Derek Hainsworth’s love of surfing was reignited about eight years ago when a friend introduced him to stand-up paddleboard (sup) surfing, one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
Having surfed as a young man, family-life had put the sport on the backburner for many years, but after moving to the coastal town of 1770, located at the southern end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Derek grabbed the opportunity to learn a new form of surfing.
“It’s great for fitness because your whole body gets a workout. The paddling uses your shoulders and arms and the need to balance uses your legs. Your core is working the whole time,” he said.
Since moving to GemLife Bribie Island just four months ago with wife Faye to be more central to their families, Derek recently began exploring surf spots on the Sunshine Coast including Caloundra, Happy Valley and Noosa together with his 1770 surf buddy who now lives in Brisbane.
“I prefer to surf with someone else because it’s great to share the experience of SUP surfing with another person and it’s a good idea safetywise too,” he said.
According to Derek, there are two parts to mastering stand-up paddleboard surfing – the paddling, which is the easiest part, and the standing up, the trickier aspect of the sport. “Just like surfing, once you’re on a wave, it’s pretty easy because, just like riding a push bike, it’s easier to balance at speed. When going slow, balance is harder,” said Derek.
“I used to launch my boards into the 1770 creek and if the wake from a boat rolled in, I’d have to quickly drop to my knees,” he recalled. “It took me six months to master my balance while not on a wave – it’s definitely the hardest part.”
Fitness is a big part of Derek’s life and together with his SUP surfing, he uses the GemLife Bribie Island Country Club gym three times a week, walks his two dogs every day, and has plans to get into social tennis at some point.
Like traditional surfing, SUP surfing – whether just paddling or riding the swells – is excellent for the mind and body.
“It’s wonderful. It’s a great feeling being out in the water surfing on the coast or paddling around in Pumicestone Passage – it’s good for your mental well-being because all your worries are washed away,” he said.
“SUP can be done by people of all ages. It won’t happen overnight but with persistence and practise, nothing will beat the moment when you stand up on your first wave. It’s an incredible feeling.”