Stand Up Paddle Board Surfing 101 - Goosehill SUP

Most people choose to go stand up paddle boarding on flat water lakes and rivers. It makes for a wonderful recreational activity. But in actuality, SUP is originated in Hawaii as an offshoot of traditional surfing.

Catching waves on a paddle board is easier than on a traditional surfboard thanks to the paddle and the fact that it starts from a standing position. As typical stand up paddle boards are different than surfboards, it require unique skills and gives you specific challenges to surf on a paddleboard.

Proficient in surfing on a traditional surfboard doesn’t mean you can surf well on a standup paddleboard. Here are a few helpful tips to help you better surf on a paddle board.

stand up paddle board surfing

Paddle board Surfing 

First,  we would like you to know a few safety tips of SUP surfing. Normally, you don’t have to wear a life jacket when you surf on the ocean, but it will require you to be very good at swimming, know the surf conditions well and not surf by yourself. The Coast Guard recommends that everybody wears a life jacket and requires that life jackets must be worn when surfing outside the surf zone.

Another important safety tips for SUP surfing is to always have the leash attached to your leg. It helps to prevent the paddleboard from getting away from you and maintain control of your board when you fall into the water.

There are different types of leashes and you should know what kind of leash to use for SUP surfing. Specifically, your leash should be as long as your board. And the best leash for SUP surfing are straight leashes, not coil leashes. A straight leash will produce less recoil when you actually fall off the board, so the board won’t be dragged back to you and cause physical injury.

Also, a coiled leash is easy to get tangled around your SUP board when you fall off. The right place to attach your leash is the ankle of your leg that is closest to the tail when you are in a surfing stance.

 sup leash

About SUP surfing itself, unless you are a skilled surfer, avoid practicing surfing in crowded areas with other people close to you because you can easily lose control of your board and hurt other people.

The best place to practice SUP surfing would be an open, sandy beach with mild waves that breaks slowly out from shore. It would be even better if the place you surf have light, offshore winds that are blowing from the land toward the water. Such kind of waves are usually smooth and predictable, which is easier for you, as a beginner, to practice surfing.

 sup racing

After finding a suitable place for stand up paddle board surfing, it’s time to start learning the necessary skills for the sport. There are three main skills you will have to master when you start to learn how to surf on your stand up paddle board. The first thing to learn is how to launch and paddle past the breaking waves. The second skill is catching the wave and the third is surfing the wave.

Here we will be covering the basics of how to catch and surf a wave.

There are a few key points in catching a wave. First of all, you need to be in the right position. Second, stick to the wave you are surfing. The right way to start when you are waiting for the wave is to line up parallel to the incoming sets, stand in a hybrid stance with your feet facing out towards the ocean.

And your paddle should be kept on the side in which your feet face. When the wave comes, you will be able to turn 90 degrees perpendicular to the wave with ease. When the save is close, do a few smooth but solid strokes to propel your paddleboard forward and accelerate.

If you are able to time it perfectly, the wave should be right behind you and catch the tail of your paddleboard after taking four to five strokes. By the time the wave catches up with you, it’s important to lean forward to plant your board and yourself on the face of the wave.

Make sure you’ve successfully caught the wave and start to step back and turn your feet into a full surf stance. As you’ve started out successfully, your board will shoot straight down the wave out in front of it, and then you will start to stall and lose your speed.

To avoid that from happening, try angling your board on the wave to maintain your position and speed in the spot that’s called the pocket which is where breaking part of the wave that meets the open green face. It’s not hard for even rookie SUP surfers to angle their paddeboards to face the wave with their toes and hold the paddle on the toe side of the board.

If you underestimate the difficulty of learning how to do stand up paddle board surfing, you are going to pay for your misjudgment. Surfing is actually pretty challenging and requires a lot of patience if you want to be skilled at it.

You will most likely spend most of your time swimming in the water instead of riding waves on your surf SUP board in the beginning.

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