Standup Paddle AZ

surfAZ1

Board shaping in AZ – by Chad of StandUp Paddle Arizona

 

Chad Brockman's finished product

Chad Brockman’s finished product

Facebook Page, Standup Paddle Arizona, for a few weeks before I contacted its author, Chad Brockman. I finally caught up with him during his race training season. He was paddling about 7 miles a day for the 10.5 Parker “Another Dam Race”. So many people have enjoyed SUP with man’s best friend, but not so many have surfed a chest high set or two.

When not training, Chad spends his time sharing the sport we all love with paddlers across Arizona. According to Chad, ” I try my best to instruct the proper stroke, giving the newbies a head start. I share insights on how to read the water and be safe in and around water, which has the potential to be the most destructive force on earth. I feel it would be an injustice if I did not share my trials and tribulations of living in and around the water for 51 years. SUP Health not only improves your physical condition, it will gift you with a heathy mental outlook.  I take pride in giving the straight scoop about purchasing SUP equipment that a paddler can grow into, not out of. ” AZ Chad

I asked Chad to fill us in on some of the fun he has had with his dog, Red, and SUP.

Red and the surf. “I took Red to doggy beach first and he ran with his buddies. Then we headed to the cliffs and suited up to hit the surf. Red and I paddled out with the surf chicks oohing and ahhhing.  The guys said howzit as I recorded our surf session with GoPro. I started Red out on the small stuff then paddling out to catch the outside sets. Red first stayed behind me on the small waves and went between my legs to the front of the board on the big waves. Everybody was stoked to see Red surf stand up style. I was having twice the fun! Living the dream : )

Chad Brockman of Standup Paddle AZ and his cool dog, Red.

Chad Brockman of Standup Paddle AZ and his cool dog, Red.

We paddled over to the bigger wave break and caught a decent ride. I fell off and tangled up with Red. He came up grasping for air, climbed over me, coughed a little salt water and gave me the look, ‘Get on the board dad, let’s catch another one!’ Surf On… We paddled out and caught even bigger waves, I was still recording. During a lull, I saw some dolphins. I paddled over as Red looked for them. I knocked my paddle three times on the board to get their curiosity. It worked! They surfaced within a couple of feet next to Red and me. Red saw them and remembered them from our fifty Dolphin paddle in Rocky Point. This time there was just two, a pair of 12 plus footers. What a feeling of being welcome within the ocean society.

Back to the lineup to catch a bunch more waves. Red ruled the nose as I caught waves from  shoulder height to overhead in size. We were loving the performance of my 12 foot SUP,  it surfs with ease, dog and all. I have to brag a bit, Brockfish Boards always work better than you can perform. We caught our last wave and headed into a Sunday family gathering.

Out surfing with my dog keeps my heart pumping warm blood from my head to my toes. Kokua at it’s best in the line up with your dog.”
Aloha, Chad & Red

What is Elite SUP?

A great athlete is more than just the sum of their attributes. A great athlete brings something beyond the average to their sport. Not too long ago I wrote an article about Steve Gates Of Big Winds, a top notch shop in Hood River , OregonEstablished in the Columbia River Gorge in Hood River, Oregon in 1987, Big Winds is one of the largest windsurfingkiteboarding and stand up paddleboarding product and accessory stores in the United States. Their staff members are experienced players who are passionate about their sports and equipment and ready to offer expert advice. In addition to an enormous rental/demo fleet for all skill levels, ourwindsurfing and stand up paddleboarding school is one of the best in the Pacific Northwest and our lesson programs include kids camps, junior camps, and private and group lessons for men and women of all ages.

One of the JET-Big Winds Junior Elite Team pleased with her race!

One thing not mentioned in a description of Big Winds is the passionate and inspiring, Steve Gates. There were many incredible moments at the 2012 Columbia River Gorge Challenge, but among my favorites were moments watching Steve interact with his JET- Junior Elite Team  members. Even though circumstances kept Steve on shore instead of out on the river for the event, he was an integral part of every aspect from start to finish. Each time I spotted on of the JET signature orange shirt (see picture at right) Steve was usually who they sought out.

One of the jet athletes in particular had just finished the course race on Saturday. He raced from the water and through the finish line, made a hard left and jogged down to the beach where Steve was watching the event. High fives and smiles, hands actively pointing out something on the course, the two were immersed in an exciting recount of an event that was obviously cool and meaningful to both. This sort of connection was clear throughout the entire event. Steve’s commitment to the teens’ development through SUP was heart warming to observe.

If you didn’t know who Steve was as he quietly supported every aspect of the event through both days, you might have missed him as he wasn’t decked in the bright orange of his team.  

Steve Gates engaged is all aspects of the Gorge Paddle Challenge from start to finish and months of training for his JET athletes.

Steve Gates who realized an idea for the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge into a great happening is a terrific example of an elite athlete in the sport. No matter what his expertise and abilities have generated as far as his own athletic accomplishments, his commitment to developing the youth of Hood River toward their best potential inspires the word, “elite” as one description of Steve.

We’ve written before about the “grinnin’ and giving” among SUP leaders, Steve is right there with them. His ready smile and endless bounty of commitment to the sport we love inspires.

What inspires Steve you might ask, “I am inspired by everyone who is trying to make our planet a better place for everybody.”

Teach a newbie to SUP if you have a chance, notice who’s giving time and coaching to your local younger athletes. There’s something for all of us to contribute toward making our planet a better place – one gesture at a time.