Salmon Bay Paddle - SUP Instruction & Tours in the Pacific Northwest Tel: 206-465-7167 /


How to's of Paddling a SUP out in Surf

How To's of Paddling a SUP out in Surf - 7 Tips

From my article in SUP Magazine..

Watch the waves for a few minutes before going out.  Are you comfortable with the wave size?  Can you turn easily on a wave and handle a crowded surfing area?  If not, pick a less crowded break with smaller waves.  Inquire from local surf shops on where the best beginner beaches are to avoid conflicts on more advanced or crowded breaks.  In areas such as Southern California, some beaches have specified SUP-surfing sections.  You can be ticketed if you paddle in the wrong area. Decide from the beach which wave you want and observe where others are surfing in. Make sure you paddle out where others are not surfing in—that’s just one facet of surfing etiquette you should be aware of prior to entering the water. Bone up on wave-riding etiquette with’s 10 rules.
Enter the water on a beach that is clear of rocks and large groups of people, and always use your leash in surf.  If a big wave comes in, it's possible to lose control of your board, which becomes a projectile and could endanger yourself or others.  That's not a smooth way to introduce yourself on a new beach. If a wave does come in, don't get between your board and the beach. Stay on the seaward side of the board—otherwise, it can be pushed by the wave right into you.
Walk your board to about waist deep, then get on.  If you're feeling unstable, paddle out on your knees or butt, and choke up on your paddle.  If there's a strong onshore wind (wind coming into shore) consider paddling out prone (on your belly) with the blade of your paddle under your chest and shaft and handle sticking out over the nose of your board.  Paddling out sitting down also reduces wind resistance.
Stand up in paddling stance (or Hawaiian stance) in smaller waves up to about knee-high, with both feet about 12 inches apart, facing the nose and positioned in the middle of your board. Paddle as you normally would on flatwater over each wave.  If you feel unstable, bend your knees as the wave passes below you. Keep paddling until you get out past the incoming waves or until you see a wave you want to surf.
Start out in paddling stance (feet parallel), if the waves are waist-high or larger, and take some hard strokes to gain speed.  As the wave nears you, step one foot further back on the board to lift the nose out of the water, making sure each foot is on either side of the board center.  Bend your knees to lower your center of gravity for more stability.  Paddle hard with short quick strokes as the wave begins to pick you up and go under your board.  If the wave is really steep, move even farther back toward your tail to allow it to pass under your nose (see photo sequence above). You can use your paddle as a quick brace on top of the wave if you feel unstable or if the crest breaks on you.  Keep paddling as the wave passes and be prepared for more waves to paddle over. 
Push down one rail in the water with your foot to angle the face of the board toward the wave, which deflects some of the wave energy as your near the crest. Called edging, this is a technique used in surf kayaking, where much like standup paddling, duck dives are out of the question.  If you feel tippy, get lower and widen your stance.  When in doubt, paddle.  Just having your blade in the water adds stability.
Don't let go of the paddle if you fall in while paddling out, and make sure when you come to the surface that you're between the waves and the board, and hold onto the leash by the board, which is called short-leashing. When there's a lull in between the waves, get on the board and continue to paddle out. If you're a beginner in the surf, consider a surfing helmet to protect your noggin from colliding with your gear in a wipeout.
Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.


SUP Tips - How to Dress for Fall

We're now into early October and all of the summer people have disappeared. Yet it's still 69F in Seattle this week. A touch of cold in the wind reminds us that this may not last forever. No worries, fall and winter paddling brings short ferry lines, better surf, more regular downwinding and less boats to avoid on the lakes. Cold? So is skiing and you don't have to pay for paddling every time you go. 

What I wear in the fall...

Temp Range - Air / Conditions: Non Surf, no or low wind. And unlikely you'll fall regularly..

60 - 70's - Shorts or neoprene shorts; wetsuit pants; wetsuit jacket or neoprene top; rash guard.

45 - upper 50's - If you get hot, the above options still work. I get cold so will wear my 4/3mm wetsuit, booties, maybe gloves if there's a wind chill and have my neoprene hood stuffed in my PFD.

35 - upper 40's - 4/3 or 5/4/3mm suit for sure, and for those of us that get cold, 5/4mm or drysuit, 5-7mm neoprene booties, hooded vest over non hood wetsuits (or separate neoprene hood), neoprene gloves.

15F - low 40's - Same as above but add rash guard and/or poly top under your suits; paddling jacket to cut windchill; NRS expedition socks under my booties (standard socks get funky).  2nd hood.  :)


If you get cold.. Same as above but add rash guard and/or poly top under your suits; paddling jacket to cut windchill; or hooded vest, NRS expedition socks under my booties (standard socks get wet and slide around).  2nd hood. Helmet helps keep me warm on super cold days (teens). 

Depends on you. Do you get super hot or not? If hot, you can wear wetsuit pants and a neoprene jacket well into winter. I'm a full wetsuit type as I get cold. 

Surf, Downwind and Rivers:
Full wetsuit or drysuit Fall/Winter. 4/3mm if you get hot. 5/4/3 if you're moderate. 5/4mm if you're like me and get cold along with booties, gloves and hood. 4/3mm for summer too.

Interesting products to check out.. 
Season 5 and Reed Chill Cheater - Both are thin neoprene like layers with a light fleece inner. Both have tops, bottoms and jackets. Reed has hoods, socks etc. UrbanSurf sells SeasonFive.

Where to get gear? 
NRS has many great products. I use their Freestyle and Deperado Wetshoes all year, wetsuit jackets and Expedition socks in winter.

In Seattle - NWOC for some NRS gear, Urban for full wetsuits and jackets, ProMotion in Hood River (makes their own suits etc); Kayak shops for drysuits ( and Kayak Academy). 

**TRY BEFORE YOU BUY ANY CLOTHING.  I've seen a few folks rushing it on Amazon then finding out the suit is too big or small, tight in the neck, etc.

How to Dress for Winter PNW Paddling

How to Choose a Wetsuit

10 Tips for Fall/Winter Paddle Clothing

Rob Casey - Salmon Bay Paddle / PSUPA
Seattle, WA USA / 206.465.7167
IG: @salmonbaypaddle

5 Tips for Easier SUP Buoy Turns

5 Tips for Easier Buoy Turns

Too often I see racers working too hard to turn. Here's a few tips to make your turns easier and less stressful on your body..

- Use a Cross Bow instead of the pivot turn. Less stepping back and no speed loss. Watch video of folks going round buoy using a pivot. They step back, then take mini strokes on one side then step forwards and pick up speed. Their speed coming into the buoy becomes a stall once they jack up the nose. The only forward movement are the little sweep strokes. The cross bow doesn't kill your speed. You glide in, cross over for the turn and glide around around the buoy, no stopping and little slow-down.

- When using the CrossBow, look where you're going, not straight ahead. The rotation of your body will help you turn easier.

- Get low. Getting low shoves the paddle out further in the water thus creating more leverage turning you more effectively. Standing up means your paddle has less leverage and it less stable (high center of gravity).

- Use a staggered stance - one foot slightly back which easer to set up for turns. Not a full blown surfer's stance which can become unstable. I paddle in this stance at all times as it loosens my hips (I feel locked in forward stance with both feet parallel). When you need to step back - the rear foot is halfway there, just step it back a touch more to release the nose for the turn.

- Leaning into your turn. This raises the outside rail reducing drag on your hull.

- Jamming around the buoy nearly bumping into it is stressful especially when others are crowding around you super close nearly colliding. Instead avoid the crowd and pick a line a few feet from the buoy for the same results, minus the collisions and rough water. 

- If windy over compensate your buoy turn by going upwind vs straight at the buoy. If you paddle straight to a buoy in lets say a strong side wind on your right, you'll be pushed to the left and your buoy turn will turn into a harder turn. If you aim for a line to the right or upwind from the buoy, the wind will help push you around it.

- If you need to step back, do so before you get to the buoy to prepare early. So as you approach the buoy start stepping back while still paddling vs doing it all at the buoy which will slow your speed to a near stop. As you pass the buoy, step up and paddle, then step again in a few strokes. This way you don't loose your speed 100%.

- For rough conditions around a buoy, use the sweeping brace for stability. Instead of feathering your blade above the water, sweep it over the surface like a hydroplane, leading edge up. This will help create a lot of stability in the rough water generated by multiple racers pushing around the buoy.

Rob Casey - Salmon Bay Paddle / PSUPA
Seattle, WA USA / 206.465.7167
IG: @salmonbaypaddle


Wood Touring SUP by Splinter SUP

New paddle board company, Splinter SUP, of maritime center Port Townsend, WA has just completed production of 3 epic stitch and glue kit SUPs that each are fast, stable, light to carry and affordable.

Boards are available as 12-6 (raised or flush deck), 14' (3 widths) and 16'.

I've tested all three options and are super stoked someone finally made a smart board with full internal storage that is light and fast.

The images here are of the 16' board.

Video of this week's test of the 16' in Seattle. 


  • Overall length – 16′
  • Weight – 24-28 lbs.
  • Available in – 28″ widths
  • Payload – Person + gear (up to 300 lbs)
The boat kits:
  • precut Paulownia plywood pieces
  • Gore-Tex vent
  • fin box and fin
  • leash cups
  • builders manual
Contact SplinterSUP
Give me a plug by typing in 'Rob' as the purchase code. Thanks!

Rob Casey - Salmon Bay Paddle / PSUPA
Seattle, WA USA / 206.465.7167
IG: @salmonbaypaddle

Monday Night Races over for 2017!

Our last Monday night race was 9/25 and had over 35 paddlers. During the summer we raised $2,500 for the Ballard Elks Scholarship and Vocational Scholarship Funds and gave $190 to the Elks Building Fund. 105 racers participated in the series which started May 1.

Thanks to all those that participated!

Big thanks to KAVU for donating a ton of clothing for race awards. And thanks to Troy Trimmer and Jim Ramey of Adventure Sales for additional race prices. I donated 2 of my books and hats.

Next race - Oct 28th, bring a costume! We'll have our usual 6 mile course around West Point weather depending and a shorter race if there's interest.

Buoy Turn madness

9/25 Beach Start

Rob Casey - Salmon Bay Paddle / PSUPA
Seattle, WA USA / 206.465.7167
IG: @salmonbaypaddle


Ballard Monday Night Race Results - 9/11/17

An epic night with a 3' purse seiner wake that dropped many paddlers, wind waves, reverb and a mile of side chop.  Race Results 

Pics from the race. Photos by Curt Devoir, Salmon Bay Paddle and PSUPA alumni who have a great sup business in Mexico at Under Toe Mexico

Questions? Give me a holler..
Rob Casey
Salmon Bay Paddle / PSUPA
Seattle, WA USA


Halloween SUP Race in Seattle October 28th

Join us for our 3rd annual Halloween Paddling Race Oct 28 in Seattle at the Ballard Elks Club.

A 6 mile course, you'll paddle from the Elks around West Point and back. We don't cancel for rain or moderate winds. Most wear costumes.

More details tba.  Proceeds are donated to the Elks Scholarship Fund.

Questions? Give me a holler..

Rob Casey - Salmon Bay Paddle / PSUPA
Seattle, WA USA / 206.465.7167
IG: @salmonbaypaddle