Never before has such a comprehensive reference publication been put together and the book will be hard to replicate. Easy to read and understand – Stand Up Paddle – A Paddlers Guide will sit well in any enthusiast’s library. The book also features some great illustrative images that enhance the text and allow difficult to grasp points to be more easily understood.
Until now there hasn’t been a reference publication that SUPers can call upon for gleaning important knowledge to help their advancement within the sport. A few books have come to light over the past few years but they have been thin on the ground content-wise or very niche within a still emerging discipline. SUP has few true revered luminaries when it comes to the history, culture, technique, style and attitude of the sport. But Steve West (or Westy as he is often known) is one such person who is bestowed this credit by his peers and has produced Stand Up Paddle – A Paddlers Guide.
Many uneducated or newbie stand up paddlers, may balk at first sight of Stand Up Paddle – A Paddlers Guide: At 500 pages it’s a hefty read! Many may ask just what is it that can be written about over so many pages? Yet paddle sports have a heritage that spans many decades, and if you are keen to grasp what SUP is all about then it’s vitally important you understand the lineage of the sport and where its roots lie.
Equipment and technique
Once past the historical aspect, the book then moves on to describing types of equipment currently available, with a great deal of emphasis placed on the paddle (and rightly so). Westy is passionate about the fact that SUP should be classified as a paddle sport and nothing other. He emphasises this point many times – and is why there is such a big chunk of the publication dedicated to this distinguishing and defining tool. Boards are also covered but the reader should definitely take away just how important it is to concentrate on your paddle.
Westy’s greatest strength is that of being a coach and this comes across brilliantly within the sections covering technique. The reader will be surprised at just how in depth paddling techniques can be but, after digesting the facts, you will be armed with knowledge that will enhance your paddling sessions no end. If you’re thinking of moving into the competitive arena then there are some great tips and advice on where to begin, how to prepare and ultimately how to achieve your goals. And for those wanting advice on downwind or surf SUP antics, these parts of the sport are also covered at length.
The magic bits of the book are the technique tit bits that are born from years worth of ocean sport participation. Understanding exactly what you should be doing with your paddle during each part of the stroke will only serve to make you a better stand up paddler.
The plethora of detailed information regarding kit should help the reader make a well informed choice when choosing that new piece of equipment. There’s quite a bit of opinion from Westy, which the reader may or may not agree with, but once you get past this it is clear that Stand Up Paddle – A Paddlers Guide is the bench mark written document of a still emerging sport that could be poised for being the most globally participated water sport of all. Time will only tell on this point. In the meantime? Grab a copy of the book, a mug of tea and immerse yourself in a culture and lifestyle.
About the author
Coming from the middle of England and being a surfer was never going to be a long term solution for Tez, so when the opportunity came to ‘get gone’ he did just that... Working overseas he developed his love for all things watersports and travel, and is now a successful career as a freelance watersports journalist, editor and copywriter. Tez has edited two international printed publications (Windsurf and SUP magazines), continues to edit, write for and moderate the UK's leading SUP website, undertakes various freelance copywriting projects and contributes to a number of national and global watersports outlets. Hobbies include travel, surfing, windsurfing, SUP, kiting, kayaking, biking, drumming and painting - with the odd shandy thrown in for good measure!