Progression is natural and every year the sport of SUP has made giant leaps as far as wave riding goes. SUP is a great tool for catching a wave but there has always been a huge riff between SUP surfers and traditional wave riders. SUP is currently being claimed all over the map by different associations. Whether it is Canoeing -Surfing or Kayaking all of these sports/association have been trying to capitalize and lay claim to SUP. This battle for identity has really made SUP surfing get a lot of flack.
With SUP surfers getting more radical the obvious comparison will be between short boarding but SUP is so much more. In SUP we have the ability to cover distance like a canoe or kayak -Surf like a longboard and SHRED like a short board. But with that versatility lies the problem. We have such a dynamic sport that we will always be compared to other things.
SUP surfing is my favorite aspect and it is one of those things that people can just jump right into and gain confidence fast. With a fast learning curve people jump from 12 foot wave SUP to a 9 foot and smaller with out really mastering SUP and it becomes a sloppy version of something that could be beautiful. When you see Dave Kalama or guys like Brian Keaulana (people that surf all types of stuff) surf SUP they use the whole wave and engage the paddle they are very radical but aren’t on SUPs that are 7 foot they walk a fine line of PERFORMANCE LONGBOARD/ SHORTBOARD styles. This sweet spot is what I consider to be the perfect place to aim for when looking to improve SUP surfing as a whole.
I think the days of killing your self to go paddle on a board that is negative liters to weight need to be put behind us and obviously everyone will always push for smaller boards. Aesthetically when you go to short and try to mimic short board you end up looking sloppy and just throwing your tail around and don’t get the most out of each session. bump up your board dimensions a bit and do things that others aren’t PUSH for individualism NOT COMPARISON.