Thursday, July 19, 2012

is this your SUP man of the year?

     If you don't know this guy, you should.  This smiling face belongs to Shane Perrin, one of the baddest-ass paddlers in the Midwest... and probably the world.  Almost everything Shane has done on a standup board in the past few years has been a 'first'.  First SUP to do the MR340, a multi stage race covering 340 miles of the Missouri river.  First SUP to race the 179-mile La Ruta Maya Belize Challenge.  And most recently, Shane completed The Texas Water Safari, considered the world's toughest canoe race... 260 miles non-stop.

I love this shot... check out the paddlers in the canoe looking at Shane like, "What the hell is this guy doing?"

     While there are other athletes out there doing ultra-endurance standup paddling, what's unique about Shane is that he's entering all these canoe and kayak races.  From the start, he's had to fight just to enter these races, organizers telling him there's no way a SUP could even finish their event.  Then, once he convinced them to let him enter, the real pressure was on.  If he'd failed to complete any of these events, the "I told you so's" would have been heard around the world.  Fortunately for all of us who love SUP, Shane is not a guy to give up on anything.  He not only finished but placed pretty well in all these events, and now Standup is definitely on the radars of all the top river race organizers.

     Shane has recently been recognized for his work through a SUP Connect nomination for SUP Man of the Year.  Here's why I think he should win:

     Besides the fact that these are some of the biggest paddles anyone has done on a SUP, Shane has done his paddles in rivers in the middle of America.  Shane's been bringing SUP culture to a part of the country that thus far has missed the sport completely, still happily plying the waters in canoes and kayaks.  Not that there's anything wrong with canoes or kayaks... I'm happy to see people get out on the water any way they can.  Unfortunately, to a lot of these conventional paddlers SUP has been seen as little more than a passing fad or an extension of surf culture only fit for coastal locales.  Shane has proved that SUP athletes can do anything our paddling brethren in canoes and kayaks can, which exposes and authenticates our sport to a huge number of people that love the water but most of whom never thought SUP was for them.

     For all these reasons, Shane has my vote for SUP Connect SUP Man of the Year.  You can vote for Shane, or any of the other nominated paddlers, by going to the SUP Connect Facebook Page.  I hope you will!

     On the local scene, we have a bit of wind in the forecast, so drop what you're doing and get to the beach!  I had two nice SUP surf sessions yesterday on the small waves that came in on the beginnings of this cold front.  Today and tomorrow look to be even better.  Windsurf, surf or SUP downwinder... these are the glory days of wind, waves and warm water that we'll all be remembering in January.  See you out there!

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