PAD­DLING IN WON­DER­LAND

The rab­bit-hole went straight on like a tun­nel for some way, and then dipped sud­denly down, so sud­denly that Alice had not a mo­ment to think about stop­ping her­self be­fore she found her­self fall­ing down what seemed to be a very deep well.

SUP Magazine - - Foreword - —Lewis Car­roll, “Alice’s Ad­ven­tures In Won­der­land”

The world of standup pad­dling runs just as deep as the rab­bit hole Alice falls down in Lewis Car­roll’s sem­i­nal tale. If you’re read­ing these words, it’s likely you’ve al­ready tripped into the SUP hole too. For my ob­ses­sive mind, it’s just the place to be.

Af­ter fa­natic bouts with rock climb­ing, snow­board­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, run­ning, surf­ing and back­pack­ing I dis­cov­ered SUP. The White Rab­bit tempted me with a sport that com­bined so many things I love: the out­doors, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, ver­sa­til­ity, end­less chal­lenge and wa­ter. I’d al­ways known I was a wa­ter per­son, but SUP gave me the ve­hi­cle to be on the wa­ter ev­ery day, no mat­ter what the con­di­tions were. This was my Won­der­land.

First I got com­fort­able on a standup in the waves. Ad­ding SUPS to the quiver opened up a whole new range of con­di­tions. Next, I got into down­wind­ing. Once I caught my first glides and re­al­ized I could surf for miles with no crowds, I was gone. Later, I spent a cou­ple weeks in the moun­tains of the West, fall­ing, swim­ming and oc­ca­sion­ally stand­ing through rapids. Rac­ing would come later, but with no less in­ten­sity. Self-sup­ported overnight trips soon fol­lowed, es­ca­lat­ing in their length and com­mit­ment.

To­day, I’m more ad­dicted than ever. I may burn out on rac­ing or bounc­ing down bony whitewater or chasing wind, but I never burn out on con­nect­ing with the wa­ter. There’s al­ways some SUP dis­ci­pline that I’m ex­cited to do.

Be­cause SUP is so broad and has so many as­pects, you can al­ways try some­thing new or hone a skill. One of my fa­vorite things about this job is bear­ing wit­ness to Mad Hat­ter-like de­sire in the many cor­ners of the standup world: the down­wind junkies in Hood River, Ore­gon; the foil con­verts at Dog Patch in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia; the river tribes in the moun­tain west (read about their world on p. 30); the lo­cal pad­dle clubs on nearly any body of wa­ter across the world; the man­u­fac­tur­ers that make the fan­tas­tic equip­ment you’ll find in our an­nual Gear Guide (p. 44) and ev­ery­thing be­tween. I love that there’s room in this sport for any­one and ev­ery­one to fol­low what­ever aquatic pas­sions they stum­ble across.

Whether you choose one dis­ci­pline or all of them, SUP pro­vides life-long chal­lenges that we can all en­joy at any level. Thanks for be­ing part of the end­less tea party in Won­der­land; we’re glad you joined us. — WILL TAYLOR

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