New blood – Phil May’s 20 big ones

South coast (UK) based paddler Phil May is a recent addition to the Loco SUP dream team and what does he do during his first weekend as a get sectioned rider? Only go and stomp his authority all over the Surrey SUPtember SUP race, that’s what!

Tez Plavenieks caught up with with Phil to pump him for all the gossip about his plans, goals and aspirations. Check out Phil May’s 20 big ones.

  1. Name? – Phil May
  2. Age? – 32
  3. Where do you train and how often do you get out for a float? – I train around Bracklesham, East Wittering and in the gym at Harbour Way. I try and get on the water 2-3 times a week but with the night’s drawing in this will probably drop and the gym sessions will increase.
  4. What SUP disciplines do you compete in and what’s your favourite? – I race in the 14ft class. I prefer middle distances at the moment but I’m ramping up the training ready for the Head of the Dart next year.
  5. Where’s your favourite stand up location? – So far my favourite has been SUP surfing at Harlyn in Cornwall. One of my most enjoyable paddles was through my home town of Boston in Lincolnshire. SUP hasn’t quite landed there yet so to see me paddling through the town on a big surfboard brought some confused looks to people’s faces.
  6. Name your dream paddle spot (even if you haven’t been there – yet?) – I dream about paddling anywhere with a nice wave that’s warm enough to be in just boardies! Seriously though I would love to go to Oahu and spend time doing both downwind and surf. It has always been a dream to go to Hawaii and surf but now I SUP I’d rather try everything!
  7. What’s the best thing about your local paddling spot? – The variety of things you can do. During the summer it’s fairly calm and flat so distance paddles and race training are fun. If you want some shelter or a pub paddle Chichester Harbour is on the doorstep. During the winter there can be good swell and nice waves. If you ever get really bored and want to push your own limits (safely of course) Selsey Bill is only up the coast.
  8. Who do you normal paddle with? – Phil Plume), Ian Phillips, Trev Jones, Rob Stapely and the other guys from Sussex SUP. Good bunch of people and we have some great banter on the water. It makes difficult paddle sessions easier knowing that the people you are with share your sense of humour and are on the same wavelength. It also means that you have the utmost confidence that if the worst did happen every single one of them has got your back.
  9. What are your plans for this winter? – Generally get some more gym time under my belt and build up my endurance. SUP wise; I’m really looking forward to getting out in the swell on my new Loco 8.11ft SUP. This summer has been great but the swell drought on the south coast has seemed to drag on and on!
  10. How do you get involved with Loco SUP? – I met Joe (Loco boss man) at the National Watersports Festival. We shared a BBQ or two and drank a few beers. He watched me race and we chatted about our SUP beliefs, feelings and what is important in the sport. I tried the Loco 12.6ft and the 9.5ft surf SUP and was impressed with the construction and shapes.  In the weeks after NWF I got a sneaky peek at the new 14ft Loco Pro Racer and spoke to Joe some more. He offered me the opportunity with the brand and after some lengthy talks with my wife I snapped it up.
  11. Which Loco SUPs are you rocking? – Currently I’m paddling the Loco 8.11ft 2013 model in a very fetching pink. It’s been called everything from the Purple Game Changer (Joe’s name for it) to the Raspberry Rocket (my favourite name for it) and quite a few not so pleasant ones in between… I love it! The shape, the colour, everything about it is immediately identifiable. I also have a 14ft Pro Racer on order and I’m really excited about that.
  12. What do you like about the Loco brand? – Loco to me have the best view on SUP and kit choice. They are all about top quality gear at sensible prices. The construction of the kit is solid and well finished. The surf shapes that have been developed are good looking and inspire confidence in even average riders. All of this with some other brands would be well out of my reach financially but Loco keep their prices reasonable. It means that good quality effective boards are available to most people giving them the chance to perform at a higher level.
  13. Tell us about your biggest SUP achievements to date? – Biggest achievement so far is my win in the 4 mile 14ft race at Suffolk Sup’s SUPtember event. Plus a podium at NWF. Outside of races I am proud of some of the distance paddles I have been on around the coastline from Pagham to Bracklesham and around Chichester Harbour. I don’t think I’ve done too badly for someone who has only been paddling on a 10.6ft board until the end of July!
  14. What are your SUP goals moving forward? – I want to get myself used to distance at race pace and I also want to increase my skills in the surf. Goals wise; more race podiums in the next year and to get on the water and enjoy myself.
  15. Who are you paddling idols? – Obviously Laird, but my biggest idol is Dave Kalama. He has a great attitude about being on the water and around water. His blog has great hints and tips on technique and approaches instruction with a complete view from both the physical and mental sides of performance. I would love to attend one of his Kalama Kamp’s. Also I admire Kai Lenny. The guy has got it all at such a young age. That hammer turn at BOP is incredible.
  16. What’s your main inspiration and motivation for stand up? – My motivation for watersports has come from my Dad. He used to race K1 Kayaks in the 60s and still has his boat in the garage. He also used to teach kayaking and sailing to Scouts and Guides so I have been around watersports for most of my life. SUP was a logical progression for me when I lost my confidence in a kayak following a knee injury. I bought my first proper board while I was recovering from surgery and it was my motivation to recover. The use of the board gave me a good route back to fitness and now I am fitter than I have ever been. This keeps me motivated. When I haven’t had my fix of water time I begin to feel like a soggy sack of skin. SUP invigorates me and makes me feel like a better person all round.
  17. Give us your opinion on SUP as a whole? – SUP is an amazing sport. There are so many different faces to what you can achieve with a board and paddle – downwinders, cruises, surfing, white water and racing. All of these can be taken at a pace suited to the individual. It makes for a broad range of people all sharing a common love of a sport and it is this that makes SUP so quick growing. The opportunity for someone who has only been paddling a couple of months to compete in a race also makes the sport thrilling. I have only been paddling a year and a half and I have now got a race win under my belt.
  18. What do you see are the benefits of stand up? – I love being on the water and SUP gives you some of the best experiences. Whether it’s cruising to the pub with mates, watching the sun go down over the sea or pushing yourself to the max over the race distance, SUP gives you access to things that would possibly pass you by. Then there are the well documented benefits of health and well-being but those to me are secondary to the actual experience.
  19. Do you think us Brits could eventually be up there with the best paddlers in the world? – I think we already are. Marie Buchanan’s win at the 11 Cities and Ryan James winning his class at BOP this year proves that. I think also that with people like Peter Kosinski and Aaron Rowe the future is looking really bright.
  20. Any final last words? – Just want to say a couple of thank you’s. Thanks to Joe @ Loco for the opportunity and to my wife, Katie, for supporting me in my SUP adventures even though it means her getting left alone with our three year old! I hope everyone gets some water time and that the swell doesn’t take too long appearing so we can all ‘Get Sectioned! ‘

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