Posts Tagged ‘Maine SUP’

2013 Maine SUP Gear Guide – Thorfinn Expeditions

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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Boards

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.

Thorfinn All-Around:

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

http://bogaboards.com/stand-up-paddle-boards.html

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.

http://lairdstandup.com/

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’

Speedboard 12’6”

Speedboard 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.

www.tahoesup.com

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.

www.sicmaui.com

Paddles

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.

 

 

http://quickbladepaddles.com/

 

 

http://www.kialoa.com/

Accessories

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.

www.thorfinnexpeditions.com

info@thorfinnexpeditions.com

(207) 789-5115

Thorfinn Maine SUP Video

 

 

 

Maine SUP – Retail, Lessons, Rentals, Downwinders, Racing, Fitness – Thorfinn Expeditions

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Thorfinn Expeditions, based out of Midcoast Maine, is excited for 2013! Stand Up Paddle Boarding is the fastest growing water sport in the world and this will be Thorfinn’s 4th season running SUP programs and stocking a huge selection of SUP gear.

“ Three-seasons ago we started with a few boards and began teaching on Lake Megunticook,” explains co-owner and lead instructor Thor Emory, “We did it to compliment our sailing program. We are long time kayakers and we took to SUP pretty quickly. I have to admit at first I just saw it as a solid flatwater fitness activity but as we developed our skills and began paddling in all conditions, racing etc., then our program offerings grew and we ramped up the paddle specific retail aspect of our business.”

Thorfinn now runs one of the most comprehensive SUP programs in the U.S. with access to the stunning Maine Coast and lakes. From rentals and 2-hour beginner lessons to powerboat-supported downwinders, Thorfinn is geared up for any level of paddler. The SUP staff is comprised of experienced outdoor athletes and educators who are all ACA level 2 SUP certified.  Thorfinn was featured in the “Best of New England” in Outside Magazine last summer! New 2013 programs include women’s programs (SHE-SUPs), kids camps, race training, and more Maine Coast ocean tours for capable paddlers.

Thor in particular has been pushing the sport to new levels here in Maine. Last summer he did a non-stop circumnavigation of Mount Desert Island (47.5 miles) in under 10-hours and he takes advantage of the winter gales to fly up Penobscot Bay. He is also a member of the Speedboard USA race team. Aimee Leclerk and Hampton Kew round out the instructional staff and they have developed solid resumes as both paddlers and instructors.

The retail shop in Lincolnville Beach stocks a huge selection of SUP gear with a particular emphasis on touring/racing boards. Brands include Laird, Boga, Hobie, Coreban, Tahoe, SIC, Speedboard USA, Quickblade, and Kialoa. When the shop reopens in April it will have one of the largest inventories of SUP gear around.

Co-owner Chris Laughlin, “Our level of experience allows us to run exceptional SUP/outdoor programs and to provide quality gear from a knowledgeable sales staff. With the growth of SUP there are a lot of shops popping up and many of them a very new to the sport. At Thorfinn we have a relaxed but experienced vibe. We are very good at developing SUPers and providing them with the appropriate gear. Maine is one of the most unique and beautiful areas to SUP!”

 

During the offseason Thorfinn Expeditions can be reached at info@thorfinnexpeditions.com or (207) 789-5115

New England SUP Pioneer Profiles – Q and A with Patrick Broemmel

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Patrick Broemmel – Victory in the 14′ class, Newport SUP Cup

Athlete, owner of Banh Pho Surfboards and Crispy Noodle, Pioneer

By Thor Emory, owner of Thorfinn Expeditions (www.thorfinnexpeditions.com)

2013 should prove to be big for SUP in New England. It has been catching on the past few years. People are taking to it recreationally; races are popping up/drawing more competitors, and NE paddlers are becoming more involved in general.

New England (and especially Maine..) is however at a corner of the SUP Empire. “Cool stuff” tends to blow our way from the west and can take longer to develop here. There are some pioneers in the New England SUP community, and in a series of interviews we will profile some of these folks and share about the NE scene in general.

First up is the soulful waterman Patrick Broemmel.

Patrick is one of the top racers here in New England, but he is also a true SUP pioneer, and not just locally. Patrick seems to stand up quietly and carry a big paddle but he also has great perspective…and humor. Long before SUP exploded, Patrick was playing around with paddles in the surf which led to touring, downwinders, and racing. His voice is unique in the world of stand up because he has been involved from the beginning, participates in virtually all aspects of the sport, and designs and builds his own custom boards – all the while being a dude from New England (and sometimes Georgia…). His experience offers many valuable lessons for those of us who are seeking to become better and more competitive paddlers. Patrick is a  passionate paddler and his views of the sport and what makes a good board all seem dead on.

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Patrick Broemmel

Age: 44

Homeport: Martha’s Vineyard

What is your background?

I grew up in land locked central California before heading to Santa Barbara, CA as soon as I cleared high school. I moved to the Northeast/Marthas Vineyard in 1993.

I started surfing in 1987, and began shaping surfboards for fun in 1996. My first attempt at SUP was 1996 after seeing the photo of Dave Kalama and Laird Hamilton playing around with canoe paddles in the Surfers Journal. I had a tandem board at the time and my wife paddled outrigger so I stole her paddle and went after it.

That was an incredibly humbling experience! So much so that I put the paddle away and never thought about it again until 2002. That year Outside Magazine ran a photo of Laird on the cover surfing with a full-length paddle. I went into my shop and built my first paddle and went back at it. 

The next spring I practiced a lot. I remember it being  difficult and frustrating. But in December of 2003 I caught my first wave while on a trip to Baja. That was it. I spent the next couple of years scouring the Internet for info, but there was nothing. I went to Surf Expo one year and in the whole place there was one board, a Jeff Timpone and one paddle, the very first Kialoa with the aluminum shaft.

I think at that time there were probably less than 100 people in the world doing SUP, mostly on Maui and a few in California. I did not know of anyone on the East Coast.  I paddled alone for a long time out here. It has been very cool to see the whole thing evolve to where it is now.

Why do you SUP?

Coming from a surfing background, it started out as another way to ride waves. But the politics of surfing here on Martha’s Vineyard have just become ridiculous. With the private beach issues and crowds, a lot of the joy I got from surfing had been lost. There is so much drama just getting onto the beach and then when you do get there the crowds are just crazy. That’s where SUP has really saved me.

Now, I just drive to the beach a mile from my house and I can get in a few miles in the ocean. When the wind blows over 20 knots, being on an island, there is always a downwinder to be had and that’s where I get most of my surfing in. Even now with all the popularity, I am alone out there. I have the whole ocean to myself. It’s a great setup here. I can leave a bike at the end of my run, drive to the start and when I am done – I just throw my gear in the bushes and ride my bike or take the bus back to my car.

So in a nutshell? It gives me quality time on the ocean; it keeps me fit and healthy.

Plus its “like,, so cool right now!”

You are one of the top paddlers in the New England Race scene. Why do you like racing? What form of SUP racing do you prefer? What have been some especially rewarding races?

I never did any competitive sports as a kid. I never knew I had it in me. The first race I ever did was the 19-mile Run of the Charles Canoe Race in 2010 in Boston (when they let SUPs come in for the first time). I was hanging around this online forum and someone mentioned this race. I asked if anyone was going for it and only one guy, Mike Nunnery from RI, responded. We met up and there were only two other people there, Mike Simpson and Will Rich (The next year those two paddled from Key West to Maine as SUP the Coast).

We just blew that thing out, none of us had any idea what we were doing but we went really hard, just red lining the whole way – trying to beat each other.  I actually shaped my first race board for this race.

I loved it and started looking for races on the East Coast and became hooked. I  read about stroke technique and hull design and I would spent hours working on my paddling.

More than anything what draws me to racing are the people. I have met some incredible people the last few years many of whom have become dear friends. After that I would say that it’s the challenge. When you’re racing, it all comes down to the best average speed over the course of the race. It ‘s very cool to be out there as it unfolds. You come off the line and some kid gets the hole shot, jumps out in front and the mind games begin. “Is he going to keep that pace up?”.  All this strategy happening, people making moves, just grinding away. It’s the greatest thing ever!

Afterwards you sit back and have beers with everybody and talk about what a great time you had.

Personally, I like the flatwater events. Anything from 5 to 30 miles.

Racing highlights?

These weren’t races but I did the first SEA Paddle NYC in 2007…25 miles on a Laird 12’1”… Epic… The Cape Cod Bay Challenge. 34 miles across Cape Cod Bay to help kids with cancer. If you live in NE and paddle, you MUST do this.

The Liberty Paddle 2012. 25 miles from Boston to Manchester. Benefits victims of spinal chord injury.  There is talk of this one being a race in 2013, escort boats and all. Cross your fingers.

Molokai to Oahu 2010

A life long dream realized. I had always wanted to do that race from the time I read about it in the early 90’s. I just couldn’t imagine doing it prone. When Todd Bradley and Brian Keaulana did for the first time on SUP’s that got the ball rolling in my mind. First time across solo I did it in 6:15. Ground it out the whole way, I caught something like 5 bumps the whole way!  Cried my eyes out after I crossed the finish line.

Life changing without a doubt!  I’m going back this year.

The Blackburn Challenge 2012

Whoa. Probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically.

Not so much the course itself , although it is very challenging, but I was paddling against my good friend Will Rich on his home turf. I wore a heart rate monitor that day and I was in the 90% zone for nearly four hours.

Will was in the zone of zones.  I would look up and say to myself, “ He’s going to pop, and there is no way he can keep that pace up.” But he did. For nearly four hours he laid down a blistering pace like I have never seen. It was really incredible to witness.

The last leg turns the corner into the harbor with four miles still to go, and at that point he just disappeared, like he had been resting the whole time. Incredible! I think he went on to a wedding or something ridiculous like that afterwards. One of the highlights of my paddling career for sure. I had blisters on all of my fingers the size of grapes, no joke. It took me several months to fully recover from that and I developed a keen awareness of life force or life energy that day and that if you burn too much in one shot, you pay.

Photo credit Kristopher Kimball. Patrick (in the water) and Will Rich after the 2012 Blackburn Challenge

How would you describe the New England race scene and where do you see it headed?

I think it is like drag racing was in the 50s and 60s – kind of this age of innocence. Not too many rules, just people getting together to test each other and have a good time. I hope it stays that way. A look back through history will show you how governing bodies and structure tend to take the fun out of things.

That’s one of the reasons I love it so much. It is just fun – plain and simple. I can show up to a race and paddle against the best in the world. How cool is that? Not too many other sports out there like that.

Just 2-years ago we went from 3 races to some crazy number last season. I did 16 events last year all within reasonable driving distance and I missed a few.

Some of these will go away as the popularity of SUP peaks and levels off, but I really hope we have at least a half a dozen races locally for a long time, like the canoe races. Some of them are going on 30-years now. There are people working on a few long distance races up here and I hope they take hold and become fixtures in the race community. It is great returning to an event, year after year, and seeing your friends from all over. It gets you through our tough New England winters.

Also, we are seeing a lot of crossover from other paddling sports, even some former Olympic athletes. As gear gets better people are starting to take SUP more seriously and they are getting hooked. We will definitely see more of that.

I would love to see a multi-day stage race get established in New England as well.

As far as gear is concerned New England is holding its own.

In the race board department we have myself with Banh Pho’ and Bob Blair at Speedboard USA in Newburyport. SUP surfboards you’ve got Vec on the cape and Chino in Boston, Twin Lights Glassing in Gloucester and then there’s Greg Behlman building these amazing custom paddles on the cape .We even have our own social media site dedicated to the northeast board sports culture, Boardliving.com.

You went out for the 2012 Battle of the Paddle. What did you learn from that experience and from the other athletes?

The Boy scouts nailed it with the “Be Prepared” motto. It applies to all areas of life but especially racing.

I went out to California half cocked, no board, hadn’t really trained… I wanted to witness the spectacle. Wow! It is getting serious. There are some phenomenal athletes out there right now!

I learned a few things…

First, Be ready. I borrowed a board for the distance race that I had never been on before and had not been designed for the conditions we experienced. That made for a most unpleasant experience.  I was very thankful that I had something to paddle, but next time I will bring an appropriate board that I am familiar with.

Two, Train. From now on, if you want to be competitive in this sport, you must take your training seriously. There are people who SUP for a living and there is no way you will ever compete without a well planned training regimen.

Third, for that particular race, you MUST practice in the surf zone. There’s no way around it.

What are some of your goals for the next few years as a paddler?

I am getting up there in years but I still believe that I can be competitive for more to come.  At some point it gets down to numbers, at 50 your not going to go toe to toe with a 20-year old. As the sport evolves and the age groups come into play I would love to be the best in my age group. 50-plus Masters. I would love to one day be the SUP Masters World Champ, why not?

I want to go back to Molokai at least a few more times. Love to make it an annual thing some day – a guy trip kind of thing.

11 Cities race in Holland would be awesome.

How do you train? Any tips?

For a long time it was just about getting in the miles but as the level of competition has grown you have to take training seriously. Right now I’m in an off-season strength building kind of phase. As spring approaches I will get back out on the water more and start doing some speed work, intervals etc.

Cardiovascular training is very important! I have learned through suffering and neglect.

A visible GPS is key. That way you can get real time feedback as you change up your stroke and monitor the effects on your speed.

Work on technique. Dedicate one session a week to just practicing mechanics. It is THE difference. When you start tiring in a race if you can keep your form together your going to do much better.

Study fast people.

Pace yourself through the season. One thing I’ve learned through racing, and aging, is that fitness is a dynamic thing (pretty simple huh?). You can’t be at 100% all the time. Train around a few key events that you want to do well in and try to have your fitness peak at those times. Rest is as important as work.

And the best advice ever (within its simplicity lies an infinite number of nuances and lessons that, like music, I don’t think anyone ever truly masters) – Don’t pull the paddle back towards you, pull yourself forward to the paddle. When I started to really understand that, my paddling evolved to where it is now. Simply the most important aspect of the stroke in my book.

And like most things, its always better to get 10 minutes of quality time in 6 times a week than it is to go blow out an hour once a week. With our winters you hear that a lot. House bound for two weeks then out for a 15 miler…

It’s a good way to injure your connective tissue and then, your out for much longer.

You are spitting out some pretty cool and varied custom designs. What is your philosophy around design and construction? What makes a good design/board? What are your goals for your company?

My philosophy is this, why re-invent the wheel? For a while SUP was going through this phase like windsurfing and kiting did with all these crazy designs. Like space ships. Every company had some Naval Architect optimizing their hulls, reverse rake bows, autoclaved pre-peg craziness. I did it. It’s all part of the evolutionary process and that’s how things move forward, by experimentation. Don’t get me wrong, I am one hundred percent in favor of using computers to aid in the advancement of board design. I use one. But, you have to remember one thing. If you design a board and the computer is telling you that in THEORY it will do 10 knots with minimal effort but there isn’t a human being alive who can stand on it, what’s the point?  It’s all about compromise. Balance.  Not too much of this, Not too much of that. Efficiency AND functionality.

If you look at the industry right now you will see a trend back towards one particular design, the Bark Dominator/Competitor style shape. Not everyone of course but there are a lot of companies with a similar design in their offerings. Why?  Because it works. Because Joe Bark is the man and he put nearly 30 years of paddleboard design and experience behind that shape. When you get right down to it, how can a guy that’s never been on a paddleboard before ever possibly hope to design something that works? How can you design something that you have zero knowledge of?  It would like asking a bike designer to design a car.

Do your homework, find out what works, take the functional elements of the design being careful not to blatantly copy someone and add personal attributes that make it your own unique shape. With this approach I can increase my odds of success and keep a bunch of waste out of the landfill while at the same time respecting the identity and hard work of the individuals who I look to for inspiration. From there the shape evolves. That is my approach.

Guys like Joe Bark , Bryan Syzmanski and Mark Raaphorst of SIC have years of trial and error in their boards and decades of design and end use experience . All of them world class paddlers.  They have an intimate understanding of what they are building. I like that. Shape it, paddle it, refine as necessary. Their boards are simple in appearance yet state of the art. I think Yvonne Chouinard or somebody said, “ Perfect design is achieved not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away.” Brilliant. A good board is one that excels in the conditions it was designed for. I am playing around with some sandwich layups at the moment.  Light weight and strength are the goal. I want my boards to last at least 10 years if not more.

I’d say the big four are:

1. Rocker

2. Bottom contours

3. Rail shape

4. Outline

Goals for my company?

Slow growth. I’m on the tortoise program. Just as in racing, the first guy off the line is not always the first to finish. The industry is FLOODED right now. Something like 300 companies. As the dust settles over the next few years I would like to still be here. I really enjoy the process and I truly enjoy watching an idea come to life.

I would like to get to zero landfill status as the waste from this industry is staggering. It’s the one thing that holds me back most days. I don’t think I can keep doing this kind of damage to the environment in the name of fun.

I am keeping it in the U.S.A. Many people think that being profitable in this country is impossible but there are people still making things here.

I have been very fortunate to paddle for Werner the last few years. Last spring I had a chance to visit the “shop” as they call it. I was expecting aerospace clean rooms and million dollar machines but what I found was very human. Lots of wood. Real people building and assembling paddles on very uncomplicated machinery, start to finish. It was a real eye opener for me to see something so refined come from such a place. The factory is in an old saw mill!  Good people making it happen, and making a living. That’s what I want for my company.

I will stay a flatwater, more specifically race boards and touring boards, company.  Mostly at the higher end of the spectrum as the entry level market is full of imports that I can not compete with cost-wise.

I will stay out of the surfing aspect as well for the same reasons.

What types of designs/boards are you currently working on.

I’m currently working on several things.

Two all conditions shapes – a 12’6” and a 14’. By all conditions I mean BOP style race boards. Good in the flats, good in the chop, and good in the surf.

A flatwater specific shape, 14’-19’.  I come from New England and having got my start at the marathon canoe races I will always be trying to find a way to go as fast as humanly possible under my own paddle power where it is just you and the water. That’s where it is at for me. We kept up with some of the canoes last year, this year we are going for the pack.

Two downwind shapes. A 17’6” and a 14’.

A full-fledged touring board, like a sea kayak, but SUP – hollow , hatches, storage, rudder, ability to sleep on board, the whole deal. Some big trips planned for that one.

Where do you see the sport/industry going?

Inland.  The growth is going inland. And by inland I mean flatwater. It’s not just limited to the coasts anymore, which is awesome. Personally, I hope the surfing aspect of it slows down as it has become a bit of a problem in some places. Without getting into politics I just don’t think SUP’s belong out in certain conditions especially in the wrong hands. That being said, it is the people not the boards, but I’ve seen some horrifying accidents up close, like ambulance to the ER serious. My philosophy is, and its ONLY mine – if it is empty, have at it. If there’s a crowd and it is bigger than chest high, surf on your prone boards.

Have to ask…What are the origins of your company’s name?

My wife and a friend and I, were sitting around one cold January night talking about surfing. We had just made dinner using a bag of banh pho noodles, the clear Thai/Vietnamese style ones.  A few beers later there was a logo and a new way of life, “Banh Pho Surfboards and Crispy Noodle!”

It’s also so not very serious. There seems to be a lot of people that take themselves way to seriously these days and this is a good way for me to keep it fun. I love it when people ask me what it means. It means nothing! It just sounds cool!  In fact I’m going one step further in naming my boards.

As opposed to the current trend with names like, Hollowpoint, Assasinator, and Cruise Missile, I’m going with cute little animal names – Huggy Bunny 14, Cuddle Kitten 12’6, Goofy Guppy, and my favorite, Tubby Bubble. My wife came up with that one. Could you imagine getting beaten by someone on a Huggy Bunny?  OUCH.

Also, I never had to worry about the domain name being taken.

Proto Flatwater V1

In closing I would like to acknowledge some people who have helped and supported me through the years. I owe whatever success I have achieved to them. My wife and family first for putting up with, and encouraging me. Danny Mongo, Danielle De Forrest and everyone at Werner Paddles. Russ Laky, Alicia Wroblewski and the crew at Maui Jim. The New England Paddling Family. My friends in Hawaii, Mahalo. Thomas Bena and Todd McGee. Thanks! – Patrick

www.banhpho.com

www.thorfinnexpeditions.com

 

 

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Thorfinn Expeditions is built on the belief that people inherently love to explore, learn, and have fun in the outdoors. Utilizing a highly skilled staff and first rate equipment, Thorfinn can deliver a custom outdoor adventure for any individual or group – from 2-hour SUP sessions for a family to a multi-day/multi-sport corporate training. Previous clients include: The North Face, Timberland, and College of the Atlantic.

Thorfinn owner Thor Emory at work…play

Outdoor programs include sailing (day/multi-day) on a high-performance Presto 30, a full range of SUP lessons/tours/fitness training/downwinders, and multi-sport adventures that can include rock climbing through the Atlantic Climbing School.

The retail shop in Lincolnville Beach is stocked with the best SUP gear on the planet. Brands include Boga, Tahoe SUP, SIC, Laird, Coreban, Speedboard USA, Quicklade, Kialoa, Maui Rippers and many more. Perhaps now Banh Pho and the Crispy Noodle!

 

Thorfinn 10 For 10 SUP Sale!

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

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We love winter. The incoming cold weather and snow doesn’t smother our drive to paddle and adventure along the Midcoast – we just dress differently.

Still, one of our favorite pastimes in winter is pining for the warm sun to return, the ice to recede, and for the spring paddling season to begin. We’ve got our orders placed with the manufacturers for the 2013 season – our retail shop on Lincolnville Beach will have the top paddleboards, kayaks and paddles in the industry this spring. We can’t wait!

We want to share our eagerness, so we’re offering the Thorfinn 10 for 10 Sale to help get you ready and out on the water in 2013. We’ve got some great gear on its way to Maine; here’s a chance to grab some and give yourself something to look forward to this winter!

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10 for 10 Sale:

• Put 10% down on any in stock or incoming Thorfinn paddleboard by Christmas, and receive 10% off total purchase price. Balance is due when you come to pick-up your new toy in the spring – May 1st deadline.
• Receive 10% off paddles and accessories with board purchase.
• Free 1 hour SUP lesson included with sale purchase – redeemable Spring/Summer 2013
• Sale applies to: Tahoe, Hobie, Boga, Coreban and Speedboard SUP boards.
• Sale applies to in stock items, as well as inventory arriving Spring 2013.
• For full details on available product please contact us at: info@thorfinnexpeditions.com or 207-789-5115.

Whether you’re looking for something entry level or elite, Thorfinn Expeditions has what you need. Let’s get on the water! – Team Thorfinn

Tahoe SUPCorebanBoga BoardsHobie SUPSpeedboard USA

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Boga SUP Boards Have Arrived At Thorfinn!

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Lincolnville Beach, Maine

We’re very pleased to announce that the first order of Boga SUP boards has arrived at the Thorfinn Expeditions shop on Lincolnville Beach. We’re excited to be working with Boga, the company has quickly established a strong reputation in the industry. The boards are gorgeous, well built and the line offers great designs for the diverse ways SUP boards are used these days, whether it be surfing, racing or yoga.

We’re now even more pumped to get down to Popham Beach this Fall/Winter for some SUP surfing! These great looking boards are sure to generate some interest on the beach. The Mahina 10’6 and Classic 11’2 are terrific options for both beginners and experienced surfers/paddlers. If you’d like to check them out give us a call at 207-789-5115 or email us at info@thorfinnexpeditions.com.

Boga is also very active in supporting and growing the SUP fitness and racing culture, which we’re thrilled about. The company offers fast, efficient designs that meet the specifications for the popular racing divisions, as well as general fitness boards such as their “Boga Yoga 11′” – a yoga specific board which will be really popular with that fast growing segment of the market!

Learn more about the Boga products and team at the Boga Boards website

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Why Choose Boga Stand Up Paddle Boards?

“At Boga, we live and breathe Stand Up Paddle Boarding [SUP]. If we are not out on the water riding our paddle boards we are here working hard designing the next best board shape and paddle so you can. Our sport, a gift from the ancient Polynesians, has been spread by rider’s passion across the globe. Our team is part of the passionate Stand Up Paddle Board movement taking our exciting sport to new extremes in SUP racing, surfing and recreation. The Boga team is proud to offer an affordable, high quality line of stand up boards designed to meet the widest range of use in today’s most popular paddle board disciplines. Our line of boards feature the high quality construction, performance and value which riders of all levels should demand. Whether you cruise lakes or paddle surf, the Boga team has designed a quality stand up board and paddle to meet your needs.”

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School Of SUP – “The Premier Maine Stand Up Paddle Program”

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

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New 2013 Thorfinn SUP Program!

WHAT IT IS:

Thorfinn Expeditions’ S.O.S Camp will take you from being a complete beginner to a self-sufficient paddler! Our camp allows you to become fully immersed in stand up paddleboarding for 2-full days with ACA SUP Level II certified coaches using the best gear on the planet on the beautiful lakes and ocean of Midcoast Maine. Back-to-back instructional days are the fastest way to learn to SUP with confidence.

WHERE: S.O.S camps are held at the Thorfinn Basecamp in Lincolnville Beach, Maine.

WHAT YOU GET: 5:1 Ratio of Students to ACA SUP Level II Coach – Gear knowledge – Exposure to both lake and ocean paddling – Fundamental and advanced paddling strokes/board skills – Video Analysis – Basic Navigation Skills and ocean touring prep. – Optional 3rd day of touring or downwind run – Thorfinn SUP Tech Tee – Special discounts for participating students on all gear at Thorfinn Expeditions – Lunch included for all days attending – Optional BBQ/SUP movie night while in town!

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Schedule & Rates

WEEKEND SESSIONS 2013

June: 15th-22nd; 24th-26th
July: 6th-8th; 20th-22nd
August: 3rd-5th; 23rd-25th; 31st-2nd
September: 14th-16th

Weekly SOS Session 2013

Mondays-Wednesdays (June 24th-September 9th)

2 Day Camp: $259.00
3 Day Camp: $359.00

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School Of SUP Itinerary:

Day One:

9:00 AM Registration: Thorfinn Retail Store. Coffee!
9:45 SUP STOKE-Introduction and discussion of class program and the sport of SUP!
10:15 Gear Review- PFD Check
10:30 Report to Hosmer Pond for beginning paddle Clinic
12:00p Lunch-Pondside (weather dependent)
1:00 Back on the water (Megunticook Lake): Bracing, stopping, board stance, pivot turns and tour
3:00 tricks- SUP style.
4:00 Wrap up – End of First Day – Evening BBQ at Basecamp (optional)

Day Two

8:30 AM SUP STOKE- Day 2! Intro to gear. WHAT you need and WHY
9:15 DEMO Board Selection and head to Lake Megunticook
9:30 Lake Tour and Video analysis
Aggressive paddling – for racing or upwind conditions.
11:30 Lunch back at T.E Basecamp- combined with video critique
12:30 OCEAN Intro. – Waves, Current, basic navigation, tides and weather
1:30 Ocean SUP Tour
3:30 Return to Thorfinn for post SUP STOKE, graduation, and discussion for optional down-winder 3rd day.
4:00 End of school.

Day Three (Option)

9:30 AM DOWNWINDAH! Plan of attack meeting and weather class.
10:30 Rally to ocean geared up and good to go.
11:00 Fun on the Ocean-Options to include departing from Lincolnville and paddling to Camden, or even as far as Rockport or other destinations. This half day is completely weather dependent and is designed for those who want to push their paddling and fitness factor to the next level on a board.

After – Somewhere between 1pm – 2 depending on conditions- POST DOWNWIND Refueling at Thorfinn Expeditions

Post After – Storytelling, general sharing of post SUP STOKAGE, gear return and preparing to hit the road home- to your own SUP experiences elsewhere.

www.thorfinnexpeditions.com

info@thorfinnexpeditions.com

(207) 789-5115

THORFINN SUP – WHO WE ARE:

Thorfinn Expeditions has one of the most comprehensive SUP touring programs in the country. From beginner lake sessions to downwind runs in famed Penobscot Bay, Thorfinn SUP has an offering for any ability. All instructors are ACA SUP Level 2 certified and have their wilderness medical certifications. Staff are racers, fitness trainers, and pioneers in the Maine SUP scene.

The Thorfinn Basecamp in Lincolnville Beach doubles as a retail shop that carries the best SUP Gear on the planet – Hobie SUP, Coreban, Laird, Tahoe SUP, BOGA, Speedboard USA, Kialoa, Quickblade

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About Lincolnville Beach (The LB):

Lincolnville Beach (2004 Outside Magazine outdoor dream town) is a prime location to learn to SUP. In the heart of Midcoast Maine the “LB” is located right on the ocean but also within minutes of idyllic lakes where the water is warmer and weather conditions can be more stable for learning to SUP. Penobscot Bay, the second largest embayment on the east coast, offers amazing options for paddling downwind between towns, islands, or just cruising the coast right in front of Thorfinn basecamp. There are several restaurants within walking distance of S.O.S with many more in the town of Camden which is just 5.5 miles down the road.

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Where to Stay:

Beach Cottage Inn at the Whale’s Tooth: (Walking distance to Thorfinn Expeditions S.O.S )
2533 Atlantic Highway, Lincolnville, ME 04849‬- PH:207-789-5200
Camden Hills State Park- Camp Grounds: 280 Belfast Road, Camden, ME 04843‬ PH. 207-236-0849
Point Lookout: Copper Pne Northport, ME 04849 PH :207 789-2040
Bay Leaf Cottages and Bistro: 2372 Atlantic Highway, Linconville, ME 04849 – PH: (207) 505-0458

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FAQ:

What should I wear?

Be prepared to get wet. A swim suit and board shorts are ideal with some kind of shirt to keep the sun off you as well as offer comfort under your life jacket. Keep in mind hats and sunglasses are also great to wear, but make sure they are secured to you somehow so as not to lose them if you end up in the water.

Do I wear shoe while SUPing?

Not usually. In warmer conditions we go barefoot. We recommend bringing flip flops for to and from the water. If the conditions are rocky or colder, water shoes or neoprene booties are ideal.

What do I need to bring?

Bring whatever clothes you will want to sup in, a towel and some dry après clothing options. Summer nights in Maine can be cool year round.

How cold is the water?

The ocean in maine can be between 50 and 60 degrees f. Mid summer can get into the mid 60’s. The lakes can be as warm as the mid 70’s. Thorfinn will provide wetsuits in colder temps.

What if I am not a great swimmer? Can I paddle?

All participants are required to comply with US Coast Guard regulations and will wear a life jacket while on the water. You will also be tethered to your board with a leash. Both the pfd and attached board will act as flotation aids . Your swimming abilities may be assessed before a longer ocean SUP depending on conditions.

What if I have paddled before but want to do a camp that’s not for beginners?

Sign up for our S.O.S Elite or our S.O.S Pro Camp. The SOS Elite is gear towards intermediate to advanced paddlers, and our pro camp is lead by professional guest paddlers and will focus on race techniques and advanced ocean touring.

Is there camping near by?

Yes, see above in places to stay

Is this a good family program?

This is a great camp for families. See out S.O.S family camp and depending on the ages of your children we can set up a camp just for you.

How old do you have to be to take the S.O.S Camp?

In order to maintain a higher level of proficiency for our general S.O.S camps we require individuals to be at least 16 years of age. See info about thorfinn family camps and Thorfinn Kids Camps for younger paddlers.

Paddling with a Purpose – Urban SUPing with Below the Surface

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

The Charles and Mystic Rivers – Boston, MA

Below the Surface is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploration of and education about the issues surrounding water. We believe access to clean water is a fundamental right of all living beings and seek to significantly reduce wasteful use of water and water pollution, and the health, economic and environmental hazards it poses by working to elevate and sustain the topic of water pollution in the national dialogue.
-Below the Surface

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By Thor Emory

I had two goals while SUPing down the Charles River – not to get river water in my mouth and to keep my feet dry (I have some kicking athlete’s foot and I did not want to be stewing in potentially dirty water). Several hours into our 23-mile tour I had to relax on these main goals. The fin on my board smacked a rock and I was launched head first into the dark water. Standing back up, I spit out the contents of my mouth and felt the ooze of water seeping into my booties. Ahhh Urban SUPing…Only 12 more miles to go…Maybe I was not cut out to be an eco-warrior.

Last week we loaded up SUP boards, paddles and gear from our Thorfinn Expeditions’ basecamp in Midcoast Maine and drove down to Massachusetts to participate and support two days of paddling on The Charles and Mystic Rivers. At a Hilton Hotel just off the highway we met Jared Criscuolo and Mark Downey from the environmental group Below the Surface. Jared, a co-founder, is a San Diego based surfer and environmentalist/eco-warrior who grew tired of getting sick from playing in dirty water and wanted to do something about it. He founded Below the Surface (BTS) along with Kristian Gustavson in order to explore and educate about water issues. In a short period of time they have undertaken many expeditions, gathered a solid group of sponsors/partners, and have received a lot of press including being named Outside Magazine’s Readers of the Year and Chief Inspiration Officers in 2012. BTS has also developed some very good people like Mark Downey, a graduate of the Duke School of Forestry whose master’s work focused on tropical agroforestry. Mark spent this past summer paddling the Mississippi River in its entirety with support from BTS.

Jared had just hustled cross country in his bio diesel truck (scooping up Mark enroute) and was on an east coast BTS tour. The Charles and Mystic paddles were just a part of their eastern seaboard mission. Fellow Thorfinn Expeditions staff Hampton Kew and I rounded out the Mass. Crew and with help from our Tahoe SUP reps Garrett and Tom we were there to supply gear and try our hand at Urban SUPing.

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The Charles

After an evening getting acquainted and sharing a hotel room, we were up early to get vehicles positioned and begin our Charles River adventure. I am the first to admit that I am a country mouse. I live in Maine and generally seek out pristine/remote places to explore like Newfoundland or British Columbia. My personal and Thorfinn paddling takes place on the beautiful Maine Coast. I do not dig traffic, congestion, or noise. Following Jared’s bio diesel truck into downtown Boston during the morning commute caused a bit of sensory overload and frustration over lack of efficient movement. The fumes from the BTS truck filled my brain with thoughts of fry-elators. After ditching my truck under a highway overpass near the takeout, I was ready to hit the water even if it was down The Charles.

I had all sorts of preconceived notions about paddling the Charles. I imagined paddling over, around and thru garbage, bodies, and septic stew. On our return ride to the put-in Jared received a text from a local reporter friend that mentioned that a body had recently been removed from the Charles – one of three recent body recoveries. Needless to say, I was in the mode of “let’s get this over with”. I was realizing that there is a difference between being an outdoor educator who generally seeks out “pretty places” to recreate and the goals of an eco-warrior like Jared. They generally have to go where people and development are and have to be willing to subject themselves to all sorts “nasties”.

I was relieved at the put-in – Millennium Park in Roxbury, Mass. It is a nice spot. The Charles floats slowly by and seems tame like a little backwoods river. We launched our boards and headed for Boston. It felt good to feel the bite of the paddle blade. My body began to relax with repetitive movement and while I kept an eye out for decomposing bodies I was surprised by how pretty The Charles River was. Great Blue Herons were everywhere. The fall foliage was in full bloom and our boards left clear paths thru the leaves that floated on the surface. A wooden sign said 23.9 miles to Boston Harbor.

Our day on the Charles was a long one. Our pace was slow due to a stiff initial headwind, eight-portages over dams and roads, and shallow sections. The water was really thin in places. We had to repeatedly walk our boards or flip them over, fin up, and just float. At times we were crossing busy roads, not an easy task with 14’ boards, and then stumbling down embankments back to the river. Afternoon wore on and we were still miles from Boston Harbor. I envisioned my truck being stripped of just about everything while we paddled. To keep my mind off it I chatted with Jared and Mark. Both are really interesting, passionate people. Mark regaled me with tales of paddling the Mississippi and Jared filled me in more about BTS and what they were up to. He stopped repeatedly to take pictures from his I-Phone and those pictures will be part of the new APP that BTS has created along with the EPA called the Riverview APP.

We lived in the Charles that day. Source to sea, The Charles is actually about 80-miles long but it would have been too shallow to efficiently paddle so we were just knocking off the lower 24-miles that led to Boston Harbor. I wore high waterproof socks and taped them on top but after wading and a fin-knocked swim I was wet. We were all wet. I watched Hampton take an especially aggressive header over the nose of her board. The hidden rocks were taking their toll. We smelled. After a while, I just embraced The Charles and went into “warrior” mode. I flipped my board around, charged through the water and tried to push the pace. Eventually The Charles opened up and soon we were passing classy collegiate boat houses and crew shells rowing on the river. I smacked another rock just feet away from an 8-person shell filled with attractive women. They looked really impressed as I clamored out of the water and back onto my board.

Soon we were in downtown Boston. The buildings lit up in the evening light. Sailing teams were returning to their docks. With muscles aching and fatigue setting in we pushed on into darkness and eventually took out at North Point Park. I was relieved to find my truck intact. We loaded the boards, dropped Mark at the bus station and then Jared, Hampton, and I returned to the hotel for some much deserved slumber.

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The Mystic

I was learning that it is not all flowers and glory being an eco-warrior. Jared is a charismatic guy who is full of energy and he has to be. His phone never stops ringing, he needs to work on his partnerships, find sponsors, carryout expeditions etc. We started day two by pushing his truck down the hill in the Hilton parking lot. We were trying to get it started but no dice. The BTS truck needed a new starter. We loaded my truck with the gear and headed over to Upper Mystic Lake which provides access to the Mystic River. Our route was only 8 miles and a stiff northwesterly tail wind was blowing the clouds out over the Atlantic. BTS hosted a gathering that included representatives from The Mystic River Watershed Association and the EPA. BTS was officially launching their Riverview APP which is part of the bigger Riverview Project. Jared and the two other speakers highlighted the necessity for preserving our waterways and how tools such as interactive mobile apps can raise awareness and educate people about our rivers.

A hawk soared overhead while the executive director of the Mystic River Watershed Association, EkOngKar Singh Khalsa (EK) spoke. He pointed out how much cleaner the Mystic is then in the past and that if we did fall into the water we would be okay. The river runs through a very industrial area where runoff continues to be a big issue.

Jared and I launched along with two local kayakers, EK and Roger. The first few miles across the lake and down the river were very pretty, similar to the Charles but deeper. I paddled next to each of the others independently and learned what I could. Jared informed me that providing recreation on waterways is very important to upholding the clean water act. From EK and Roger I learned more about the local area, the various forms of development and pollution, and cleanup projects like removing water chestnut, an invasive plant. At one point I definitely smelled a septic stew and made sure that my board balance was dialed. Run off is a major issue and it is recommended that paddlers stay off the water for up to three days after rain. It had rained a bit all morning…

We cleared the lock through the Amelia Earhart Dam. We passed the LNG terminal where a huge tanker was docked. A police boat politely encouraged us to paddle further from the ship. Boston is the only major city in the US with an LNG tanker terminal, which is located on the Mystic River. My gut felt a little uneasy about the prospect of a terrorist attack or some sort of accident associated with one of these ships, but hey I am just a country mouse SUPer.

Eventually it was take out time at the Little Mystic Recreational Access Point. Evening was upon us and the temps were dropping. We loaded the vehicles and said goodbye to our new friends EK, Roger and Jared. I gave Jared a solid bro hug and watched as he departed to be reunited with his bio diesel truck, complete with brand new starter. Good news was in the air that day as Below the Surface was notified that they had received another grant. Jared was headed for New York City to paddle around Manhattan and do an interview with Outside Television.

I enjoyed my two days of Urban SUPing. My own awareness of the complexities that surge through our waterways was certainly heightened and I gained a real appreciation for the passionate people that ensure rivers like the Charles and Mystic continue to be protected as much as possible and not neglected.

The Charles and Mystic have rich histories. Paul Revere took a midnight ride along the banks of the Mystic, after crossing the Charles. Both Rivers witnessed immense development and yet they still flow. Seemingly invisible at times but they are there carrying crew shells, LNG tankers, and even SUPers. Great Blue Herons dot the rivers and there are many beautiful spots. Now I am back in Maine and I am turning my attention to some outer island SUP adventures. I have to admit I prefer it here and I will generally seek out more remote places but it is immensely important that we continue to protect our waterways. Team Thorfinn will always be ready to join Jared and his Below the Surface crew anytime anywhere!

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Links:

www.belowthesurface.com
www. mysticriver.org
www.crwa.org
www.thorfinnexpeditions.com

New Speedboard 18′ SUP – Ocean Trials (VIDEO)

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Why A Carbon SUP Paddle?

Monday, September 24th, 2012

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Selecting the right paddleboard – it is an exciting, albeit at times daunting process. The list of manufacturers and models continues to grow, as does the number of websites, forums and other media that we now feel compelled to sift through in order to make our most informed decision.

Eventually we settle on the right board. A quality SUP board can be a big-ticket item, and understandably many new paddlers are feeling a little “done” at this point. But, the board isn’t going anywhere without a paddle, so the paddle rack is the next stop.

At Thorfinn we carry a selection of paddles that will suit a wide array of paddlers, from adjustable fiberglass options – which work well for beginners and families; to full carbon paddles that are extremely lightweight and efficient – ideal for fitness paddling, racing and touring. There are merits to all the options, but too often we find new paddlers think they can just rule out the nice carbon paddle; figuring it is more than they need and an extra expense.

It’s true, carbon fiber paddles cost more money, and for those working within a certain budget the fiberglass and thermoformed plastic options offer excellent alternatives. There are two fundamental points we like to make about paddle selection: get the lightest weight paddle that fits in your budget, and if you’re looking to save money somewhere, do so on the board rather than the paddle.

The paddle isn’t just an accessory you buy to compliment your board. It is your connection to the water, the tool that transfers your energy into forward motion. You want as much of that energy, on every stroke, to go into pulling the board forward. This process is maximized with a nice lightweight and efficient paddle; and hindered by a paddle that tires out the paddler with extra weight and weaker components. The difference is striking.

A carbon paddle is not a necessity, but for paddlers who want to get the best performance out of both their board and themselves, they are highly recommended!

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Reasons to choose a carbon paddle:

• Lightweight – takes less of a physical toll on the paddler.
• Stiffer – the extra stiffness of a carbon paddler ensures maximum energy transfer and efficiency.
• Fitness paddling – in order to maximize your own performance, you need to use equipment that makes each effort count. The enhanced performance of a carbon paddle makes this possible.
• Racing – fitness paddling with a purpose! A carbon paddle maximizes your ability to achieve your goals in SUP racing.
• Touring – fitness paddling and racing are not the only disciplines where the performance characteristics of carbon paddles are a bonus. Cruising & touring is so much more enjoyable when you are covering more ground with less effort. Not only to you feel better physically, you see more scenery and enjoy the full benefits of the sport.

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The most important thing your SUP equipment can do is inspire you to get out on the water more often. Lightweight, performance oriented equipment has the best chance of doing this. Don’t rule it out!

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FALL for MAINE SUP’ing: And why you need both a wetsuit and a dry suit!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012


By Hampton Kew

Summer may be over, but some of the best Stand Up Paddleboarding is yet to come. As I sit in my cabin writing this, I can hear the steady north winds blowing through the trees and can already see the forerunners of the fall foliage starting to show their colors. Tentatively for now, but in the next few weeks the east coast will be exploding with fiery orange, gold and flame red colors before the forests’ pre-winter shedding. It’s an amazing time of year on the Maine Coast (and lakes – no bugs!) and with some warmer paddling gear, and a good paddle board, fall is a time where your summer skills can be tested and elevated by surfing and exploiting the winds and waves.

The water temperature cools down, but more so it is the air temperature that we are noticing. It’s the time of year I now make sure my slippers are close to my bed side so as to avoid the shock of the cold morning floor. Because of this it is important to have the right gear before setting out for your fall paddling. At Thorfinn, we paddle all year long, yes, even in the winter- and we have found out a few things about how to dress for the “board short-won’t-cut-it” seasons.

Paddling is an aerobic sport. You get hot. But one slip into the drink and its only a matter of minutes that separate you from hypothermia and potential drowning in cold conditions. So how to dress for success and safety? September and October are a great time for medium to heavy weight wet suits, and winter months a dry suit is recommended.

What is the difference between a wetsuit and dry suit? In a wetsuit, you get wet. In a dry suit, you don’t. But which one should you use and when?

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WETSUITS – Great for Maine SUP’ing in the fall or spring seasons depending on the weight you use. For Maine Stand Up Paddleboarding seasons change quickly. As soon as you are done wearing board shorts and a bathing suit it’s immediately time for a warmer wetsuit.

Wetsuits are measured in thickness by Millimeters. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer the suit. A warm, yet versatile wetsuit would be a 3:2 or a 4:3 for fall and spring paddling in Maine. This means the neoprene in the core or central body of the suit 4mm thick and only 3mm thick in the arms and legs. It is important that your core stay the warmest as it is the furnace for the rest of your body. Using slightly less thick neoprene in your extremities still keeps your arms and legs warm but allows for more mobility. A wetsuit must also fit snugly- but not too tight. If the suit is compressing your body its constricting blood flow which will have the opposite effect of what you’re looking for- it will make you feel cold. Seam construction is also important when looking for warmer suits. Blind stitch construction and taping are crucial in keeping the cold water from flushing through the suit.

{See the Thorfinn Chart Below to determine your outfitting strategy. Temps are measured in degrees F.}

Temperature/Season Wetsuit
80 to 74F-Summer – rash guard
73 to 66F-Summer 2mm Neoprene top or Springsuit
65 to 58 F-Fall/Spring 2mm Long Sleeve Springsuit or 3/2mm full suit
58 to 55 F-Fall/Spring 3/2mm full suit + booties
54 to 49 F-Fall/Spring 4/3mm full suit + booties
49 to 43 F-Early Winter 5/4mm full suit + booties + hood
42 F and Below-Winter! Dry Suit or 6/5 Wetsuit-Thorfinn goes DRYSUIT!
Maine Winters- Dry suit + booties + hood

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DRYSUITS - While Maine is hardly Antarctica some winters it feels like it might be, but this no reason to stop paddling! In fact the winter winds can make for great downwind runs and what better way to enjoy some snow falling than being on the water? Just like dressing for the ski season, dry suits provide protection from the elements by acting as a complete barrier between you and the water and wind. There are neoprene dry suits, shell suits and hybrid suits that utilize both fabrications. Thorfinn recommends a shell or Gore-Tex dry suit that you can layer under (just like under your ski pants and ski jacket) for the ultimate in comfort, versatility and protection. Transitioning to a dry suit once the wetsuit season ends is the best and safest way to enjoy some winter paddling.

Thorfinn Expeditions uses Wetsuits from O’Neill and Dry suits from Kokatat and we would be happy to assist you with finding the proper gear for you fall and winter paddling needs. We specialize in outfitting you , from head to toe, for your specific goals and will order the perfect suit, or combination of suits to keep you on the water this fall and winter! We can help you keep your body, hands/feet and head warm!

Give us a call to answer any questions on gear and look for us on the water during the first snowfall. We’ll be out there.

Note: Ocean SUP touring in Maine can be demanding during any season. Fall, winter, spring, summer paddling in Maine requires a high skill level, judgment skills, and good gear. Ideally always winter paddle with strong partners

The Thorfinn Basecamp is located in Lincolnville Beach, Maine. Thorfinn Expeditions runs a very comprehensive SUP program and carries the best gear available!

www.thorfinnexpeditions.com – info@thorfinnexpeditions.com – 207-789-5115

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- Hampton Kew. Hampton is the latest addition to Team Thorfinn. A Maine native, Hampton grew up sailing in the summers and skiing in the winter. She is a certified PSIA Level III Ski instructor and has a long history of teaching and coaching in the outdoors. She skied at Bates College before heading west to Jackson Hole and California where she continued her coaching and teaching career, as well as becoming a sales rep for Rossignol in the Western United States and in New Zealand. Hampton has also worked for the Orvis Company, and other outfits as a fly fishing instructor, and most recently as a product manager for The North Face Company.

In a very short time Hampton has become an accomplished SUPer. She is an ACA Level 2 SUP instructor, she is one of only two women to have completed the burly 20-mile Blackburn Challenge on a SUP and she loves downwinders. Hampton helps oversee the retail side of Thorfinn, teaches and guides SUP, and is working on getting her USCG Captains-license so she can pilot the sailing program’s Presto 30 around Frenchman’s Bay. She is getting ready for Maine winter SUP!


February 2012: Rockport Harbor to Lincolnville Beach Paddle:

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