Thursday, May 8, 2014

Raves and Rants


Spring has taken its' sweet time getting here, but it looks like it has finally arrived.  The water is still a little on the cool side, but everyone at the shop is finally getting out on the water with some regularity. Yay!
I  had a great time at the Carolina Cup a couple weeks ago  and hope to get around to posting a full recap in the near future. Just in case I don't, let me say now, "It was an awesome event." Yay!

Testing out the Surftech 14' Bark Dominator

East of Maui started our weekly Tuesday Night Group Paddles this past week, and will continue all Summer, weather permitting. Yay!

Details: Join East of Maui for a weekly Stand Up Paddle around Annapolis.  We paddle out at 6pm.  Suitable for  recreational paddlers, however,  this is sometimes an open water paddle, and is not recommended for 1st time paddlers. We are happy to pass on some paddling tips , but the Group Paddle is not a lesson.
We will usually paddle about 2 1/2 miles with a longer option for more experienced paddlers
This a FREE event if you have your own board.  Rental boards available by advance reservation $20.
Stop by or call East of Maui for more information.

A Typical Tuesday Night! 

Some Great Upcoming Events: 

May 31st. Bliss on the Bay:
Bliss On The Bay is Baltimore’s premiere SUP race event. The day will include different levels of stand up paddle board (SUP) races, a corporate challenge event, and will be followed in the afternoon by Ultimate Watersports' annual Paddlefest! In addition to the events taking place throughout the day, there will be a racers’ village for attendees to visit throughout the duration of the event.  

June 1st. Surf Swap Challenge

The Surf Swap Challenge is an event that covers all levels of stand up paddleboarding. It is a full day of racing, eating, and enjoying a wonderful day on the bay at Fager’s Island Bar & Restaurant, 60th St. & the Bay, Ocean City, MD.Proceeds from the event will go to the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.  Dawn runs a great event. This is a don't miss!
July 12th. The East of Maui/Eastport Yacht Club Chesapeake Challenge. This an open water race set in Annapolis Harbor and the mouth of the Severn River. There will be two course options: The 6.5 mile Challenge for more experienced paddlers and a 3-3.5 mile Challenge suitable for more novice paddlers. Both courses can be subject to wind, chop, and boat traffic. This is a MASRA (Mid-Atlantic SUP Racing Association) Points Event.
Food, drinks, awards, and live music following the race.


Buyer Beware

As the sport of Stand Up continues to explode,  more and more people are getting into the business from from all sides. 
From the manufacturing side, it seems like everyday I get phone call from overseas, from somebody wanting to build boards for me CHEAP! I have been the board business a long time, you get what you pay for. A turd with a fancy paint job is still a turd. Sorry,  I don't want to sell turds. 
It also came to my attention this spring, that there is an online company that has copied/stolen the designs of a well know brand, and then are having them built using inferior materials, and then trying to pass them off as the real deal "but with different graphics". Buyer beware!   -Boo!

From the retail side, there are a lot of people selling Stand Up. There are many quality retailers that know what they are doing, and do a great job matching up the customer with the right equipment. -Yay! Unfortunately there are many people selling boards that have no clue. It really is a bummer to hear that someone bought a board that is totally unsuited for them. Instead of being stoked on an awesome sport, they are turned off, maybe for ever. -Boo!

 Myself, my business partner and our employees all paddle. We know what really works, and what really doesn't. We have chosen the products we want to sell, represent,  stand up on, and stand behind in our store.   Having the right gear is fun.   East of Maui has been helping people have more fun since 1979. 
 If you or one of your friends a looking to buy a board or learn about Stand Up Paddling, please stop by and visit East of Maui. We promise to do our very best to put you or your friends on the right gear.  

Aloha- Mark B 

Like East of Maui on Facebook! Friends don't let friends paddle junk!

Friday, April 18, 2014


The 2014 Carolina Cup is now just a week away. My training for the race is more like a train wreck. I have paddled very little this winter, and I don't think I have paddled at all this month. What the hell am I thinking?

The following is an excerpt from SUP : " The Carolina Cup, held in humble little Wilmington, North Carolina, is fast becoming not only one of the biggest races on the calendar, but one of the most significant events in the entire world of SUP racing, period.
 – in fact it might just be the second most competitive race in the world this year, after only the BOP), or because luminaries such as Dave Kalama, Jimmy Terrell and Larry Cain will be doing clinics, or because pretty much every major brand will have a presence there, but also because the event will have HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of recreational paddlers competing."

"Competing"?   I'm just hoping I  survive. I haven't paddled 6.5 miles since last November. I'm going to die!  

You may have heard the phrase "Eddie Would Go".  Eddie Aikau was a famous Hawaiian big wave surfer and life guard.  Eddie would go surfing or out to rescue someone when the conditions were too dangerous for anyone else to go.  I never knew Eddie, but I have a friend named Frank.
 Frank is an ultra-marathon runner. He would never admit it, but he is a serious athlete, perhaps.  Frank does crazy things like run 3 back to back marathons to raise money for the families of the of the Boston Marathon bombing victims (after doing an SUP race in the morning), and then  personally RUNS the money to Boston.  By his own account, he does many of these unbelievable feats, at the last minute, and with very little training and planning. While most athletes are carefully monitoring their diets before these events, Frank is likely to work all night, slam down a few chili dogs, and show up at the starting line and still have a respectable finish. The bottom line is Frank has never let the lack of preparation stand in the way of going out and abusing himself in the name of adventure and a good time.    
 Frank on top of the summit of  Australia's highest mountain, Mt Kosciuszko, after finishing the  Coast to Kosci Ultramarathon
So, what  does all of this have to do with Stand Up paddling?  Actually nothing at all, but as I question  my sanity and my own lack of preparation for the biggest, baddest Stand Up paddle race of the season, I  ask myself, "what would Frank do? "   FRANK WOULD GO!
So, with that in mind, I guess  I have to put my big boy surf trunks on, load the truck, and head to Wrightsville. I'm going to bypass  Frank's chili dogs, but there is a real good chance I'm gonna stop along the way for some  North Carolina BBQ!
Frank stopping for fuel mid -run

Time  to dust off the old raceboard

See you at the Carolina Cup!

Friday, April 4, 2014


It has  taken awhile for Winter to lose it's icy grip on the Chesapeake, but it feels like Spring is finally here and it is time to hit the water.

Time to go paddle!

It has been Spring at East of Maui for the past month with new gear arriving almost daily, and more still on the way.


Here is just a quick look of some of the sweet new SUP gear in the shop.  More details, equipment reviews, and blog updates coming soon.

2014 Surftech Barks

FCS Board Bags, Fin, and Leashes

2014 Kialoa Paddle Line Up
2014 Naish Glide 12' 6"
2014 Quickblade V-Drive and Trifect


Thursday, February 20, 2014


Little darling
It's been a long, cold lonely winter
Little darling
It feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
Little darling
I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling
It seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right-  The Beatles


We love snow and winter at East of Maui.We have been in love with this winter.  The  snowboard conditions have been better at our local mountains than they've been in years. We've been shredding every chance we get. There is still plenty snowboarding ahead for us, but we live and  think about Stand Up and Surfing everyday. A lot!  
We try to paddle all year, but this winter  has been a tough because of the ice on the creeks, rivers and the Bay. 
Last Sunday my local launch appeared to be ice free, so I climbed into my drysuit and headed out For a paddle.  I had not gone far before encountering big ice flows in the Severn, and upon entering the Harbor, still found it iced over.   I turned back towards the river and had a hard paddle home in building breeze.

Ice Flows

Annapolis Harbor

It was good to get out on the water, if only for a short paddle.  It was a sweet taste of sun, sun, sun, here it comes, and I say it's all right
 Looking forward to seeing everyone out the water soon. Aloha-MB


Thursday, January 16, 2014

whoa! how did it get to be 2014?

I can't believe I have not made a blog entry since October.  It is not like nothing was going on in East of Maui Sup world, but somehow the last two months of  2013 sup'ed (slipped)  by with out an entry or an update*.
I had a great trip to Hatteras the 1st part of November.  Not much wind for windsurfing, but we had a several good days in a row surfing our SUPs down in Frisco in some small surf. A couple of shark sitings, (with a few of them a little too close for comfort) but generally a lot of fun by all.

Small, Clean, and.........



With the end of Daylight Savings, and the return of early darkness, it was hard to do much in the way of organized group paddles through the shop and with our customers. I still managed to get in a bunch of sessions in the last two months of the year by  sneaking out here and there. It definitely takes more motivation to climb into the wetsuit or drysuit than it takes just to grab the trunks and go, but once on the water, any extra effort was worth it.  

Late December Sunrise Paddle

 The one exception to the lack of group gatherings was our Annual Santa Paddle. What started out a few years ago with me buying a Santa Suit and hoping to take a few pictures of Santa on a SUP  with Annapolis in the background to use on our website, has grown into a really fun group paddle. 


 The weather was looking questionable right up to the night before, with the forecast of rain and/or high winds.  Local ABC News meteorologist and standup paddler Wyatt Everhart said we would have a window between the fronts for the  the morning paddle,  andwe would be good to go.  Santa and his elves passed out candy canes to kids around City Dock and then paddled up Spa Creek before taking another pass down Ego Ally. Just as we were heading back towards Chesapeake Ave, the wind filled in hard, giving Santa and his Elves a fun downwind sleigh ride home. As one can imagine, things are a bit crazy and hectic working retail around Christmas, and for this Santa, the "Santa Paddle" was a great way to escape that craziness, if only for a few hours, and spend some time with friends on the water. Many thanks to all who participated in sharing some Christmas Cheer.

Merry Christmas!

Santa and Wyatt talking about the weather.

Jessica and her well dressed board!

In retrospect, 2013 was a pretty good year for me on the SUP.  I got to paddle in some places that I have never been before.  I got to paddle with old friends,and paddle with some that I had never met before. I'm unbelievably lucky that I get to spend as much time as I do on or around the water. I'm even luckier that I get to share much of that time with so many special friends.  Here is a toast to 2013, and lets keep on paddling in 2014! See you on the water.  Aloha-MB

* For more immediate news and updates like  East of Maui on Facebook


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wetsuit 101 and other cold weather tips.

Summer is over.  Fall is here. Winter is not far behind.  Stand Up Paddling is not just for warm weather.  With proper gear, some preparation and a little caution,  Stand Up can be safely enjoyed all year long.  

Winter Paddle out,( January 2013).

I have been wearing and selling wetsuits for close to 40 years.  Many wetsuits are sport specific, but they all share certain characteristics.
The purpose of a wetsuit is to keep you warm in the water. When you are in the water, the suit traps a thin layer of water next to your skin.  Your body warms that water, and the thickness of the suit provides insulation from the outside air and or water temperature.
The thickness of the suit is usually measured in millimeters. Most suits are a combination to provide both warmth and flexibility. ie: 3/2 or 4/3.
The thicker the suit, the warmer it is.  The thinner the suit, the more flexible.
Wetsuits are made of neoprene rubber.  Thickness for thickness, the more expensive suits tend to be more flexible and warmer.  You get what you pay for.

Wetsuits have approximate temperature ranges:
 2/1 mid 60's
3/2 mid 50's
4/3 mid 40's
5/4 around 40
I say approximate, because one person might be freezing in a thick suit, and someone else might  warm in a thinner suit.    

Wide range of outfits for last December's East of Maui Santa Paddle.  Note wearable PFD's.  Always a good idea for cold weather! 
 Stand Up paddling presents an interesting challenge.  Unlike surfing and diving where you are in the water all the time, you may or may not get wet on a stand up board.  Stand Up paddling generates a ton of heat and energy.  In most cases the right suit for the water temperature, is going to be too warm paddling. However, you could find yourself in big trouble if you should fall in and get separated from your board in cold water.*

Here are some chilling facts about hypothermia:

The United States Search and Rescue Task Force has a risk list for when hypothermia might set in if you are submersed in water:
Water temperature: 32.5 to 40 degrees
Time until exhaustion or unconsciousness: 15 to 30 minutes
Expected time of survival in the water: 30 to 90 minutes

Water temperature: 40 to 50 degrees
Time until exhaustion or unconsciousness: 30 to 60 minutes
Expected time of survival in the water: 1 to 3 hours
Water temperature: 50 to 60 degrees
Time until exhaustion or unconsciousness: 1 to 2 hours
Expected time of survival in the water: 1 to 6 hours.
People have survived longer or shorter periods of time than outlined on this list. These are estimates.

What is the Stand Up paddler to do?  Than answer lies in what type of paddling you are doing.  If you are surfing your Stand Up, you will need to wear a suit based on the water temperature.  A flat water paddler, can make do with a thinner suit.  A "Spring 2/1" with short legs and short sleeves is always a good thing to have in your gear gear bag. It will give you some basic core insulation on a cool day and not be over restrictive. 

2/1 Spring

  The "John or Jane", a full length suit with no arms has been a go to for kyakers for years  and works equally as well on a stand up board. By wearing a long john top, fleece or a lightweight jacket on your upper body, you can paddle comfortably in all but the coldest conditions and have a decent  margin of safety should you fall in.  
O'Neill Jane

We also sell a separate pant from a company SUPreme  that works well for cool to even cold weather if you are pretty certain you will not fall in.  Unlike a John/ Jane, they will not give you  core insulation in the water.   Once again, teaming it with different types of tops allow you to fine tune for the air temperature

Supreme Pant

For winter and cold air/water paddling a drysuit is the best way to go.  Insulation comes from what you wear under the suit. They are loose, non restrictive, and if you fall in, you stay dry.

O'Neill boost Drysuit

In addition to the wetsuit you need booties to keep your feet warm.  In most cases, the thicker the better.  Cold feet suck! 

 East of Maui has everything you need to paddle comfortably and safely all year long.  Stop by or call, and let us help you get geared up this fall. 

  Two more things.
  One: Proper fit is CRITICAL!  It is critical to performance, and it is critical for comfort.  The size charts are close, but there is no substitute for trying them on.  Do not order suits online.  Let the staff at East of Maui correctly fit your suit.

Two:  Not many people look good in wetsuits.  They don't hide much. Actually they don't hide anything.   Get over it.  Go paddle have fun.  Plus if you paddle all winter, you are  still gonna look better than your friends that don't paddle! 

Aloha, see you on the water.  MB

 * I find myself wearing a lightweight coiled leash most all of the time.  In cooler temperatures, I won't leave the beach without it. Getting separated from the board is the last thing I want to worry about when the water is cool or cold.