Update. I've spent the last couple of weeks sailing up and down the river, and have observed some of these SUP yokels at closer range.
Last Thursday, the wind was blasting the usual 20 - 25 knots, and we were wanking along at 6 knots going upstream/downwind with only the jib flying. There is enough fetch along the gut for fairly large wind-waves to form. You can surf them on a small boat but Arcturus is too big/slow to quite stay on top.
We sighted the first group of SUPers paddling out from a beach about 12 miles from town. They were headed out into breaking waves and I was thinking "suicide." But then I realized that we were not catching up with them
. They were surfing
the wind waves. I didn't realize they could do that! We did eventually pass the first bunch because they stayed in shallow, sheltered water with smaller waves.
Then we spotted one guy in a white shirt about a mile in front of us in the middle of the river. He stayed out in front for over an hour, then we passed him, but he later caught up because he could go over the sandbars that Arcturus had to go around. He surfed the wind waves for about 12 miles up river, all the way back to town.
Sorry, no pics. Camera battery was dead, and really, most of the time we could only see them clearly through binoculars.
Yesterday, I was waiting to go through the locks at the dam. I had to wait for one of the tour boats before they would cycle the lock. When the boat (around here they're mostly nuevo-sternwheelers) finally showed up, there was a doofus on a SUP surfing along in its wake, being pulled down the river! I had to keep up with the tour boat and avoid running down the doofus. He only broke off when we headed up the canal toward the locks, and the boat slowed down.
note tiny doofus behind boat
sorry, camera keeps trying to focus on the shrouds
So, I guess there is more to this SUP business than I realized. Not quite ready to go buy one though. (Edit. Reduced pic size. Sry.)