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Double bubble – paddle and sail power with the same board.

WindSUP may appear like 80s windsurfing as was but there are slight differences. For one you won’t have to sling a tree trunk (read daggerboad/centreboard) over your shoulder on downwind runs or lash your boom to the mast with arm thick rope, and still hope it doesn’t fall whilst sailing two miles offshore. Things have come on a bit since those early days of windsurfing equipment development with punters now able to get hold of efficient, lightweight equipment that delivers maximum fun.

The McConks Go Free 9’8 crossover windSUP/SUP board.

But what’s widSUP all about? Surely it’s either windsurfing or stand up paddling, isn’t it? And while this statement is sort of true brands and manufacturers have pushed the boat out to deliver as much versatility as possible with some equipment (see the McConks Freedom hard shell SUP or the Go Free inflatable crossover board for examples of this). Recreational gear, of any type, now has to perform under many umbrellas and deliver as much as possible to satisfy riders. As such many stand up paddle boards come with windsurfing rig attachments and some now offer ability to ride with a wing. So in true ‘waterman’ sense: paddle when the airs are light and windsurf/wing surf when the breeze puffs a few gusts your way.

There are many different guises to windSUP. Those who love riding swell, but can’t find full power blow to get their everyday wave sailing kit revved up, will find fulfilment with windSUP. Without footstraps there’s no way riders will be punting sick aerials but there’s no mistake it’s still a fun way to ride marginally blowy surf. How big you go with swell size is entirely up to you and all comes down to your skills and confidence.

More commonly flat water cruising and light wind freestyle windSUP is most practiced. You can see why. Gliding effortlessly atop the blue, sunshine shining and smiles smiling is the type of image marketing bods fall over themselves to promote. It mightn’t be full power windsurfing but it’s still living the dream for many. And if you’re keen to see kids learning to sail then windSUP kit paves the way to getting them involved without too much hassle. In fact, learning to windsurf full stop  – see adults as well – is much easier utilising windSUP gear than was previously possible.

From a participation level flat water windSUP gives riders the ability to potter around their chosen put in and practice all of wind surfing’s fundamentals. So much so that windsurfing coaches the world over are keen on windSUP as a teaching aid. Tacks, gybes and honing muscle memory is achievable when everything’s slowed down. This type of wind gliding certainly allows for that and progressing intermediate sailors will find it a useful tool, and no less fun than when planing.

If you’re an advanced rider then windSUP offers a platform for a few whirls and twirls. Sail spinning, pirouettes and nailing great exercises for further advancement within the sport are all good skills to have. Modern high wind freestyle has core movements at the heart of every trick and light wind windSUP freestyle allows riders to get to grips with this whilst stomping that all important muscle memory in a mellow way. Having sorted this in light winds riders are able to switch when the wind’s stronger to carry on the learning curve.

Kiddy windSUP action aboard the McConks Go Free.

The term ‘waterman’ is often used these days and stand up paddle boarding is partly to blame for its resurgence. Check out any watersports emporium specialising in SUP and/or windsurfing and you’ll be confronted with a choice of toys to pick from. As such, punters will be able to acquire the full caboodle of equipment needed for windSUP and stand up paddle action. And it’s not just hard shell boards either. Inflatable SUPs gives a more accessible version of windSUP gear to play around in the brine.

Find out more about the windy side of SUP via the following link –

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