New TSR Paddle by Sawyer Paddles

There are a couple companies out there with home made products right here in the US.  Sawyer Paddles is one of them.  American made and hand crafted canoe and oar paddles since 1967 and now a focus on paddles for the fastest growing watersport in the world.  All of the SUP paddles are designed in house and the chief designer just happens to be the owner of the company.  Zac Kauffman tells us that "most of our designs come mainly out of trial and error, but with many paddlers in the company it's quite simpler to design, build and test."

What's new for Sawyer is a focus on racing and after picking up new team rider Mo Freitas they have definitely starting to make a name for themselves in the SUP world.  There racing paddles are the best of both worlds really, a mixture of wood and carbon fiber for both power and longevity, not to mention lightness and the prestine look of wood itself. Sawyer paddles is the definition for craftsmanship in the paddle industry.    

Sawyer Paddles.jpg

The TSR is there product of choice for overall performance as well as racing featuring a carbon fiber blade with laminated Western Red Cedar and an edging similar to ABS called Dynel Toughedge.  It also features an oval carbon shaft and an ultralight wooden grip.  What is unique and different than other paddles is the angle of the blade itself.  While the industry standard seems to be around 10 degrees +/- 2, Sawyer has gone with a 7 degree flat blade design. "The seven degree bend came primarily from our canoeing background" says Zac.  "We wanted to keep the angle slight for a smooth catch and release on each paddle stroke."  

Be sure to check out Sawyer at for more info.

Mo Freitas at Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando. 

Capturing Great Lakes with Beth Price

Beth Price.jpg

Beth Price has found her passion in the cold and windy months on Lake Michigan.  Bundled up in warm winter gear and even a wetsuit Beth ventures into rare and uncharted photographic territory and what started out as a personal project has now turned into an inland surf masterpiece.  Her work is chilling and her pictures are inspiring and revealing.  Be sure to check out more from her website:  

How long have you been shooting sports photography?  

I never really shot sports photography until recently.  What happened was the great beauty and meaning I find in the natural landscapes around me merged with my outdoor, active lifestyle and my career as a photographer.  I am in awe when I witness a serious athlete surrounded by a stunning, natural backdrop.  To me, it’s an art form.  The challenge is then for me to understand the sport enough so I may accurately translate the artistic edge with the technical. 

When I look through some of my first surf photographs, although aesthetically pleasing, they wouldn’t wow a surfer.  It’s taken time for me to learn what components make a good surf photograph which is why I held off at first in sharing my images.  I wanted to build a portfolio I was proud of and that the surf community would embrace.

Photo: Beth Price

Photo: Beth Price

How and when did you get into SUP/surf photography?

It began as a personal project. I was questioning the direction of my career and needed an outlet.  An artist friend challenged me to pick up my camera for and shoot as if I’d never make any money from what I photographed.  Then one day I heard that people were surfing on Lake Michigan so I decided to investigate and that’s when I realized that I had found my personal project.

I’ve become rather obsessed with fresh water surfing.  It took awhile for me to feel confident enough to share my work for a variety of reasons.  Mainly I wasn’t sure if I wanted to turn my personal project into part of my career.  When I realized I did want this, I had to learn what truly makes an exceptional surf photograph - one that’s portfolio-worthy and that I wanted to share. 

Recently my work has been gaining more attention.  One of the first emails of encouragement I received was from a surfer.  All it said was “Awesome PICS Beth!!! Keep shooting!!!”  I sat at my computer, had a good cry, then typed back, “Thank you!!  I will.”

Photo: Beth Price

Photo: Beth Price

What kind of camera do you use and how do you keep warm?

My main camera system is Canon.  I use a 5D Mark III and a variety of L series lenses.  Sharpness is critical to me so I’ve invested in my glass.  I also recently invested in a Liquid Eye water housing system.  

When shooting from shore I keep warm because I know how to layer.  It’s a serious matter to me because when I’m cold, I’m useless. I’m pretty loyal to the Patagonia brand.  I have an entire layering system built mainly around their clothing and I’m not being paid to say this nor am I being given free product, although I wish I were!

In the water I’m grateful for the two wetsuits that were given to me.  Neither one is warm enough for winter conditions so I’m saving up and doing my research. I’d love to be able to jump in the water any month of the year.  

As far as surfing in the great lakes goes or big lake surfing how do you plan your shoots for last minute surf?

It’s tough when the surf is last minute.  Often times I am able to rearrange my schedule but sometimes I simply do not make the surf if I’m committed to something else.  I joke that I may lose my day job over this, but in all seriousness, I am in the process of figuring out how to make this a greater part of my day job.  I try to plan as much in advance as possible by researching the weather and communicating with a circle of contacts I’ve made.  These new friends are reliable and I am extremely grateful to have gained their trust and expertise. 

Photo: Beth Price

Photo: Beth Price

From your perspective, how have these sports grown?  Do you see more and more people getting into wetsuits in the winter?  

In just a few years I’ve seen a good deal of growth in this community so I can only imagine what other photographers have seen.  My friend Loukas talks about an epic wind summer in the 90’s. Typically there isn’t much wind around here in July and August, but that summer Loukas and his friend Blake surfed up and down the Lake Michigan coast and were pretty much the only ones out there.  It makes me drool thinking about it.

Currently a windy day in the spring and fall months (or a rare windy day in July or August) means the water is filled with people surfing, SUPing and kiteboarding, meanwhile the shoreline is full of beachgoers and swimmers.  It can become crowded so it’s important on these days to be especially aware of your surroundings and to be extra cautious.  Once the snow flies, it’s a ghost town.  Last December there was a day when there were two surfers in the water and myself on shore.  It was worth it.  The conditions were magical! 

Can you tell us something interesting about your experiences and/or connection to the lake surfing world.  Have you tried it out?

First off, I cannot say enough about our surfing community on the Great Lakes.  My new friends are kind and encouraging and have embraced the fact that I’m out there trying to take the most meaningful photos that I can.

I may have gone about it backwards.  I first began photographing surfing and now I’m learning to surf.  Although I own a custom shaped board (Fresh Surfboards/Loukas Berthea), I don’t take it out often.  If I’m out there I want to be shooting versus surfing. 

When I’m at the ocean, that’s when I surf.  I don’t have as much desire to shoot saltwater surfing.  I like my fresh water niche and in general feel more comfortable in fresh water.  Last winter I traveled to Playa Grande in Costa Rica to learn more and to practice and this winter I’ll be in El Paredon, Guatemala for a few days sharpening my surfing skills.

Nectar Sunglasses - Signs surf giant Jamie O'Brien

Jamie O'Brien aka JOB 

Jamie O'Brien aka JOB 

Nectar Sunglasses is excited to announce that surfer, Jamie O’Brien, has signed on to represent Nectar. Jamie continues to push the limits of surfing and always showcases his talents on the North Shore of Hawaii and worldwide. Nectar has released Jamie's Signature Series "Mahalo" sunnies. Sean Holmes, co-founder of Nectar Sunglasses said, “Jaime represents the sweet life 110% , and that is what we’re all about. We are stoked to have him on the team and are excited to build this partnership.” Check them out at

A couple awesome videos of JOB wakesurfing a yacht & flowboarding with pro surfer buddies on their trip across the US this year to experience all the different surf cultures and board sports! 

Kaley Sparling- Mrs. World far from Toddlers & Tiaras

Hidden away in the Boise, ID pro wakesurfer Kaley Sparling received an unexpected knock on her door from her neighbor three years ago. Kaley’s out-going, friendly natured spirit, and beautiful complexion had compelled her neighbor to approach her about participating in pageants. A new world to her considering she had never competed in a pageant before but she was up for the challenge and started working on her platform. For those of you, like me, that aren’t familiar with pageant lingo the contestants “platform” is the cause they support and speak about. Kaley’s platform is childhood sexual abuse prevention, as it is something she is passionate about. 

Very different from your normal pageant girl, she has an addiction to board sports that stems from her husband Jimmi, who has always been passionate about board sports. She caught the addiction herself too after starting to wakesurf with him in 2008. In 2009, after practicing a few times a week behind their Centurion Enzo for a year, she signed them up for the NWWSA wakesurf competition and made the drive up to Seattle where Jimmi took first place at the event. Always supporting each other’s dreams and goals, Kaley would start competing in pageants the following year too.

What does it take for a relatively small town girl to become Mrs. World?

Taking on pageants in Idaho to claim the state title of Mrs. Idaho was the first step to moving on to the national stage to compete for Mrs. America. The pageants are judged by the following: 50% of your score is based off the interview with judges while the other 50% comes from they way you carry yourself in your evening attire and swim wear. Kaley competed against 51 other contestants on the national level earning first runner up for Mrs. America. When it came time to head to China to compete for Mrs. World, the other contestant was unable to go and Kaley happily stepped up for America and boarded a plane to China to go claim the title of Mrs. World. After two weeks in China, Kaley returned to the US with a new accomplishment and the title of Mrs. World! 

Photo not owned by Boarders

Photo not owned by Boarders

How many pageant women do you know that snowboard, ride flowboards, SUP, compete in wakesurf events, and have on their resume: “ announcer of the 2013 World Wakesurf Championships”? Just Kaley! Also, Jimmi brought home skateboards not too long ago and is teaching Kaley and their 2 children Jack Danger and Madison to skateboard as a family. The wakesurf world is very lucky to have awesome people like the Sparling's to help grow the sport we all love & we look forward to the future with them and their kids pushing the sport too!

Kaley would like to thank her husband for always supporting her & her wakesurf sponsors for all of their help! Centurion Boats, Soulcraft Boarding, & Agenda Surf!

By: Danny Braught