News

Almost too cold?

Early morning paddles have been so cold lately it's been crazy huh?

I reckon it's time I let you know about Probe Wetsuits!

Probe are a dive wetsuit company based in Victoria. They started several years back, after one of the guys left Rip Curl after about 25 years in their design department and he teamed up with another very experienced diver.They know their stuff! What they have produced is a very good "dive" wetsuit based on surfing wetsuit design that is so comfortable that you would not know it's a dive wetsuit!

In winter I wear one of their 3mm IDry steamers and I have just started wearing the IDry 3mm hood and their 0.5mm Insulator gloves. This is a really good combination for normal surfing or stand up paddling or kitesurfing in cold weather.

The steamer has a nice high neck with smooth rubber inside so it seals out the water really well. It has a full lining of quick dry material as well, so it feels extra snug when you put it on and it dries out really quickly from your previous surf.

The neck of the hood overlaps the neck of the steamer and that helps keep the water out a lot too. The hood also seals pretty well against your face. They have thicker hoods and wetties, but the 3mm is all you need here in Victoria. having a warm head makes a huge difference to how long you can stay in the water on a cold morning!

These wetsuits are superb quality. All super stretch rubber with back zips, so they are very easy to get on and off. The zippers have unique overlapping teeth that also help keep the water out. The neoprene quality is fantastic too.The rubber is higher density than the rubber used in wetties purely for surfing. This is because in diving the rubber is subject to higher pressure being under the water. This is one reason why you don't need the typical 4/3mm steamer that everyone in Victoria wears. A 3mm suit is sufficient in the Probe rubber!

Following several mornings of having hands like ice blocks, I realized that SUPing in Victoria on cold mornings you just have to have gloves on. The challenge is finding gloves that are thin enough to still give you good grip on the paddle but still warm enough to make a difference. If the gloves are too thick you can actually get tired hands and arms when you are paddling!

I have listed most of the Probe range in our webstore so you can check them out.

One last thing - feet! One thing that I have found after 45 years of surfing in Victoria is that you don't need the typical calf high booties that most people around here buy. We use Balin Low Cut Reef Boots.  If your body and head is warm in the water, you will notice that your feet don't get cold at all.The time your feet get the coldest is walking back to the car park when you have gotten out of the water. The Balin boots are way easier to get on and off and much easier to dry out as well.

We have a small amount of their gear in stock, but I can give you a special deal based on a pre-pay arrangement where will will get in to stock what you need, and if necessary post it out to you. If you use the code WETTIES when you check out, you will get a 15% discount off everything in our wetsuits and accessories collection (valid till the end of July 2017). We will then order in in for you and let you know when it arrives.

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Don't buy a RED Paddle board online until you read this!

We had a call recently from a lady who was not quite sure what type of paddle board to buy. As always, we like to ask lots of questions of our customers to try to help them work out what the best type of paddle board is for them to buy.

It turned out that for this particular lady, a RED Inflatable stand up paddle board was going to be the best board for her. She thanked me for my time and assistance and asked the price and what came in the package. She then went about looking for the best deal she could find elsewhere.

She very nicely phoned me back to say she had found a better deal online elsewhere. I asked her to send me the link as I couldn't believe that she could get a deal in Australia for about $250.00 less than what we offer and I searched online to the best of my ability and could not find it anywhere. So I went to the website she sent me a link to. 

It turned out that the website she linked to was in the UK. They have their prices in Australian dollars, and advertise free* world wide shipping. The * lead to a condition that the "free" world wide shipping did not apply to SUP boards, inflatable or otherwise. The cost to Australia was 70.00GBP or about $118.00AUD. Another thing she had not considered was that her import of a SUP board would be subject to GST, about another $130.00. So when taking all that in to account she was no better getting no better deal from the UK website than she would get from us!

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Why we sell RED Paddle inflatable SUP boards

Why we sell RED Paddle inflatable SUP boards.

  1. RED Paddle are one of the only companies who specialize in inflatables. They do the R & D – all the others try to copy but can’t.
  2. RED Paddle are the best! (don’t buy any other brand, just don’t, it’s not worth it, no matter how much you think you might save!)
  3. RED Paddle have the greatest variety of sizes and shapes available. More choice for you!
  4. RED Paddle are the strongest boards on the market. Recommended inflation level is 25 PSI, most others are 15 PSI). This board will outlast the others by far.
  5. RED Paddle honour their 12 month warranty. Peace of mind for YOU!
  6. RED Paddle supply the best pump on the market. Pump your board up easier and faster!
  7. RED Paddle have the best quality bag. Will not let you down!
  8. RED Paddle boards are not only the strongest they are also the lightest. Easier to carry and load in to the car.
  9. RED Paddle fins are virtually unbreakable. No problems for you with fins.
  10. RED Paddle boards are the stiffest, so therefore paddle the best.
  11. RED Paddle construction, called MSP Fusion is absolutely airtight. You can inflate the board once and leave it and you won’t have to pump it up again until you deflate it. Other boards deflate slowly. And it’s stiff and stronger and light. I already said that but it’s so important that it’s worth repeating!
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Inflatable or Hard SUP board?

When should you buy an inflatable SUP board and when should you buy a traditional (hard) stand up paddle board?

Each type of board has some distinct advantages over the other. Like all surfboard designs, what you gain in one area you lose in another. It's a constant game of swings and roundabouts.

The first question to ask yourself is this - Am i going to ride waves on my SUP? If you are not already a surfer, the learning curve to get to the point where you can ride seriously good waves on a SUP board is quite high. If you're not really going to surf, but instead be a recreational paddler on mostly flat water, you should think seriously about getting an inflatable board. If  you want to surf, get a hard board.

Next question - do you have storage or transport problems that make a hard stand up paddle board difficult to have? Do you drive a small convertible? Do you live in an high rise apartment with no garage storage? If you answered yes to any of these questions, an inflatable SUP might be the answer to your problems.

One more question - is the cost of ownership an issue for you? e.g. if you have a hard board, you will probably "ding" it, and if you ding it you'll need to either repair it yourself or have someone like us fix it for you. The chances of you "dinging" (damaging) a good quality inflatable board are extremely low.

I hope that helps! The key thing is that you get out on the water and have a great time, and that will happen no matter what type of SUP you get. Our job is to help you get the best SUP for your lifestyle and use.

 

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New boards in stock

We have heaps of new boards in the shop now. Our own Stonker brand, RED Paddle, Blue Planet, Oahu SIx and most importantly our new StonkBox. If you want a high performance SUP, the StonkBox re-writes all the rules about how you expect a board to look and perform. Go to our online store to check them out and come to the shop or one of our demo days and take one for a paddle. Watch the videos on YouTube like this one from Rick Pettifer riding the board that the StonkBox was modelled on - the Gulliver VBox. We have made some slight adjustments to improve the size range and performance of this iconic board.

If  you want some great instructional videos, go no further than the Blue Planet YouTube channel. I recently met Rob Stehlik who you will see on the Blue Planet videos. A very humble guy and a true gentleman, and he has a wealth of knowledge regarding stand up paddle boarding. While he was here in Torquay he was the Male Open winner of the SUP division of "The Impossible", an open water paddle race from  Barwon Heads to Torquay via Point Impossible. I am told he has in the past won his age division in the famous Molokai event in Hawaii.

We are looking to an exciting summer and hope it gets here soon!

See you in the shop and on the water!

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New SUP boards are on the way

We have been getting our summer stock of SUP boards made overseas now for the past 6 years. We have used several different factories over that time, but for about the last 4 years I knew of one particular factory that I wanted to use, but because of our low volumes we weren't able to meet their minimum order quantity. So this year we placed our order with this factory, and I must say it has been an absolute pleasure working with them. For you, the customer, this means that you will be getting a superior quality product at a real value-for-money price. Mid-winter we received our prototypes and with just a little bit of fine-tuning, the finished products are now on the water and will be in the shop late October.

What's different about this years stand up paddle board? Most of the boards come in two levels of construction - FULL STRENGTH and LITE. The LITE boards are around 10% lighter, and an industry standard 2 * 6oz fibreglass layup with reinforcing patches in key areas. The FULL STRENGTH boards feature a deck that is first laminated with carbon fibre cloth, then genuine bamboo laminate (not just a print that some cheap boards have) with 6oz fibreglass over that. This deck is rock solid and will last quite a bit longer than the cheap boards on the market.

The FULL STRENGTH boards also feature the LIFTSUP handle. You can see from the pictures here that the handle pops up and you can get a decent grip on the board. This is much better to control the board with when you are out of the water, especially if it's a bit windy. When you are in the water, the handle just pushes back down in to the recess. It's a pretty neat design!

We also have a lot more boards to choose from this year and we will be continually adding to our range, in order to provide you with the most comprehensive range of boards available from an Australian based manufacturer. Being based in Torquay, we are really fortunate to have good surf for at least 9 months of the year and lots of different breaks so we can test ride our new designs for you. It's a tough job but someone has to do it!

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Looking after your SUP board

Now that you have invested in one of the best SUP boards on the market, you want to look after it, right? 
1. Do not leave the boards in the sun or store them where they will get hot. This includes your car on a hot day and even on the roof of your car for a long time in the sun. This is more of an issue in Queensland  than in Tasmania, but even in Tassy it could be an issue. We had a customer bring in a board (not one of ours - another brand that was made in QLD) to us today that he had used in QLD and half the deck has de-laminated - repairable but costly.
2. Give the boards a hose down with fresh water  after use every now and then, especially if they are being stored for a long time in between uses. A weekly rinse would be good over summer for example. This is mainly to prolong the life of the deck grip, which won't last forever, but if you rinse the salt off regularly it may last a bit longer.
3. SUP boards are like any surfboard - fragile! If you knock them or drop them or collide with another paddler or surfer, always check for damage. If the fibreglass is cracked or damaged to the point that water will get in, it needs to be fixed. If the damage occurs in the water, get out of the water and get the board fixed before you use it again. Please make sure that the repairer uses epoxy resin and not polyester resin as polyester resin will cause more damage. We will soon be listing little repair kits on our store which are worth having to do small repairs yourself. 5 minute Araldyte will do the job too, in an emergency.
4. Always make sure you are in water deep enough that your fin is not dragging on sand or (even worse) rocks. See the board in the *picture? The customer who owns this board was sure he had not done anything to damage it. Looking at the tip of the fin, I could tell it had been ridden in to very shallow water and at some stage enough pressure had been applied to the fin to half rip the fin box out of the board.He said "they should be strong enough to withstand being ridden in to the sand"! Well, the fin is designed to work in water, not sand! He thought he had a warranty claim. I asked, "If he bought a car and later drove in to a pole would you be claiming that the car should handle hitting a pole without being damaged?" This repair will cost him at least $120.00 to have done. We repair surfboards and SUP boards all the time - it's a bit of a fact of life that if you own a board you WILL damage it at some time. Accidents happen - but don't be careless - use your noggin' a bit!
*bit hard to see what's going on here. The center fin box is being replaced. The yellow stuff above the masking tape is expanding polyurethane foam that we have to use to fill in the whole where the old fin box came out. They grey thing behind the foam is a lead weight to push the fibreglass back down that was lifted by the fin box getting ripped out. A bit more work to go to restore it to it's former glory!
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Selecting a SUP board

The chances are if you are buying a stand up paddle board for the first time, you don't really know what you need to buy! Right?

How long should it be?

How wide does it need to be?

How thick?

How much should I pay?

Is it risky buying the cheapies?

Well, if you find yourself asking yourself these questions, this is when you need to talk to the experts at Stonker! We will ask you a whole range of questions to work out exactly what is the right type of board for you. Where will you be paddling? How often? What are your goals etc, etc, etc!

Don't just buy this board or any other board online. If you are in the Melbourne, Geelong or Surf Coast, take the time to come to visit us and talk to us in person and get the right advice so you buy the right board at the right price! We have been making and riding SUP boards for over 10 years - we know what we are doing. And if we can't help you with the right type of board, we will refer you on to someone who can help you.

Don't buy a board on line that you have not even seen, from an "invisible" salesperson that you have not even talked to, just to save a few hundred dollars! OK - I know we have our boards listed in our online store, but they are really there to show you what we have, not for you to buy online. It really is worth coming in to the store for a chat, just to make sure you are buying the right board.
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