stand-up paddle surf

How to use stand-up paddle boarding for surfing

Discover our advice on how to surf with a stand-up paddleboard. What type of equipment is the best? How to catch, ride a wave?

Now that you have discovered stand-up paddle boarding, why not venture forth into the waves? This is a pretty good idea because it is much easier to learn to surf with a paddle board since you are already standing up! You just need to acquire a surfer's reflexes.


What type of equipment is best for stand-up paddle surfers

Stand-up paddlers often ride their first small wave with a beginner or occasional touring board. But if you are ready to start making some moves on the wave, from one side to the other, with small turns, you will need a real stand up paddle board. These boards look a lot like classic surfboards, although bigger to support your weight when at a standstill. They are short and wide for easy turning, with a pronounced rocker (banana) in the front to prevent ploughing into the wave, with sharp rails at the back like ski edges to hang well in the wave.

If you want to surf safely, choose an inflatable stand up paddle surf board. These boards provide good surfing thanks to their rigidity and semi-rigid rails at the back that hang well into the wave. If you happen to fall on the board or smack into it, the flexibility of the inflatable board prevents injury to yourself or another surfer. And once folded up, it fits easily into the trunk of your car.

As for the paddle, you can simply use the one you already have. It is a good idea in supsurf to reduce the length of the paddle from 0 to +10cm of your height compared to touring so it does not interfere when making moves but you can still use it for support when changing direction. It must be strong enough to handle the intense paddling when taking a wave.

surf stand up paddle

How to get out past the breaking waves

Before getting into the water, you need to determine which foot goes to the back of the board when in a surfing position. If you do not know which one, stand with both feet together and let yourself fall backward. The foot used to stabilize yourself is your back foot in the surf. We call this stance "regular" if it's the right foot, and "goofy" if it's the left - this also works for skateboarding and snowboarding.

Now, it's time to head out into the waves. But first, take a moment to observe the spot. How are the waves coming in, is there a good place to get past the breakers, (also referred to as "the bar"), and where are the other surfers?

These observations will help you to make the right decisions:
- Where to enter the water to avoid the big breakers as much as possible?
- Is there a spot without waves to pass quietly and get to the peak (wave breaking point)?
- How fast are the waves breaking to try and pass between two series?
- Where are the other (sup) surfers to avoid riding waves that are already taken?

Once in the water, you will have to paddle vigorously to get past the small breakers, then the larger ones. Up to a certain size (chest height), you can get past while staying on the board. Get into the surfing position, plant your paddle well in the water when the wave hits, press hard on the back foot to lift the front of the board to get it over the top of the breaking wave. Watch out, don't let the board hit you in the head of the wave is big. Protect your face by putting your arm in front of you. For larger or more powerful waves, the only solution is to dive under the wave while holding on firmly to your paddle and then get back on the board once the wave is passed.

Once you get to the peak (the place where all the surfers are waiting to catch the waves before they break) if getting past the breaking waves was intense take a little pause to observe the waves to determine the best place to take off.

sup surf

How to contend with other (sup) surfers

So everyone can have fun on the waves safely, there are certain rules when surfing alongside others on the same waves:

- The surfer riding a wave has priority over the one returning to the peak through the breakers. This returning surfer must try to read the riding surfer's trajectory to deviate from it.
- The first surfer who takes a wave has priority. Let this wave pass and focus on the next
- If two surfers take the same wave together, the one closest to the breaking point has priority, the other must leave the wave.
- If you are surfing a wave and another surfer takes the same wave (known as "taxing"), you must signal your presence to him by shouting "YEP YEP YEP".

To avoid such situations, the easiest way is to choose, if possible, a peak where there are fewer surfers, even if the waves are not as nice as the other overpopulated spot. With experience, you will be able to get along well with the other (sup) surfers, but always remain vigilant.

surf wave stand up paddle

How to catch a wave when stand-up paddle boarding

Taking a wave when stand-up paddle boarding is a lot easier than surfing because you're already standing on the board. And rather than follow the wave straight to the edge, you can now start from one side or the other to further ride along with the natural movement of the wave. Indeed, a wave is not static. It tends to break to the left or the right along its length. Sometimes, it "breaks" suddenly along its entire length and becomes unsurfable.

Before you take off on a wave, choose which side of the wave you are going to ride. Usually the regular (right foot behind) surfer goes right and the goofy (left foot behind) surfer goes left to surf on one's frontside, which is easier than backside. The wave is coming, go for it!~     - Position your board parallel to the incoming wave, the nose oriented towards where you want to make your take off.~     - Paddle vigorously towards the side of the wave to launch the board onto the wave, the pivot effect of the paddle will turn your board into position for take off~     - Stop paddling as soon as you feel the board riding on the wave (surf) ~     - Place the blade of the paddle flat on the wave to obtain balance~     - Turn your shoulders to manoeuvre the board on the wave. 

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