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SUP Talk with Dave Kalama

Dave Kalama is Imagine Surf’s Vice President of Design and Innovation and an ambassador for the brand. But he is much more than this. He is one of the most complete watermen on the planet. He is a renowned big wave rider who fears no wave, no matter how huge it might be and a pioneer of stand up paddleboarding.

In a recent interview for Surfervillage, one of the premier water sports online content providers in the world, Dave answered a few questions related to SUP. Check out the interview below, and find out what makes SUP such a great sport straight from one of the SUP legends of the world.

QUESTION: What elements do you love about SUP?
DK: “In Stand Up, I love the elements of fitness, camaraderie, adventure, and the creative process. I especially love the people involved and the different dimensions the sport offers me: racing,  wave riding, river riding, crossings, flat water paddling, and especially downwinders.”

QUESTION: You come from a long line of watermen. Were your ancestors pioneering SUP generations ago?
DK: “I don't know for sure; but I have to guess they were.”

QUESTION: What is Dave Kalama's brief history of SUP?
DK:  “My brief history begins in the mid-1990s—out  of boredom we were experimenting with new ways to ride and Laird and I were doing a photo shoot and decided to pull out the outrigger canoe paddles and experiment with paddle surfing—and like a snowball, I’ve continued to grow and evolve my passion and participation for the sport.”

QUESTION: How has SUP changed over the years?
DK: “The equipment, in particular, is much more user-friendly, in addition to also performing significantly better. Access and awareness to faster, lighter, and stronger materials and equipment has risen sharply. With that, participation numbers for the sport are growing exponentially, and SUP—itself as a sport—has become increasingly diversified.”

QUESTION: What is SUP's relationship to surfing? How does it differ?
DK: “SUP’s relationship to surfing is that it’s a part of surfing’s evolution; almost naturally. Board size and the use of a paddle are two distinct differences between standard surfing and SUP.

QUESTION: What is your primary role at Imagine?
DK: “My primary role at IMAGINE is as Vice President (VP) of Design and Innovation. In addition, I serve as a brand ambassador. I am really excited to develop and create better equipment. My passion is to build faster products and increase the manufacturing of those products so they’re more widely available. Durability and utilitarianism will be the hallmarks of my design aesthetic at IMAGINE.”

QUESTION: How are your designs and innovations changing the sport?
DK: “I am at the very beginning stages of my work at IMAGINE, so my influence thus far is subtle. In the coming months and years it is my hope to bring my near 17 year practical experience and passion for performance- and speed-driven designed products to the masses.

QUESTION: How can SUP be used for fitness? What are some fitness exercises you can recommend?
DK: “Just participating at any level will help your core strength and intuitive balance—almost simply by default. The more time you spend on the board, the greater the benefits will be for your fitness. As far as exercises, the greatest recommendation I could make is to learn proper paddle technique to guard against injury and maintain maximum efficiency.