Launching a SUP in the Surf

Launching a SUP in the Surf


This episode of Stand Up Paddling TV is
brought to you by the ACA, improving the paddle sports experience for over a
century. Learn more at SUP-ACA.org.
One of the biggest reasons stand up paddling has exploded in popularity is because it offers
something for everyone. For some people, it’s a great way to get
themselves or their family outside and active, others use paddle boards to
enhance the experience of activities like fishing, yoga or snorkeling, but for
many it’s the idea of surfing that make stand up
paddling so attractive. And so in this video, we’re going to look at the first skill
any would-be surfers need to learn, which is how to properly and safely launch and paddle
through a surf zone. Your first job is to choose an appropriate surf spot. If
you’re watching this video, you’re probably new to SUP surfing, so the
ideal surf spot will be a sandy beach, free of rocks and reefs, knee high waves, minimal wind and no one else nearby that you or your board could hit when, not if, you lose
control. Before you ever head out in the surf zone, you’re going to want to make sure your leash attached, because your leash is the single most important piece of safety gear. Not only does your leash keep you connected to your board for your own sake, but it
protects anyone else in the area, because a runaway board is no laughing matter.
That being said, it’s important to use the right type of leash to maintain
control of your board and avoid injury. In particular, your leash should be about the same length as your board, and you’re going to want to use a straight leash, instead of a coil leash. The reason for this is that a straight leash is going to have less
recoil when you fall off, so the board won’t pop back towards you as fast, and also because the coiled leash tends to get tangled around your paddle in case you
do fall. It’s also important that you attach the
leash to the ankle of whichever leg its closest to the tail of the board when
you’re in a surfing stance. To launch in the surf zone, wade into the water with your
board in one hand pointed directly into the oncoming waves, and your paddle and
the other hand. Once you’re in water deep enough so that you know that your fin
won’t hit the sand, you’ll want to place the board on the water, and put your hand on
the tail of the board. You can always control your board from the tail, this is
because when oncoming waves hit the board, you’re easily able to push down the on tail, to let the nose ride up and over the top of the oncoming waves. Once you’re in a
position where there are no more oncoming waves, you can then hop on your board. You’re typically going to want to stand a little further back on your board than you would normally for flatwater paddling, this helps keep your nose up when you’re paddling
out and punching through waves. In the early stages, it’s good to stay on your
knees while paddling out through the surf zone. Once you’re comfortable doing
this, then you can try standing up. Either way, when a wave breaks in front of you,
paddle hard to get some speed going, and then just as the white water reaches you,
take one last stroke. This last stroke is designed to keep you balanced as you
go through the turbulent water, as much as it’s designed to propel you forward,
so don’t try to pull really hard on this stroke. Once you’re through, keep paddling until you’re out past where the waves are breaking. One thing to understand is
that waves don’t roll in and break on a beach uniformly. Some areas of the beach will have bigger waves than others, so take a few minutes to watch and pick the
best spot to go out. Also remember that waves often come in
sets or groups of waves, and if you wait until a set rolls through, the surf will
be a lot calmer and easier to paddle through. So there you have it, a quick overview of
how to launch in the surf. I hope that you enjoyed this video, and if you’re interested
in learning more, make sure you subscribe to our Stand Up
Paddling TV YouTube channel, and stay tuned for more tips and tricks.

Antonio Breitenberg

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2 thoughts on “Launching a SUP in the Surf

  1. andrew smee says:

    Great advice from experienced SUPers..a great series

  2. bill F says:

    good job!

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