Participating in the Tommy Bahama Paddleboard Clinic with Brennan Rose

IMG_0107On May 3rd, I participated in the Tommy Bahama Stand Up Paddleboard clinic in preparation for the 2015 Tommy Bahama Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival at the Santa Monica Pier. While this wasn’t my first time paddleboarding, I only began experimenting with the sport about two months ago after gaining interest while interning at Orsi PR and helping with the upcoming event. I arrived at Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey at 7:45am; Brennan, the ProSUP Shop team, as well as the respective camps from Tommy Bahama and the Santa Monica Pier were already there calmly prepping for the event. In fact, Brennan later remarked that he had been up even earlier checking out the waves at another beach where a SUP competition would be taking place that same day.

By 8:30am, roughly 25-30 people had showed up and were all very excited to learn some of Brennan’s techniques. He gave us a quick talk about some basic do’s and do-not’s of paddleboarding and asked us all what we wanted from the clinic. For the most part, people wanted to learn how to step up from casual paddleboarding and be able to compete in an actual race. However, there was a wide array of skill-levels who were there: from people who had been in a professional race before to one woman who had never paddleboarded in her life! Brennan’s goal for the clinic was to teach us how to do a quick turn around a buoy, which we were soon to find out was much harder than it sounds.

Brennan had us do a quickIMG_0052 jog around the beach and then a series of stretches using our paddle, reminding us the importance of getting your body warmed up before paddleboarding. Once we had gotten out onto the water the first thing he wanted us to do was straddle our boards and scooch to the back of them, forcing the front of our boards up above the water. Next, he had us turn from this position, proving how much quicker turning is when less of your board is on the water and also foreshadowing what was to come. Next, we did a serious of warm up lengths across the bay, alternating between a sprint- short rapid paddle movements- and more relaxed, rhythmic paddling with longer strokes.

Now, it was time to have us try to get the front of our boards out of the water whilst standing up. The first way to do this was standing in hybrid position: here you switch sideways (the standard paddleboarding stance involves you standing with your toes pointing forward, this one has you standing almost perpendicular to that, but nor fully, hence ‘hybrid’) and put more weight through your back foot, forcing the front of the board slightly out of the water. The second position is known as ‘surf’ stance and here you s01 Tommy Bahama SUP Clinictand perpendicular, as well as moving towards the back of your board. Most of the front of the board comes out of the water and your feet sink down past the ankles into the water. With good enough balance from this position you can pretty much pivot the board to face any direction and make a lightning-speed turn. Up until this point most of us remained dry, however, we soon started to drop like flies. Even though I had a couple falls, after about twenty minutes of trying I felt as though I had the surf and hybrid stances checked off my list. Finally, Brennan brought us back into the beach and gave us a few tips on racing from a ‘beach start’ and also concluding the clinic with some inspiring words.

After grabbing a quick snap with Brennan and saying our goodbyes, a few of us went on a half hour paddleboard around the Marina to finish off the morning. I came back to the beach absolutely exhausted, but even more excited to hone my skills and participate in the race on Saturday, June 6th. See you all there!

— Jacob Lubert

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