I’ve ridden waves in WA-OR-CA-HI on all types of craft and in all types of conditions. The one thing that never changes is that Stand Up Surfers have way more responsibility than your average surfer dude.
We as Paddle Surfers have to constantly prove our skills almost daily. Ive paddled to spots happy sun shining and boom 40 yards away I can already hear salty shortboards cursing/ yelling at me. I ve learned to make that the motivation to get better out in the waves and is basically what i tell all new combers to SUP surfing. SUP is still new to people and will continue to get unwanted hate for years to come.
The SUP community is so accepting and truly is the standard for modern day ALOHA. That being said killing um with kindness can sometimes still be physically harmful. We have all seen the new guy learning or the casual SUPer who rented a board for the weekend. He or she means no harm and has the most genuine smile and shaka as they cut you off on a good wave. To another SUPer this isnt anything crazy we laugh it off and go on our way but surfers always have to hoot/ holler and seem to have forgotten what it was like to be a newbie.
In SUP we have peer pressure as well as just the task of Standing the entire sesh while holding a paddle and navigating the crowd of prone surfers. These are all things that really add up but should never deture you from acheving SUP nirvana.
Here are my tips/ RULES for SUP BLISS.
- Haters will hate… So dont pay attention
- SUPs are generally bigger which means board control is key. Going in or out you gotta keep track of your board..dont be so quick to hit the eject button.
- Be the ALOHA you want to see in the line up…Give up waves to the surfers- surf good and you will make an impression the Duke could be proud of.
- You are not Kai Lenny so dont go right to the middle of the line up to start.. stay off to the side and pick your waves wisely. The best wave riders are the smartest.
- STAY LOW- PADDLE HARD- SHRED- SMILE ALL DAY – REPEAT!
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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.