Interview: SUP Mag UK
Photos: Jay Manning and Peter Tranter
Jay Manning, or JSUP as he’s more commonly known, is one of the most instantly recognisable UK stand up paddlers out there. Jay’s relentless social media output is a dream for any sponsor – in this case Fanatic UK, ION and K-66 Surf Division. Always at large, Jay can be found at most UK SUP events through the summer months – helping deliver that SUP stoke, passing on his enthusiasm for the sport while, of course, tweeting and Facebooking about it. SUP Mag UK thought it high time we caught up with king of the SUP selfie JSUP to see what makes him tick.
How and where did you first get into stand up paddling?
I got into stand up about nine years ago when I came across a board at a local windsurfing shop. After seeing some pictures on the internet I decided I wanted to give it a shot and ended up borrowing the board for three months. I thought it was best to actually pay for the board as I was using it every week.
What appealed to you about the sport?
It was new and instantly drew me in as there are many aspects. I enjoy the fitness side, meeting new people, the social scene and of course being on the water. It’s also exciting being part of a thriving scene and seeing SUP grow. I was getting a buzz and wanted to go further into it. I thought I was the only guy paddling a stand up until I went on the internet and found there were a few others doing it. I wanted to meet up with them and help spread the stoke.
Tell us about the spots you tend to paddle the most frequent – both at home and abroad. What are your favourites?
I have a lot of favourite places, probably far too many to mention. But here goes…
Home: The Isle of Sheppey is my backyard and I also spend a lot of my time at Joss Bay – especially when there are waves.
Away: California, where I spent a number of winters teaching, soaking up some sun and surfing with the SUP Shack guys.
The Bluff in St Ives Bay and Crantock also both offer amazing conditions – everything from flat water to pumping waves. Sometimes you can’t beat the UK for variety.
You manage to head overseas fairly frequently in the winter – where do you usually aim for and what do these spots offer?
California, Santa Cruz. Just getting out there and doing some training and coaching at the SUP Shack each year is amazing. I tried a different thing this winter by going to Lanzarote a couple of times. That was also awesome.
If you could head anywhere in the world to SUP where would it be and what appeals about this location?
It has to be Hawaii Waikiki. Do I need to say anymore?
Any plans for further SUP trips abroad – if so, where you off to?
Nothing currently planned as the season in the UK is just kicking off. I will definitely be booking something up for when the weather turns colder and winter starts. I need my Vitamin D fix!
Tell us about your favourite bit of SUP kit – what’s great about it?
I am quite privileged as I carry a full load of Fanatic demo kit so I am spoilt for choice. I love it all.
You certainly deliver the goods for your sponsors with your unrelenting social media updates – what drives you to be so active online?
The sport is global and you have to take these opportunities. By connecting to the world via social media this enabled me to share the UK SUP stoke with the rest of the world.It’s also where my nickname, JSUP, stemmed from. I started talking on the ‘net by sharing stories and meeting exciting new people in the stand up world and I love this as much as actually paddling.
As a team rider this kind of activity should be standard from any supported sweeper. What else do you do for your sponsors beside have an extensive online presence?
I am also in charge of the Fanatic UK’s demos and events – connecting with the general public for product and sales info, getting them on the water and seeing their huge smiles after a session on the water.
Tell us about your role at SUP events around the UK – what you do when on the ground and what’s expected of you from Fanatic UK, ION and K-66 Surf Division?
Just get out and help spread the SUP stoke. Use social media and the odd selfie to promote. Know what I mean ed?! (Not sure what you’re saying there Jay – ed). Just get the Fanatic name and my face on view. I can’t give any more of my secrets away though.
How did Fanatic/K-66’s support come about and what kind of deal are you on – if you can tell us?
Top secret! If I told you I’d have to kill you…
What should aspiring stand up paddlers do about becoming a team rider for a company?
More of the same. All supported riders should be helping market the company they’re sponsored by at any given opportunity. Post updates, take pics, promote the products you use and mention your sponsors whenever possible. Check out how I do it.
Do you still compete and if so what events will you be doing this year?
I do still compete although not as often as I used to. I am not sure what comps I am doing this year but at some point I will pop up on a start line.
What’s your favourite part of stand up paddle boarding and why?
I like to explore, dropping my SUP board in the water and checking out new and exciting places. I enjoy SUP surfing and having fun whilst freestyling and showboating.
What’s your local crew of paddlers like – who do you normally SUP with?
The south east crew. Such a great bunch of people to hang out with and it’s always good banter when we get together. We have regular paddle sessions and social evenings. Curry nights in particular!
We know you’re a supporter of land paddling; what appeals about this and how does it benefit your on water sessions?
I love it as it is another form of exercise which also helps improve your balance and yet again is another social activity. Land paddling and SUPing on the water are both connected and you can use each discipline for crossover training if conditions are rubbish for one or the other.
If you had to choose one last thing you wanted to achieve within SUP before giving it up what would that be and why?
I have no plans to quit. I want to carry on being be at the forefront of UK SUP and working with my sponsors and helping the sport grow. I am not going away anytime soon…
How do you keep the SUP stoke going as well as motivating others to get involved?
It probably helps having the latest kit. Shiny new toys and positive encouragement can motivate people to get on the water. It has to stay fun though. Whatever you do, taking things too seriously will put people off.
Why should people take up SUP and how do you encourage them to take to the water?
If someone is looking for a general feel good factor sport, with a great fitness angle and social aspect, where you can meet lots of new people on a regular basis, then what’s not to love? If we can get this message across then more people will take up SUP. I have no doubt UK SUP will carry on growing and we will see loads of stoked paddlers on the water this year.
Tea or coffee?
Blonde or brunette?
Sausage or bacon butty?
Any final shout outs?
Big thanks to Nik Baker at K-66 and Fanatic UK, Stuart Ord-Hume and all my other sponsors and supporters who sort me out with fantastic equipment and products.