Will Littleboy is a true gent. One of our Fatstick SUP racers he’s super friendly, approachable and always happy to have a chat on the beach. He’s also known to hit the dance floor given opportunity – and no, we don’t mean in a dad dancing stylee! Mr Littleboy can properly shake it. We caught up with Will to get the goss.
- When did you first become aware of stand up paddling and what made you want to get involved?
I first became aware of it about six years ago when some windsurfing mates were really getting in to it, and we were all out surfing at a local break. They were getting loads more waves than I was on my longboard – I had to investigate. A while later a friend at work found out I paddle boarded and suggested I try a local race, which I did, and that was it. I was hooked.
- Describe your local put in – what makes it great for SUP?
Any of the Bournemouth beaches can provide good waves on the right day or mirror smooth conditions in a northerly. Beautiful views, friends to meet up with and free parking (if you know where) make it a great place to paddle.
- How often do you manage to get wet?
I try to get out as much as possible, but with work and a family it’s usually just at the weekends in the winter and a couple of times a week in the summer. Sometimes more on a good week!
- Is it mainly flat water stuff or do you mix up your paddling with waves (or other)?
I tend to do whatever the conditions are best for, so mainly on the sea and river (depending on the wind direction) with some waves when they are there, and some SUP fishing too when the mackerel are biting.
- Do you do anything specific for race training prep?
Like most paddlers I’m constantly trying to improve my paddle technique and efficiency and I tend to circuit train mid-week for fitness, other than that I just paddle when I can.
- Tell us about the Fatstick kit you’re currently using – what do you like most about your set up?
It’s a 14ft X 27’’ Fatstick race. It has fair bit of rocker with a wave piercing bough, so it’s good in a variety of conditions including small waves and downwind. The board is finished in bamboo veneer with black detailing and has a slightly recessed deck with a white deck grip. All in all a quality piece of kit.
- 2016’s season is now under way. What events do you plan on entering?
I’ll be doing some of the UK SUP Clubs events that I did last year, most probably the Head of the Dart, Battle of the Thames, the BaySup technical race in Bournemouth, one in Weymouth and a few local races too. There seem to be a lot more SUP races to compete in than there were a few years ago – it’s a good sign that the sport is growing with lots of active participation.
- Where’s your favourite location for stand up – UK or overseas and why do you rate it?
It has to be the Bournemouth area with miles of beaches, some good surf breaks (on the right day), Christchurch, Poole and harbours at either end, and the rivers Stour and Frome mean there are some great locations with a lot of variety.
- What other (if any) sports do you practice?
Just windsurfing and surfing when the conditions are right – but more often than not it seems to be the right conditions for paddle boarding. And I dance too – I do quite a lot of partner dancing and cabarets, especially in the winter. Well, it keeps me warm!
- Do your family SUP or indulge in any other of your watery passions?
When the conditions are right and we are all free I’ll take my kids paddle boarding, windsurfing or surfing, as a fun thing to do together. They are both really into their team sports at the moment, so I don’t push it.
- What’s the best thing about SUP?
There are many things really – accessibility, versatility, and the relatively low set up costs for a water sport to name a few. But I think the main attraction for most people is the short initial learning curve that gets them on the water and enjoying themselves quickly.
- Do you think it’ll become the biggest water sport in the world?
It certainly has the potential to as it comes in so many guises – racing, surfing, cruising, Yoga, fishing, SUP polo, giant SUP… but time will tell. 30 years ago I thought that windsurfing was the king of water sports, then came along kitesurfing, now SUP. What next?
- Any final shouts?
A big thanks to Reuben May of Fatstick Paddleboards. Cheers dude!