SUP and Sail | Exploring the Pacific with Nick + Jess - Sail+Leisure
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SUP and Sail | Exploring the Pacific

by Ingrid Hale

Have you ever dreamed of leaving it all behind in search of the simple life? Australians Jess and Nick did just that. – This is an edited account of their experience, first published on

Time just flew by or maybe we were just slowing down, but somehow three months of floating full-time around beautiful French Polynesia had already passed. Our old lives in Australia seemed a world away, although it had only been a year since I first suggested the idea of setting sail across the Pacific to Nick. Within six months we’d bought a yacht (Te Mana, our Beneteau Oceanis 400) in Tahiti and, after waiting for a few months for cyclone season to pass, the only small detail left to address was to learn to sail!

Always up for a challenge, I think this time we had succeeded in setting ourselves a good one. Although we are no strangers to the ocean, always trying to spend as much time as possible SUPing (stand-up paddling) or surfing around the waterways of Sydney and the stunning South Coast, neither of us had sailed a 40ft yacht, let alone crossed an ocean. We figured there was no other way to explore the islands of Polynesia and gain access to the lagoons and waves we were searching for, so the plan was to learn by doing. And learning fast!

After a few weeks in the boatyard completing the boat’s annual maintenance work, which included us trying to figure out the many systems onboard and becoming proficient diesel mechanics, electricians and plumbers, we were left to our own devices, figuring out the finer points of boat-handling. Thankfully, we couldn’t have had a better sailing nursery than French Polynesia’s beautiful Society Islands, with their protected lagoons and relatively short between-island passages.

From the jagged peaks of Mo’orea to the sandy atolls of the Tuamotus, the turquoise water is so clear that the beautiful reefs seem shallower then they are. And we found SUPing in the lagoons nearly as effective as snorkelling for looking at the colourful reef fish.


The surfing ranged from fun-sized waves that we had to ourselves, to the powerful overhead barrels of Teahupo’o shared with the locals. And the SUP paddleboarding is amazing – ideal for exploring areas we can’t access by boat.

Our Red Paddle Co1 12’6” Elite SUP and 10’6” Ride SUP, could be deflated for below-deck storage, which is far easier than strapping them down like traditional hard boards.


As hooked on their story as we are? you can find out more about Jess and Nick’s journey on their facebook page voyage of Te Mana. Since writing this  Jess and Nick have sold their beloved Te Mana and begun their next life adventure.

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