Can You Surf on a Paddleboard? Yes. But is it Easy?

From calm lakes to the rushing waves of the sea, paddleboarding is a versatile sport that appeals to water enthusiasts of all kinds. But can you take a paddleboard out into the surf? The answer is a resounding yes. You can also Surf Kayak as well!

Key Differences from Traditional Surfing

SUP surfing differs from traditional surfing in several ways. The most obvious is the paddle, which not only helps with wave-catching but also aids in balance and quick turns. The stance on a SUP is also generally wider, and the approach to wave riding is more about graceful glides than sharp cutbacks.

Safety First

Understanding wave etiquette, knowing how to fall safely to avoid injury, and using the right leash are just a few safety aspects we’ll discuss to ensure your SUP surfing experience is as safe as it is fun.

Equipment Essentials

When it comes to stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) with the intention of catching waves, not all SUP boards are created equal. The design of your board can greatly affect your ability to surf efficiently. Here’s an overview of the types of SUP boards suitable for surfing and those that are less ideal:

  • Shorter and Narrower: Surf SUPs tend to be shorter in length, usually under 10 feet, and more narrow than all-around boards. This design enhances maneuverability on waves.
  • Curved Rocker: A pronounced rocker, which is the curve of the board from nose to tail, helps the board handle the wave’s shape and steepness better.
  • Pulled-In Tail: A narrow tail, often found in designs like pin tails or swallowtails, provides better control and ability to carve turns on the wave face.
  • Thinner Rails: Sharper and thinner rails help the board cut into the water and improve turning ability.

While surfing with inflatable SUPs is by all means possible, many are designed for all-around use. They can be used for surfing small waves but lack the rigidity and responsiveness of hard boards. You may find the performance sluggish when on a wave. Although their buoyance can be an aid to catching more waves! They are also safer in a busy line up.

Top SUP Surfing Spots in the UK

The UK is home to some fantastic SUP surfing spots. From the consistent breaks of Cornwall to the sheltered bays of Devon, there are locations perfect for both beginners and seasoned SUP surfers. We’ll highlight some of the best places to try SUP surfing around the country, complete with local tips and advice. This is a different list to the top paddleboard destinations in the UK.

SUP Surfing Crash into a wave

SUP Surfing Techniques:

Positioning for the Wave: In the lineup, stand on your SUP board with your knees slightly bent for agility. Your feet should be parallel and shoulder-width apart, positioned near the board’s center for optimal balance. Keep your eyes on the horizon, watching for incoming waves.

Paddling into the Wave: As you spot a potential wave, position your board so it’s perpendicular to the wave’s direction. Begin paddling towards the shore to gain momentum. It’s important to paddle with purpose and strength, using long, powerful strokes to build up the speed you’ll need to catch the wave.

Engaging the Wave: As the wave approaches, paddle with increased urgency. The goal is to sync your speed with the wave’s to ensure it doesn’t pass beneath you. Feel the swell lift the back of your board; this is the critical moment to commit with a few final, strong strokes.

Maintaining Speed and Balance: Once the wave catches your board, continue to paddle to maintain speed. Use your paddle to steer and stabilize as the wave propels you forward. Keep your stance wide and your body low to absorb any turbulence.

Riding the Wave: Lean slightly into the wave to maintain direction, adjusting your paddle strokes to navigate. If you need to make sharper turns, plant your paddle in the water on the side you wish to turn and push, using it like a rudder.

Exiting the Wave: To exit, simply paddle out of the wave’s pull or ride it through until it fizzles out near the shore. Always maintain a vigilant posture, ready to adjust your balance and paddle strokes to react to the wave’s changing dynamics.

Conclusion

SUP surfing opens up a new dimension of stand-up paddleboarding, blending the tranquility of paddling with the thrill of riding waves. Whether you’re looking to spice up your paddleboarding routine or want to enjoy the surf in a new way, SUP surfing is an adventure worth exploring. Join us as we ride the wave of this exciting crossover sport.

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Max
Co-founder and Chief Adventurer

I am Max, the co-founder and CEO of adventuro. We are on a mission to help you get into the sports you have always wanted to try, or develop in the sports you love, exploring new skills and locations. We do this by partnering with the best instructors, guides, and activity centres to get a great spread from beginner all the way to instructor training.

For too long, it has been way to confusing to find your next steps, or even to know where to start when getting into adventure sports. I am an experienced and/or qualified paraglider, skydiver, scuba diver, freediver, power boat driver, snowboarder, kitesurfer, kayaker, mountain biker, surfer, dirt biker, wakeboarder, and sailor.

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