SUP Surf Techniques and Etiquette with Nikki Gregg

VideoAugust 28, 2013

Before you try catching waves on a stand-up paddleboard there are some things you need to know about technique, safety and surfing etiquette. In this video, SUP expert Nikki Gregg shares the skills and insider knowledge you need to safely and successfully ride waves in the surf. A newbie out in the surf can be really irritating to the veteran wave riders; here are the tips to avoid being “that guy.” Nikki recommends, if possible, picking a practice spot away from other surfers when just learning to surf.

To catch a wave, pick the one you want, point your board forward and take a few quick but strong strokes to match the speed of the wave. Once you feel the wave start to pick you up, quickly step back into “surf stance,” in a slight crouch with your back foot over the fins. This lifts the nose of the board and prevents from nose-diving (pearling). It also helps to steer the board to the left or to the right.

Once you’ve caught a wave the whole goal is to stay on the non-breaking part of the wave. To do this you’re going to have to learn how to trim your board properly. To speed up if you feel like you’re going off the back of the wave, move forward a bit and take a few strokes to get back on the wave.

Once you’ve ridden the wave in, you’ll want to paddle back out through the surf to catch another. Paddle straight into the waves; you don’t want to be sideways to them. Get your speed up and as the wave begins to hit you, step back into surfing stance. Don’t take your paddle out of the water; use it to brace and keep your balance.

Always consider your safety and the safety of others. Wear a leash and if it’s shallow where you get dumped, be sure you fall flat. As you start to surf with others, use commonsense, learn the rules of the lineup and don’t take more than your share of waves. Always surf with respect of others, so you won’t be “that guy!”