Words: Tez Plavenieks
Photos: Simon Bassett, Ollie Laddiman and Tim Rowe
If you peer over your shoulder and squint into the distance you’ll just make out the SUP yoof, coming in fast. The next generation of rippers is advancing and in no time the old guard will have to step aside and make way for the next level. In fact, they may already have landed…Aaron Rowe, Ollie Laddiman and Holly Bassett get to sit in the hot seat for a good old fashioned grilling. For the low down on this rabble of young stand upstarts, read on…
I’m originally from Gloucester but now live on the rock of Jersey.
When did you discover SUP and what prompted you to get involved?
I discovered it in 2011 and was instantly hooked. It’s so easy to catch waves…
What’s your favourite discipline and where do you mainly paddle?
Surf and St Ouen’s Bay.
What’s your favourite UK SUP spot?
Don’t really have one. I’ve only really surfed Watergate Bay, Cornwall. I made the trip to La Torche in France last year and a few other spots. Basically anywhere that’s firing is good.
If you could paddle anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Somewhere warm and sunny with waves.
Describe your best SUP session?
Sunny weather with overhead left handers that are perfect for bashing (sounds about right! – Ed).
Who do you mainly paddle with at home?
Pretty much everyone in the Jersey Paddle Club. They’re a great bunch and it’s really cool having so many people to SUP with on my doorstep.
Which people do you look up to, SUP or otherwise?
Probably the likes of Zane Schweitzer – he rips and has great style. I try and ride similar. I love the new school way of SUP surfing with airs, slides, spins and punts.
What are your best SUP achievements to date?
Twice under 16 British Champion and second place in the men’s division at the British Champs in Watergate. I also did pretty well and felt I held my own at the La Torche leg of the Stand Up World Tour. Conditions were tricky but I tried my best…
Do you have any goals for the coming season – either competitive or personal aspirations?
I probably need to start taking it seriously and get some proper training in the bag. It’s difficult balancing having to perform with just enjoying SUP for fun.
Any trips planned this year – UK or abroad?
I’ve got two weeks in Nicaragua, representing Team GB, coming up. We’re still looking for sponsorship though so if anyone can help give the guys a shout.
You’re part of the next generation of UK SUP – do you feel this pressure?
Not at all, I don’t look at it that way. I’m just enjoying it and trying to improve – everything else is just ‘stuff’.
Where do you see the sport going in the UK?
Forward, haha! Seriously though, UK SUP will just get bigger and I don’t think it’s out of the question for numbers of paddlers to double in the next few years.
Do you think the UK scene can get as big as the US and Oz? Could we step up and compete on the same level as the world’s best?
Yeah totally! We already have a number of awesome racers and the surfing side of the sport is getting better. With the right support in place who knows what we can achieve.
What would you like to see from the sport as it gets bigger?
More juniors at events and more comps in general – particularly surfing! Are there any other young SUPerstars we should be aware of? Probably the likes of Louie Harrow and Ollie Laddiman, they both rip.
What’s your favourite bit of SUP kit and why?
My Charlie Grey Designs custom. It’s 7.6ft X 24” and the thing flies.
Any last words, shout outs or thanks?
A big thanks to all the people who support me and put up with me, haha!