The nose rider sup as Old Guys Rule can be heard from the crowds as the surf purists step up front of their boards and balance for seconds before cross stepping back to sweep a smooth carve.   This is Nose Rider SUP, one on one.

Watching the paddler making their way to the nose looks simple enough, but it can be farther than you think so a few simple pointers could see you getting there quicker.

Nose riding on a sup can be done on a wide variety of sup boards, but there are certain shapes and features that help the sup surfer.

Board features:

  • A round nose will offer you more support when standing on the nose compared to a pointy nose board.
  • A lesser rockered board also helps to keep the tail locked down.
  • A little concave in the nose also helps to hover the board.
  • A bit of V in the tail can help improve steering when you’re up front.
  • A long fin also keeps the board tail locked in.
  • Tail rocker can also help to suck the board back and hold it in the wave.

Riders style

Position is crucial, but not just the riders position on the board.   Your position on the wave makes a big difference to overall results and outcome.     Being high up on the wave is really where you want to be.     The steeper face keeps your tail from releasing and the breaking wave will begin to crumble over the tail.   Also being higher means the board will be farther away from pearling.

Before shooting up to the front of the board spend some time stepping back and forth.   Using your paddle to balance as you walk about can help but ultimately you don’t want that to become your crutch.

As you become more comfortable with moving your feet around, you’ll need to take the plunge but be prepared for your board to become far less controllable and prone to pearling.   Overcoming the control issue is just down to being light footed and making sure you keep your weight over the centreline of the sup board as you step  up front.


Learning something later in life is always harder as we are stuck in our ways and shuffling the feet around will be something you quickly become comfortable with, but in time this will hold you back so you need to make a definite effort to cross step.

Cross stepping is the classic way to head to the nose – it looks so cool but more importantly helps to control the board trim.   And don’t forget, knees bent, evenly balancing weight between toes and heel.   To get your head round the movement practice the steps on land first before heading out, but remember – it’s only water!

In the beginning your steps will be fairly wide but as you get skilled up you can shorten those steps to look even more groovy.

If old school surfing and nose riding really does it for you, check out the Jimmy Lewis Black and Blue Machine


We run regular beginner to improver wing sup surfing lessons.

With over 35 years experience, we are fully insured and certified with: