What Is SUP Surfing?

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Stand-up paddleboarding, also known as SUP, is a water sport that has quickly gained popularity all over the world. In the last few years, its cousin, sup surfing, has also gained traction, especially with those who love catching waves.

SUP surfing is a fantastic way to combine two popular water sports–surfing and stand-up paddleboarding. In sup surfing, surfers stand on their paddleboard and use a paddle to maneuver themselves on a wave. Unlike regular surfing, this activity requires more balance and skill, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

If you’re thinking about trying sup surfing, this article will provide you with all the essential information you need.


History of SUP Surfing

SUP surfing is relatively new compared to other water sports. Stand-up paddleboarding was invented in Hawaii in the 1940s, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that people started using paddles to catch waves.

The first SUP surfing competition was held in California in 2008, which quickly sparked interest in the activity. Today, it’s a popular sport that’s enjoyed by surfers all over the world.


Benefits of SUP Surfing

Like all water sports, sup surfing comes with its benefits. Aside from fun, here are some reasons why you should give sup surfing a try:

1. Improves Balance

As mentioned earlier, sup surfing requires more balance than traditional surfing. The balance required to stay upright on a paddleboard while surfing a wave also benefits your overall balance, agility, and stability.

2. Full-Body Workout

Sup surfing is an excellent workout for the whole body. It engages your core muscles as you try to maintain your balance on the board, and it also works your upper body as you paddle through the water.

3. Reduces Stress

Being on the water can be calming, reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation. SUP surfing can be a great way to take a break from your daily routine and connect with nature.

4. Accessible for All

SUP surfing is an activity that’s suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. It’s easy to learn, and with the right coaching, anyone can do it.

5. Connection with Nature

There’s something inspiring about being on the water, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the thrill of catching a wave. SUP surfing affords you a special connection with nature, which can uplift your mood and help you disconnect from the stresses of everyday life.


Essential Gear for SUP Surfing

Before you hit the waves for the first time, you need to make sure you have the essential gear for the activity. Here are the things you need to purchase:

1. SUP board

The most crucial piece of equipment you need for sup surfing is a paddleboard. There are different sizes and shapes of paddleboards, which accommodate different skill levels, wave conditions, and body types. As a beginner, it’s best to invest in a stable, wide board, which makes it easier to balance and catch waves.

2. Wetsuit

A wetsuit is essential for sup surfing as it protects your body against the cold water and the wind. Choose a wetsuit that fits well, is comfortable, and is designed for the water temperature in the area where you’ll be surfing.

3. Paddle

A paddle is crucial for sup surfing because it’s not only how you catch waves, but it’s also how you maneuver yourself on the board. Look for a paddle that’s lightweight, strong, and adjustable in length.

4. Leash

A leash is an essential safety feature that keeps you attached to your board in case you fall. Look for a leash that’s long enough to allow you to move around the board but short enough not to get in your way.

5. Sun Protection

Sun protection is essential because you’ll be out on the water for an extended period. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun.


How to SUP Surf

Now that you have all the essential gear for sup surfing, it’s time to hit the waves. However, before you do, here are some important considerations to keep in mind:

1. Start in Calm Waters

As a newbie, it’s essential to start in calm waters, such as a lake or a calm bay. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the equipment, practice your balance, and get a feel of the paddle.

2. Make Sure Your Paddle is the Correct Length

Your paddle’s length is crucial because it affects your balance and the efficiency of your paddling. A general rule of thumb is to make sure the paddle measures eight to ten inches taller than you.

3. Stay on Your Knees

As a beginner, it’s best to start on your knees. This helps you maintain balance and get used to the board’s movements. Once you feel comfortable, you can stand up gradually and try to catch waves.

4. Learn to Read the Waves

Reading waves in sup surfing is different from traditional surfing. Observe the wave’s direction, anticipate its movement, and position yourself in the right spot. As a beginner, it’s essential to start with smaller waves before progressing to bigger ones.

5. Keep Your Focus on the Horizon

Keeping your focus on the horizon as you paddle helps you maintain your balance and stay upright. Avoid looking down at your feet, which can cause you to lose balance.



Sup surfing is an excellent way to enjoy the thrill of surfing and the balance of paddleboarding. As a beginner, it’s essential to start with the right equipment, find the right spot, and master the basics before moving on to more challenging waves.

Overall, sup surfing is an incredibly fun sport that offers numerous benefits, including improving balance, providing a full-body workout, reducing stress, and connecting with nature. With the right coaching, anyone can learn to sup surf and enjoy the experience.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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