Stand up paddle boarding is definitely taking over the asylum. Head to your local patch, particularly with this current spell of fantastic weather we’re experiencing in the UK, and you’ll no doubt be confronted by plenty of SUP enthusiasts sweeping along.
A few years ago it was a huge faux pas for any hardcore surfer to even utter the phrase ‘stand up’ – let alone be brazen enough to actually head out for a spoon. And yet, surfers are like every other ocean sports nut and just crave time on the water.
Mark Iles is the founder and owner of south coast based surfing site www.mellowwave.co.uk and as much as he still loves nothing better than ripping a liquid wall to bits on his longboard, he understands that surf in the south is hardly the most consistent thing.
In an effort to combat those summer flat spell blues he’s taken to standing up with a paddle in his hands.
Mark loves just getting out there and while he admits that traditional surfing will still take precedence when there’s a bump pulsing he’s more than happy to make good use of his Loco touring SUP during calmer periods.
Freelance writer and SUP journalist, Tez Plavenieks, caught up with Mark to get the low down on why this south coast surfer loves the flat water side of SUP.
Why did you suddenly decide to take up SUP?
It’s been on my to do list for a while now. I purchased a kayak a couple of years ago for flat summer days but hardly used it then finally this year I had a go at SUPing. An old surf friend loaned me his SUP and I was instantly hooked.
You’re more into the flat water side of the sport – why does this appeal more than waves?
I only use my paddle board when it’s flat and I like to set myself challenges – beating my own personal time over distance, and of course dodging tankers out in the Solent! I’ve been a surfer for nearly 25 years and I’m finding this is a great way of keeping fit when there aren’t waves and a fantastic way to just be get out on the water. Another excuse to play in the sea.
What made you decide on a Loco SUP?
Really nice people and reasonably priced gear, I also like the name as I feel it suits my style!
What’s your best SUP session to date?
Ummm, I can’t really name the best session as they have all been good for different reasons. The people I’ve met and paddled with, the different conditions, which can be challenging, and fun cruises along the river – I’ve really enjoyed them all.
Anything specific you want to tick off your bucket list in terms of SUP journeys or spots?
I have a few crazy ideas but will have to let you know once I have done them as I like to keep things cool with no pressure and usually just decide on the day when I’m going to do something a bit different.
Best thing about SUP?
Getting out on the water when there’s no surf and feeling fit.
SUP or surfing?
Ha ha! SUP when it’s flat and surf when there are waves…
Any other thoughts about SUP?
One of the major things that stands out to me as a surfer is the lack of understanding between the two sports. I think the thing to remember for everyone, on both sides, is etiquette!
Thanks Mark! We’ll no doubt be hearing more about your stand up paddle boarding missions as time goes on. Stay tuned…
You can find out more about Mark Iles and his SUP adventures, surfing on the south coast and Mellowwave by visiting the site www.mellowwave.co.uk
Tez Plavenieks is a freelance writer who loves windsurfing, SUP, surfing, snowboarding, drums, art and beer. If he’s not out sliding sideways then you’ll find him producing articles, stories and content revolving around his passions. Check out more at tezplavenieks.com