Solace SUP Fun video traveling, paddling and exploring Mal Pais

Posted by Rich Price on

Fun video we put together on traveling through Costa Rica in our favorite spot Mal Pais/Santa Teresa. Check it out and feel free to share. If you missed our previous blog post, check it out for more detail information on spots we stand up paddled and quick tips on visiting Costa Rica.

Enjoy!

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Traveling to Costa Rica 2015

Posted by Rich Price on

In this post, I’ll hit on some nice stand up paddle spots in Mal Pais, Costa Rica, quick tips to save you money and some of the activities that you might seek out when you check out this gem in Central America.

Costa Rican Flag-Santa Teresa

Costa Rica is one of my favorite spots and this was my fourth time visiting. I have mainly traveled up and down the Pacific Coast checking out the different beach towns and there breaks, discovering that each place has its own personality. By far, my favorite spot is Mal Pais & Santa Teresa located on the Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste Province. This SUP adventure, I chose to stay in this area the whole time and not travel with any of our Solace SUP fleet to try out different board shapes, volume and rockers. It's great to get to know the locals in doing this and getting some local knowledge on the best paddle spots.

This area has a lot of unpaved or crumbling roads with a dash of dust in your face, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! A quaint beach town with stellar restaurants serving sushi, Italian and local Costa rican cuisine that rivals any big city.



WHERE TO PADDLE?


Mal Pais is towards the south end and then you cross the towns city center or intersection which turns into Santa Teresa. Playa Carmen is a nice beach break and spot at that intersection area for beginners and intermediate SUP surfing. I also found a nice reef break in the fishing town of slow pace Mal Pais with help from Andy and his wife Edith from Freedom Riders and no one was around except for a few fishing boats. We ended up doing a nice ocean paddle tour with them and experiencing one of the best sunsets I’ve seen. I also was able to try out a few board shapes and rented a 9’ 7” x 28” surf sup for 4 days to surf Playa Carmen. I call this R&D and it is hard work but someone’s gotta do it, right?! :) If you are in the area, definitely check out Freedom Riders as the crew over there is top notch.

Rich_SolaceSUP_Surf

I also was fortunate to run into Marco Salazar with Costa Rica SUP Adventures located about 4 hours away while on the beach. I first started to learn to SUP surf in Tamarindo a few years back and Marco was the guy that helped me and had me riding my first wave in about 15 mins. Tamarindo is also a great area for flat-water stand up paddling and SUP surfing.

Marco was also a Costa Rican surf champion back in his day and has some good stories of top athletes that he has met from around the world. He and his wife Lydia are great ambassadors of the sport and if you are in Tamarindo, definitely stop by their shop right next to the Nogui’s Restaurant.

Marco&Rich_Costa Rica

There are several nice advanced breaks heading north of Santa Teresa so depending if you want to walk right to the beach or explore a little, you’ll find what you are looking for in this area.

WHERE TO STAY?

Hotel Oasis-Great owners and small bungalows off the noisy center of town part but only a 5 minute walk to the beach.

 

WHERE TO EAT?

The Bakery- BIG ole breakfast burrito and a barista cappuccino
Mary’s- Farm to table goodness. Her farm is next door
La Esquinita del Taco- $10 tacos for $1.50 made to order

The Bakery-Santa Teresa, CR


OTHER ACTIVITIES?

Horse back riding
Yoga
Diving
Ziplines
Catamaran sail/snorkel
World class fishing
Waterfall hike
ATV trail riding
Butterfly Farm
Beer drinking :)


MONEY SAVING TIPS:


  • Do exchange some cash when arriving but in a local bank or Wal-Mart for the best exchange rates. There is a Wal-Mart right next to the San Jose (SJO) airport and most taxi’s take american dollars (USD) in the city. They bang you over the head with fees in the airport.
  • Plan to have colones(costa rican $) when you are leaving the country as they do charge an airport tax or exiting tax. This was right around $18 USD and they will charge a hefty fee if you use a credit card.
  • Arrive early when leaving Costa Rica as most departing flights seem to leave all around the same time and the exiting tax lines can be long.
  • Have cash if you are taking the hopper flight to a destination as they do charge for over weight baggage and another airport tax. It was $2.50 USD arriving and leaving from Tambor airport. 
  • Reserve a 4WD vehicle ahead of time as you get the best rate and they can be sold out once you are in a little beach town like Santa Teresa. 
  • Don't leave any flops, shoes, bags or anything you don't want stolen on the beach or in visible eyesight in your vehicle. Even if your taking a quick dip, it will be gone when you come back.





Feel free to share your experiences or add anything you think I may have left out for this area. We will add a video real soon but for now, enjoy some pictures!

Next blog post will be tips for beginners on how to install and use various accessory equipment with your SUP Board.

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How to travel on an airplane with your paddle board?

Posted by Rich Price on

Imagine an 8.6ft and a 11.6ft epoxy bamboo paddle board squeezing in a medium sized shuttle bus that is about 5 minutes away from the airport. Can we make it? They said on the phone it would fit on the bus and they could open the back, if needed, to get it done. Cool! 6:30am in the Morning, the day of our flight; Nope! Me: “Hey, you don’t even have an opening in the back of that bus.” Bus driver: “ Let’s hang it out the side door while it’s still dark and hope we don’t get pulled over.” Wow, we are on an adventure now!! …….Seriously, this really happened

Solace flight to PR

In this post, I’ll hit on my overall experience traveling with my two Solace SUP Boards, paddles and other gear flying to Puerto Rico from Ocean City, Maryland. Also of course, how I packed my boards and paddles to avoid damage, airplane fees and getting around once I was there. I couldn’t really find this information all in one place at the time I traveled in October 2013, so hopefully someone can get some nuggets from my amateur writing, but first hand experience.



My trip started with lots of planning for plane tickets, parking, hotel reservations and finding out what it was going to cost to get these boards to where I wanted to be paddling; the warm Puerto Rican sun! I will spotlight some key information that will help you with your trip if your thinking of flying with your own paddle board.

Cardboard wrap rails on Solace SUP

1). PACKING YOUR STAND UP PADDLE BOARD AND THINGS YOU WILL NEED

BOARD BAG
Having a good board bag and size for your board is key. I found you need some looseness or play in your bag for your size board so you have room to put some extra padding material and paddle gear inside. You could skip the extra material part, but it never hurts to have extra padding to keep your gear from rubbing together and scratching. 10mm padded board bags or more are the best for this type of travel.


PADDLE BAG
I had a paddle bag for my paddles and was able to pack these in the board bags. This helped from being charge extra baggage fees and made it easier with less things to carry. The thickness of this wasn’t as important for me since I was putting it in a padded board bag with extra padding.


PACKING MATERIAL
I used some foam sheets, cardboard, tape and old stand up deck pads to pad the boards. The foam sheets were good for the top deck and bottom of the board. Then I cut card board to fit and wrap the rails and nose. The old deck pads were nice to stick over the packing material on the tail and nose areas as I have heard they can be the most vulnerable. I had some of these packing materials from my manufacturer who makes my boards but you could get card board boxes for free from a grocery store and other packing material online at Uline or in a store like Wal-Mart. Here are some pics from my madness. I’ve also heard you can cut one of those floating noodles that you use for pools to float with in half to wrap around your board. Haven’t tried it on a SUP, but looks like it could work.




INFLATABLE RACKS
These were priceless on our trip. My friend picked us up in a Toyota Corolla with no rack system on it. I usually forget about things like this but thought about it at the last minute before we left thankfully. I purchase some off of Amazon for $60 and it came with the straps and a pump. When folded, it took up less space than a laptop would. I also had a Yakima bra strap system that is also inexpensive and made it extra secure with tie downs that wrap around the nose and tail of the boards and then another strap hooks under the front bumper and runs the length of the boards and hooking under the rear bumper. The inflatable racks do tend to have some movement so I would definitely use some extra tie downs.

Underwater shot of SUP

AIRPLANE FEES ON STAND UP PADDLE BOARDS

This was always something I wondered about and have heard so many different answers. I drove 3 hours from OC, MD because the airport was to small to accommodate my large SUP’s and flew out of Washington, D.C. from Reagan International. I recommend getting to the airport early to check in because you never know what obstacles you will run into. Just like my experience from the hotel to the airport at the beginning of this post. Luckily it work out for me and had a cool bus driver!



Unfortunately, stand up paddle boards do not have there own category yet on most airline websites. So I looked at surfboard and windsurf charges and then emailed the airline to clarify. Most did have kayaks/canoes listed and all seemed to not allow these at all.



Here is information on airline’s that I considered on my trip back in 2014 from there own websites below:



JetBlue www.jetblue.com



Information under surfing equipment states:

One surfboard per case and has to be under 100 lbs

$50 per board each way and count as a checked in bag; excess baggage fees apply

No size restriction stated under surfing equipment



Information under Windsurf equipment states:

Maximum 15 ft in length and has to be under 100 lbs

$50 per board each way for domestic and international flights with some areas restricted



The only thing I could find is a second bag fee of $40 and a section that talks about oversized baggage charges but it doesn’t actually give you a fee schedule.



Delta www.delta.com



Information under surfboards states:

$150 per board each way up to 50 lbs

Maximum on 115 inches in length

$100 additional fee if weight is 51-70 lbs each way



Information under windsurf equipment states:

Same as surfboard but adds a maximum length of 115 inches



United www.united.com



These guys actually had paddle boards listed



Information listed:

$100 per board each way for domestic and has to be under 99.9 lbs

$200 for international

Maxiumum of 115 inches in length





I ended up going with JetBlue as they had reasonable plane tickets and board fees to San Juan, Puerto Rico. I did email JetBlue to confirm the cost of $50 each way for my 8.6 ft and the 11.6 ft boards that I was bringing and they said that it was correct that the charge for me would be $100 both ways for the two boards. Sweet! This is what I paid, but keep reading as I think I got lucky.



Now, they did give me a hard time when I checked in at Reagan International and a even harder time when I was coming back from Puerto Rico. In San Juan the attendants gave me a weird look glancing down at the two very long boards and then looking back up at me while shaking their heads and saying “oh, we are going to have to charge you for oversized baggage” or something along those lines. I was nice and talked them up a bit and showed the email from there company confirming the fees of $50 for each board/each way and what I paid to get there from D.C. They said they would honor the pricing this time but I got lucky and the actual fee should of been $125 for each board/each way…..that’s $500 for a round trip, Ouch! It seemed nobody really knew what the fee’s should of been, but a manager came out and confirmed that $125 for each board/each way is what I should count on next time I travel.

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How to pick the right stand up paddle board? (SUP)

Posted by Rich Price on

Are you in the market for a stand up paddle board but don't know where to start or what size to buy? When looking at all the different shapes and sizes it can be confusing! This is how I felt when looking for my first board. Here are key questions, information and options you should consider below:

Bamboo Solace SUP boards

What shapes and kinds of stand up paddle (SUP) boards are available?

These are the 4 main categories that are trending right now in the best SUP boards below:



  • All around surf/fitness board
  • Surf performance board
  • Touring board with displacement hull nose
  • Elite racing board with displacement hull nose

Bamboo touring-full carbon solace sup

The key things you should ask yourself:

1) How am I going to use the stand up paddle board?



This can be hard to answer. I wanted to try surfing it back where I am from in Ocean City, MD, although I lived in the Washington, DC area at the time, I knew I would be doing more flat water paddling and maybe some fishing from the SUP (stand up paddle) board. Narrowing my search to a all around surf style or touring board with a displacement hull nose made since for me at the time.



2) How much do I weigh?



This is important because you want the board to be able to float you when you are standing still. A board’s volume (length/width/thickness area) dictates the amount of weight it can float properly. The more advanced paddler looks to get away with lesser volume to enhance performance and a beginner will want more volume to maximize stability. It is good to find a balance that works for your skill level and weight like the skill level multiplier chart shows below using a quick trick called The Guild Factor.

Guild Factor

The Guild Factor (GF) was created by Whitney Guild and is a good guide to let you know if a board’s volume would be right for you. Let’s look at the two major things mentioned above:

 

We converted the kgs measurements to lbs to make it easier. You want to pick your skill level and multiply that with your weight in lbs. This will give you the board volume that you shouldn’t go below because it may be unstable for your skill level and weight. Going higher than the recommended volume is ok. Especially if you think you will have fishing equipment, beer cooler and or your best friend on the board with you!



So, if you are 210lbs x (a beginner) .9 = 189 liters in volume or more for your new board purchase.



Of course tail shape, rail shape and fins can make a difference in stability but to keep it simple, the guide above is a good rule of thumb. Most good retail websites will have some kind of guide or recommendations that caters to their exact board dimensions to help you choose.





3) What is my experience level on a SUP board?



Going for a smaller SUP board can be tempting for your first purchase because it is easier to store and may cost less, but it can be a mistake. It’s all about having fun. If this is your first board, you want to be able to stand up and paddle comfortably in all conditions of wind, chop and the wake from those jet-skiers that come zooming by you. Going too short too early might discourage you early on and then your board is sitting in the corner collecting dust. Dude, who likes to clean? I have had this scenario happen to me with other sports. Have you?



I would recommend an 10’6” length x 30” width or longer size for a first board depending on your weight. This size and larger are good for flat water, fitness, yoga, fishing and there is a 12’ and under class in many racing events. As your experience grows, you will probably gravitate towards one of those niche’s I mentioned above and add a specialized board to your collection in the future.





4) How much am I willing to spend?



This is a good question and something that I struggled with when buying my first board. I have always been a believer in quality but we all have a budget right?



Through research of about 50 websites, a few local retailers and SIMA (Surf Industry Manufacturers Association), the average retail cost of a new stand up paddle board was close to $1,100 usd.



Before I started Solace SUP Boards, I was just like you and stoked to get my first board. I wasn’t looking for the most expensive SUP, but also from past negative experiences in other sports, I wasn’t looking for the cheapest equipment either. Pay attention to what you are getting in the construction, accessories and guarantees with the board to meet the best value for you. We will talk more in future blogs about construction types.(that could be a long one!)





5) Where am I going to store my board?



Storing your board seems to always be an after thought and can be a challenge. We warn you that you shouldn’t let the storage worry dictate the size board you purchase. After all, if you buy something too small to start, you might get discourage and that’s no fun :( Here are some suggestions/solutions below:



You can find some easy to install wall mount racks and show your board off like artwork in a game room or extra bedroom wall.


Most local SUP board and kayak rental places are offering a storage service for a monthly fee. I have seen an average of $25 per month for this service. This is great since they are usually located on the water where your paddling anyway and you don’t have to worry about transporting your board every time. Man, ding repair can add up!


Do you have a friend or family member that has room? You could let them use the board for letting you keep your SUP at their house. This could save you money and be a win/win scenario. Maybe just a little more wear and tear on the board.




If this information has helped you, please share with your friends and follow our blog. . If you feel you can add something, we encourage comments/questions below. We paddle so we love to talk SUP. Our whole goal is to positively grow stand up paddle boarding and share the stoke!



We will be traveling to Puerto Rico soon for a SUP adventure and will document in upcoming blogs of how to travel with your stand up paddle board (SUP)



See you out on the water.

-Rich

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Cape2Cape Crossing 2016-7 Paddlers Make History

Posted by Rich Price on

DotVision Cape2Cape

Click to watch live feed replay above

 

Cape2Cape Virginia crossing 2016 presented by JMCM Channels and Solace SUP Boards kicked off on September 17th. The event paid out a total of $5,000 to first place winners in their category and offering up a unique challenging elite paddle race. This was the first year of the completed crossing at the Chesapeake’s mouth from Cape Charles, VA to Cape Henry, VA near the Virginia Beach area and the 23 mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Categories that were accepted were OC-1, OC-2, Unlimited SUP, 14’ SUP Stock, 12.6” SUP Stock, Unlimited Prone, Prone Stock and Surfski.



The race was set to be capped at 50 paddlers for safety and ended up having 11 entries with 7 actually competing which was perfect for us to manage as a soft opening for a race of this caliber of challenges and for the racers as 5 out of the 7 paddlers received a $1,000 check! I think anyone who completes a 14 mile journey should receive a check :) BIG congrats to all the competitors who came out and completed this physical and mental challenge!



BEHIND THE SCENES:


The actual race course mapped out was 14.5 miles from course director, Frank Lundy, who has made the crossing many times on his prone unlimited. Safety was priority number one and event creator/race director, Jay Carrillo of JMCM Channels, pulled off a top notch event with 8 safety boats with experienced captains, 8 of the best local lifeguards and a safety plan to box in all racers during the crossing and pausing all paddlers if needed if any USA Navy cruisers or huge shipping tankers were to pass in the two major shipping channels that were being crossed. GPS tagging of all boats and each paddler helped with the safety during this process.

DotMotion GPS

DotMotion GPS for each rider

I was brought on as a lead sponsor with Solace SUP Boards and contributed as an assistant race director/advisor. It was pretty amazing watching and participating with the 8 month long permit approval that Jay persistently hammered with a handful of knowledgeable advisors. The exciting thing is Cape2Cape Virginia is written into law so no more time has to be spent on government “red tape” and future participates can pencil in this race and plan training for something of this level and enjoy the stoke! I have a feeling that 50 spots will fill up fast for this event in 2017.

THE RACE:

Cape2Cape sup race

Starting line at Sunset Beach at the The JackSpot in Cape Charles, VA

The race started from sunset beach in Cape Charles, VA and headed south under the bridge and then a slight turn heading SW with a straight shot to First State Landing Park beach on Cape Henry near the Virginia Beach side. Conditions were perfect with a little bit of wind from the east and swells were manageable at just 1 to 3 ft. at the beginning of the race. Paddlers had some wind at their back but still had to battle some gnarly currents making their first turn under the bridge around fisherman’s island and in the open water passing through two major shipping channels used by the Navy and huge shipping tankers. A couple paddlers mentioned a pod of dolphins hanging with them as they were trekking along. Check out just some of the awesome pictures from Douglas James Studio below. Visit his full gallery here.

Prone Cape2Cape

Sup Cape2Cape

dolphins Cape2Cape

Jonny prone

I was personally on the beach at the Jack spot restaurant/bar manning the Solace SUP tent for registration and the pre-race meeting at the start of the race. Theo, from Dot Vision Motion, was part of the team coming all the way over from Lyon, France setting us up with their state of the art GPS tracking software. Each paddler, safety boat and starting line buoys and finish line buoys were equipped with a Dotvision Motion GPS system. This provided safety and a trackable course screen via your smart phone or your desktop to follow the exact position and speed of your favorite paddler. These are the same guys they use for the most prestigious race, Molokai, in Hawaii. Crazy how technology can be used! You can watch the replay here.

DotVision Motion Replay

Making my way over to First Landing State Park Beach was about a 35 minute ride by car from Sunset Beach to meet the racers coming in to the finish line. This spot was pretty neat as it had a maze of RV and camping spots that lead out to the beach. WRV surf was offering demos on the beach and Coyle Solar had there silent solar powered generator for power. This was the first SUP race I’ve seen using this type of generator and is a great idea. I hope to see this at more events.

Johnny Prone SUP

Prizes

First Cape2Cape Crossing Group

Awards were held back at the starting line at Sunset beach in the Jack Spot reastaraunt/bar. Perfect spot to celebrate with friends and have a meal with some cocktails while right on the water watching the sunset. Both Sunset beach and First State Landing Beach are family and spectator friendly. I would definitely recommend putting this one on your calendar for 2017 and experience this unique race if your up for a challenge.

Cape Charles, VA

THE RESULTS:


Congrats to all the participants as everyone finished! Big thanks to all our sponsors that helped make this event happen. Here are the results below:

Cape2Cape VA Results 2016

Cheers,

Rich

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