What’s SUP? A Beginner’s Guide To Stand Up Paddle Surfing

You lie on the beach at a resort, watching the surfers ride the waves. The sport looks exciting but you aren’t sure you are ready to dive in (no pun intended) to something that intense. One type of surfing that is growing in popularity is stand up paddle surfing, or SUP surfing.

What Is Stand Up Paddle Surfing?

The sport is basically what it sounds like. You stand on a surfboard with a paddle similar to a kayak paddle that propels you through the water. The paddle gives you a lot of control over your movement, and your upright position gives you a great view of the surrounding waves.

Stand up paddle surfing is both very new and very old. The modern sport is only about ten years old, developed by surf legends Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama. However the activity has its roots in hoe he’e nalu, a sport practiced by the ancient native people of Hawaii. Modern SUP surfing and other areas was developed to give surfers a better view and more control, but has evolved into a sport in its own right.

What Are The Types Of SUP Surfing?

Stand up paddle surfing was first used by hardcore surfers who wanted to catch the higher waves around Hawaii, and it still is a great way to get to the best waves more quickly and to ride them more safely. You find many people surfing on stand up boards rather than traditional boards. However, people quickly realised that, unlike traditional surfing, you don’t need big waves to have fun when SUP surfing.

Paddle surfing is an easy way to get out on the water for beginners. You don’t have to ride the waves if you aren’t comfortable. Many people are happy just slowly paddling around and enjoying the ocean. The water has many flat wave areas that are perfect for this kind of paddling. Those who want to surf can ride the biggest waves, and the paddle gives them more control as they do.

What Equipment Do You Need?

You don’t need a lot to get started SUP surfing. First of course you need a board. Although some people use standard surfboards, experts recommend you go with boards specifically designed for stand up paddle surfing. Second you need a paddle, and again you are better off choosing a specialised SUP paddle. Third you need a leash, which protects both you and the board in case you fall off (and you will a few times). Finally, as always when you are on the water, you need a personal flotation device.

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