Our mission is to promote and preserve the lifestyle unique to stand up paddlers, particularly throughout the SoCal region. We promote the interests of stand up paddlers and future generations of stand up paddlers by lending a collective voice to SUP causes and concerns. Staying true to our members’ core values, FreeSUP SoCal strives to uphold and maintain the highest standards of ethics in accomplishing these goals.
WHAT WE DO
Free SUP So Cal grew out of a small group of similarly-minded stand up paddlers in Southern California who wanted to promote SUP and ensure SUP is preserved for future generations. Stand up paddle boarding is closely related to surfing. SUP is a silent sport or activity. It does not involve a motor, and it does not deliver the cheers of a crowd. The reward comes in the form of hard-won grace and moments of connection between the paddler and nature. A love of SUP demands participation in the cause to protect it. Stand with FreeSUP So Cal to make sure that government regulators understand the flaws in the ill-advised proposals currently promoted by special interest groups.
What we are working on
Currently we are working to stop the special interest movement that is lobbying the local, state and federal agencies to impose unnecessary and unsafe life jacket regulations on SUP. By classifying the stand up paddleboard as a ‘vessel’, many requirements could be put upon the SUP rider including: wearing a Coast Guard certified life jacket, carrying with you a whistle or noise device while on the board, and carrying a flashlight while out in the dark. These requirements are arbitrary, are likely to create a dangerous situation, and should be left up to the individual’s discretion depending on the individual’s circumstance.
There is no real data to support the idea that SUP is a dangerous watersport. In fact, the very minimal statistics presently available demonstrate SUP continues to be the safest water based activity, even though the number of people enjoying SUP has increased from year to year. We should not stand idle and allow the government to regulate a watersport that has been shown to be inherently safe. Concerning SUP, one Senior Coast Guard Regulatory Officer recently explained: “We don’t have data that validates the utilization of the [life jackets].”
Available data suggests life jackets can increase SUP dangers. Indeed, the very reason surfers are not required to wear a life jacket is due to the significant threats to safety a life jacket presents. And it is important to remember that the stand up paddleboard is the close relative of the surfboard. Many refer to a stand up paddleboard as a “longboard” or a “larger longboard.” Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has brought this issue directly to the Coast Guard’s attention.
“The board riding community makes a good case that [life jackets] actually increase risk of injury.”
-- Congressman Rohrabacher
letter to the former Coast Guard Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr.