First of all SUP stands for “Stand Up Paddle” and its kind of related to surfing…. um … kind of. Yet there isn’t much of a bond between surfers and sup-ers. We can get to that later. But, why not just kayak? Heres the deal: A sup board glides in the water better than a kayak.
The sup user can change his/her posture at any time, depending on wind, current, or fatigue. They can kneel, sit, lay, or stand. They can also see further because they are standing.
Possibly noting hazards or maybe the best entrance or exit to a particular water way.
And lets face it…. they are easy to get on and off of. Try taking a dip from your kayak on a hot sunny day. Getting back into a kayak is impossible for more than half of the users. Not so with a sup. Plus… its still a little different! And that may be the coolest part. Can I surf on my SUP? Well… that’s where responses will differ. Yes people surf their sups, But a surfer that is performing on a short board has learned how to paddle, swim, duck dive, Avoid others, Get out of bad wave situations, knows the currents, tides, wind, and probably what the rest of the day has in store.
The sup user (not always, but in the east, MOST OF THE TIME) is a beginner. A danger to other surfers. He hasn’t learned the etiquette of how to function with others in a “line up” All of the short boarders are very capable of surfing a giant sup board, But they choose to ride a short board. This allows them to turn, accelerate, duck under waves, etc. It would take YEARS for a new sup user to become a short board surfer! But still they show up in the line up. Short boarders see them coming and warn everyone of the danger as the sup user approaches.
You see, if a short boarder starts to go for a wave, lets say, and as he gets to his feet to go right, he sees a sup user paddling with all his might right in front of him, on a giant (lets say 10′ or longer) sup board. He hollers “Hey” or “YO”…… the sup users turns his head to see a surfer coming at him/her. And like a deer in headlights, the sup-er freezes and falls off the sup. Now a 10′ board with a 10′ leash is reaching 20+ feet towards shore. The short boarder is forced to alter his/her course from riding the wave to steering out into the flats to avoid a collision. This puts the surfer way inside the breaking waves. He probably gads to work very hard ducking 4 or 5 waves in the “impact” zone in order to get back out to safety and to where the line up is. He’s not a happy surfer. The sup user dosnt even know what he/she did wrong.
So enjoy your sup on all water ways, and if the idea is to learn to surf it? Then learn to surf! Don’t just show up over weight and out of shape, with a big smile and say good morning. Because you are in fact, dangerous. Now on the other hand, there are some fantastic sup surfers! They understand the positioning and etiquette. And they also can see further and can out position the short boarders very quickly. A sup guy/girl who knows this, is a courteous part of the line up, and shares waves. He can easily see the waves the surfers CANT catch, before the wave arrives. He/she also knows how to handle there board and takes full responsibility for where it ends up in the case of a wipe out.