2013 Thorfinn Expeditions – Maine SUP Gear Guide
Spring is here! We Mainers may not believe it – but it is true. The days are already longer and the temps will be warming up. The lakes and ponds will melt and then there are endless bodies of water to explore on your SUP.
Stand up paddle boarding is the fastest growing action sport and it is an activity that fits Maine perfectly, year ‘round believe it or not. SUP comes in many forms: surfing, touring, downwinders, whitewater, fitness/yoga and racing. Most people in Maine are more in the touring camp, but all types of SUP thrive here and Thorfinn Expeditions has the gear, no matter what form of SUP is your focus.
Thorfinn Expeditions’ SUP staff paddle all year in Maine. We paddle on lakes, at the beach, and all over the coast. We have become avid racers and love downwinders. All instructional staff are ACA level-2 certified. When you call or stop by our shop in Lincolnville Beach you can expect very experienced assistance. Our SUP programs are as comprehensive as most in the business – from beginner lake lessons to guided downwinders on SIC boards that have rudders. Thorfinn was featured in the Outside Magazine’s “Best of New England” in 2012. This will be our fourth-season doing SUP.
Our retail shop has the gear needed for all forms of SUP. For 2013 we have retooled our brands in order to have the gear that suits Maine best.
Boga * SIC * Tahoe SUP * Speedboard * Laird * Kialoa * Quickblade
Buy a board and get 10% off your paddle/accessories!
The best way to decide on your SUP gear is to demo. We recommend visiting the shop to see our brands and discuss your paddling goals, but trying boards/paddles is a really good idea. We offer both private demos and free demo sessions on Hosmer Pond (near Camden) throughout the summer.
There are a ton of SUP brands. Different designs accomplish different things. Generally we break down board types into four different categories – all-around, surf, touring/racing, and downwinder/big ocean.
All-Around – All Around SUPs suit a lot of peoples needs. They can surf small waves, they work for flatwater touring, you can do yoga on them and they are maneuverable/stable. Perfect for many people here in Midcoast Maine, especially for those who want a board to keep on the lake and that many people will paddle.
Boga El Ray 12’
Boga Classic – 11’2”
Boga Yoga – 11’
Boga Mahina – 10’6”
Boga Todo – 10’2”
We chose Boga this year after being blown away by their quality and affordability. Boga offers an outstanding full line of SUPs and the California based company is comprised of avid SUP athletes
Surf – Surf SUPs tend to be shorter and more maneuverable than the all-arounds. They sport different fin set-ups and are designed for riding the waves. We do have surf in Maine! Popham Beach is the closest to us but there are some waves a little closer and Southern Maine offers a lot of options.
Boga Mahina -10’6”
Boga Todo – 10’2”
Boga Bullet – 9.5
Laird Surfer – 10’6”
Laird Surfer – 10’6” wide version
Laird Surfer Hybrid – 10’
SIC Recon – 10’
Is there a bigger name in the SUP/surf world than Laird? New in 2013, the Laird StandUp line offers a full line of high performance boards. We have chosen Laird (in addition to Boga and SIC) to round out our stand up surf offerings.
Touring/Racing – These SUPs have a different shape. They are longer (generally either 12’6” or 14’), faster, and they cut through the water much, much better than the all-arounders. We are big fans of these designs for a lot of people in Midcoast Maine. Touring/racing boards have displacement hulls and a fine nose entry (essentially bows). They glide and cut through the chop. They can also work great for downwinders and you can take them to your local race.
Boga El Tiburon 11’
Boga Tsunami 12’6”
Boga Tsunami 14’
Tahoe Bliss (womens) 12’6”
Tahoe Zypher 12’6”
Tahoe Zypher 14’
SIC X 12’6”
SIC X 14’
Tahoe SUP makes beautiful boards! Designed to go on tour, Tahoes are stable, have excellent glide and they can carry gear.
Downwinder/Big Ocean – Downwinders are running with the wind and waves at your back. Here in Penobscot Bay you can surf for miles! Any body of water with enough fetch (distance for waves to build), offer endless opportunities for rippin adventures. Some 12’6” and 14’ touring/race boards can work well for downwinders, however the SIC Bullet series are hands down the best boards for downwinders.
SIC Bullet 14’ w/active steering
SIC Bullet 17’ w/active steering
Born from Hawaii, SICs are designed to take on the big stuff. They do fairly well on the flats too. Thorfinn has a demo fleet for guided tours/downwinders and we have SICs for retail. Our Bullets have active steering (a rudder) which allows to paddle on both sides in a cross wind and to steer the board as you angle down the waves.
We strongly advise that you get a good paddle! Choosing the right paddle involves factoring in budget, weight, strength, intended use, and versatility. You can get either an adjustable or fixed length paddle (cut to fit you). Adjustables are great if people of differing heights are going to share a paddle. If it is just for you, then we suggest a fixed length paddle. They have better flex and tend to be stiffer/stronger. There are many options when it comes to construction and blade size/shape.
If you are serious about getting into the sport then a carbon paddle is worth it. A lightweight paddle reduces stress, allows for a faster cadence, and is makes the miles go by easier. Our two main paddle brands are the best in the business – Kialoa and Quickblade.
There are a lot of SUP accessories and here in Maine there are some special considerations. The water here is not warm. It is cold. In order to be safe you should always be prepared – properly dressed and carry the gear you need. The United States Coast Guard requires that you either wear or have a PFD on your board (unless you are in the surf zone). Attach a whistle it as well. For longer paddles ensure that you can stay hydrated and energized.
Leashes – For touring get a coil leash that will not drag in the water. For surfing go with a straight leash because a coil leash can shoot the board back at you! Wear your leash! You do not want to get separated from your board.
Fins – There are many options depending on the board. One consideration in Maine is to ensure that there is enough rake to shed seaweed.
PFDs – We strongly recommend that you wear a PFD. Why have it on the board. A type III vest can be a good way to go for most people. For stronger paddlers or on the lakes then an inflatable fanny pack can be a good way to go (remember that with inflatables you must wear them!).
Packs – If you wear an inflatable belt pack (fanny) then you can wear a hydration pack. Get one designed for use on the water and make sure it has some pockets for gear. There are also packs that can go on your board.
Clothing – There are a lot of options and it depends on paddler ability and the weather. The best way to address clothing options is to talk to us at the shop.
Board Care – Keep those boards looking good! You need to take care of them and treat them kindly. That includes how it goes on you car and storage. Again talk to us at the shop!
The key is to be safe and stay within your comfort zone. Consider carefully where and when you paddle. Know what the weather and tides/currents are doing. Play with your gear, especially on the ocean. Keep things dry and well organized. Communications from a whistle to a VHF or cellphone (in a waterproof case) are all additional items to consider. Have fun and feel free to contact us at Thorfinn Expeditions.
Thorfinn Maine SUP Video