I trekked up highway 1 this morning to Morro Bay to go check out some Stand Up Paddleboards this morning. Central Coast Standup was hosting a demo day at Coleman Beach down by Morro Rock where you could try out a whole bunch of boards for free there in the bay. Pretty cool right? Plus it didn’t hurt that despite being December the sun was out, there was no fog and it’s pushing 80 degrees here on the coast right now!
I came out a little early because my knowledge of Morro Bay geography leaves a little to be desired. My first attempt was in the right park but the wrong side of the road. I found where all the regular surfers were hanging out. I figured I was either in the wrong spot of this dude was fantastically ambitious in his demonstration plans! Turns out I was just lost. Eventually I figured out that they were testing boards across the street in more protected waters… phew :) On my walk down to the little piece of beach that they were launching boards from I saw some SWIMMERS! Ahh! Total surprise… I yelled down and said hi from the rocks and talked to them back at the beach a little later when they finished their workout. I always get excited when I find people swimming locally, there’s not too many of us especially in December!
Once I got down to the beach I met Matt from Central Coast Standup and he gave me the run down on what he had on the beach that morning. There were a whole bunch of boards ready to go in all kinds of shapes and sizes. He had everything from a plastic whitewater board to racing boards. I was welcome to hop on anything I wanted. I started with something in the middle but managed to try one of just about everything but the smallest boards which wouldn’t really be size appropriate for me.
What a difference a nice board makes though! I’ve only ridden rentals in Newport and Avila, the boards I’ve rented have all been sturdy and user friendly but heavy, slow, and hard to turn. Most of the boards I tried today felt really good on top of the water, they floated in a different kind of way. Most were a little less stable than what I’ve ridden before, but since I’ve been out 5 or 6 times at this point that was ok. I’ve found my balance for the most part on SUPs and I didn’t take a tumble at all today which is pretty good for me and my general lack of balance!
Most of the boards on the beach were from a company called Angulo Designs and they were the ones behind my favorite ride of the day, the Shaka. It’s like 14 feet long (for reference, my truck is only 3 feet longer than that!) but thin and reasonably maneuverable. It traveled really nice and I felt good on it. I talked to one of the guys from Angulo that was there on the beach and he explained how it’s built to go fast but be versatile. So it’s not an all out race board, but still has a lot of speed. It’s supposed to be good at dealing with chop and motion in the water. I think this would be an ideal board for someone like me with an interest in SUP for general exploring and fitness. I’m not ready to buy a board just yet, but when I get around to it this one’s pretty high up on my list.
I spent probably 2 hours bouncing from one board to the next having a great time. The whole adventure out to Morro Bay was very educational. I’m starting to formulate a much solider opinion of what I would want in a board for my own use. Now I just need to get a rack on my truck to carry one and save up some bucks to actually pay for it all!