are unexpected scary shallow cement shoals that could really inflict serious fin/board damage. I am sure the wind is very squirrely here too.
I SUPed it maybe 20 times total, mostly the first two years. I windsurfed it too a few times, but I quickly got bored. It is funny to cross Mo-Pac expressway on this holiday and see the amazing number of people out there on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake). It all seems so normal now. One of the things that made me stop was the sheer gargantuan size of my first SUP. I had to put racks on my car, and even though the board bag had wheels, it was a pain to transport. The other thing, I always had hoped to surf it one day. I quickly realized that was never going to happen. I was not driving 4 hours with that thing on top of my car.
So, what changed? I have followed the massive evolution of SUP designs, and thought if I could find one big enough to float me, but still fit inside my Honda Fit, I might be interested again. Also, when I tried to SUP in the surf, recently in PSC, I was quickly humbled how hard it was to balance, especially at my current size. The first SUP in flat water was stable like a floating dock. In the gentle waves and light wind at PSC I felt like a true novice (which I am). And you know, I kind of like that. A challenge. The vulcan has been kicking my tail for the last several years. Here is one challenge, that requires no wind at all, and I can get in a quick session after work by my house. Throw it in and go. For now, I am stoked. I think I got the right size. Time will tell...