St. Patrick’s Day 2012 we saw the first ever Stand Up Paddle Surfing heat in a St. Augustine Florida Eastern Surfing Association contest. Over the past several years SUP surfing has grown in popularity to the point where the surfing community has seen the need to include it in the regular amateur ESA surf contests. This is a huge step forward for our sport, and a building block for attracting more talented surfers to standing up and riding waves.
With a swell of 2.6 feet at 9 second intervals and light offshore winds, a low tide around 11 a.m. meant contestable conditions in the knee to waist high range and clean. Only 5 competitors signed up for the SUP division meant that only one heat was run at around 1 p.m. with incoming tide and an increasing onshore wind. Local paddlers Tony Lippi, Ed Toy and Tony Malara competed against J.D. Motes from Jacksonville, and our only female competitor Sami Gresham.