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I was curious about paddleboarding, so I tried it...

jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,344 Moderator
Well, as you know from the reports, PalmBeachPete showed me around one of his fishing areas in Sebastian (Long Point) recently. Pete only fishes from Stand-Up Paddleboard nowadays, so it was very interesting to fish alongside him in my Hobie Kayak. I have to give the man props, he makes it look so easy!
I observed several advantages of the SUP as we fished together:
- Lighter craft = easier loading/offloading from vehicle
- Higher vantage point (he was able to call out when he saw fish and guide me on where to cast)
- Different set of ergonomics compared to sitting in a kayak all day (he claims fewer backaches when paddleboarding)
- And to top it off, he was just as fast on the water as I was!

To say I was impressed in an understatement.

So when my sister invited me to go paddleboarding for the first time last weekend, I jumped at the chance! After all, I wanna be just like Pete when I grow up...
:crossed

It was windy in Orlando where my sister lives, so we chose a large lake that had some houses and trees to block the wind. I was advised that if I ventured out into the middle of the lake, I would be forever fighting the wind to paddle back. I'm glad I heeded that warning. I've seen the wind turn a standing person into a human sail and it can be an exhausting experience, just ask Ryan Jones from Nautical Ventures about the time he got caught in a squall off Dania Beach...

Our boards were rentals, 10'6" foamcore, nothing fancy, and the paddles were faux carbon with bamboo blades. I launched from a kneeling position and was able to push myself up to a standing position in imitation of the youtube videos I had seen. Feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, so far so good. Full extension with the arms and digging the paddle into the water and off we went.

First impression? Not as tippy as trying to stand up in my kayaks, but I still felt quite a bit "shaky". My legs and feet were not used to this sensation of constantly re-balancing and I soon cramped up. I could not let my sister see my discomfort, I would not give her the satisfaction of laughing at me, so I smiled and continued on. I leaned on the paddle, propped up on the board, this allowed me some momentary relief as I flexed my feet/toes. This wasn't at all what I thought it would be like! I even resorted to paddling from a kneeling position at one point to give the feet a break.

After half hour of this though, I somehow got used to the sensation and relaxed a bit more. Now sister and I were racing along on the water, my feet still ached, but it was less of an issue. Each paddle stroke lets you glide along the water, as long as the wind doesn't push you in an unintended direction. Turning the board was like turning a kayak without a rudder, a simple affair of varying paddle position/thrust.

As I relaxed into the motions I could observe more. I saw fish (bass maybe?) that I would not have been able to see from a seated position. My back felt pretty darn good, even though I was now drenched in sweat. This is excellent exercise! A small boat passed us once, thankfully not too fast, throwing a small wake so I just stopped paddling so I could focus on staying up.

The short trip ended without incident, neither of us fell in, and my cramped feet were fine after I sat with them in the lake for 5 mins. I can't wait to do this again. Maybe next time I'll bring a cooler to sit on, like Pete does, although mine will be full of beer lol.

Will I be converting to a fishing SUP then?
Probably not.
It was cool and all, but I'd never do this offshore unless it was calm like glass and no chance of boaters buzzing me (impossible in Broward/Dade counties).

What about inshore?
Maybe.
Inshore, shielded from wind and packing minimal gear, I could see myself getting comfortable enough to cast but I would need a stick-it pin or anchor to stop the board from being dragged around (or into the mangroves) when fighting a fish.

Anyway, hope you guys found something useful in my experience and didn't mind my ramblings!
:beer
Hobie Kayak angler for life!

Replies

  • stussingstussing Posts: 85 Greenhorn
    I just picked up a paddle board late this summer. I much prefer the paddle board over a kayak. I had a lesson first and the instructor called it monkey feet when your feet cramp up while paddling. It is caused by clutching your toes into the board for extra grip which is not actually needed it turns out. That is why they have a pad on them.

    My goal is to fish inshore from the board. I like the better sight angle into the water over sitting in a kayak.

    Enjoyed your story.

    Just my 0.02
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,344 Moderator
    stussing wrote: »
    I just picked up a paddle board late this summer. I much prefer the paddle board over a kayak. I had a lesson first and the instructor called it monkey feet when your feet cramp up while paddling. It is caused by clutching your toes into the board for extra grip which is not actually needed it turns out. That is why they have a pad on them.

    My goal is to fish inshore from the board. I like the better sight angle into the water over sitting in a kayak.

    Enjoyed your story.

    Just my 0.02

    I totally understand. I tried very hard not to grip the padding with my toes, but I ended up with cramps anyway :shrug
    I am pretty sure I would overcome that with more practice on a board (so I won't be nervous next time) and maybe some stretching beforehand.

    Definitely for sight fishing: SUP>Kayak
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • BasstarBasstar Posts: 519 Officer
    Excellent post and very timely for me as I'm considering looking in to a board myself.

    Yes, Pete does make it very easy, as he also makes catching nice fish on a 9/16" open end look easy as well. :)
  • crackedconchcrackedconch Posts: 381 Deckhand
    Great post! Thanks for the information. I've been curious about SUP fishing, but not enough to try it out and convert. I might try it one day for fun though.

    Mike
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things!!

    Pioneer 197 Sportfish
    Suzuki DF150
  • krashkrash Posts: 670 Officer
    JC, nice report of s 1st experience... but there is no comparison, apples and oranges, in trying to get the feel for SUP fishing when using a rental 10' paddle-board, assume the standard rental flat bottom much like a long surfboard, and the DragonFly that Pete uses.. the DrafgonFly is 13'6" and considerably heavier than the rental although much less than most kayaks and is design by boat builders for fly fisherman... has a vee entry bow-hull with very little wave noise and stable as a small skiff.
    Next time ask Pete for a demo ride....
    Old Fugger who just likes to fish
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,344 Moderator
    krash wrote: »
    JC, nice report of s 1st experience... but there is no comparison, apples and oranges, in trying to get the feel for SUP fishing when using a rental 10' paddle-board, assume the standard rental flat bottom much like a long surfboard, and the DragonFly that Pete uses.. the DrafgonFly is 13'6" and considerably heavier than the rental although much less than most kayaks and is design by boat builders for fly fisherman... has a vee entry bow-hull with very little wave noise and stable as a small skiff.
    Next time ask Pete for a demo ride....

    Oh I intend to man, Pete already told me we can do paddleboards only next trip.
    You are very right about the differences between the boards. The rental board was short and fairly flat with a bit of a upturn on the nose, like a surfboard, and light (like 30lbs). Pete's SUP is a beast in comparison and would be undoubtedly more stable.

    But you know what? His board is also very specialized for fishing. I wanted to get a feel for the mechanics of paddleboarding at its most basic and I think I got a good taste. With a heavier/larger board, I am sure I would be even more stable and confident than I was on that lake. My point is, just like comparing a $3000 fishing kayak with a $500 Walmart special, If I went straight for the premium product, I wouldn't appreciate the features as much. Now that I've got my baseline, I'm up to try better boards.
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • silentquestsilentquest Posts: 23 Greenhorn
    May I submit that you may be missing some of the versatility of the SUP. I was a long time Hobie kayak fisherman. I have had 5 hobies over a period of 10 years. For kayak fishing they are the best. I SUP fish only now. I can kayak fish easily by just dropping to the deck and kayak paddling. If its windy or I have a long way to go that's what i do. If I'm cruising slowing looking for fish, I use my kayak paddle as a paddleboard paddle. I can also sit on my cooler and kayak or paddle board paddle. I could never do all that in the kayak.
    If you wade fish at all, getting into and out of the paddle board is way easier than a sit inside kayak.
    I too have a dragonfly and it is not the lightest paddleboard but it is about 1/2 the weight of the hobie.
    I think if you think a little more out of the box you may find as I did that the SUP can do all the kayak can do and more.
  • I have the Dragonfly 13' 6" as well. Awesome platform for sight casting in skinny water. I don't bother using a SUP paddle. I sit and use a kayak paddle when traveling. I made my own hybrid paddle pole for sneaking around the flats and staking out. I also use a drift chute when prospecting. A 1.5 lbs. anchor on a 10' tether comes in handy when shell bottom and hard packed sand won't let me plant the stake. Take a look at the Riviera Fish On as a less pricey alternative($1600). In my opinion using an inexpensive basic recreational SUP for fishing would be frustrating. Ill equipped to get the job done properly.
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,344 Moderator
    Good to see so many SUP owners chiming in!
    I'm not throwing shade at paddleboarding at all, I'm just trying to broaden my horizons and try new things. If money weren't so tight for me right now, I would have already bought a board for recreational use since my community has a few lakes.

    Maybe the next time I go paddleboarding the title of the thread will be "Night & Day: the difference between a paddleboard and a great paddleboard"
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • bbailey_33bbailey_33 Posts: 88 Greenhorn
    I tried to purchase a hybrid for fishing and surfing to save $, long story short.... The fishing ones suck at surfing and vice versa.
    For fishing you want a bow (like Pete's) keeps your track better, a bow will only hurt surfing. Mine is 10'6" and stable enuf for fishing but wanders with the surfboard nose but it's too thick for surfing. It does OK at both but I am still on lookout for better options. I still like the yak for windy/cold days, will never get rid of it.
  • palmbeachpetepalmbeachpete Posts: 2,620 Captain
    Let's do it. Time to go fishing. Inshore or offshore.
    jcanracer wrote: »
    Good to see so many SUP owners chiming in!
    I'm not throwing shade at paddleboarding at all, I'm just trying to broaden my horizons and try new things. If money weren't so tight for me right now, I would have already bought a board for recreational use since my community has a few lakes.

    Maybe the next time I go paddleboarding the title of the thread will be "Night & Day: the difference between a paddleboard and a great paddleboard"
  • JoeBCJoeBC Posts: 608 Officer
    Hmm I stand and fish more than 50% of the time I'm out in my slayer but love having a decent seat there and more storage if I want to extend it to an overnight trip. I could see where a paddle board would be a little faster and easier to load and unload but I don't think the price point makes it worth it for such a niche craft. I could see someone who owns a skiff or a boat wanting one because they are easier to mothership, but as a primary craft I prefer my kayak or a solo canoe for sight fishing purposes.
  • krashkrash Posts: 670 Officer
    JoeBC, great point... they are pricey if looking for a second alternate. Kayaks like the Slayer are $500 less than a standard DragonFly, the Bote HD is only a couple hundred more than a $1500 kayak, and the SUP I have and use cost several hundred less than the Slayer new $1100.

    Like you I have and like my 38 pound solo canoe but its not made for standing and is sketchy at best when doing so. My issue is weight, with my heart issues I'm kind of physically limited to <40 pounds, which also eliminates the DragonFly, Bote Rackham and the Cayo or L2Fish.

    I have a real desire to stand and sight fish with no desire to go offshore. Still looking for a paddle-craft to replace the Solo canoe, my kayak, and the SUP The closest I can come is keep the canoe for paddling days with occasional standing and use my rigged standard eps/foam SUP for the sight fishing which has a cooler/drybox for sitting. I do love the 36 pound SUP for humping it from the back yard to the roof of the car, off the roof and down some slippery sketcky rocky coastal areas, and paddling or poling for 6 or 7 hours, then back home for cleaning and storage.
    Old Fugger who just likes to fish
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