Representing SUP Surf in a Positive Light Gains Respect in Hawaii

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Frank Forbes Bluesmiths SUP Hawaii
Global Partner

We’ve known SUP soul surfer, Frank Forbes a long time. From his time in Montauk through building & shaping his SUPSonic boards, to marrying Hilda (goddess among women) and having Indy, their small wild flower daughter, Frank Forbes has represented the sport of SUP since the beginning.

Here’s a story of one of Frank’s recent adventures on Hawaii.  In it, Frank shows what it is to gain respect as a stand up paddle surfer in the line up of aggressive males.  It’s about respect. To get it, you give it. To own it, you’ve to put the work in. Here’s how:

Frank Forbes Bluesmiths SUP Hawaii
Frank Forbes earns his respect in the line up by waiting his turn, holding his ground and then sticking it … hard. You can learn a lot from a guy like Frank. Photo by: Hilda Forbes

Respect in the Lineup:  Hold Your Ground & Know Your Skills

Last weekend’s south swell had me dust off my SUP and head to my favorite south shore surf spot.

I got out my favorite SUP board which is pink, got out my paddle, slipped on my Bluesmiths Surf Trunks and my bright pink Bluesmiths long sleeve Kahaha top.

As usual there were guys in the water already on surfboards.

I paddled out to the line up. I could feel the dislike of SUP vibe that the surfers were sending my way. Which, like all the hate I have encountered before, I ignored.

I waited for every surfer to catch a wave. Then, it was my turn. The surfers did not want to give me a wave, but I held my ground and took the next set wave that came my way.

The takeoff was both steep and late with a bit of an air drop into a barreling wave. I stuck the takeoff and pulled up high and tight for a tiny cover up.

Then, I paddled back out to the line up and waited my turn for another wave. Again, a set wave came … and again, it was a steep late drop to a fast turn and down-the-line firing wave face. I made the drop, pumped down the line, made a big bottom turn then carved up giant turn up the lip and kicked out with a smile on my face.

That’s when a surfer paddled right over to say something to me.

I am so used to confrontation, I almost expected to be barked or yelled at for just riding my SUP.

The surfer paddled right up to me and he said, “I’m not a fan of SUP and was very concerned and bummed when I saw you break out your paddleboard to surf here. I was more freaked out when you paddled out in the lineup on your SUP wearing head-to-toe bright pink. 

I thought to myself, ‘This guy is a SUPERKOOK and is going to be dangerous and out of control.’

Then, I watched you surf and you took off deeper than most of the surfers out here and stuck two very steep, critical air drops. You ripped those waves on your SUP like I have not seen before.  I enjoyed watching you surf your SUP.  Welcome to the lineup.”

This was the first time in 13 years of SUP surfing that a surfer, and total stranger, complimented me on my SUP surfing. I am glad to see SUP surfing finally getting appreciated by the surfers.

Compliments feel much better than confrontations!”

– Frank Forbes
Makena, Hawaii