POP-Up Shop Inbound: San Diego

The POP crew is trekking down to San Diego on January 23rd – 26th with our first ever “POP-Up Shop.” As always, we’ll be showcasing our full line of paddle boards, lightweight carbon fiber paddles, bags, leashes, and other accessories. Stop by and browse our boards for yourself.

This will be the first of many POP-Up Shops we plan to unveil around country, so keep your ears to the ground as we may come to city near you.

Where: Somewhere around 955 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego CA 92101 (Look for our tent)

When: January 23rd through the 26th

Doors Open: 10a

Doors Close: 6p

Come down, show your support for the brand, and feel free to crack open a few beers

Happy Holidays from POP Paddleboards!

The crew at POP Paddleboards wishes everyone the best this Holiday Season.
2013 has been a killer year for all of us, and we expect 2014 to be even better! We’ve got a lot of great things lined up for the new year so stay posted to find out more.

There’s no better time than now to get Poppin.

Relax, enjoy the off-time, get wet, and have fun.

See you all in 2014!

The Boy Scouts Have Gone Nautical

We’d like to take a second to recognize our boys at The Boy Scouts of America (BSA). They are ditching the trails and woods for some open water action, sort of. We’re stoked to announce that the Cherry Valley scouts on Catalina Island are now rocking our paddle boards! Word around town is that they are also introducing the Stand Up Paddlboarding Award. It promotes fitness and aquatic safety by encouraging scouts to develop their SUP skills. They will learn everything there is to know about paddleboarding—from how to carry a board, to turning, and advanced SUP techniques. They’ve also got a pretty cool badge design to go with it.

It’s great to see the BSA move into a more progressive direction. After all, who else is going to teach our nation’s youth the basics about SUP safety, riding tips, and terminology?  A major part of our brand philosophy is to encourage exploration and it humbles us when organizations such as the BSA do just that. This further cements the notion that paddle boarding is here to stay. A new generation of aquatic scouts is on the horizon and we’re all about being a part of it.

Surf & SUP Event Fun: USPFCA

All of us at POP were stoked to be at the United States Police & Fire Championships at Trestles beach, CA. It was a killer time—we sat, we watched, we surfed, and we conquered. What’s not to love about spending three full weekdays on the sand demoing our boards and seeing a few on the water during the competition? Did we mention that this was during one of the best swells of the year? Needless to say, we snuck out on a few occasions to get in on the action.

We’d like to shout out to the boys at Danai Surf & SUP in Orange, CA for donating some boards and sponsoring the event. We had an awesome time kicking it with those guys and getting some sick waves.

The USPFC dates back to 1967 in San Diego. Originally titled the “Police Olympics”, it was meant to promote physical fitness in hopes of reducing stress amongst police officers while increasing their professional abilities. Since then, the organization has gone international and now includes firefighters. More and more countries around the globe are adopting these competitions to support and enhance their police and fire servicemen.

Major props to all those participating in the short board, long board, and SUP competitions that commemorated each day.

To learn more about the United States Police & Fire Championships, check out their website at: http://www.uspfc.org/

AAA Westways Magazine Feature: First-Time Guide to Paddleboarding

Westways Magazine asked POP Paddleboards for a first time guide to paddleboarding.  Naturally, we were ready to help!

Here’s a short snippet of the article:

Choose the Right Board

SUP surfboards and SUP race boards are the two most popular board forms, although many people are experimenting with different ways to utilize SUP boards. SUP surfboards tend to be shorter, between 7 and 11 feet, whereas SUP race boards range from 12.5 feet to a towering 19 feet. SUP surfboards are an ideal choice for first-timers because their greater width offers increased stability. However, you may need to experiment to find the best board for you.

Dress for Success
No matter the season, your dress options should embody one word: waterproof. Beginners might even want to wear a wet suit. Even if you don’t expect to fall into the water, Rojas recommends water-repellent clothing, a hat, or a UV-protective rash guard. You’ll also want to apply plenty of sunscreen. In addition, California law mandates that anyone using a SUP board with a paddle must wear a life jacket.

Check out the rest of the article here!

Ambassador Spotlight: Jackie Connor’s Baja Sur Journey

This time around POP is spotlighting water(wo)man Jackie Connor and her journey to and through Baja Sur.
Baja Sur – Solo
Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, had their apprehensions about my solo trip to the small town of Pescadero in Baja Sur, Mexico.

I heard it all:

“You’re gonna get lost.” (Most realistic)
“You’re gonna end up in a body bag.” (Really?)
“You’re gonna get hacked up into small pieces and end up in a body bag buried in the middle of the desert.” (My personal favorite)
“You should write a will.” (Nice.)

Jackie_in_Baja,_MexThough my family and friends were adamantly turning my vacation into another sequel of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I refused to succumb to fear. In fact when they said these things, I only wanted to prove them wrong that much more. Though I really appreciated the legitimate concern, I didn’t want to change my schedule to nice “safe” Hawaii, nor compromise any part of my plan, especially after I was told I’d end up in a body bag. This was going to happen. Screw fear.

Aside from 90 percent of my surfing done alone, I’ve camped for five days along the Big Sur coastline in 2009 along with another trip to Hawaii in 2007. I was calling this a mild introduction to the wide world/rabbit hole of travel.

Reality didn’t set in until I stepped off the plane in San Jose del Cabo. Though the terrain looked like a familiar extension of southern California, sans houses and mini-malls, it still felt far away. I did it, I’m here…okay, now what.

After marveling at the first stamp in my passport, it occurred to me the next step was to find my rental car, among the flurry of time shares and vacation package sales reps salivating at the airport’s exit…Then and finally, onto Pescadero off highway 19…where ever that was.
It was Christmas Eve and I thought I had a rental car. Not so.

Despite the fact that I booked with the ironically named Advantage rental cars online, they said they did not have me on their reservation list. <Insert obvious ‘Advantage’ knee-slapper pun here.>

road_to_hotelAfter an hour of crocodile tears and shameless claims for refunds, they rented me a car for a pretty penny. Several hurried signatures and multiple broad maps later, I jumped into my car as fast as I could. They told me to take the road through Cabo San Lucas and turn right at a bull ring. Some guy smoking pot told me to take the toll road, but my mind was made up. I sped through the early evening dust to find highway 19 before the sun set. And the sun did set…right as I became thoroughly lost in Cabo San Lucas.
Should’ve listened to the pothead.

In the states, you get at least a three mile warning before you find your turn-off. In Mexico signs (including stop signs) do not matter. They might appear or they might not. This was evident as I almost t-boned a city bus while driving thru a very non-Americanized area of Cabo in the dark on Christmas Eve.

I ran into back alley dead-ends and skidded around random scurrying dogs. Hertz’s bright yellow emblem burned like Harry Potter’s Voldemort scar on the back of my rental’s trunk while sets of eyes followed my blonde noggin and pasty complexion. Anxiety balled up in the back of my throat and for a second, I considered the possibility of spending the night in my car on the side of the road.

After asking “Donde esta highway 19?” over and over to various convenient store clerks, random passerbys and gas station attendants, I eventually found my highway.  Taking a deep breath, I stared at my only company, a borrowed surfboard bag, which was propped up in the passenger seat before speeding off into the dark desert. If surfboard bags could talk, this one might know what to say as it’s seen many destinations, such as India and South America, thanks to my well-traveled buddy Sean’s severe travel bug. Half way through, I thought. I’m almost there, I can do this.

brosOutside of Cabo, there are no lights for anything except the occasional Pemex gas station. Darkness surrounded me while semis barreled past me, my eyes peeled for km 64 and a Pemex station.  Despite these set-backs, my faith never faltered. I knew everything was going to be alright. I could hear Sean echoing in the back of my mind: “Accept the fact that you’re going to get lost, Jackie,” he said as we carefully mapped out every step of my route the night before. “It’s just part of traveling. Besides, it’s not an adventure until you get lost.”

Eventually I found my way to the hotel through a couple of drunk local surfers who led me down a dark dirt road. At this point, my dwindling faith hung by a thread, the only legitimate sign about these locals was the wave drawn in the dust that caked their truck’s rear window. Nevertheless, they guided me and didn’t hesitate to invite me for drinks.

“No, gracias,” was my immediate response.

“There’s going to be waves tomorrow! Come surf Cerritos, chicaaa!” they chimmed while hanging out the truck windows.

Sean was almost as worried as my parents and demanded some form of contact when I arrived. His was the only number I wrote on paper for an emergency (my cell phone was null-and-void for multiple reasons). If there was ever an emergency, I knew he could be down there faster than any government agency. He knew exactly where I was and said if I didn’t contact him in 48 hours, he’d start driving. And he was serious. So, in order not to ruin his family’s holiday, I managed to call him via a nice San Diego couple’s cell phone laughing about the experience thus far. After thanking God multiple times, my tension finally eased as I fell asleep to the sound of crashing waves that pounded the shore outside of my casita at the San Pedrito Surf Hotel. Five days solo in Baja Sur–bring it on.

firingMerry Christmas, Yakie. As dawn crept over the mountains, I woke up to a chilly off-shore breeze. It was Christmas day and the point was well overhead. Surfers arrived in droves with longboards, shortboards, the occasional fish and SUPs. Though it was quite the crowded spot, I didn’t mind. The water was clear and 77 degrees with off-shore breezes combing the swell. With my board underarm, I plunged into the ocean to commence my vacation. The swell did not dip below shoulder high in my short five day trip.

I quickly made friends with locals, ex-pats and fellow travelers in the water.

Two days after Christmas came my birthday and I decided to surf Cerritos, a peaky sandy beach break. While surfing, I met two sweet fellows, Robert and Michael—brothers from Northern California–who immediately adopted me as their own. They did not hesitate to share their fresh food and tequila with me as well as take me on a tour of Todos Santos, a cute artsy town that sits right on the Tropic of Capricorn.

That evening we all returned to Todos Santos to check out one of the premier events, the annual fashion show, featuring local bikini line Belazul Swimwear fashioned by Todos Santos local chica, Joella Corado. Her husband, Kurtis, gave me a heads up about the show the day before, so when I announced my plans to my new-found friends, they quickly obliged to join. Between the colorful and tasteful fashion, bikinis and belly dancing and after party with a healthy supply of drinks and dancing, I decided this was the best birthday I could possibly have. And- none was planned. Not to mention an amazing sunset…who could ask for more?

My new motto: Plan to make no plans.

The guys and I accidentally left one of the truck windows down during the party…nothing was missing. Either there was a shamrock up my butt or the stereotypes are extremely far-fetched…but once outside of Cabo, I never felt unsafe in Baja Sur.

passportOn my last day, a new swell had arrived and the point was firing! All types of people were on it early. However, the water temp did not compensate for the Aussie who shoved me off a wave. After the rude awakening, I made a valiant effort for more waves but soon resolved that reality was waiting for me at the airport and I still had not eaten a fish taco.

Fish Taco/Airport > Crowded Point
And God help me if I missed my flight…my next adventure had me turning right back around days later and crossing the U.S./Mexico border, again, with six boys.

Next Destination: Parts unknown
Objective: Uncrowded waves

Sean, no doubt, was twiddling his thumbs til I arrived, his bags already packed.
Solo or not, I’ll be back, Baja! Count on it!

To learn more about Jackie and her solo adventures feel free to check out her blog at http://confessionsofasurfergirl.com/.

Keep the Water, Keep the Peace: Preserve Stand-Up Paddle Boarding for Future Generations

The crew at POP is proud to be a part of the Water Keeper alliance and will be a sponsor of their 2nd annual Stand-Up for Clean Water race this Earth Day on Saturday April 20th. The event starts at 9am and ends at 2pm and will feature paddleboard demos, SUP lessons, yoga on the beach, as well as a couple pre-race clinics.

The main event will be the 5 Mile Elite Race where experienced stand up paddle board riders go head-to-head for the number one spot. There will also be a 1 Mile Fun Race for those just looking to have a good time.

The Waterkeeper Alliance is a worldwide organization comprised of “on-the-water advocates” that are dedicated to preserving and protecting hundreds of thousands of miles of rivers, streams and coastlines. Waterkeeper’s recognize that over a billion people have limited access to clean drinking water and want to offer communities a way to exercise their right to clean water as well as for the wise and equitable use of water resources, both locally and globally.

The LA Waterkeepers work to restore Santa Monica Bay, San Pedro Bay, and nearby waterways through enforcement, fieldwork, and empowering local communities to take action.

POP Paddleboards supports the Watekeeper cause as it preserves the key ingredient to our lifestyle in a legal and ethical manner. We want to empower our supporters to take a stand and do their part to maintain a clean and safe environment for future generations of standup paddle boarders. Check out the Stand Up for CleanWater Race to rep your love for mother nature, rep your love for the water, or just come down to have an awesome time and get your paddle on.

Where: 415 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica, CA

When: Earth Day! Saturday, April 20th of the two thousandth and thirteenth year.

What Time: 9a-2p

Why: Because you’re awesome!

Ambassador Spotlight: Mike H.

Every once in a while at POP we take the time to showcase seemingly ordinary folks who perform some extraordinary feats, on and off the ocean.

We would like you to meet Mike. Mike doesn’t surf, he’s not a paddle boarder, and we’re pretty sure he can’t even swim.  It’s safe to say he’s not your stereotypical waterman, ripped and draped from head to toe in tribal tattoos. He’s a regular guy who works a regular job manipulating website code (We don’t even want to know what that means).  On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be too much to Mike.

So why have we decided to shine the spotlight on him? Because Mike is the shit. He’s the type of guy who chooses to spend his hard earned vacation days making the world a better place. That’s right; the two weeks he is afforded each year to take care of himself he takes care of others in need. Does he do this by anonymously donating mountains of money to nonprofit organizations? No. He personally visits orphanage after orphanage, doing whatever he can to make a child’s life brighter. Dude, the guy has built a house. A HOUSE. Cliché or not, it’s people like Mike that restore our faith in humanity.

POP Paddleboards is not all about big names or the “who’s who” in the industry. It’s not just about good paddle boarders, it’s about good people. Good people who are too easily and often overlooked, yet do more for our planet than anyone would ever guess. That’s why Mike is the shit and that’s why we’ve shone the light on him.

In recognition of his actions, POP Paddleboards would like to award Mike with a free Green 10’6” Classico along swimming lessons at Swim Safe Swim School (swimsafeswimschool.info) in Orange, CA. Thanks Mike.
If you would like to be featured on POP’s next ambassador spotlight send us an email telling us why you’ve got what it takes. Next winner will receive a free hat!

Now get to the water.

Too Much Water for Hate

The ocean is a large and unpredictable place. Tides rise and fall, temperatures fluctuate, waves form, and sands shift. However, across all oceans and beaches there is one constant: a bitter rivalry amongst watermen. Body boarders despising short boarders, short boarders annoyed with long boarders, and long boarders sick of paddle boarders. It is to the point where beaches have established rules that segregate each group from sharing the water. How did it get to this point and is it possible for these groups to coexist peacefully? All of us at POP Paddleboards respect the rules of the water, but that doesn’t mean we won’t question them from time to time.

Boarders far and wide have one thing in common and that is that they want to have a good time. Sure, it may be easier for body boarders to catch waves than it is for short boarders, but that’s no reason to prevent the two from sharing the same break. The same goes for SUP surfers and long boarders.   Nobody owns the ocean except Mother Nature herself. Separating individuals based on their preferred board type is too extreme and alienates people who just want to surf.  Moreover, it perpetuates a deeper divide amongst watermen increasing overall tension.

Surfing, body boarding, and paddle boarding are sports driven by passion and should not be characterized by elitist rules. Encouraging respect amongst riders and adopting a mentality of giving and taking may be the answer for oceanic harmony amongst surfers.

Keep the peace:

  • Respect a rider’s right-of-way
  • If you’re paddle surfing don’t hog all the sets
  • Keep an eye out for the uninitiated
  • Stay salty

POP Paddleboards encourages our riders be mindful of fellow boarders and kick them over a wave or two. Just because you can catch every wave that comes your way doesn’t mean you should. If everyone adopts these values the water would be a more inclusive and fun place.

Poppin’ New Years

On behalf of the crew and ambassadors at POP Paddleboards we would like to send out our good vibes and wish everyone a killer 2013. We have a feeling that this is going to be an unforgettable year with plenty of sunshine, surf, and great opportunities to stand up and paddle.  We realize how lucky we’ve been this past year to do what we love and share it with people around the globe. Our resolution is to improve our paddle boards and make it even easier to get out and paddle by continuing to offer  free shipping/free paddle with every SUP purchase. We’ve been busy preparing for the launch of our new line of boards–so get ready for an annoucement in the next few days.