We headed off to La Jolla (San Diego), California a few weeks ago. This is a trip that we often make, the beach, the community, the people, are all very familiar to us. Typically we spend a lot of time jumping between the ocean and the hotel pool, but sadly most of the time is spent at the pool trying to warm-up. This year, things were different though, we brought two stand up paddle boards.
I've been playing around on RAMP's product for the last couple of years…in the snow. Earlier this year, Mike (RAMP's CEO) had informed me that they were distributing SUP's, and these boards where super cool because they were inflatable and very easy to transport. He also told me that they were easy to use, and most importantly, a lot of fun. So when we decided to rip down to California for a long weekend, I called Mike to see if I could borrow a couple boards from him. Space was an issue, as four of us would be traveling in a VW Jetta Wagon (with a rocket box on top). I was very skeptical that we could fit all of our standard gear in the car...let alone two paddle board set-ups (Board, Paddle, Pump, and Life Jacket). The boards come packed in a bag that is about 40" tall and about 30" round, everything I mentioned above stuffed into them and the two of them easily fit into the medium size Thule rocket box, along with 2 boogie boards a skim board, 4 wetsuits and all the towels.
If you think like my wife and I, you're wondering how long it will take to get these inflated and into the water, are they really as easy to build-up as Mike mentioned. Our car was parked in the basement garage of the hotel, so I went down and started to get things laid out, but by the time my wife made it down to the garage I already had them both filled with air and only needed to simply attach the fins and leash. Without ever rigging one of these before, it only took about 40 minutes, and I'll note this now, putting them away was just as easy.
Our first couple trips out on the water we pushed through the shore-break waves and got beyond them as quickly as possible. The beach in this area is long with tons of space to cruise up and down the shoreline well beyond the break. We both spent our share of time in the water on the first couple sessions, but we quickly picked up how to stand on the boards and how to maneuver them. With that we decided to try and catch some waves, we spent hours out in the surf, catching small waves with brief rides.
My take away on the "fun" aspect of the inflatable SUPs is that we spent waaaay more time hanging in the ocean this year. I'm pretty sure it's because you are up out of the water, rather than lying on a surfboard partially submerged in the water (which is a lot of time in the water when you are a rookie surfer like myself). So less time in the pool and more time in the ocean, a good thing when you live in Utah (I can sit in a pool all day in Park City). We had heard it is hard to catch waves on an inflatable SUP, not so in my opinion, even for first timers! If the waves had been a bit bigger, I think it would have even been easier. And to reiterate, the set-up is extremely easy, as was transporting them.
RAMP is carrying the C4 WATERMAN products. We used the:
C4 iSUP BK Pro in the 10'11" model. I'm 6'2" tall and weight 175 pounds and found the length to be perfect in the ocean. I think for what we would use this board for, the 10'11" model would be what I would buy.
This summer, when you purchase a board from RAMP, you receive a free 2mm Camero wetsuit!
—By Jay Burke, freelance writer