We have recently begun our latest new activity, paddleboarding downwind to the neighboring islands on the atoll on our new SUP Cruiser boards. These high displacement boards are especially designed for longer distance paddling rather than short excursions or surfing.
The hull has a ‘V’ shape and a pointed bow with a 6″ thick center volume, and the boards are as light as a feather. Thus, one can travel 3 times the distance per paddle stroke as on a conventional paddleboard. On our second trip to both Middle Caye and SW Caye, we brought along two sea kayaks, and switched people at the half way point to allow more participation. It also worked out well in enabling paddlers to rest, as the paddle to SW Caye is 6 miles.
Paddling downwind over the sand flats is exciting, since the higher viewpoint afforded on a paddleboard allows one to see many more reefs, fish, and rays in the shallow, clear water. We even had a large nurse shark spook and swim right under a paddle board! At SW Caye, we were then able to tour the island and enjoy a few cold drinks at their over-the-water bar before our shuttle boat arrived to tow the boards and give us all a ride back home. I think this new sport is going to be VERY popular!
Every fall my partner Cully drives all of our new gear down to Belize. He has been doing this since 1977, and has only missed 2 years in all of that time. He left Monday morning and is now in Texas, he’ll cross over into Mexico tomorrow.
It is our custom to take a picture right as he leaves Moab. I wish I had all of these pictures, in order! Our vehicles have gotten much nicer, and our sports gear has gotten more interesting. This year he is driving down sea kayaks, racing paddleboards, a regular paddleboard, and surf and whitewater kayaks.
Slickrock has added 3 new ‘cruiser’ paddleboards to our collection of SUP’s this season. This style of paddleboard is designed for longer distance paddling tours, and the boards have a more defined keel for better tracking and a pointed bow to cut through chop. This allows the board to cover more distance efficiently, and is the design used in racing and long distance paddling.
We will start a new Belize paddleboarding activity with these boards, paddling downwind to the neighboring islands of Glovers Reef which are 3 and 6 miles away. These tours will then be picked up by our motor skiff for the ride back to Long Caye. The tours will follow the ring reef of the atoll and trips can be made outside the reef in open sea conditions for more advanced paddlers, or inside the reef where no swells exist. And, we will paddle in calm conditions or when the wind is blowing downwind only.
Check out the cruiser board in the photo with its high-volume bow and keel as an example of the difference between it and a regular paddleboard.
Susan Beveridge wants to join one of our Belize trips. She is super excited about our island in Belize and she hasn’t even been there yet! I just love that, she is going to go crazy when she gets there.
Susan recently sent me a link to a blog by a new paddleboarder named Aaron Teasdale and I wanted everyone to see it. Aaron is a writer/adventurer/photographer.
He is just learning to paddleboard. You can tell it’s become an obsession with him. There are some great photos on this post, they will make you want to start paddleboarding NOW. http://aaronteasdale.blogspot.com/2011/08/walking-on-water-discovering-standup.html
For those of you who will be joining us this year, or hope to, check this out. Paddleboarding is a huge sport on our island now, and we didn’t even offer it until four years ago, that’s how new it is. Classes are springing up all over the country. If you can get a class before you get to the island, go for it. The more experience you have before you come, the more likely you will be able to get out in the waves when you are there!
What do you do for vacation when you work on adventure island? You think up the most obscure plans for yourself and friends throw in some ridiculous elements and whamo! Epics are born. Most of these plans happen over a drink. I think that part is similar for everyone. Then something happens, I decide it must be done and there is no changing my mind. For the last two months, in between trips at slickrock, I have been traveling around Central America on a motorcycle carrying an inflatable stand up paddle board, a surfboard, river gear, and camera gear. My companions were my brother, and a two man dream team film and sound crew. After a couple thousand miles on the bikes, great rivers paddled and some amazing surf sessions the trip is officially over and now it’s just a matter of editing the raw footage down to a short film. Film debut is scheduled for June 3rd at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, CO. Look for the Deflated web premier coming out around that time at www.danielrichardmyers.com.
We saw a few days of light winds on the island last week, but the surf came up so we jumped in for a few sessions of riding our break in almost glassy conditions. We have an excellent point break where we are able to get long rides down a continuously breaking shoulder. We had riders on surf boards, paddle boards, and surf kayaks. There’s nothing like surfing in 80 degree water, so clear you can watch the bottom rip by underneath your feet, while spotting the occasional ray or silver streaks of fish darting out of the way.
You can read more about Belize surfing on our website.
Our paddleboard instructor and trip manager Victor Myers was a winner in the Werner Paddles Catalog Photo Contest. Victor created this self-portrait just off our island with a surfdeck mounted, waterproof camera. You can see videos he made with the same camera while paddleboarding off our Belize caye in an earlier blog post.
To obtain your own copy of the Werner Paddles catalog, visit their website: wernerpaddles.com.