Introduction to SUP Surfing

Many stand up paddlers are keen to try their hand at SUP surfing, learn how you can get started.

SUP Surfing is a great way to extend your stand up paddleboarding.

Each year SUP Vic run a number of introduction to surf events, to help members get started or grow their surfing. Keep an eye on the calendar, our Facebook page and your local pod page for more information.

SUP Surfing etiquette

For those new to surfing/SUP surfing, it is important to note that surfing is a sport that has its own set of rules and customs. As there are no referees or umpires out in the waves, all surfers need to be aware of these and follow them when in the surf.

Failure to do so can readily lead to injuries, damaged boards and frayed tempers.

Getting started

Before moving into SUP surfing, please note the following:

  • SUP Surfing requires a board that is designed for surfing, or at the least a hybrid / all-round board (larger board shaped like a big surfboard). If in doubt, check with a local retailer.
  • Some really experienced SUP surfers will surf on racing boards, but this is for the skilled paddle surfer.
  • Know how to read the waves and be aware of the implications that tides and winds have on surfing.
  • SUP surfboards are very big and very heavy relative to a normal surfboard. As such, a surf SUP can become a missile out in the water when carried by a wave.
  • Be aware at all times of how close you are to others and also of the surf etiquette (just like the rules of the road, other surfers follow this etiquette and it let’s you know who has right of way).
  • Hawaii’s Golden Rule – the combined length of your board, your leg rope and your leg is the distance your board can cover when you fall in. Anyone inside that distance can get hit by your board if you have a fall. Be aware!

Surfing Etiquette & Tips

  1. Pick the right spots for your ability and attitude. Always start on small waves and work up and stay out of the way of experienced surfers!
  2. Don’t drop in on your fellow surfers! The surfer who is closest to the breaking section of the wave has the right of way; others need to get off their wave!
  3. When paddling out, stay out of the way of riders on waves. So paddle out around the surf zone (that means around the breaking waves where people are riding waves)!
  4. Learn to take turns catching waves. Share the waves around!
  5. Respect the vibe in the line-up. Be friendly and respectful of other surfers!
  6. Always aid another surfer in trouble.
  7. When travelling, respect the local surfers.
  8. Don’t use your SUP advantages to abuse your fellow surfers. SUPs are usually easier to catch waves on and earlier than a surfboard. Don’t monopolise waves because of this advantage!
  9. Be responsible for your equipment and respectful of others. This includes not getting too close to others out there and respecting the Golden Rule!
  10. Relax, have fun and enjoy surfing along with your fellow surfers.

If you aren’t sure, ask other surfers when you are out on the waves.