What' SUP Doc?

The first in a series of Kent subculture documentaries, ‘cene discovers the breaks, the rips, the swell and the waiting game of the county’s SUP junkies 

The light is poking in, but it’s silent. The only sound is that of rain tapping on the roof of the automobile you’re trying to sleep in. A night out on the beers renders your mouth desert-like and the suggestion of a hangover headache is just starting to emerge. What do you want to do? Chuck on a wetsuit and jump in the sea, of course. 

Broadstairs High Street, Joss Bay and the Walpole Bay tidal pool are the backdrop to the first in a series of documentaries about Kent’s thriving subcultures, starting with stand-up paddleboarders (SUP). 

Heading in from all over the county, a group SUP fanatics spend a weekend stalking the sea.

“When all the conditions align, you’ve got the weather, the waves and the wind drops off; you get a real sense that it’s what we are living for and what we get out there for; putting up with the sh*t days, the harsh conditions and the wasted trips in the meantime. When all the planets align, that’s what we are aiming for,” says Martin Francis (aka. @PonchoSurf - Instagram/Facebook/Twitter).

From webcams and weather watch and WhatsApp groups to Magic Seaweed (it’s a thing), the board community are on the case more than birdwatching twitchers. 

And we don’t blame them – there are only a few finite months in which the sea around Kent is not bloody freezing, and even fewer days when the sun and the surf are just right for a SUP session. 

We hear how the SUP community is in rapid growth, and how a group came together because of their passion for being among the waves no matter what the temperature.  

“I've traveled parts of the world and I’ve seen the growth. In Kent we have got some beautiful landscapes, lakes and coastlines and we are all using it regularly. When I’m home, I’m here. It’s great for the sport and it is the fastest growing watersport in the world,” says Jay Manning (aka. @Jsup__jaymanning - Instagram/Facebook).

The right boards for the right waters, the right waters for the right speed, the right speed for the right buzz; there is far more to SUP than meets the eye, from balance training through to knowing the currents and the rock formations on each coast. 

California this ain’t. But it’s home. 

In association with TinyDog

Music: Mind Games by Thrift