The plague, coming to a beach near you. Photo: Matt King
This is a hate that runs deep for Ian King. The Kiwi surfer, currently residing Byron Bay hates SUPs with the fire of a thousand suns.
For sometime now, I’ve shared this passion with Ian, determined to drive stand up paddle boarders out of the waves, it’s kind of been a running joke. Over the past 10 days, I’ve been staying with Ian’s family in Whangamata, New Zealand and have really experienced how deep this problem runs. We’ve been surfing some of the most amazing left point breaks, super mellow and they run for hundreds of metres. The landscape is something you’d see straight from Lord of the Rings – sheer cliffs, covered in pine trees that run straight into the ocean. But then your eyes scan the lineup, only to have your appreciation ruined by a bunch of idiots standing on SUPs, paddling about with massive carbon fibre paddles, bumping into everyone like dodgem cars. After getting dropped in on, a few near collisions and a lot of heated words, we eventually realised the best solution would be to drop in on every SUP in the lineup, educating as we went. My hatred quickly evolved.
SUP riders are extremely dangerous in the ocean – the majority have no idea what they are doing, no respect, they drop in on everyone, bail their 100kg fibreglass pieces of shit without considering that it might just kill someone and are quite possibly the most ungraceful things to ever enter the ocean. It’s not just younger surfers that share a hatred of these freaks of the sea. In New Zealand, the older surfing community and parents of children who surf are very aware of the problem SUPs pose – both physical and psychological danger. A concerned parent we recently met informed us that SUPs are actually considered a powered craft. This means in New Zealand waters, SUP riders must wear a life jacket and be at least 50m from any surfer or swimmer. This is and has always been a law – the general conversation within the community is likely to escalate into a petition, focused on enforcing this law and driving SUPs out of the waves. Yesterday in Ahu Ahu, Taranaki, a surfer was collected by a rogue SUP hospitalising him with severe spinal injuries – just goes to show this problem is only getting worse around here.
You can do your part too. If your friend, family member or even a complete stranger is about to pick up a SUP and head into the ocean, just ask them “why?”. Also ask them to take a good hard look at themselves, make them aware of the danger they are about to inflict upon others in the line up and ask them to kindly take their boat onto some flat water – a harbour, a river or a backyard pool.
Ian King has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to understanding the dangers of SUPs in the lineup. He could have easily written 100 individual points, however I asked him to condense his hatred into 10 key points:
1. They are 100% owned and operated by fuckwits
2. They have an inability to control their SUPs / SUVs / convertibles in the waves
3. They are a liability to any ocean goer’s safety and health and life
4. They vote for National
5. They have destroyed or damaged thousands, upon thousands of innocent people’s surfboards
6. They have no understanding of surfing etiquette, rules or respect in the ocean
7. They’ve mentally and physically scarred thousands if not millions of surfers across the globe
8. They create irreparable rifts within groups of friends, families and communities
9. They have no concept of style or trim. Instead opting for a pulsating but wiggling poo stance while stabbing the ocean with their dutch rudder
10. They are lower than pond scum and they ruined Christmas when they left their own house
“Friends don’t let other friends SUP”
No caption required. Photo: Ian King
“I’ll rudder yours, if you rudder mine”. Photo: Matt King