SUP Surfing Guide: 4 Best Surf Paddle Board
If you love stand up paddle boarding and want to take it to the next level, you might want to try SUP surfing. SUP surfing is the exciting sport of riding waves with a paddle board and a paddle. It combines the thrill of surfing with the versatility and control of paddle boarding. In this guide, we will introduce you to the basics of SUP surfing, how to choose the right surf paddle board and some tips and tricks to help you catch some waves.
What is SUP Surfing?
SUP surfing is a form of surfing that uses a stand up paddle board and a paddle to ride waves. Unlike traditional surfing, where the surfer lies on the board and paddles with their arms before popping up into a standing position, SUP surfing allows the surfer to stand on the board and use the paddle to propel themselves and maneuver on the wave.
SUP surfing can be done on any type of wave, from small and gentle to big and powerful, depending on the skill and preference of the surfer.
SUP Surfing vs Traditional Surfing
SUP surfing and traditional surfing have some similarities and differences. Both sports require balance, coordination, and timing to ride the waves. Both sports also offer a lot of fun and challenge for the surfer. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages of each sport that you should consider before choosing one.
Some of the advantages of SUP surfing are:
|Visibility of Waves
|Better wave visibility. You can see the waves better and catch them earlier since you are standing on the board and have a higher vantage point.
|Wave visibility can be limited due to the surfer’s lower vantage point, but experienced surfers develop a keen sense of wave timing and selection.
|Faster and longer paddling since you have the leverage and power of the paddle.
|Paddling relies on arm strength and stamina. It may be slower, but it provides a great upper-body workout.
|Suitable for various wave types, from flat water to choppy conditions, since you have more stability and control on the board.
|Typically preferred for certain wave types and conditions, offering high performance in their ideal environment.
|Easy to explore more places and enjoy the scenery since you can paddle to different spots.
|Limited exploration capabilities due to the need for waves, surfers can be thrilled by riding waves.
|Requires more space and etiquette, since you have a larger board and a paddle that can pose a hazard to other surfers and swimmers.
|Requires less space and etiquette due to smaller board size.
|Requires more strength and endurance because you have to carry and paddle a heavier board and deal with the wind and current resistance.
|It is less physically demanding in terms of carrying equipment but still requires a good level of fitness, particularly for paddling, balancing, and wave riding.
|It may be easier for beginners to start with.
|It requires more skills and practice since you have to balance and maneuver on a bigger board.
However, individual preference and skill level may also influence which sport is a better fit.
How to Choose the Right Surf Paddle Board
There are many types and models of surf paddle boards, but they can be generally classified into two categories: hard boards and inflatable boards. Hard boards are made of rigid materials like fiberglass, epoxy, or carbon fiber, while inflatable boards are made of PVC or drop-stitch material that can be inflated and deflated.
When choosing a surf paddle board, you should consider the following factors:
The size of the board determines its stability, speed, and maneuverability. A larger board will be more stable and easier to paddle but slower and harder to turn. A smaller board will be less stable and harder to paddle but faster and more agile. The size of the board also depends on your weight, height, and skill level.
⇒ As a general rule, beginners should choose a board at least 10 feet long and 30 inches wide, while advanced surfers can go for a board that is 8 to 9 feet long and 28 to 29 inches wide.
- A board with a round nose and a wide tail will be more stable and suitable for cruising and longboarding.
- A board with a pointed nose and a narrow tail will be more responsive and ideal for carving and shortboarding.
- A board with a hybrid shape will be somewhere in between and suitable for all-around surfing.
Many SUP surfboards come with a tri-fin or quad-fin layout, which provides better tracking and control while surfing.
The design of the board includes the rocker (curve), rails (edges), fins, and deck, which influence its performance. More rocker aids in handling steeper waves but reduces speed on flat water. Thin, sharp rails enhance agility, while thick, soft ones offer forgiveness. Besides, more fins increase stability; fewer allow playfulness. A flat, smooth deck ensures comfort, while a concave, textured one provides grip.
Surfing with an Inflatable
Inflatable paddle boards are a great option for SUP surfing, especially for beginners and travellers. This table summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of Inflatable Paddle Boards (iSUPs) compared to Hard Boards:
|Inflatable Paddle Boards (iSUPs)
|Portability and Convenience
|Easily deflated and portable, they can be deflated and packed into a backpack or a car trunk.
|Less portable and bulkier due to their rigid structure. Require a roof rack or a large vehicle for transportation.
|Durability and Resistance
|Can withstand bumps and scratches without cracking or denting.
|More susceptible to damage. May crack or dent on impact, and repairs can be costly.
|Affordability and Accessibility
|More affordable and accessible. They are cheaper and easier to find than hard boards.
|Often pricier due to the materials and manufacturing process. But less accessible and usually found in specialty stores or online retailers.
|Rigidity and Responsiveness
|Less rigid, with some flex and bounce when inflated.
|Highly rigid with no flex, providing a stable platform, which improves responsiveness and control, especially at high speeds or in rough waters.
|Performance and Style
|Less performance-oriented and stylish because of the simpler and bulkier shape and design.
|Provides better performance and style due to their streamlined designs.
To surf with an inflatable paddle board, you need to make sure that the board is properly inflated and maintained. You should inflate the board to the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) level, which is usually between 12 and 15 PSI. You should also check the board for any leaks or damages before and after each use. You should also clean and dry the board thoroughly before storing it in a cool and dry place.
Top 2 Surf Paddle Boards
There are many surf paddle boards on the market, but some of them stand out for their quality, performance, and value. Here are the best surf paddle boards that you can choose from:
1. BLACKFIN Model V
The BLACKFIN Model V is a high-quality inflatable paddle board that excels at SUP surfing. It's sleek and sporty, with a pointed front, slim tail, and a curved shape for easy maneuvering. The BLACKFIN Model V is a top-tier inflatable paddle board for SUP surfing.
Its design includes a pointed nose, a narrow tail, and a rocker profile for agility. It's made from triple-layer PVC for strength and features a carbon rail for rigidity. The tri-fin setup enhances stability, and the textured deck pad ensures grip. It is 12'6" long and 32" wide, weighs 30 lbs and can carry up to 485 lbs.
2. iROCKER Cruiser 10'6"
The iROCKER Cruiser 10'6" is an inflatable paddle board that's great for SUP surfing and other water activities. It's stable and smooth, with a wide nose, square tail, and gentle rocker. The board is made of triple-layer PVC, making it rigid and resilient, and it has a tri-fin setup, which adds versatility.
The iROCKER Cruiser 10'6" also has a large and soft EVA deck pad for comfort and grip. It comes with a backpack, dual-action pump, carbon blend paddle, and other accessories. The board is 10 feet 6 inches long, 33 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. It weighs 25 pounds and can hold up to 400 pounds, making it suitable for people of different sizes and weights.
Essential Gear and Accessories for SUP Surfing
In addition to the surf paddle board, there are some essential gear and accessories that you need for SUP surfing. These include:
- Paddle: Acts as your water engine and steering wheel. It should be light, durable, adjustable, and have a comfortable grip and strong blade.
- Leash: Your safety tether to the board. It needs to be strong, flexible, and of appropriate length. It should also have a comfortable cuff and a quick-release feature.
- Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Your water safety vest. It should be buoyant, breathable, comfortable, secure, and highly visible.
- Wetsuit: Provides thermal protection in the water. It should be warm, flexible, durable, well-fitted, and smooth to reduce drag.
- Wax or Traction Pad: Ensures non-slip surface on the board. It should be sticky, cushiony, easy to apply or remove, and provide good coverage for control.
How to SUP Surf
SUP surfing is a fun and challenging sport that requires some skills and techniques. Here are some steps to help you get started:
- Choose the right conditions: Look for small and clean waves that are suitable for beginners. Avoid crowded and hazardous areas that can pose risks.
- Prepare your gear: Check your board, paddle, leash, PFD, and wetsuit to make sure they are in good condition. Adjust your paddle to the right length, which is about 6 to 8 inches taller than you.
- Launch your board: Carry your board to the water and place it perpendicular to the shore. Stand next to the board and hold the paddle with one hand on the handle and the other hand on the shaft. Step onto the board one foot at a time and stand up slowly. Start paddling with alternating strokes on each side to move forward and balance.
- Catch a wave: Paddle towards the wave and turn your board towards the shore. Paddle hard and fast as the wave approaches, and look over your shoulder to see the wave. Lean forward and bend your knees as the wave lifts the board and propels you forward. Stand up straight and shift your weight back as the wave carries you towards the shore.
- Ride a wave: Steer your board with your paddle and your body. Lean on your toes to turn right and lean on your heels to turn left. Bend your knees and lower your center of gravity to absorb the bumps and maintain balance. Extend your arms and look ahead to anticipate the changes and react quickly.
SUP Surfing Etiquette
SUP surfing has its own set of rules that you should observe to respect people and safeguard the environment. Here are a few rules to remember:
- Right of way: The surfer who is closest to the peak of the wave has the right of way. Do not drop in on or snake another surfer who is already riding the wave.
- Paddling out: Do not paddle straight through the lineup where the others are surfing. Paddle around the lineup or duck dive under the waves to avoid interfering with others.
- Control your board: Keep your board and your paddle under control at all times. Do not let your board or your paddle hit or hurt others.
- Respect the locals: Follow the local rules and customs. Do not hog the waves or behave aggressively. Share the waves and the stoke with others.
- Protect nature: Do not litter or damage the beach or the ocean. Do not disrupt the wildlife or ecosystem. Leave no trace and take only memories.
SUP Surfing with iROCKER Surf Paddle Board
SUP surfing is a great way to enjoy the water and the waves. It offers a unique blend of surfing and paddle boarding that is fun, healthy, and accessible to everyone. In this guide, we've shown you how to enjoy the waves by combining paddle boarding and surfing. To make the most of this exciting experience, it's important to pick the right surf paddle board.
With the right surf paddle board and gear from iROCKER, you can ride the waves with confidence and joy. So grab your board, hit the water, and catch some waves!
Can a paddle board be used for surfing?
⇒ Yes, a paddle board can be used for surfing. In fact, SUP surfing is a popular sport that combines the thrill of surfing with the versatility and control of paddle boarding.
What is the distinction between a surfboard and a paddle board?
⇒ The main difference between a surfboard and a paddle board is the size and the use of a paddle. A surfboard is smaller and used with the surfer lying or kneeling on the board and paddling with their arms before standing, while a paddle board is larger and used with the surfer standing on the board and paddling with a paddle.
Is SUP surfing easier than surfing?
⇒ SUP surfing can be easier than surfing for beginners because the larger board provides more stability, and the paddle provides more control. However, SUP surfing also requires more strength and balance to stand and paddle on the board.
Can you use a paddle on a surfboard?
⇒ You can use a paddle on a surfboard, but it may not be as effective or comfortable as using a paddle on a paddle board. The surfboard is smaller and less stable, and the paddle may be too long or heavy for the surfboard.