29th Nov 2011 - Product
WHAT'S SUP DUDE?
It brings great delight to write the word 'Ambassador' at the beginning of a sentence especially when you know that this is the beginning of a new chapter or era.
We have been talking at Riz HQ for a while now about finding the right people to represent the brand, fly the flag and work alongside us.
It was an absolute joy then when I recently got a call out of the blue from a chap mentioning to me that he wears Riz Boardshorts already all year around, loves the brand, is the current Uk long distance Stand Up Paddle champion, sounds like a really great guy and wants to work together!
I introduce to you Mr. Ryan James.
After getting off the phone and being excited by Ryan's energy, proactiveness and professionalism it also felt great to be working with someone not from the tradtional 'surf world'. This evolution of surfing seems to fit well also with our evolution as a traditional boardshort brand. A brand for Watermen. The fact that Ryan wears his shorts all year around in our chilly waters just adds extra awesomeness and exciting posibilities between us.
So as a little introduction into Ryan, the world of 'SUPing' and views on wearing boardies all year around read our conversation below:
Riz: Can you tell me a little bit about how you got into Stand up Paddle boarding and why?
RJ: I got into SUP by accident. I went on my first snowboarding trip and ruptured my AC joint in my shoulder and had to have 6 months off doing any exercise linked with my shoulder. I used to kite surf, wake board and do my own conditioning work so I was dying at home doing nothing, then a friend bought me the Laird Hamilton book (force of nature) read the thing in a day, saw stand up paddle boarding, went straight on eBay bought my 1st board and paddle to help with my shoulder rehab , it must be 2 1/2 years ago now.
Riz: What's the SUP scene like in the UK at the moment?
RJ: The scene is really progressive at the moment, UK wise we have a national winter series called Frost bite series and a national summer series called the summer sizzler series which is supported by about 50 paddlers. Starboard is now starting a a more low key event called the coke bottle series to encourage more people into the racing and surfing scene. Internationally it’s massive in the states and the Hawaiian islands where it can be a full time business “Battle of the Paddle” (BOP) has over 1500 competitors over 2 days.
Riz: You are an amazing all round athlete having been a professional triathlete and Iron Man. Did you need this level of fitness and drive to start SUPing?
RJ: It really helped me with the training side, as I could and still can take a lot from what I did back in the triathlon days and it’s great to be able to pass that on to the guys that don’t have that background which means get to learn form some of the worlds best paddlers.
Riz: How does paddle boarding compare to surfing?
RJ: When I was in the states in college I used to have a 6’1” reverse V thruster and it was great, the waves here just aren't good enough consistently and I was just getting cold, now I’m in my boardies all year round even in the snow! Having a sp is so versatile it can work at most breaks I surf on either my Starboard 8’10” wide point or 10’5” Drive
Riz: What's a typical day like for you?
RJ: I work as a college lecturer teaching nutrition, strength and conditioning, personal training and injury therapies and then out training for 1-2 hours either before or after work, it’s important to get tome on the water some guys I compete against have been bought up like waterman their whole lives, so I have a lot of catching up to do
Riz: Can you see surfers swapping their short boards for the big SUP beauties because of the surf conditions in the UK?
RJ: Absolutely as Gerry Lopez aid you’re pretty much better off with a stand up board wherever you are. Whether you’re short, long, kite boarding, wind surfing or on a SUP it’s still surfing and people are getting in the water which is a great thing.
Riz: You wear boardshorts a lot when you paddle, which we naturally love. If only surfers
could be as hard as you in these chilly waters! I take it you don't fall in a lot?
RJ: Well the boardies are just so comfortable and wetsuits so constricting and hot over any distance, so the motivation is not to fall in! People think I’m slightly insane when they see me in boardies and it’s snowing!
Riz: You are the current national paddle board distance champion, which is amazing, what is next for you?
RJ: Well I’m currently ranked about 2nd in Europe, so to a gain the European title would be amazing and also to make top 20 this year at BOP California is also a major goal. Outside competition I want to create a bigger race and surf scene in this country and get as many people on Boards and in boardies as possible. I would also like to do an extreme expedition paddle at some point also I have an idea of SUPing glacial melt waters which would be a crazy!
Riz: As you are in the water everyday and have been for many years, do you see an environmental impact on our coastlines?
RJ: Yeah this is a major problem on our coasts and river systems. So much is floating out there, I always come back with stuff on my board. It seems that as many people that care about our oceans, there seems to be double that just don’t think about what impact throwing plastics in our waters has. You can’t change the world, so I try and reach as many people as I can through SUP and I try and leave the beach a little bit cleaner than when I arrived for the session.
Riz: If you could be anywhere right now where would it be?
RJ: Maui or the Mentawai islands
Riz: If you could design your perfect pair of boardies what would they be like?
RJ: I like my boardies simple and understated and retro so block colours with a subtle pattern in the block colours, I love the Blade short in Morris-sea ghost, coal and also paisley!
For more info on Ryan check his sites below: