SUP Skills | The Secret To Finding New Surf Breaks

Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt

SUP Skills | The Secret To Finding New Surf Breaks

Remember your first time?

We’re talking SUP surfing, silly. Whether you started out as a frothy lil' grom or waited until you had bills, jobs and a mountain of responsibilities, the feeling of catching a wave for the first time was the same: pure elation.

As with most first-time endeavors, it's not just the action itself but rather the surroundings that become seared into our long-term memories. Maybe it was a hot summer day or a misty spring morning; at the local beach or during a trip to some far-away paradise. Whatever the case may be, you remember exactly where you were when it happened.

If you're reading this right now, there's a pretty good chance that you became hooked after that first wave. Perhaps you started going to your local break every chance you got. You learned where the best peaks were, how tides and swell direction affected the break, maybe you even got on the good side of the locals.

You felt like a real surfer.

Then you decided to paddle out at a break on the other side of town. You didn't know anything about it, but what could go wrong? You're a real surfer after all, you could handle anything.

One hour into your session, you’re asking yourself what the hell happened. It took 20 minutes to paddle out, 20 more to catch your first wave–which you promptly went over the falls on–and worst of all, the locals are all giving you dirty looks.

While it can be very tempting to retreat back to the comfort of your home break, paddling and surfing new spots is the most effective way to get better.

But wait, aren't standup paddlers not welcome at all breaks?

Unfortunately, this is indeed a reality. If Lower Trestles is firing and you think you're going to take the standup out…well, we suggest you rethink that one. While the progression of SUP surfing in recent years has led to more acceptance, there are certain breaks that—unless you'll be competing on the APP World Tour this year—are better left to those on the 5'8" Al Merricks.

Nevertheless, there are still tons of breaks for standup paddlers to explore. While of course websites like Surfline will highlight the most popular breaks in your region, standup paddlers have a secret advantage.

We can simply paddle up and down the coastline until we find a spot that suits our style.

Not only will you find empty breaks scattered all along the coast, but scouting becomes an adventure itself. You're not just going SUP surfing anymore, you're embarking on a mission to find a new wave, master that wave, and return home triumphant. Or even better yet, find multiple breaks to surf during one epic session.

Not only does this add an extra element of fun, but each wave you find will have a different shape, takeoff point and speed. It adds a variety to your paddling and surf life that is key for developing a well rounded skill set.

So next time you head out to your favorite local break, try paddling up the coast a few miles. There’s an empty peak out there just waiting to be discovered.

Related

Complete guide to SUP surfing etiquette.

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