A RADICAL new style of surfing being made popular by big-wave superstar Laird Hamilton is set to become the craze on our     be
A RADICAL new style of surfing being made popular by big-wave superstar Laird Hamilton is set to become the craze on our be

Surf fad hits coast

By ED SOUTHORN

SNAPPER Rocks surfers were left stunned this week at the sight of visiting Hawaiians Tommy Taylor and his son Kieren catching waves in a radical new fashion set to revolutionise the sport in Australia.

The duo drew a mix of scepticism and intrigue from onlookers as they glided down swells using a longboard and a very long paddle.

Stand-up paddle surfing has exploded on the surf scene in Hawaii and California and Australia seems certain to be next.

Over the past few months top Gold Coast watermen like Mick Di Betta, a multiple winner of the Molokai-to- Oahu inter-island paddleboard race in Hawaii, have been spotted trying out stand-up paddle surfing, also known as riding "beachboy" style.

The Taylors are keen exponents of surfing's newest craze.

Kieren lives on the Gold Coast.

Stand-up paddle surfing is believed to have originated among the Waikiki beachboys in the 1930s but drifted into obscurity and almost disappeared.

But as surfing's worldwide boom continues, stand-up paddle surfing is now a keenly followed sport by some of surfing's best "watermen", along with resurgent interest in plywood skim boards and inflatable surf mats.

A recent edition of The Surfer's Journal, one of surfing's most revered publications, features a comprehensive photo spread on stand-up paddle surfing.

Tommy Taylor, 54, a landscape gardener and talented windsurfer, has been stand-up paddle surfing for more than two years, initially as a form of cross training, sometimes even in calm water.

He grew up on Kauai island with big-wave legend Laird Hamilton, who has demonstrated stand-up paddle surfing at Tahiti's fearsome Tea-hupoo wave.

Hamilton and Tommy Taylor use the long paddle, resembling an outrigger canoe paddle, like an oar to help turning as they ride along the wave face.

Coolangatta's Retro Groove surfing store owner "Ralph" Riddell has been a stand-up paddle surfing fan for a couple of years following a trip to Hawaii.

"It's a phenomenal form of exercise, it seems to use every muscle in your body and it really improves your balance," Riddell said.

Tommy Taylor is thinking about establishing a stand up paddle surfing board manufacturing business to supply the Australian market.

He can be contacted via the internet at ttaylor002@hawaii.rr.com

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