Unfortunately the surf doesn’t crank all the time. As much as we’d love banging waves every day (or at least some of us would) factors such as tide, wind, amount of swell and wave angle can all play their part in halting our fun. We mentioned in our article/video about stand up paddle boarding quivers that having a race or touring SUP in your arsenal is a good idea – especially for smaller or slack wave days. Here we take that point and focus on the riding of said board in waves.
Top tips –
- Length is your friend – 12’6″ boards and above will give you speed, superior glide and long rides on small swells. Even bigger waves can be fun if you chose to ride your racer or tourer in this environment.
- Be aware that wipeouts can be more pronounced. There’s a lot more board hanging off your ankle and it’ll certainly tug.
- Wear an appropriate (strong) leash!
- A smaller fin will help in terms of manoeuvrability. You won’t be ripping big turns but some agility isn’t a bad thing.
- Being a proactive paddler will help you ride through flatter sections and continue your glide down the beach. Plus you’ll be able to outrun pitching sections. (This is also good practice for downwinders as it’s a similar skill and racers who compete in surf locations will also need this technique).
- Keep your nose up! Race/touring SUPs have a straighter rocker when compared to surf stand ups. You’ll need to make sure you don’t bury the nose so proactive foot work is a must.
- Use your head. Look in the direction of travel (along the wave) and your board and body will follow suit.
- Don’t be a wave hog! You’ll be an even greater nuisance if you take all the waves. And on that point…
- Consider where you ride a race/touring SUP in waves. If it’s a busy break then forget it. Go somewhere quieter where the waves are possibly slacker/smaller.
Thanks to Fatstick SUP who helped with this article.