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How to Launch Your SUP Board in the Surf Zone

VideoNovember 25, 2013

Surfing your SUP board in ocean waves is great fun. It’s important for beginners to pick mild conditions where few others are in the water when practicing these maneuvers. This video gives you the basic pointers for paddling out through the incoming waves.

Pick your first spot to practice launching your board in the surf in an area that has a sandy beach, no rocks, no reefs, no wind and very few people around. Wade into the water with your board in one hand and your paddle in the other hand. Make sure your board leash is attached.

When you’re in deep enough water that the board’s fins won’t hit the bottom, hop onto the board. You’ll want to place your weight more to the back of the board so that the nose is a bit elevated. This will help it ride up on the waves. At first, you’ll probably be more comfortable paddling on your knees. When you become comfortable with that position you can try standing up to paddle out.

Either way, as a wave approaches, pick up your speed. As the wave hits you, take one more stroke. This stroke is intended to help you keep your balance, as much as propelling you through the turbulence. After you pass through, keep paddling until you’re out past where the waves are breaking.

Be aware that waves don’t come in uniformly; some sets will be bigger than others. Take some time to observe the area you’re going to paddle out in to be sure it’s open and has surf action that’s suitable for a beginner. By watching the wave patterns, you can pick a time to paddle out that will be less turbulent.

Picking a spot with few people in the water in these early practice sessions is an important safety factor. Until you learn better control of your board, this will help protect you from dangerous collisions with other paddlers.