SUP Surfing 101

SUP Surfing 101

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 Although most
stand up paddlers will stick to flat water lakes and rivers, the sport
actually originated in Hawaii as an offshoot of traditional surfing. Starting
from a standing position, and having the power of a paddle makes it easier to
catch waves. But surfing an SUP has its own unique challenges and skills to
develop in order to become proficient. In this episode we’re going to look at a few key tips that
will help you enjoy your time in the surf more quickly and safely. First, an
important note about safety. Surfing is one of the few places where life jackets
are not required. Of course, this means that you should be
a very comfortable swimmer, aware of the surf conditions, and never surf alone.
Remember that the Coast Guard recommends that you always wear a life jacket, and
it will be required when you’re outside the surf zone. Leashes are extremely important when
you’re surfing so that you don’t get separated from your board, and it’s also
important to use the right type of leash to best 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 have a straight leash instead of a coil leash, because
a straight leash will have less recoil in the event that you do fall off, so the
board won’t come back and hit you, and also a coiled leash tends to get tangled
around your paddle when you do fall off. It’s also important that you attach the leash to the ankle of whatever leg is closest to the tail when you’re in a
surfing stance. When it comes to the surfing itself, until you’re a competent
surfer, you need to practice in areas without other surfers, swimmers or
waders close by, because an out of control board can really hurt someone. The ideal place to learn to surf is an open, sandy beach with small one to two foot waves that break slowly out from shore, and don’t just dump on the beach. It’s also ideal to have a spot that gets light, offshore winds, which means the wind is blowing from the land toward the water. This keeps the
waves smooth and predictable. So now that you’ve found the right spot, there are
going to be three distinct challenges for learning to surf on your stand up
paddleboard. The first challenge is launching and paddling past the breaking
waves, the second is learning to catch the wave, and the third is actually
surfing the wave. But in this video, we’re gonna stay focused on the basics of how
to actually catch and surf a wave. The key to catching a wave is first, being in
the right position and second, committing to the wave you select. When waiting for waves, it’s best to line up parallel to the incoming sets, standing in a hybrid stance, with your toes facing out towards the ocean, and your paddle on the toe side of the board. When you see the wave you want, you can then
easily turn 90 degrees or perpendicular to the oncoming wave. When the wave gets close, take some smooth but solid forward strokes to get up to speed. If you
timed it right, after about four or five strokes, the wave should reach you, and start to pick up the tail of you board. At this point, it’s crucial that you lean forward to get
established in the face of the wave, and then once you’re sure you caught the
wave, you’ll step back and turn your feet into a full surf stance. Now that you’ve caught the wave, your board is going to want to shoot straight down the wave out in front
of it, and there you’re gonna stall and lose your speed. Instead, try to angle your
board on the wave to stay in the pocket. The pocket is the spot on the wave where
breaking part of the wave that meets the open green face. Most beginner riders
find it easiest angle their boards so that they face the wave with their toes, and
hold the paddle on the toes of the board. This may sound and look easy enough, but make no mistake surfing is one of the most challenging sports to learn, so be
patient and accept the fact that you’re going to do a lot of swimming before you
much surfing. I hope you found this video helpful and if you did 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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26 thoughts on “SUP Surfing 101

  1. alex tamayo-wolf says:

    what is a hybrid stance?

  2. Les W says:

    Thanks so much for the info, but not the annoying backing "music".

  3. Senpai says:


  4. ziobleed says:


  5. PolyNZian says:

    yup…i'm doing a lot of swimming alright but i'll get there eventually

  6. j says:

    Is this possible to do on a lake (as in the wake of a boat)? I know it's not really "true surfing" but I don't live anywhere close to an ocean or anywhere very wavy.

  7. KAIO GABRIEL says:


  8. BigErn_Mccraken says:

    It’s goes like this:pedophiles, kneeboarders, SUP surfers. In that order.

  9. Enfoque Alternativo says:

    Hello guys, hope you like this vid made in Eastern 2018.Come to train, improve your skills and have fun with us ¡ Whatsapp +51997283438

  10. Thomas Stewart says:

    I love how they say no coiled leashes and then the women is using a coiled leash. Pretty poor for a safety/instructional video!

  11. Dingo Capo says:

    biggest challenge you will always be considered a kook by many, in the line up!!!!

  12. Not a Sage says:

    everytime a paddleboarder comes my way, the spot gets that much more crowded

  13. snapjazz says:

    "Don't use a coiled leash"…well what about the girl at 2:05?

  14. Brady Terlesk says:

    fuck sups

  15. humblelongboards says:

    I've been surfing since I was 18. I'm 46 now, and my age and weight has affected me to the point I can no longer pop-up. I stopped surfing about 3 years ago. Although depressing, this is giving me hope of getting back out on the water. Any suggestions on a good brand of SUP? I weigh 230 (but I'm trying to lose the weight)

  16. drugraphics says:

    I don't get the hate that the "og surfers" are throwing at sup riders. It's the same thing. They ride long boards and they just have a paddle haha.

  17. My Tablet says:

    Wow Did u know I am goinb to do aquatics tomorrow so exciting!!!!!!!

  18. SUP Boards Review says:

    Great video as always!

  19. Anthony Maltese says:


  20. bpunlimited says:

    My sup came with a coiled leash and I've been using that for 3 years now. Not the best idea but my biggest problem is when you wipe out and the leash tangles itself so your foot can't move so you gotta take your leash off. Took me 5 mins to untangle.

  21. Janina Maria Böhler says:

    thank you very much for the good tips.

  22. Tomek Szewski says:

    Hello, whether you can swim with an oar on a surfboard I am a beginner

  23. Олег Мальцев says:

    Very nice video! Thanks a lot! I've choose the board for myself with this video!

  24. the mountain man says:

    I can’t swim n I surf alone lol I’ve made it to 30 so far

  25. the mountain man says:

    I can’t swim n I surf alone lol I’ve made it to 30 so far

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