The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: stand-up paddle

Wish You Were Here: Tropical Storm Erika – Reborn Off Folly Beach?

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The Remnants of Tropical Storm Erika. Will She Be Reborn off Charleston? Photo: Chris Dixon

Last night the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika rolled out off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina and and spun up over the Gulf Stream. This morning, the results of that spin were plainly, and beautifully apparent off Folly Beach, South Carolina.

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Erika’s Swirl. Photo: NOAA. 

I rolled up at the south end of Folly just after dawn this morning and was greeted by a stunning, curved arc of grey-purple clouds, green ocean and a flawless thigh high swell. I grabbed my standup paddleboard and pointed it towards an ephemeral sandbar somewhere between a half mile and a mile to the south that was showing occasional whitewater. Folly’s northern and southern stretches are ringed by these shallows. If it’s low-tide and glassy, swells wrap, bend and peel across them before disappearing into deep water. If you know where to look, well, you get the picture.

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Nobody Out. As is Usually the Case. Photo: Chris Dixon

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Watch an Orca Whale Chase and Nibble a Standup Paddleboard

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Screenshot from 3 News/Luke Reilly.

Standup paddler Luke Reilly was about 200 meters offshore of New Zealand on Monday when a killer whale popped up behind him. It investigated him for about five minutes, reports say, before taking a nibble at the tail, realizing it wasn’t food and shooting off.

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If You Thought Standup Paddleboarding Was Too Leisurely for Surfing, Watch This Video

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When standup paddleboarding becomes a casual sport of seated beer swilling. Screenshot from Magicseaweed Surf’s video

This guy, legs crossed, could be just as easily be sitting in this beach chair beneath an umbrella on the sand, tilting a bottle of beer back as a he blindly and cooly navigates his way across the face of a wave. It’s not something you’ll see me trying (or succeeding at) any time soon–at least until my legs give out–but I’ve got to hand it to him for his aptitude.

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I’m Gonna Need a Bigger Boat. Florida Standup Surfer, Meet Florida’s Bodysurfing Sharks.

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Mike Ramos Damned if he Does, and Damned if He Doesn’t. Photo Courtesy: Julie Skarratt. 

A couple of days ago, an email from my buddy Mike Ramos stopped me in my tracks. It seems that Mike had gone out for a standup paddle surf session at the Reef Road surf break in Palm Beach. The surf, thanks to the same massive storm that left Boston under a fresh blanket of snow, was epic – particularly by Florida standards. Disconcertingly, there were also a lot of big fish out there – especially jacks and spinnner sharks, which were erupting from the 75 degree water all around him. “There were fricking spinners everywhere,” he told me.

With most of the eastern U.S. in a deep freeze, Mike paddled out into the Gulf Stream and caught what he calls one of the biggest, best waves he’s had in years. He tracked the ride with his new Rip Curl GPS watch. It was 400 yards long, with a top speed of nearly 20 miles an hour.

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Mike Ramos, Palm Beach, Going Off. Photo Courtesy: Julie Skarratt. 

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But to quote Ralphie from A Christmas Story: “Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at it’s zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.” As an amped up Mike was paddling back out, the horizon darkened with one of the biggest sets of the day. “I started to panic and just hauled ass outside as fast as I could,” he said.

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Watch: A Laguna Beach Paddleboarder Has a Close Encounter with a Pod of Killer Whales

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Screenshot taken from SummerSky‘s youtube video

Paddleboarder Rich German was off the coast of Laguna Beach, California when he encountered a pod of the largest of the dolphin species The orcas, apex predators which have been known to prey on other dolphins, whales and even sharks, grew very curious about Mr. German, and began to pass beneath him as he captured the encounter on video. Not that they’re known for attacks on humans apart from a few isolated incidents (outside of SeaWorld, that is), but he must have felt a slight chill at about 1:46 in the video as the orca breached, heading right for him.

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Screenshot taken from SummerSky‘s youtube video

Watch the video:

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The Surfmobile Devotional. An Ode to the Venerable Volkswagen Vanagon Camper.

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The “Nautical Wheeler,” a Seafoam Green surfmobile I once built out for Jimmy Buffett. Photo: Chris Dixon. 

In late 1996, a wayward Colorado ski bum puttered up in the parking lot of Surfer/ Snowboarder/ Bike and Powder magazines in Dana Point, California. Keith “Turtle” Carlsen, was driving a dusty 1982 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Campmobile he had affectionately, and appropriately named The Cube, both for its shape and its lack of functioning heat. Little did I know that The Cube, and its owner, would change my life.

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Standup Paddler Taken Out by a Dolphin in South Africa, Prone Paddling Surfers Rejoice

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Prone paddling surfers are never too pleased to see a standup paddlers enter the lineup, and it would appear that dolphins aren’t either.

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How Surfing Could Help Save the Cultural Legacy of Traditional Peruvian Reed Boats


 

For at least 3,500 years, the people in the village of Huanchaco, Peru have been paddling their fishing nets out through the surf in small boats strung tightly together with a reed grass, called Caballitos de totora (“horses of totora reeds”). Caballitos de totora are cherished by the Huanchaco for many reasons beyond their utility as fishing boats, and are treated and tended to as works of art. But to newer generations taking more interest in surfing, higher education, and more lucrative forms of employment, they may be history.

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