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Rules to Follow for SUP Surfing

Riding ocean waves looks so cool, and the experts make it look so easy. This video gives you the four golden rules to help you get started on the right learning curve for SUP surfing. You need to hone your flatwater paddling skills before heading into the surf zone. Practice without a lot of other paddlers or swimmers around, wear a leash and learn from other’s mistakes.

Paddlers get into SUP boarding for many reasons: exercise, racing, yoga, multiday excursions, etc. For some it’s the anticipation of surfing ocean waves. That can be great fun, but it’s important that you do it the right way.

Do not go into the surf zone where there are any swimmers or surfers, unless you are experienced. SUP boards, even inflatables, can cause severe injuries when striking others in the water. When starting out, find a spot for practice with no more than knee-high waves and no one else in the water.

Also, always wear a leash. A runaway board can fly off and hurt someone. For your protection, it’s best to use a non-coil leash. One with a coil can cause the board to spring back and strike you.

The surf zone is not the place to learn basic paddle strokes, balance and board control. Things happen quickly in the surf, and without those abilities you won’t be successful and won’t have much fun. Work on those skills in flatwater before hitting the surf. In our Learn Pages there are numerous articles and videos on mastering these skills.

There’s no need to “reinvent the wheel”—learn about surf paddling from others. Look for paddling clubs in your area. Strike up conversations with other paddlers at the beach. Local paddling shops can be excellent sources for information and referrals; some even hold classes and events. Find those shops by using the NRS Dealer Locator feature.