Stand up paddle surfing (SUP) is a fun and easy sport learn. The great thing about stand up paddle surfing is that it can be done with or without waves. This article explains the basics for learning and enjoying this great sport.
Equipment and Preparation: You will need a surfboard, paddle, life jacket and a board leash. These boards are different than a regular surfboard. They have a wider base. The cost is anywhere between $100 to $1000 dollars. A stand up surf paddle is about 68 inches long with a 7 to 8 inch wide blade. They cost a bit under $200. A board leash usually comes with the board.
Surfing Without Waves: It is recommended that this is how you begin to learn. First secure your leash to right under your knee cap. This would be the highest point on your calf. This helps prevent drag on your board and helps you from getting tangled with your free leg. Experienced boarders will strap it to their ankle.
Mount your board in shallow water from behind. Place both knees together in the center of your board. Place your paddle (stick) between your knees pointing forward not across your board. Remove your paddle and hold it chest high. Staying on your knees, start with the paddle on your strong side first. Do two stokes and switch.
Once you get out on the lake, place your strong leg up and place your foot on the board. Place a hand on each side of the board and place your other foot on the board and slowly stand up. You can hold the paddle in your strong hand as you place it on the side of the board. As you begin to stand, place the paddle in both hands. Give yourself a few seconds to adjust your balance. Now simply begin to paddle using both sides of the board. At first, use short stokes. Your stokes will get longer with more experience. Do not be concerned with speed at first. Always paddle away from swimmers and other boats. You can always sit straddle your board with your legs and paddle. This is always recommended for resting, too. It is excellent to sit and paddle for beginners to this sport.
Surfing with Waves: Mount your board as explained above. However, place the paddle under one of your knees. You can also lay in the prone position with the paddle under your chest. Now using your arms, swim out to deeper water. Always start from the sitting position in still water.
You want waves that are between 1 to 2 feet high. Anything higher will be difficult to handle. Always stay away from rocky areas. If a wave passes you by, just lower yourself and stabilize yourself util the next wave comes along. Do not turn your board sideways with waves. Use your paddle to help stabilize yourself and let the wave take you.
Stance: Place your strong leg forward and weak leg back on your board. This is a regular surfboard stance. Use this stance with waves only. In still water, balance is more important than anything. It is easier to do. Anytime you start to lose your balance, just lower yourself to your board.
Note; I have done surf paddling in still water and never on waves. This is because of the location of where I live. I will say that from my experience, it is a lot of fun to master this skill and can be learned very quickly i still water.