Christmas was a telling time as I spent quite a few months off the water with an injury and this also spanned the Christmas holidays that saw quite a lot of choccies and wine going down the hatch. Not helpful when you paddle some pretty small surf sups and add to that the winter wetsuit +kg syndrome.
We’ve all watched the top boys riding tiny 7ft sups and dreamed of being like them, tucking into a barrel and slicing out a chunk of big air, but it really isn’t so easy. One thing I have noticed is how often these guys either prone paddle out or hang out back sitting down so are these boards really what stand up paddle surfing is all about.
The obvious plus with sup surfing a much shorter board is how much more dynamic they become with less swing weight, faster cutting turns and increased speed, but this is offset by massively reduced stability due to the lower volume and reduced widths.
Like our picture shows, each pro has a con so for most sup surfers and certainly the weekend warriors it makes more sense to lose the ego and go sensible. We learnt that lesson with windusring back in the 80s when we all bought tiny boards then realized we couldn’t sail it.
Anyone that’s been sup surfing will have probably seen guys on the water struggling just to stand up and inevitably missing all those great waves. If they had only gone for something a bit bigger or less pro in shape/size then it would mean the sup surfer would progress quickly, grab more waves and enjoy their time way more.
The key to board choice
- If you go for a snappy looking pin tail and nose, it will probably be more tippy than a wider nose and tail combo.
- Rail thickness increases stability such as in the Fanatic All Star compared to it Pro Wave sibling.
- Consider your local water and think how smooth it is or does it regularly get chopped up, so harder to paddle in and stand around on.
- Do you paddle quite a way out or between breaks as a slightly longer board will speed this up.
- Practice paddling smaller sups with a slightly offset stance to improve general agility and balance.
- Make sure you try the board or similar before buying.
Boards that might suit you
If you are totally fixed on doing some sup surfing, but also a bit of coast paddling and maybe on the bigger side then the Jimmy Lewis Maestra is a really nice size and can really handle a proper wave as well.
If you are around 90kg then the Jimmy Lewis Worldwide is a really tasty bet mixing ease of use with smooth tight turns.
If you’re less than 85kg and more capable then the smaller 8’1 Worldwide or Supertech is a good bet, but they get more tricky to handle when off the wave so bear that in mind and enjoy your sup surfing experience. The idea is to get loads of waves!!!