SUP wars – SUP vs Wingsuiting
In the first of a regular series we check out other types of adrenaline sport and put them head to head with our beloved SUP.
Not always instantly comparable, we’ll try and identify the differences and similarities between the chosen discipline and our everyday Loco stand up paddle boarding exploits.
So pop the kettle on, grab a Rich Tea and read on for the first instalment of Loco’s SUP Wars…
Stand up paddle boarding vs wingsuiting
The extreme sport of wingsuiting is where adrenaline junkies don a synthetic suit, fitted with wings, allowing the nutter in question to launch from a high platform and then glide (or fly) for miles – sometimes high up in the clouds, sometimes barely skimming the ground.
Most wingsuit enthusiasts tend to use a parachute for returning to terra firma although some mentalists have successfully landed back on Earth without the aid of such a device – opting for a strategically placed foam pit instead.
Wingsuiting experts are constantly trying to push the envelope, just the same as SUP riders, and a quick Google search will reveal a mind boggling array of death defying exploits from both camps.
Charging mountainous walls of water on stand ups or flying close to the face of one of the world’s tallest mountains – SUP and wingsuiting may have more in common than at first appears.
If you want to try wingsuiting then you can take part in a variety of different ways.
The obvious is soaring off into the stratosphere, by plane, before jettisoning yourself out of the side door. Base jumpers also use wingsuits after scaling their chosen obstacle. Once at the pinnacle of their jump structure, they then throw themselves into the abyss before gliding back to the ground.
Soaring high -pic Skysoc
Big wave SUP on the other hand requires heading off to one of the world’s notorious ‘Rhino’ wave spots and paddling out. You then need the relevant skills to catch these behemoth waves. Knowing how to deal with beatings is also handy to have under your belt.
Both offer inherent risks, require experience, timing and skill and in worst case scenarios can result in a meeting with your maker.
Any tall structure, building, topographic mound or high point lends itself to wingsuiting.
The jump spot needs to be large enough – but within theory you can scale any high rise peak and launch yourself off it with a wingsuit – whether you’d want to is down to personal choice…
The big wave spots of the world are well publicised. Familiar names of Waimea, Shipsterns Bluff, Jaws and Teahupo’o will be recognisable to anyone into the surfing side of stand up.
Teahupo’o SUP – pic Tim Mckenna
All it takes is the monitoring of weather charts, a plane ticket when conditions look good and time to make your score.
Each of the two sports involve the scaling of tall ‘peaks’ – in the case of stand up paddle boarding that peak can be moving whereas wingsuit aficionados tend to aim for static jump points.
The synergy between the two sports appears when you compare wingsuiting to big wave SUP riding. Think Waimea in Hawaii or any other similar break around the world.
Both types of adrenaline junky take the time to get to the apex of their chosen ‘high rise’ before throwing themselves down into the vortex, and ever so subtly crossing their fingers that it’s all going to turn out OK without serious injury or worse.
Wingsuiting relies on gravity pushing the rider ever closer to the ground while big wave stand up paddle surfing has a mountain of moving ocean driving them shore ward.
It could be argued that wingsuiting is far more perilous than big wave SUP surfing and in many ways that assumption would be correct.
Getting it wrong while wingsuiting could easily result in death and while big wave SUP does have the same inherent risk, wiping out isn’t a done deal with many riders regular surviving the ‘rinse cycle’ and living to surf another day.
If you feel like chucking yourself of a tall structure and pretending to be a bird, then Loco SUP would like to say now that we aren’t responsible for your actions – you’re all big boys and girls! If however, you want to take on the might of the ocean then grab yourself a Loco stand up paddle board and witness the sickness…