When SUP first started it was mostly done on boards 10 feet or longer in the old long board shape. Early stand up paddlers were fairly tame in the maneuvers and tricks that could be done. As time progressed you saw boards drop down to about a 9 foot 6 length with more aggressive shapes and that was tottally unheard of ! As time has gone by it seems now that board manufacturers and PRO ocean athletes are all making the push for 7 foot boards and under. The sport is really becoming almost a short board culture with people paddling their boards a foot under the water and having to constantly paddle to stay afloat. I think we have all become to divided by brand, shape, and size.
My first taste of ocean culture was on the westside of oahu at a beach known as MAKAHA. Makaha is famous for big right point break waves and longboarding legends. The people I saw surf were Buffalo Keaulana and his sons Rusty and Brian. These three guys are hugely successful in the longboard scene and had an interesting take on board size. I dont want to mis quote or anything but the basic idea was “Men ride big boards 9.5 -10 and over. It was basically a right of passage to drag your big old board to the beach. The difference between most surfers compared to the beach boyz out in Hawaii is that they treat every board like a short board and they absolutely shred! They taught about mastering style and not letting a board define your style.
So I am saying this to make the point that we as a SUP community SHAME people with bigger boards and make everyone try to go smaller when you can realistically use a bigger board and get really good then if you choose to go smaller you dont have to give up your bigger board. I believe we have to be more well rounded and basically stop hating on what size craft we are on. THIS might just be a problem I see in Southern California but let me know if I am wrong. I just dont see the need to use smaller and smaller boards or only stick to one certain size.
Paddleboarding already gets a pile of hate from “regular” surfers but if people were skilled on all shapes of board then we wouldnt be hating we would all have a more enjoyable day in the waves. This is just my take on a problem.