Surfers V Stand Up Paddle Boarders…Who’s Right?

SUP wipeout

There has been a real surge in the popularity of stand up paddle boarding in the last few years. The sport has become more and more popular in Cornwall and perhaps nowhere more so than in Newquay.

With some talented local SUP-ers and shapers based in the town, the sport has gone from strength to strength. For some, this is a wonderful thing to see happening, but for others (including many shortboarders) it’s viewed with some cynicism.

As more and more people enter the line up to practice their new hobby on giant boards, can the shortboards and those on ‘big boards’ really live in harmony?

Image by Dave Young
Image by Dave Young

Accused of wave hogging and being a potential danger to other surfers, stand up paddle boarding is not without its critics. But where have all the SUP-ers come from? Have people really traded in their longboards for something bigger…have windsurfers traded in their sails for a paddle…or is it just people ‘giving it a go’?

Whatever the reason, stand up paddle boarding is certainly on the up. So whether you love it or hate it, there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to SUP-ing…here are the NewquaySurfer arguments, for and against.

For Stand Up Paddle Boarding

1) Its harder than it looks
I’ve heard plenty of surfers moaning about stand up paddle boarding on the basis that its too easy to catch waves and therefore it’s a lesser sport than surfing. Having tried it a few times it’s not really that easy…it is genuinely harder than it looks.

2) Laird Hamilton says its cool… so it’s cool

Laird Hamilton on Maui

Big wave legend Laird Hamilton is a massive advocate of stand up paddle boarding. There are plenty of impressive videos of Laird charging heavy surf on SUPs posted on the web.  But Laird doesn’t limit his SUP fun for the bigger days either – whether it’s 20ft Jaws or a flat Hawaiian lagoon, Laird will SUP it.

It’s not uncommon to see pictures of Laird with his wife and the kids all stand up paddle boarding to the shops on Maui.

So, if Laird thinks its cool…it’s cool!

3) Stand up paddle boarding is cutting-edge
SUP-ing is a new sport, so those taking part and spreading the word are early adopters. By definition this makes stand up paddle boarders quite cutting edge if you think about it.

4) Its healthy – SUP-ing keeps you fit and strong

Iron man Damon Hollick looks tiny next to this SUP

Carrying an SUP to the beach is a workout in itself – the boards are insanely heavy. If you’ve never tried paddling into a wave on an SUP, then just try carrying one!

Some of the models do have a carry handle that makes them a little easier to transport but its still no walk in the park. To make matters slightly worse, if your learning on an SUP you’ll probably need the biggest size.

If you’ve never thought about driving your car right onto the beach and mowing down a load of tourists so you can stop 5 metres from the waters edge…you will now.

5) It’s a lesser evil than kayaks, windsurfers or kite–surfers

Surfers stop whinging, its better than 10 kayakers in the line up. There are still relatively few people in the water who SUP and its closer to the art of surfing than a number of other sports that require less skill, effort and commitment. Anyway…is SUP-ing really that different from longboarding?

6) You can surf more often and have more fun

Image by Mike Baird: Paddle boarding the flats of Morro bay

SUP-ing allows people to surf waves in all conditions. It’s pretty undisputed that even on small days you can have fun on an SUP. When shortboarders are grovelling for waves and sinking into the sea, the SUP-er can leave their frustrations behind and tear up small waves like there’s no tomorrow.

7) You can carry on enjoying surfing, even when you are older
You won’t be in your twenties, surfing every day and sporting 6 pack abs forever. So for those who can’t get in the water as much, or for folks who are getting older (with their shortboarding days closing behind them) SUP-ing is a great way to carry on surfing and to enjoy the ocean.

Against Stand Up Paddle Boarding

1) Stand up paddle boarders have a tendency to wave hog
Lets face it, even very gifted shortboarders will struggle to get onto waves anywhere near as early as those on stand up paddle boards. There is a feeling amongst many shortboard surfers that stand up paddle boarders hog waves and often ignore surfing etiquette.

Image by NewquaySurfer:  ‘Don’t get in my way…cos I’ve got a paddle’

2) Just because Laird Hamilton does it, doesn’t make it cool
Laird Hamilton may not be your role model anyway…and after all he hydrofoils too, and you don’t do that….though it sort of looks like fun.

3) Stand up paddle boarding is an old mans sport that won’t get you laid
Stand up paddle boarding tends to score low in the cool stakes and this is partly to do with its image as a middle-aged pastime. Lets face it, your never going to look that cool riding knee high waves with a small boat under your feet holding an oar. And collapsing on the way to the beach underneath a 15-stone SUP probably won’t wow many members of the opposite sex either.

4) SUP-ing is less skilful than shortboarding and longboarding
SUP-ers paddle with an oar, stand on top of a small boat of a board and most can’t turn or carve on a wave. Elegant and edgy SUP-ing is not!

Image by NewquaySurfer: Can all these boards really get along?

5) It’s an expensive hobby only for the well-off
A new SUP will cost roughly twice as much as a new shortboard. This tends to align the sport with other yuppy-elite past times such as windsurfing, golf and ascot. Added to the fact that you need something roughly the size of a bus to transport one around, it’s probably time to take that job in the city you’ve always avoided…yet another dagger into surfing’s hippy dream.

6) SUP-ers are hijacking surf spots
More than a handful of SUP-ers on a break and it ruins it for everyone else. If you travel a fair bit overseas, you will have probably seen certain breaks now totally dominated by stand up paddle boarders. The situation has got so bad in some spots that it is virtually impossible to surf a shortboard – even if conditions are hollow, barrelling and perfect for shortboarding.

7) Major health concerns: Get hit by an SUP and it might kill you!

Image by NewquaySurfer: Imagine if this was the last thing you ever saw.

This is a major objection by virtually everyone else stood in front of a SUP-er heading towards shore. Whilst the same could be said of a longboard or epoxy mal, stand up paddle boards are perhaps one of the most dangerous objects you could have coming right at you in the surf. This is made worse by the fact that some SUP-ers don’t wear ankle or knee leashes in the ocean.

When the surf goes overhead accidents can happen and the sight of stray SUPs smashing up people and their surfboards is sadly becoming more and more common.


So what do you think? Is stand up paddle boarding a great invention and a fun new form of surfing? Or is it the spawn of the devil and something you loathe to see in the water?

Let us know in the comments below!


  1. Hi Gareth,

    Nice post! Personally I think that Stand up Paddle boarding IS a great sport. However I come to it from a “great form of exercise on a calmer day/easier and more versatile than surfing” point of view, rather than a “charging down Jaws mowing down all who stand in my way” one, so have never been in a situation where I’m competing for waves with surfers.

    Having been the victim of a rather painful surfboard to the head incident (my own!), I must admit that point 7 is a bit of a concern, especially if more and more beginners take to larger waves. However as this is a growing sport I am unsure of what measures can be put in place to prevent this?!?

    What’s your conclusion, or are you staying on the fence with this one? 😉

  2. SUP has been around as long as surfing, longer than shortboarding in fact, know your surf history and you will know this.

    In fact if you look closely all it is is longboarding with a paddle, check out a lot of the video online of a few years ago and most SUP is done on regular surfing longboards (check NSP’s 11′ sup vid) just with the addition of a paddle to add versatility and increase your enjoyment allowing you to surf on more waves on more days than you would if you were an ‘I only short board’ kinda guy.

    SUP isn’t just another new way of annoying surfers it should be considered AS another discipline of surfing, ALL surfers should know the rules whether on a shortboard, mal, kyak windsurf or kite, it’s no different to a beginner on a longboard charging the shoulder out of control or a dozen stag-dooers on foamies clogging up the line up trying to live the Blue Juice dream!

    SUP is just another great way we can expand the love for surfing.

    Surely it’s not a question of what should we do about SUP but how can we educate EVERYONE who uses a device to catch waves on what the rules and etiquette are and how to do so safely for themselves and other water users. Sure its a great way for older, fatter people to hit the waves and they need the bigger boards but it isnt limited to them.

    Try it before you discount it, it’s a great way to expand your surfing into small days and some of the models available (Naish) give a great shortboard style ride, search YouTube for KaiLenny, 16yo Hawaiian waterman and SUP world champion, and watch him shred on his 8′.

  3. I can see the point of SUPs for lifeguarding due to the better vantage point, but otherwise isn’t it just a vanity thing?

    Stand Up Posers!

  4. I’m a shortboarder and was in a my local break about 1/2 mile away.

    It only works a handful of days of the year and on this day was mobbed by about 20 odd SUPs being a point break ideal for them.

    A longboarder turned around to me and said ‘it’d be alright in here if weren’t for all those f**king SUPs’ oh the irony !!!!

  5. I’ve been riding an SUP for 3 years…I’ve been surfing 15 years tho…Lived in Hayle for 10 years.

    My board is 9ft long and shorter than most longboards, but granted it is wider. I always wear a leash (a SUP specific leash which is stronger) and I’m aware of other riders. I’m also insured…are the majority of shortboarders insured? If I’m at a busy beach I’ll move about and not “hog” a spot. SUPs are good for that, it’s easy to see a quieter bank working further down the beach and get there quick.

    Great article.. but I do have something to add…if poss add the sentence: ” if more and more beginners take to larger waves.”

    I challenge any beginner to make it out back in larger waves on a beginners style SUP. I was at Perranporth the weekend of the recent longboard event and there were great waves, but a challenge to get out! Just cos we have a paddle doesn’t mean that the waves part as we head out. I did think years ago when SUP started that “there’s gonna be loads of these about…” but in reality it’s not that easy, so I don’t believe it will be that huge. I’m pretty sure the zillions spongers and people in surf schools on “regular” boards get in the way far more than the handful of SUPs out there on any given day. In decent surf of 2m+ they are great…and 3m+ they def have their place. Someone who has no idea of surfing just wouldn’t be there.

    My wife is Brazillian and we are lucky enough to spend the winters in the south of Brazil. It’s a different vibe there. U have to have respect, and if u do then it doesn’t matter what you are riding. A shortboarder wouldn’t drop in on you JUST cos u are on a SUP/longboard… but sadly it’s happened to me loads here in the UK.

    As SUPs get shorter, they will take off later and later. I’m already sat in with the longboards and hopefully we can all get along… Just chill and be respectful of others, whatever you’re riding…



  6. I SUP, surf, windsurf and think SUPer’s really should show some consideration, seek out uncrowded breaks, use the paddle, explore, make the most of lesser spots that are great fun on a SUP but naff on a short board. SUPing on a 11ft board amongst crowds of short boarders is pretty selfish and irresponsible unless you really know your game.

    Whether your young or old, shortboard, longboard, bodyboard, SUP or whatever we’re all there to enjoy the ocean, the fun ends quickly when we start slagging off one another’s others choice of toy and get agro with each other.

  7. SUP has been around for over 3000 years (peru) and I’ve been surfing for over 25 years, and this is just another way to surf and exercise on the water when it’s flat.

    SUP has revived the surfing industry in a time when many other industries are going under.

    Anything that increases awareness of our oceans and waterways is a positive thing.

    Try it before you discount it you may be pleasantly surprised. If you’re in Orlando, Daytona, New Smyrna or Cocoa Beach Florida and want to check it out visit for more info

  8. Its not all about catching waves…although for the first time I have been able to…Stoked.

    Anyway, Suping is really social, not about posing, works for all abilities and its a great way to navigate the nice cafes and pubs along our excellent IOW!

    Re: The crowding of breaks etc.

    Thats just about manners and that comes before you choose a tea tray or dining table to hit the water with.

  9. Surely etiquette and dangerous behavior is in the hands of the rider,no matter what craft they are riding.
    The mission is the same.

  10. Etiquette is defo the main focus, if a sup board rider is out of line, and is blatantly not following the rules of the lineup, they should be educated or told to leave….its the only way.

    I’ve just come back from Mauritius where due to a wind drought every Tom, Dick and Harry were trying their hand at SUP in waves of le mourne…some obviously had no surfing knowledge at all.

    I humbled them with shouts at first…by the end of the session I spoke quite expressively to one russian dude, hence – he paddled in ….on his knees…

    If an SUP rider is out of line…educate them .

  11. I agree with much of what was said…Keep in mind that equipment can inhibit progression.

    In all the photos used in the article, it appear that the guys are riding 11′ tankers. It’s hard to make a full rail carving turn on a board like that. Here locally in Hawaii, on days where there are real waves, the stand up paddlers definitely don’t have the biggest boards in the lineup and are often waiting on the inside section instead of looming on the horizon with a super tanker.

    Can’t say enough about etiquette. Surf with respect my friends, regardless of the size of your stick.


  12. Nothing against those who like them, but am I the only one who doesn’t seem attracted to these things? Stand up and paddle?

    To me, getting wet is one reason to take on a water sport. SUPers just bake in the sun like in a boat.

    At least guys who paddle gondola’s get paid. I get shortboards, I get longboards, I get fishes, etc. But not feeling any water kinda makes for a meh… experience.

    Flat day = swimming for me.

  13. great thread and great comments. Almost a shame there hasn’t been a shortboarders rant yet to get some balance to the comments.
    As said, piling into a shortboard wave full of guys pumped up for their share IS uncool, there are lots of other breaks around more suited to the more chilled attitude of the SUPmeister.
    A shortboard wave rarely works on a SUP anyway. too fast – too peaky – too steep. The shorter boards make it work but is it the point? I SUP cos i catch uncrowded waves away from the melee and cross stares. my 12 year old lad now SUPs and loves it on an 8’5″ and rips. bless he has no concept of the waterborne battles of the shortboard fraternity.
    The points are right and well made. SUP is cool – try it. but respect and consideration is cool too. This works both ways.
    I have had more waves on my SUP this summer than I would ever dream of on a shortboard, but when its gnarly the paddle stays at home!

  14. I got hit by a SUP at bantham last summer. The PR!@k was to busy enjoying the view looking back on the wave instead of where he was going. It fractured my arm. He had the cheek to tell me to watch what i was doing. I have respect for the good ones (double over head Hossegor) but most are just chancers who dont have a clue

  15. I’m sorry, but decribing windsurfing as a “yuppy-elite” past-time? What planet are you from? Sure, windsurfing kit is getting more and more expensive over time compared to surfboards, but most people I know sail on well-used kit that can be picked up on the second hand market for not a lot of money. It’s like saying that driving is for the yuppie-elite because sports cars are expensive.

    Anyway, onto the topic. SUP. Being a long term windsurfer, body boarder and surfer (yes – it is possible to do all of them!) I have also recently invested in a SUP board.

    The reason for this, is maximising the amount of time I can spend on the water. I don’t want to be one of those miserable sorts that you see on windsurfing beaches moaning that there isn’t enough wind, or surf beaches moaning that the surf isn’t big enough. A SUP now enables me to get on the water when everything is flat and calm. I can now explore coastline, surf on tiny little waves for fun, paddle rivers, canals and lakes inland when I can’t make it to the coast. I can even put a windsurfing sail on my SUP and do some wave sailing on light wind days when I would have been drinking tea from a thermos.

    We spend too much time here labelling people – “I’m a shortboarder” or I’m a windsurfer” or “I’m a kitesurfer” and so on. Lets just enjoy the water. That’s what we love doing. That’s what we all have in common.

    As long as we all have a little comon sense, we can all get along fine – there is plenty of beach to go around.

  16. This is nothing new. In the 80s waveskiers were “Goatboats,” in the 90s body boarders were “gutsliders” or “shark biscuits” despite people like Mike Stewart charging 20 foot hollow northshore. Now its SUPs turn. I’ve spent the last 20 years surfing everything from surf ski, Mals, bodyboards and now SUPs. I’ve never been able to surf a shortboard and frankly…I dont give a f*ck. No-one owns the ocean and I don’t care what you ride. When the local 16 yo shortboarders laugh at the “Kooks” they need to remember when they were shit, but stoked.

  17. Stand up paddleboards and longboards are much better suited to the small waves at VA Beach. I think that is one reason SUP is becoming so popular around here. The local breaks don’t get really good unless there is a hurricane offshore and the surf is up.

  18. Great article and comments! I’ve surfed since I was a kid but I’m nearly at the half century mark and now I ride a 9’5″ SUP here in Puerto Rico. In my view, it’s the versatility of SUP that makes it superior to all other types of board surfing. I can surf everyday, whether its double overhead glassy tubes or two foot mushy junk; I catch more waves than I ever could on my old fish or my longboard; and I can paddle to offshore reefs that would otherwise be too remote. I do believe SUPers need to exercise greater care and skill in the line up, and of course, respect the usual rules and etiquette. I have little patience, however, for jackasses who hate me just because I’m on a SUP and want to kick me out of a spot for no reason. I try to ignore hateful comments, but at least one loudmouth has paid the price for his vicious diatribe. Its all about respect. I show it towards other surfers, no matter what they are riding, and I expect the same from them.

  19. Well, I’ve been surfing longboards for the past 20 years here in Jersey, Channel Islands and over the past few years I have noticed the younger shortboarders are just plain rude with no real concept of what its all about! It put me off surfing the local breaks so I recently bought a SUP, Great move, same etiquette but I now I can also surf the outer reefs for a little peace.

  20. Shortboarder here..

    SUPers are ignorant, selfish and annoying to anyone in the water when the waves are on.
    Malibu riders at least show respect and consideration for others generally.
    Shortboards are like a Hyundai Excel, Mals are a four-wheel drive and SUP is a truck out there.. Not easy to paddle around one, please only use one when its flat or uncrowded… if you’re ignorant and disrespectful, me or someone else will def let you know.


  21. Great comments, ad it took a while for an arrogant short boarder to bare his chest (sorry Jimmy).
    Having short boarded, then long boarded, now combining long boarding with a 7′ magic carpet, I have surfed many beaches and ‘secret spots’ in the UK. More often than not, it’s the short boarders that cause any angst out there.
    We all know that long boarders and SUPers could hog all the waves, and there needs to be a little consideration in this respect, but everyone starts somewhere, and you should look back to your early days when you dropped in on someone else – we have all done it.
    Do short boarders think to themselves “I’ve caught so many waves I’ll let some one who’s not as skilled as me have a go”? Do you bo@#ocks! You take every wave you can. Wait till you’re older and you take your mal down to the local spot that you’ve been surfing for years, and you get grief from the younger shorties!
    It’s not necessarily an age thing, but it definitely comes to us all.
    The sea is there for us all to enjoy. None of us own it.
    Enjoy life, surf (whatever format), respect each other.
    Now off to try SUP…………………..

  22. Interesting isnt it how people have biased opinions based on there own position in the water. There always has and always will be conflict between diffrent waterusers. Its not the vehicles we ride its about us as intolerant self-centered people. We could choose to embrace difference but most dont.
    At 48 yrs i have seen quite a bit since I watched the local lifegaurds surf and tried to copy them at 10 yrs old. I have rode, shaped and glassed everything from a 5ft 8 quad to a 9ft5 longboard and I will still pick the board to suit the waves on the day.
    I do sup, its great for fitness, fun and surfing but does require self discipline in surf conditions. Anyone riding a wave has to follow the rules!!! no comprimise and there no exceptions. I reality it doesent happen, ( recent experience in the canarys and I was on a 6ft 7 shortboard). Until people want to change then education is the way forward. I enjoy sup so much I have a company selling them ‘southeasternsup’ and I will ”educate”!! newbies.
    I will however never give up surfing my short board, longboard or anything else that gets me into the water.
    Dont limit yourself,Be a waterman.
    sunny days and lots waves,

  23. I agree with Tom about the versatility of a S.U.P., but being an experienced improvisor myself, I’m intrigued to know how he fits a windsurfing sail on to an S.U.P. board. How does he control the mastfoot without a well for it ? I do the opposite, i.e. I use my 340 c.m. windsurfing board as a S.U.P. when there’s no wind. A bit wobbly, because it doesn’t have the stability of a S.U.B., but on the plus side it’s not so heavy to carry !

  24. Good discussion
    My 13 yr old daughter has really taken to surfing over the past couple years. I’ve been in the water my whole life, mostly as a body boarder but more so as a body surfer, but I never had learned to surf. I took lessons last year in costa rica… unfortunately my bum hip (I need a resurfacing) makes it very difficult for this goofy footer to get up quickly or easily (and painlessly). I’ve gone out in the break with my daughter on a hand plane or boogie board, but have wished I could surf with her on many occasion. This past weekend I received an SUP for my 46th birthday. I’ve rented them before but never surfed with them. I plan to learn the ropes over the winter (here in Long Beach, NY area) so I can join her on the days she goes out. So for the young and heart with worn and torn bodies, the SUP is a positive in my view! Peace

  25. Im 6ft 4 my boards 12ft and so is the leash so if i fall off,which i do alot thats a potential zone of damage of over 30ft in any direction,aware of it and keep away from other surfers or go places they cant get too,which is one of the advantages of a sup. Dont knock it till you try it and remember we want the same thing you do good acess to a ,clean and free sea so everyone new on a sup is another name on a petiton against,pollution,parking charges etc just enjoy the sea.

  26. I love SUP surfing. Pretty soon I will have my paddle surf school all set up here in Peru where I am from. I am with u…. if Laird says is cool, you have to try it! I SUP cause of watching 3 guys at Hookipa when the sport was at Pininos, watched Kalama and some other guy just dropping huge waves …felt in love with it. Anyways, I think SUP-ing makes a lot of people that never thought of standing on a board in the water realise their dreams. It’s more shareable than when I go surf on my short or longboard. Its loving the water, however or whatever makes it float! Aloha from Peru!!!!

  27. All the f**king Ocean Janitors need to move to michigan. They get the lakes and surfers get the oceans. Its only fair due to the fact that the waves in Michigan are waaaaay better than those in the ocean and the ocean janitors take all the best waves anyways. So follow your call Ocean Janitors. To MICHIGAAAANNNNNNN.

  28. seems that anytime a new sport comes along everyone waits with bated breath to see what the surfers will say. Every major sports craze of the past 20 years ( snowboarding, skating,bmx wakeboard ect.) has happened on the continent not on the coastline. Kids want to live in the mountains these days not the ocean. moral superiority, daily access to the ocean, fighting over wave access…that’s elitism. surfing is wasting its cred once again.

  29. G’day got a 6’9 BIC, cross over wind to sup, got it after knee and wrist injury stopped my surfing. Easy to catch waves and weighs the same as an old popout. Would not like to get hit with it. There are idiots everywhere but we all began as useless groms in the foam, before we got good. A couple of smacks with their own board in the big stuff will soon get them out of the way and back in the foam until they get better, control their boards, learn to turn and drop off. Always be possitive – if they get in your way you can move also and find another spot, no need to be arogant either. The sea is free so dont stress it and ruin your day. If you see me, have a go and we can have a beer later its that simple. And remember the more people that buy them more surfing in general will progress not just the sup world…and hopefully there will be cleaner water and beaches. I remember the problems years ago with shorties and long boarders….

  30. Well, the comments above have done nothing to dispel the myth about surfers being like golfers – they make something difficult look effortless, you’d like to have a go, but don’t want to join their club because they put you off!

    I am 43 year old former military type, I have lived near, on and in the water most of my life and love the sea. I have, however, always wanted to surf but have found most UK surfers approach strangers with the attitude of Bunker Wise and his crew in Point Break. Come on guys, lighten up! You should be pleased that more people wish to do want you want to do, in whatever form.

    I could not agree more with those writers above, expressing annoyance at rude SUP interlopers pushing them off their break. Ignorance requires education but those of us who have not lived an “endless summer” since our teens might want to join in too. Big B, I am with you brother!

  31. Hi from Bask Country, in the North of Spain, probably some of you may have heard about “Mundaka”, considered to be on top of the european “lefts”. Ok, that is in the surroundings from were I leave. I´m 44 an though I´ve allways have curiosity about surfing, it was not until this year that I started to get into the water with my board. Yes a SUP. I´m in relatively good shape, but as someone said before, is not easy to start surfing on my age. I´ve always liket longboards, never called my attention short ones. You may say that my next comment has not a solid base, but I am convinced that there is a relationship betwen the chices you take and the personality you have. Well in surfing, as a long time observer, the size of the board has a direct relation to the behavior of surfers. If I have to choose, in this case, also size matters. Even thogh I get alone fairly well with my SUP boards (3), I am aware of the associated risks, I try to have fun without taking it from anyone else, an I am having the greatest time since I started. I get in the water almost every day, chasing the best spot depending on conditions. In this life, no matter what you are ridding, what matters is the type of person nyou´re facing. Shit-eaters wil be shit-eaters in the water, in land, on top of a tree or at a party.

    hi once again an come over if you want good surf and lost of live arround.

  32. I have noticed an increase in stand up paddle boarders all across Cornwall recently, I’m not one myself but hey, we’re all part of the same sort of surf culture which the UK doesn’t have enough of, so I don’t think there’s a need to argue between the two!

  33. I have surfed for more than 20 years (show and long), as well as body board. More often than not it seems to be the short boarders that lack surf etiquette, are arrogant aggressive wave hoggers, often with no regards for the safety of others, especially body boarders!
    Its about time these “we own the waves” types realised that the ocean is to be shared by everyone. Be nice and play nice or bugger off! SUP surfing requires a lot more skill, fitness and commitment than most short boarders can even begin to comprehend. Just watch Kai Lenny. Enough Said!
    Peace out man.

  34. SUP are for poses and the “look at me” crowd 🙂
    And it is for all the tourists to get they photo taken

  35. Sebastian De Cesare

    The problem with SUP’s is that the sport is pretty new and most of the SUP’s riders are using big boards because they are learning, it is the same case with beginners in regular surf. As you progress on the sport boards get much smaller and riders more skillful. I am riding a SUP 8″2 x 28 that weight 14pounds ( smaller than a longboard).

  36. I`m 62 yrs old and took up SUP surf 18 months ago. It is great, I would love to be able to ride a short board but that is not going to happen, never mind, SUP allows me to be part of this wonderful ocean sport and to admire the short boarders or long boarders around. Who cares what the tool is its the experience on the wave that counts. There are selfish minorities on all sorts of watercraft and that is just a fact of life.
    Let`s try and be tolerant, all surf forms give us the privilege of experiencing the life force that is a wave, it would be great to keep the politics off the waves there`s too much of that on land already

  37. On the plus side they irritate shortboarders who have been hogging surf sites for years and messed it up for us long boarders from the 60s.

    On the neg side people are being blown away and drowned like crazy in Maui because they can’t handle the wind when it comes up.
    Standing up there like a big sail…..

  38. some of us are just too big for surfboards I think. I am a big man getting close to 300lbs. I am not fat. I deadlift 700 and bench 425. I just find it more realistic riding on a paddleboard. A surfboard would just nosedive on me. Plus its easier to get my big ass into the wave if I have a paddle.

  39. I am addicted to SUPing, its awesome.

    I agree that actually its the shortboarders that think they own the waves.

    More often or not the waves that I choose to surf on my 8ft SUP board aren’t suited to the waves surfed by short boarders, so it is rare to find us on the same line (esp on my local break). If we are on the same line up, then one of us is on the wrong wave for our board type and it aint me…

    I have moved away from shortboarding due to the extreme arrogance of surfers found there. As a SUPer I am stoked that more and more people are giving it a shot. Its about getting people exercising and enjoying what is on their doorstep. I am always getting my friends out to try it, exercising in the great outdoors…

    We practice common sense, why would I want to go and stand in a line up with 40 20 yr old dudes, its like a library out there, so silent so serious, instead I can go 200 – 400 m along the beach and catch a nice empty wave. More often than not, I often do this, and I turn around and see a million shortboarders coming with me…now do I tell them to get lost? no I don’t, cause I don’t care, its not my wave….it is shame people can share this feeling…

    I have found shortboarders more arrogant, violent and pathetic than any other water sports, this doesn t happen in SUPin, windsurfing or kayaking….

  40. SUPing is a legitimate sport and form of exercise. Oceans, lakes, rivers, waterways are all at your disposal for exercise and enjoyment. That being said, I still take some umbrage with the way it has nearly “ruined”, or forever changed, some surf spots. (Hanalei Bay and Cardiff Reef come to mind). There’s not a thing to do about it.

    As with longboarding I’ve always struggled with the fact that surfing waves is one of the rare sports where the individual will less skill, experience and fitness level can have the advantage. And more times than not they choose to exploit it. Instead of progressing your skill set to stay at the edge of your potential in order to keep improving, many choose to stay at a volume that allows them this advantage. It’s easier. There’s not a thing to do about it.

    I came to surfing as an adult so can vividly remember the struggles of learning on my first 8.6″ and the difficult progression to shortboarding. This was some years ago but on the casual beach days when I borrow my girlfriend’s longboard, I can catch everything. I could take every wave, but that would only be easier. Referencing Laird and Kai as examples of SUPing is null for me as, in my experience, most who choose the SUP path are not capable of riding a shortboard, either at all or with very little skill and it ends up that the increased expense of the SUP is just their premium entry fee to take waves they normally could not. They don’t choose the lakes, rivers and waterways. They choose the circular path of the peak.

    To me, what makes surfing so amazing is the act of using the ocean’s energy to stand up on a craft wherein you normally could not without proper harnessing of that energy. I believe it’s called “catching the wave” and “popping up”. With SUP that element is removed and, in my opinion, something beautiful is lost.

    I now mainly surf inside close outs.

    There’s not a damn thing to do about it.

  41. OK, I run, so I’m biased 🙂

    Giant Boards: I have 8 different SUP boards and all of them are a lot smaller that a longboard. OK, the plastic ones are a lot heavier, but you won’t see those in the surf – they are made for whitewater.

    Wave hogging and difficulty: just because something is easier than something else, doesn’t make one of them better than the other. Sure, a unicycle is more difficult to ride than a bicycle. Both have their specific sorts of fun, and both have their own applications. If surfers and suppers use the same environment, it would be good if suppers would always give way when seeing a surfer struggle to catch a wave.

  42. Interesting thread.
    I am one of those “old” guys that started surfing in the early 1960s. For the last 6 years, I have only surfed on an SUP.

    I currently surf in NC in the USA. I have always sought solitude in my surfing and whether it was a longboard or SUP, I chose to stay off by myself.

    What I see here, is most SUPs remain on inland waterways. The only surfers on SUP seem to be short/longboarders that choose to SUP, that day, on smaller breaks and flat stuff.

    Regarding surf etiquette, except for newbies, who don’t know better, whether surfing or SUP, neither has a corner on rude behavior. Why would rude people take up one sport over the other?. Rude people are just rude and are represented in both disciplines.

    Not living by the ocean, my surfing life has centered on a few weeks of vacation time each year to get to surf. Many years, the weeks I picked often had poor conditions and much quality time in the surf was lost. With an SUP I can find something to surf every day. No time wasted and wishing.

    I think the growth of SUP is going to keep moving more in the flat water direction. It is growing exponentially. One local surf shop’s inventory seems to be mostly geared toward flat water cruisers. As for business, the sales person said that a couple of years ago, he might sell one SUP for every 4 shortboards, now it is reversed.

    I think if we just enjoy the surf experience and be respectful of others we can all peacefully coexist..

  43. I have been surfing for many years, shortboard and longboard. Have to say I’ve had more fun longboarding because of the amount of waves i can catch. Just bought a SUP, haven’t ridden it on waves yet but plan to soon. When I do, I will be heading for somewhere I can surf alone. I don’t like crowds, and would rather surf waves that aren’t quite as good, and get more of them!

  44. I was in Portugal surfing head height to overhead waves, fast and punchy so I had my 5’10 out. I drop in on a wave and this idiot super is paddling for a drop in, he generates to much speed that when he tried to pull off my wave (as I pleasantly shouted him off) he lost control and went side ways up the face off the wave. His board came straight over with the lip like a giant axe and nearly mashed me in the face. The same day a super is caught out by a big set, he can’t get out back in time. He doesn’t bother looking behind him and actually tries to jump over the top of quite huge white water, yes, thats correct, he leaps over the top of the massive white water, luckily I was 2 metres to his right as the board was fired with outrageous force behind him into the crowded line up. Extremely irresponsible. What ever happened to hold onto the board for the safety of other water users. I’m all for supers taking there equipment into 1 or 2ft waves, it’s far to dangerous to be out in punchy sandbars where shorter boards should be the correct equipment choice. As the line up gets more crowded suping becomes outrageously dangerous and irresponsible. I also heard that supers bail the board to hold onto there paddles due to the expense of losing one, is this true? I’d hate to take a 10foot board in the face because of this!! Another pet hate of mines is when supers take the best set wave every f£$cking time, any chance of sharing? I find myself shitting it when one of this guys bombs down the line towards me with massive speed and little ability to turn. Supers should spend years learning to surf before wobbling out to big point break surf and risking everyone else’s health it just ain’t fair on other water users. Peace.

  45. SUPs are a disgrace, Im from Queensland, Australia and can’t stand all these posers coming to surf breaks putting peoples lives in danger and hogging quality waves which are not meant for a small boat.
    The people riding them cannot move the board fast enough after consistenly dropping in, to get out the bloody road and ruin quality waves.
    It is not surfing and should be banned from surf breaks, there are people who are trying to learn the real art of surfing who are under threat from these incontrollable boards which can do serious damage. I have seen this happen to a poor girl who froze in shock as a SUP came straight for her, in these instances you need to rely on the person riding the wav to get their fricking board out the way, whic they cannot.
    And sorry, Laird Hamlton is an absolute wanker. The guy has that much self praise oozing off him. He makes a good cover shot which is all he is, there are plenty of other big wave chargers out there who would put him to shame. I haven’t seen many “PROFESSIONAL” surfers riding these things in their spare time, probably due to embarrasment.
    See ya

  46. I short board, long board, kite surf with a short board and I sup once in a while. However, when I sup or kite surf, I move down the beach because I don’t need the prime break to have fun on these tools and I won’t endanger others sitting inside of me. When I long board, I don’t go for every waves just because I can. I let some go by for the people further inside.

    Where I come from, the line up can get aggressive and I have see long boarders and sup’s get run off. I don’t care for the hostility but there are those types that think that because they can sit deeper and get in earlier that they are entitled to pick off all the choice waves. When I am riding my short board and loggers keep picking off the waves, I have no problem dropping in and letting the wave close out on top of them. They need to learn some etiquette and share a bit.

  47. Like it or not, SUP surfing is here to stay. It is NOT a passing fad. Nobody owns the ocean or the waves. Learn surf etiquette, follow it, and it shouldn’t matter what you ride. If you SUP surf, let waves go through the lineup for other surfers on smaller boards. Don’t be a dick!! Aloha!

  48. the thing that sucks is that most SUPers are kooks and since they have such a bigboard and its hard to move they trash everyone around them.

  49. The ocean is not owned and is for everyone ,get used to it!!
    Especially the local beach bullies.

  50. i am a surfer and got hit by a sup in the back at old mans in canggu, bali. i was paddling out and the guy on the sup got caught i the washing machine. the sup had a sharp nose. when i was hit i couldnt paddle anymore, and was pushed on the rocks as well. all in all exciting moments.
    in the hospital i was diagnosted with a ruptured spleen,
    ruptures lung and broken rib. i was lucky, any more damage and i would have bled to death in the water. this happened 6 days ago and i just left prima medika hospital intensive care.

    sups are really dangerous. sup drivers should be aware that they can kill people if the run over them. they have a lot of inertia, are hard to control by the surfer, and sharp hard noses only add to the risk. i am glad i was not the first guy to die from a collision with a sup, but i am afraid it will happen.
    safety first!!

  51. Coming from someone with 20 years experience on a shortboard that recently had a bad back injury and can no longer surf – i must say i feel like a major douche riding an esky lid and am seriously considering getting into SUP-ing!

    I think moving from surfing to SUP-ing is all good coz as long as you know the rules of the break then we should all be able to live in harmony. The problem is when these kooks come in and think they own the joint!!

  52. we do the inflatable SUP ,we have high quality SUP and lowest price ,we come from China

  53. Surely is about time that beaches got decided/zoned up so every one can have they’re fun, simple eh. .

  54. I love SUP, it’s damn near my driving passion nowadays, but fortunately for me I never learned to surf so where the surfers are I won’t be! I do go out into the ocean but only through unsurfable shore breaks.

  55. It is also becoming popular on flat water lakes which boggles my mind. Boring! If you want to see what is under the water, get a snorkel and mask!

  56. Last month, finally we had fatal accidents in JAPAN. longborder (lady) got run over by SUP and DIED.
    SUP is protesting that he was at peak and longboarder was to blame.

    We know the rules, but there is no law that SUP can kill surfers if the surfer was bothering SUP.

    How can surfers get waves faster than SUP?
    How can surfers get waves from same line up of SUP?

    Japanese SUP-ers steals waves and occupies peak.
    I have never felt good harmony and fun with SUP.

  57. Part blinded by an idiot on A SUP after 52 years of surfing. Im angry. In my mind w*nkers with tankers, learn some respect for real surfers.

  58. I surf short, long and SUPs. If you SUP where ther eare surfers paddling in you deserve all the abuse you get. I will only do it when there are one or two other surfers in the water or SUPers only. You don’t need really good waves to have fun on a SUP. If you ride a short board (I do) and your break is indundated with long boarders and SUPs then you are not surfing the right location for short boards!!! So dont winge and find a better wave to surf unless your a total pussy!. SUP is hear to stay as it doesn’t wreck your back and rib cages like short and long boarding. (as it has with mine) You can surf until your a lot older and that’s got to be a good thing right????

  59. I purchased an SUP,had it costume made. 10.5, one and a half ft, longer than my long board. I Love it, I would never go in the water around anyone. thats how I roll. only when i start comming back to shore, Im very careful to watch,if you are paying attention, you wont run over anyone. sorry for the young man who lost his spleen, its not good to lose anything. except? best to you,

  60. Mmmh, who actually said the waves are only for the surfers on the smaller boards.
    Bought a sup a few month ago, believing, great, its easy to do.
    Cruising for a while and then trying the sea. I am sportive, love water and a bit risky at heart. But nothing was so difficult then standing up on this board through the waves and getting it right.
    (Not even kitesurfing felt so strenuous on my body) So all this bla bla that’s for old people, sure. The advantage for me is to catch double the waves then small boarders and catch smaller waves as well. So all in all, we better get used to the sup.pers in the water. Be patient with us, we are on the go.

  61. I’m now 50 & have been surfing since a small child on short, long & now enjoying sup, riding & enjoying the waves on all forms of surfing, there are learners & so called ‘experts’ on all board types. To me it’s about respect the ocean & each other out there. Anyone who thinks surfing is just short board riding is just naive, and has a lot to learn.

  62. The Ocean belongs to EVERYONE and not a bunch of moronic bullies with surf boards. As long as everyone respects each other, there shouldn’t be a problem. It is a great sport and I am taking it up .

  63. I am looking to purchase an SUP for exercise. I was surprised to see the venom coming out towards SUPs. I am in the process of trying to be educated before buying one and never knew there were “rules”. So what are the rules?? I don’t surf, windsurf or any of the other sports mentioned. I live on a lake. All I’ve done is water ski and knee board…

  64. This is good to read – some balanced argument and sensible chit chat for the most part.

    I quit surfing because localism and the shite that comes with it made the whole scene seem jaded and fake to me. I was an instructor and a fairly competent surfer both on a long and short board.

    SUP’ing is a good refreshing vibe for me where playing away from others allows you the peace and tranquility surfing should offer.

    I also would like to note that your board getting shorter isn’t progression. Personally the technical nature of long boarding, considering board trim and such has always just seemed more appealing to me than shredding on a short board even though I was more than able to do both!

  65. Bums in the air, big sprays and loud barrel claims are generally all short board big ego testosterone enriched performers with big attitudes and little Aloha spirit. The good guys are the Suppers/ Janators/ lightning conductors/ stand around/ set detectors………….except when they pick the best waves in each set and come racing past armed with a dangerous appendage apart from the craft. I have been surfing for 55 years starting with a barge progressing to a short board regressing back to a light high performance long board……..not tried Supping as i can still get up from the prone stance and have still got the ability as a ballie to get up from my stomach to my feet in critical time. I believe that surfing is a life time addiction that can keep you happy until you hit this bad materialist, selfish, greedy raw aggression. Aloha

  66. I´m both surfer and SUPer, ocean it´s like the rest of the world we all have to respect other people that are sharing that place, and let everyone enjoying it. It means SUPers have the advantage to get the wave and they are “probably” more dangerous due to their material… so SUPer should sometimes let surfers taking waves without thinking in priorities rules but in common sense way that allows both to enjoy the session.

  67. I would love to be able to surf again but being 52 with a bad knee popping up is out off the question so when stand up came along it let me get back in the water ‘ I understand in the wrong hands they can be lethal but ‘ but look at all the surf schools that have popped up and they can’t surf .
    Why shouldn’t I be able to do the sport I want to do ‘ what right has anybody got to try and intimidate others ‘ let’s face it an 18yr old telling you your not welcome on a break you have surfed for 30 yr’s is ignorant ‘ so when he’s 50+ and knackered is he going to be riding a short board ???

  68. As a SUPer you have to be aware of the surfing etiquette giving the shortboarders a break while you use your ability to catch waves before the break to allow you to stay clear from them but still catch rides. Don’t get into close until you have some control of your SUP, being able to turn or stop to miss those heads in the foam. Boards are getting much shorter and a little less like large log coming thru the surf. Some days I just find a different spot and give the surfies a break. I just learning a 65, it is such a buzz to catch a great ride. From east coast of NZ.

  69. Stand up paddle boarding is not an old man’s sport and definitely gets attention! Such haters!

  70. There should be specific zones for sups away from surfers. I was incredibly fortunate not to be killed by some sup kook in a cyclone swell in Australia in Feb. It was crowded and points where firing. I finally scored my 1st wave on my mini mal , a 2 metre set. I was concentrating down the line building soeed about to tuck in for the section. What i didnt see on my left side was this KOOK on a sup caught inside trying to save his own skin by trying to paddle in front of me and escape while putting my life in jeopardy !! Just as im about to tuck for the fast sand section a 3 metre sup goes over the falls on my mal !! All i remember was falling back and people where paddling past saying “m..a..t..e” go buy a tatts ticket !! There’s very few that give respect to surfers. Most of em are dickheads. He never offered to pay for my damaged board either. Total Tool Kit !! I gaurantee some young kid out there will get killed by a sup unless rules in populated areas to prevent their use. They will kill someone one day … it could be you or your friend or sibling… seriously they are a health hazard. The majority of them cant surf a surfboard so they learn on a sup in a river then one day they take it out in the surf…
    There are certain areas where they should be BANNED!!

  71. I’ve been surfing for 30yrs and heard it all about Longboards vs. Shotboards vs. Body boards vs. Body surfers … and now sup!

    Boo hoo to the complainers … Get over it! on the ski slopes the experienced give way, and help(!!!) the “kooks” … maybe surfing can learn from this?

    Generally it’s more crowded everywhere … Cool head, warm heart.

  72. So surf etiquette says furthest out and first on the wave has rite of way ?
    Short boards have to catch the wave closer in than long boards/sups ?
    Body boarders further in than shorties?
    Etiquette says join the que , claim the wave if your next. Mess up and your back to the end of the que ?
    But the bigger your board the the easier it to catch a wave and the longer you can ride it in . Crossing the shorter stuff .
    But you dont que halfway out on a longboard with the short guys or bodyboarders as the wave wouldnt be right . Different ques for different boards but furthest out will always claim the wave first ? Like pulling out of a junction onto the same main road . Once on the main road , you have rite of way over the next guy trying to pull out of the next junction.
    As you can tell im new to all this and its come as a suprise to here that surfers can bitch like this over something that should be sorted out on the beach in a friendly manner between like minded people , who all have a common goal in life .
    No need to get pumped up about it .
    As for all the ‘its dangerous’ bs , im sure that surfers injure themselves and others pretty regularly and the short board riders arent giving up in case they injure a body boarder further down the line of board sizes .

    My point being , surfers have always had a laid back kinda attitude , chat on the beach , work it out friendly and we can all co exist and have our fun .

    Anyway , im off to continue to learn/fall in/make mistakes , i hope i dont get in your way , if i do , talk to me nicely and we can stay friends and i can learn, if not we will fall out and i will have no respect for your opinion .

    Thanks for reading my rant .
    (an old kook who bodyboards , sups and trys to surf/falls in)oh and im english ….

  73. Good discussion, I’m close to 50, bad shoulder and surfed off and on since I was 12; twins, quads, singles, thrusters, and remember the angst of ‘goat boaters’ in the ’80s too! Most of the time my board was too short for the big west coast swells that came through to Aotearoa..Now I am older and have a SUP I am really finding it difficult to want to surf anything else. MY wave count and stoke count has gone way high..but.. the other day on a crowded break that was close to double overhead, my SUP leash broke..not good..The other issue is trying to keep control of the SUP board when the clean up set comes through, its not really possible, unless you are quick enough to short rope. So I am left with decision to get another prone surfboard, despite the shoulder to be a bit safer in a crowded line up.. That said, SUP surfing is really addictive, and as you get older you care less about what others think and are just keen to enjoy the glide..but safety of others first..Kia kaha and Aloha.

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