If you’re anything like me and into your SUP’ing, you’ll be on the ‘journey down’. 11’2″ to 9’8″ to … Well, where is the limit for short usable SUP’s? Gong have one at 5’9″. But the Pro’s seem to be in the 7’4″ to 8’5″ range with varying widths. Having just moved to 7’4″ and loving the portability – leaving it in the car for those sneaky, wave sessions – I’ve found the shorter boards demand better technique; but offer so much more in terms of wave riding, flow and manoeuvrability. So here are some tips I’ve gathered to help get those magic carpets into waves.
Flat water paddle just to get the balance points. Before I even went out into waves, I paddled about just to get used to my 7’4″ Starboard Pod. I found the shorter SUP’s are dynamic – they need paddle strokes and a bit of speed for stability. Stop paddling … you fall in.
Wind – avoid it. Choppy waters aren’t best suited to them, due to obvious instability. Each board has its place in a quiver. So far I’ve targeted smooth swell. Ankle bitters to start, and then build up.
Catching the wave: I’ve tended to paddle out towards them using the natural yaw of the board to turn and start the paddle in. Surfing stance has been best for the last few power strokes to get in, and bring your weight forward to bring the nose down, matching board angle to the wave. If necessary, you got to move back quickly to prevent the ‘dig in’ at the nose once you pick up the wave.
Here’s a great little video. It’s shows the above technique.
And remember, it’s a journey. If at first you don’t succeed try, try , and try again. If you don’t try … you get nothing, those are the rules! I just surf here.