Now don’t get us wrong: we love stand up paddle boarding and everything that goes with it. SUP, however, is certainly responsible for broadening minds, as can be seen by McConks’ diverse range of products. For paddling purists though there’re two paddle sports that are directly compatible with standing and swinging a blade. If you’re looking for a complementary discipline then perhaps one of the following will prick your interest.
Prone paddle boarding
Long before SUP paddling oversized boards was already a thing, albeit with your arms rather than a paddle. Plus, when proning you’re lying down, nose to the deck, and atop much narrower platforms. Because of these reduced dimensions prone paddle boards are very quick. In the right hands they’re actually way more rapid than SUPs. And pronies are also super efficient when chasing bumps downwind style.
Many surfers have used prone paddle boarding to stay fit during bouts of no waves. The action of paddling with your arms, obviously, being exactly the same as piloting a surfboard out back. In the UK there’s a small scene of dedicated enthusiasts, some of whom also switch between stand up paddle and lying down on the job.
One of the most noted prone paddling athletes is Australia’s Jamie ‘Mitcho’ Mitchell who’s won more M2O championships than we’ve had hot dinners. Totally underrated Mitcho is one of the world’s most incredibly gifted paddlers, but many aren’t aware who he is. He’s also a pretty gnarly big wave surfer!
Outrigger canoeing (OC)
OC paddling comes in many forms with teams and individual paddle swingers alike. Noted for it’s side mounted float (the ama) can used for additional stability or lifted entirely for even smoother running on flat water or bumps accordingly. Many OC paddlers adore downwinding as the rounded hull of an OC is suitably efficient for a spot of ‘drift surfing’. It’s also the rounded shape of the OC that can make driving these craft tricky at first.
Back in the days, pre-2010, when SUP‘s renaissance came about following Laird and co’s tinkering, a good many OC paddle makers/manufacturers were the go to oracles for SUP paddle shapes and info – the synergy is undisputable. The biomechanics of paddling an outrigger is similar to SUP paddling. Hence many OC athletes straddled the two disciplines. If you want to know more about these athletes then Google the likes of Danny Ching and Travis Grant, both of whom absolutely smash it on the OC/SUP racing circuits.
For anyone with their interest pricked have a quick sniff around the internet to find out more info about prone and ourigger canoe paddling. Let us know how you get on.