Advice for Stand Up Paddleboard Surfing Beginners

SUP surfing

Are you looking to start surfing on your stand-up paddleboard? Well, you’re like many people that start writing a stand-up paddleboard in an area that is good for learning like a lake or a protected bay, that has a minimal amount of waves and wake in the water.

Once you become skilled at writing a stand-up paddle board the next progression is to go out into the surf to learn how to ride waves on your paddleboard.

This is interesting because the sport of stand-up paddleboard originally started in Hawaii with people surfing on paddleboards. But now it is easier to go from flat water, build up your skillset, and then go out into the surf and learn how to ride waves.

Before you go out into the surf you will want to be comfortable paddling on your SUP in flat water on days where the water is whipped up due to wind and there is chop either from boats or weather.

This way you are already comfortable in more challenging conditions. If this is you then you have the skills to take it to the next level and surf waves on your SUP.

What size stand up paddleboard is best for surfing?

As you have probably seen stand up paddleboards are significantly larger than traditional surfboards. The main thing you’ll want to consider is a larger SUP makes it easier in terms of float ability, a smaller board makes it easier in two turns of maneuverability.

A good general rule of thumb when picking the size for a SUP designed for surfing is to find one that is one to two feet shorter in length than a SUP that you would use for flat water touring. If you would normally use a 10 to 12 ft long SUP for touring you’re going to want to choose a SUP that is about 9 ft long for surfing.

This is a general rule. There are plenty of exceptions. But you always want to go to want to keep in mind the difference between floatability and maneuverability.

Another issue to consider is the width of the board. For a stand up paddle board surf, you generally don’t want to go any larger than 31 inches in width period and even 29 and 30 in wide is ideal. The reason is that the wider you go the harder it is to maneuver the board on the waves.

What shape of the board should you get?

Well, you’re going to want a SUP that is shaped more like a surfboard than it is a touring stand-up paddleboard. You want a SUP that looks like a large surfboard, with a pointed nose and a tapered tail.

Finally, you’re going to want to consider the weight of the SUP. If it is too heavy it will be hard to turn and maneuver. Try to find materials that make the board lighter so it is easier to surf and turn on waves.

When you are starting out learning how to surf SUP, you’re going to want to pick boards that are on the larger side for a surfboard but yet still smaller than a traditional paddleboard.

As you develop skills and expertise, you will most likely end up on highly specialized SUP surf’s that are much smaller possibly even in the 7 ft long area. Which is incredibly small for a traditional stand-up paddle board size.

The advantage of these smaller boards is that you can ride more technical and bigger surf. But this article is geared more to beginners to the sport of SUP surfing.

Which SUP paddle should you use for surfing?

With traditional paddleboarding on flat water and just touring around, it doesn’t matter which type of paddle you have. You can just grab whatever you can find and it doesn’t matter. Wait generally is not an issue.

With surfing, however, this is not the case. The weight does matter a great deal. You are expending far more energy while surfing and making far more movements and adjustments, so the weight of the paddle is very important.

You want a light paddle so that your arms do not get tired while you’re surfing. you’re going to want to buy the lightest paddle that you can which is a full carbon paddle. Full carbon suck paddles are not cheap, but they are worth the investment if you are going to surf.

How long should your paddle be for surfing? Well for traditional paddleboarding like touring on flat water, the paddle will be a little bit taller than you are. But for surfing, you want a slightly smaller paddle size. You want your paddle to be about the same height as you are tall, so slightly smaller than traditional paddles.

What kind of leash should you use?

The first rule is that you want to make sure that you are not using a coiled leash for surfing. A coiled leash is dangerous for a couple of reasons, one is that it can recoil and bring the board back to you and two it can get hooked up on a reef, and three it can let the board get too far away from you which endangers other surfers.

Your best bet is to get a leash that is designed for stand-up paddling. You want one that is thicker than a traditional surfboard leash and is a straight leash, or non-coiled. The ideal length for a paddleboard leash is the size of the board. If you have a 10 ft paddleboard, you would want a 10 ft leash.

Now that you’ve got the right equipment, you need to find a good spot to go learn how to SUP surf.

Just like learning anything you want to start small. You will want to find a beach that has small waves no bigger than the height of your shin.

If you can find a channel (here is a good definition of a channel: that allows for ease of paddling out to get into the ideal set. Since you are starting in an area with relatively small waves you can generally power through them if you can’t find a channel to paddle out on.

In a perfect world, you will find a beach that doesn’t have any rocks and has a nice sandy bottom. This perfect world will also have smooth water surface conditions. Meaning no wind is blowing into the waves which create a bunch of chop.

It is much easier to learn how to surf on waves that are smooth than on waves that are choppy regardless of the height of the wave is small or not.

And finally, you’re going to want to find a spot where there aren’t too many other people on the waves. I know that this can be difficult but this is especially important when you’re learning to SUP surf. The reason is you’re going to make a bunch of mistakes and you won’t have much control over your board as a beginner.

So if you can find an area that has little to no people that is ideal.

Your journey into SUP surfing starts with getting out to the break. You’ll start by entering the water where the waves are breaking onto the beach.

Grab your paddle and one hand in your board in the other and place your board perpendicular to the beach and push it through the first few waves.

As the water gets too deep for walking you’ll want to hop on your paddleboard. You’ll want to get on your board on your knees in the prone position to power out through the first few sets of waves.

It’s best to place your paddle between your legs in the prone position as you are going through the first sets of waves.

Once on your board your goal is to now paddle with your hands to get out of the zone where the waves are breaking. Usually, this just takes a lot of hard work and sweat.

How to stand up on your board on a wave:

There are two methods for standing up on your paddleboard on a wave.

One is to go from the prune position onto your knees. the problem with this is that you’re on your knees and you’re not yet standing and the waves can be choppy and unstable.

The other method is to skip past the kneeling phase and to go from the prone position and jump straight on to your feet in the athletic position. Eventually, this second method is what most experience SUP surfers choose to do.

And that’s it.

That will get you started on your journey to surfing waves on a SUP.

Malibu SUPsurfing is the BEST way to learn to Stand Up Paddlesboard surf

Malibu SUPsurfing is the BEST way to learn to SUPsurf /SUPboard

Because our SUPsurfing lessons emphasize safety while providing basic information and instruction for novices, utter beginners and people considering entering the sport.

We offer inexpensive group introductory classes, small group lessons and one on one private lessons primarily designed to enable you to practice reasonably SAFELY and perfect the ability to SUPsurf ALONE. Although we strongly recommend SUPsurfing with others (when it can be done SAFELY) and/or having a knowledgeable helper on the beach, the ability to be reasonably safe when alone is extremely desirable and often essential.

We can also help educate and guide you regarding equipment selection and repairs and provide tips and suggestions to speed learning and increase enjoyment.

Although we specialize in SUPsurfing, we can also introduce you to snow kiting and land kiting (land boards and buggies) for a change of pace from water.


offer customized gift certificates with YOUR message

customize equipment to best fit YOUR needs

do minor SUPboarding equipment repairs

purchase and sell used SUPsurfing equipment

offer CUSTOMIZED guided tours to southern California locations and vacation trips to U.S. and international spots.

To further our goal of providing the most value possible, we created a

Besides the great private lesson rate ( <$57 /hour), you also get discounted prices on premium equipment which can include a SUP whose unique, patented features arguably make it the BEST SUP for learning along with a top quality harness, a complete bar & line set. and assorted accessories which make learning SAFER, EASIER and FASTER.


you may purchase up to 6 additional hours of private lessons at ONLY $50 per hour.

Altogether, you can save up to 50% on lessons and 25% on equipment (up to about $500+ on equipment).

You’ll also be eligible to participate in our unique

Although lessons include the use of our equipment, the BEST way to ACCELERATE learning SUPsurfing is to have your own new equipment to practice with between lessons.

However, many students prudently want to gain more experience and knowledge before investing the comparatively large sum required to purchase new equipment. Additionally, SUPboarding equipment rental is not available to novices and is excessively costly.

Malibu SUPsurfing’s unique and innovative program enables in-between lesson practice with full size SUPs at very little cost AND without committing to a large, permanent equipment purchase.
You can realize 70%-90% of the benefits of owning new equipment at 10%-20% of the cost.

Please note that you need not purchase this package to start. You’re welcome to take one or two lessons first and within 90 days of the first, simply upgrade when you’re ready (probably as soon as you’ve discovered the thrill of flying a sizeable traction SUP). We’ll then apply your first and second lesson payments to our 15 Hour Best Value Lesson Package so you’ll get our special rate for your first lesson as well as subsequent lessons.

So please check out these links:



We can help you select and locate the SUPsurfing / SUPboarding equipment that’s RIGHT for YOU. There is a vast selection of equipment and what is ideal for one person, may not be the best choice for another.

For instance, someone’s main concern might be minimizing costs while someone else may want to concentrate on maximizing safety. Or someone’s size or kiting locations may predispose them to particular equipment. Etc.

Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and guidance necessary for you to select equipment which provides the BEST VALUE for your specific situation.

And if desired, we’ll then help you obtain it and/or set it up.

To this end, Malibu SUPsurfing offers much of the equipment etc. that we recommend most frequently so that clients can save a substantial amount of time, money and effort obtaining these items.

However, since our MAIN BUSINESS IS SELLING RELIABLE INFORMATION (as lessons), we DO NOT STOCK NEW SUPS and SUPBOARDS. Although this means that our clients may have to wait for their orders to arrive, they can have more confidence that our recommendations are not influenced by a need to move out unsold stock.

Furthermore, although we are authorized dealers for SUP/SUPboard manufacturers Peter Lynn, Flysurfer, Cabrinha, and Ocean Rodeo and we can also supply accessories from other top quality companies such as DaKine, NSI, Gath etc., this business model also means that you are ALWAYS COMPLETELY WELCOME TO PURCHASE ANY EQUIPMENT (even brands we carry) FROM ANY OTHER SOURCE and need NEVER feel the least bit obligated to order through us. (Additional details)


The wind:

The wind is caused by a depression or anticyclonic situation.
In the context of a low pressure situation, the winds blow counterclockwise, in a direction that tends to return towards the center of the low pressure area.

Conversely, in the presence of an anticyclonic flow, the wind will blow clockwise, with the tendency to move away from the center of the anticyclone.

On nautical charts the wind is represented by vectors (arrows) which can be accompanied by flagpoles indicating the strength of the wind; for example, 2 flagpoles represent a speed of 20 knots.

The state of the sea:

The weather reports also communicate the state of the sea and the height of the waves in meters. As a rule, the height of the wave motion is also indicated, since it too can represent a danger. This height is rated on a Beaufort scale from force 0 (calm) to force 12 (hurricane).


In weather reports, precipitation is indicated like this: fog, mist, frost, drizzle, rain, snow, hail, storm, thunderstorm, tornado, dew and ice.
Navigation can be particularly tough in hail conditions, and especially in poor visibility. Each of these conditions is represented by a different color on the card.

The tides:

The weather reports also indicate the tide times. The times of low and high tide are accompanied by the height of the water. Before leaving or returning to the port it is essential to know the height of the water, and the necessary calculations differ according to the high or low tide.

For those equipped with electronic navigation software, these values ​​are represented by colored triangular hourglasses; the tip of the upper triangle indicates the rising tide, the downward point the ebbing tide. The divergences between the tides determine the action of the current. It is easier to reenter an estuary with a rising tide, as the tidal current will pull the boat in the right direction.


Whether it is for a regatta or a long crossing, you need to arm yourself with patience and, above all, follow your own pace. Band of Boats offers you some advice before taking the helm!

Eric TABARLY believed it took 30 years of sailing experience to be considered a pleasure sailor. Whether it is for a regatta or a long crossing, you need to arm yourself with patience and, above all, follow your own pace. Learning the art of sailing on a sailing boat is long, but being able to sail alone or take your children or friends on a cruise is a great satisfaction. Band of Boats offers you some advice before taking the helm!

Immerse yourself in maritime literature
French literature is full of maritime tales: Alain GERBAULT and Bernard de MOITESSIER are the first explorers to have collected nautical miles alone or with a crew on a sailing boat. These stories show us the joys that are shared at sea, but also the difficulties encountered in bad weather. Page after page, you learn the techniques to limit damage to the boat… what’s more important?

Subscribe to specialized magazines
The specialized press in the field of sailing includes numerous interesting and practical articles to learn how to maneuver and sail. He even dedicates entire sheets to learning, with extremely precise items such as the adjustment of the sails, the taking of the mainsail to reduce the sail in an emergency, the recovery of a man overboard …

Go to a sailing school
Federation-recognized sailing schools are an excellent way to learn to sail safely. The instructors, with an adequate degree, follow your progress based on your results and your navy. Their strong point is to have different types of sailboats (light sail and cabin cruiser). You have to learn to master them and make them perform in any weather condition.