How to Catch Your First Wave on A SUP

There are a lot of things you can do with a stand up paddle board and SUP surfing is definitely one of the most interesting SUP activities. But it’s totally different from paddling on calm water. It requires more skills and better balance. Here we would show you how to catch your first wave with your paddle board.

There are a few things we will be covering for catching your very first wave on a SUP board. It seems like an easy job but when you actually try it, you’ll know it’s much more complicated than it looks. You need to get your timing, board and foot positioning right and it’s not that easy to master the craft. If you don’t want to carry the board to the water and just watch the perfect wave pass you by, you should probably take time to practice.  

First of all, the surf stance for catching waves and surfing is different from the stance you use for flatwater paddling. You should try a slightly offset surfing stance which is one foot slightly in front of the other. It doesn’t matter which foot is in the front, as long as it feels natural and most comfortable.

SUP surf stance

Switching from a standard paddle stance to a surf stance on a moving paddle board on the water isn’t something that you can easily do without much practice, especially if you are new to the sport. And you should take advantage of every chance you get to practice it in order to do it more smoothly when you need to. You can even practice on flat water. In the beginning, there’s no need to rush it. Just take it slow. Move one foot slightly forward and another foot slightly backward. It might cause the board to wobble so you might fall if you can’t balance well when moving.

Is it really necessary to get your feet in the surf stance for catching waves?

Getting in the surf stance is more important than you think if you want to really catch that first wave smoothly and here are the reasons why. First of all, it makes turning your board much easier. When attempting to catch the wave, you’ll have to learn how to turn quickly and position your board at the right angle. It will increase the odds of you catching a wave. When you try to catch a wave, your board should be going straight towards the shore. But before the wave arrives, your board is likely to be facing a different direction and you’ll need to turn your board in order to catch the wave. And if you’re not able to turn your board quickly, you are likely to miss the wave and see it pass you by. So being able to turn your board quickly can give you a big advantage in catching a wave. With your feet slightly offset, you can turn more quickly by using the tail of your board to pivot. It also put your feet in the right position for riding a wave so there’s no need for you to adjust your stance after successfully catching the wave.

The surf stance is much more stable than a normal paddling stance, thus reducing the chance of you falling off the board. A surf stance gives you a lower center of gravity so when the board starts to wobble, you won’t be affected as much as when in a normal paddling stance. You can go back to a paddling stance with your feet in parallel stance and your legs straight and see how big the difference a surf stance makes.

Another advantage a surf stance has is that it allows you to move your body weight forward and back easily without actually moving your feet on the board. When surfing you will have to adjust your center of gravity constantly to catch the wave and avoid it from just getting past you. When you turn your board to face the beach and a wave is going to pick you up from behind, you should get ready and when the wave actually picks you up, what you should do is lean forwards onto your front leg to push the nose of the board down the wave. By doing this you can avoid the wave from passing underneath you. After pressing the nose of the board down and catching the wave successfully, what you should do next is moving your body weight back onto your back foot slightly to life the nose of the board up again so that the board won’t nose-dive into the water.

SUP surf

Learning to use the surf stance is just the first step to catching your first wave. You will also need to know how to use your paddle to help you balance and better catch waves. The right side the paddle should be when you are catching a wave is the opposite side of your front leg. Placing the paddle on this side will help you balance more easily. But as you progress in catching waves and balancing on the board, you can try paddling on both sides to see which side is more comfortable for you to paddle on.

Catching your first wave isn’t really as hard as you think it is. The keys are getting your feet in a surf stance, getting low, learning to adjust your body weight and placing your paddle on the opposite side of your front leg. By mastering these skills you should be able to catch waves very quickly on your paddle board. It's just one of the few SUP surfing tips you should know and if you want to master SUP surfing, you are going to need a SUP surfing 101.