SUP (stand up paddle surfing) is a sport that has rapidly gained popularity around the world in the last 10 years. The rider stands on a large board and uses a light paddle. On SUP-boards one can cruise along the shore, run rivers, and of course - ride waves.
A special feature of the sport is accessibility. Five minutes is enough to learn how to glide along smooth water. The only thing you need is a wide, stable beginner’s board. Balance develops very quickly, and literally within a couple of hours one can feel confident on a narrower sport board that is suitable for high speed riding and traveling. Catching waves is harder and takes practice. Still, SUP-surfing is easier than classic surfing and not so dependent on conditions; it is possible to ride waves as small as 30 cm (12 inches).
The best place for SUP-surfing in Vladivostok is Sobol (Sable) Bay. Due to the special topography of the seabed there, waves are just right and flow over a long distance.
The only negative aspect of "sap-boards" is their size (about 3 meters or 10 feet), implying the need to have a house by the sea or a garage and car to transport them. But that problem has been resolved: a few years ago, inflatable SUP-boards appeared. They pump up to very high pressure and become rigid; deflated they fit into a special backpack. The inflatable "sap" is particularly popular with residents of Vladivostok, where conditions are just wonderful for SUP-surfing.
Yacob Ulkin, director of SUP equipment shop "Third Wave"
"It all started in 2010 when we got carried away by our enthusiasm for surfing. To catch all waves, even the smallest ones, we bought a SUP-board and began learning to ride. We didn’t think that simply gliding on smooth water would be very interesting, but there is something special in this that words cannot convey. It’s like meditation. Try it once and you’ll fall in love with this pastime forever. We’re now putting a lot of effort into development of the sport: setting up “test drives” at city festivals and holding competitions (speed races)"
Currently SUP surfing is a very popular sport in Vladivostok. On a clear day, hundreds of people ride along the coast. Favorite SUP routes are the lighthouse on Basargin Peninsula, the beautiful cape of Tobizina, around sunken ships in Trud (Labor) Bay, and, of course, Shkot Island with its many caves and lagoons.
Enthusiasts of SUP-surfing even ride in the winter! For experienced riders the risk of falling off the board into the cold water is minimal. So, at temperatures just above zero (freezing) one can comfortably ride in an ordinary wet suit. In winter, our sea looks completely different. The water is very clear, and floating ice floes form stunning geometric patterns. And if you’re lucky, you might see seals because in winter they are not afraid to swim up and bask on the ice right in the city.
In Vladivostok, you can rent an inflatable SUP-board for a day or more, get brief instruction on the art of riding and safety directly in the shop, and go out to conquer the coastal bays on your own or together with friends. Another option is to sign up for a SUP-walk. With other beginners you’ll have a short excursion under the supervision of an experienced guide. Some of the beautiful photos taken during these walks can be seen on Instagram pages @sup_vl and @sunny.sup
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