The Ultimate Guide To Surf SUP: Everything You Need To Know About Stand Up Paddle Boards For Surfing

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Finding the right paddle board for surfing (Surf SUP) can be a real challenge, especially with so many options available.

Did you know that there are specific stand up paddle (SUP) boards designed to enhance your surfing experience?

In this ultimate guide – we’ll break down everything you need to know about Surf SUPs: from different types and leading brands to factors you should consider when buying one.

Dive in, and let’s help you catch your best waves yet! πŸŒŠπŸ„β€β™‚οΈπŸŒ΄

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Different Types of Surf SUPs

There are several different types of surf SUPs to choose from, including shortboard style, longboard style, quiver killer style, high-performance surf SUPs, and hybrid surf SUPs.

surf sup

But before we get into that, I want to quickly give you a crash course in SUP shapes. This will give you a solid understanding of how the different board types interact with the water.

Shortboard style

Shortboard style SUPs are popular amongst surfers who value maneuverability and speed. They resemble traditional surfing shortboards, boasting a smaller size and less buoyancy than larger paddle boards.

These designs allow for quick turns and exciting maneuvers on the wave due to their decreased length compared to longboards or hybrid styles. Because of this, shortboard style SUPs are generally recommended for experienced riders with good balance as these features can make them a bit more challenging for beginners.

One key benefit is that they provide exceptional responsiveness in the water which can greatly enhance your wave-riding experience.

Longboard style

Longboard style SUPs are a popular choice among many paddle board surfing enthusiasts. Inspired by traditional surf longboards, these boards typically feature a more extended outline, providing absolute stability on the water and being super stable enough for beginners to gain their confidence.

The extra length not only makes them great for catching waves early but also gives you much-needed support when paddling in flat water or small waves.

The nose of longboard-style SUPs tends to be rounder than other board styles. This shape helps in maintaining excellent control even during tight turns while surfing larger waves.

Their sweet spot is broader compared to shortboard SUPs, allowing riders more room to move around and catch the wave’s line better without losing balance.

When it comes to speed and performance, they’re well designed as they glide smoothly over the ocean surface with less effort required from the surfer’s part.

Quiver killer style

Quiver killer style SUP boards are a favorite among many enthusiasts. These boards offer versatility as they can perform well in various wave conditions due to their unique design characteristics.

With a quiver killer SUP board, you’re equipped to tackle small waves and larger swells alike – making every surfing session more fun and exciting! Furthermore, they provide more control, stability, and speed than most paddleboards on the market.

And yes, they come in an array of shapes and sizes too – there’s always something that fits every surfer’s needs and preferences perfectly. It is the ultimate all-in-one solution for those who love variety in their surf adventures without needing multiple boards!

Hybrid surf SUPs

Hybrid surf SUPs are a popular choice for those who want the best of both worlds when it comes to stand-up paddleboarding and surfing. These boards combine the stability and buoyancy of a traditional SUP with the maneuverability and performance of a surfboard.

They are designed to handle various wave conditions, making them versatile options for riders of different skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking to transition from flatwater paddling to catching waves or an experienced surfer wanting extra stability, hybrid surf SUPs offer the perfect balance between control, speed, and fun on the water.

See also  The Best Kids Paddle Board Of 2024: 5 Easy Options To Get Any Child On The Water Fast.

The Best Surf SUPs On The Market Right Now

Here are some of my favorite surf SUPs for you to check out

CategoryBoard Recommendation
Best Beginner Surf SUPISLE Explorer Paddleboard
Best Budget Surf SUPLifetime Freestyle
Best Performance Surf SUPBoardworks Kraken SUP
Best Surf SUP For KidsThurso Surf Prodigy
Best Hybrid Surf SUP For AdultsTower Xtreme 8″

Let’s dive into each of these to give you some more information on why each of these surf SUPs stands out above the rest.

Paddleboard #1: ISLE Explorer Paddleboard (Best Beginners Surf SUP)

surf sup

Where To Buy: Amazon

Key Features:

– Inflatable

– Weight 24lbs

– Size 11’6β€³

– 2 Year Warranty

The ISLE Versa is a world class paddleboard that will be a great surfing SUP for you. It is a larger board (11’6β€³) that has a pointed nose for handling the choppy water in the sea and it also has smaller width to give you the maneuverability that you need on a wave. It’s a great choice to learn to surf on a paddleboard and that’s why I’m happy to recommend it as the best beginners surf SUP, because it will serve you well and let you grow in skill without needing to upgrade your board.

Paddleboard #2: Lifetime Freestyle (Best Budget Surf SUP)

Where To Buy: Amazon

Key Features:

– Inflatable paddleboard

– Size 9’8″

– Weight capacity = 275lb (125 kg)

– 2 Year Limited Warranty

surf sup

The Lifetime Freestyle XL stands out as an exceptional surfing paddleboard, boasting remarkable features. Weighing in at a mere 40 pounds and measuring a compact 9 feet, it combines lightweight design with excellent maneuverability, allowing for swift acceleration onto waves.

Equipped with two retractable fins, this paddleboard offers versatile functionality, accommodating both surfing and leisurely paddling. The pointed nose enhances performance in choppy conditions and waves, while the substantial buoyancy ensures enjoyment across a variety of conditions.

Paddleboard #3: Boardworks Kraken SUP (Best Performance Surf SUP)

surf sup

Where To Buy: Amazon

Key Features:

– Fiberglass

– Weight 29lbs

– Size 11β€²

The Kraken is a versatile paddleboard that is a great option for riding waves. It has a wide stance for stability along with a sharp nose for dealing with the rough water. It is a little pricey but it is the #1 surfing SUP that I could recommend for you. It will give you hours of pleasure, while letting you improve without being hindered by your skill outgrowing your SUP.

Paddleboard #4: Thurso Surf Prodigy (Best Surf SUP For Kids)

Where To Buy: Amazon

Key Features:

– Inflatable Paddleboard

– Weight 2lbs

– Size 7β€²6″

surf sup

The Thurso Surf Prodigy is an all around paddle board for junior paddlers of all levels. It is a wide board that is extremely forgiving when it comes to balance (it will hardly wobble), and it’s also at a length that makes it maneuverable for even a little person. (Maximum weight capacity = 165 lbs)

It is made of top quality materials and it comes at a really great price. This is a board that you won’t be able to go wrong with if you are looking for an easy way to introduce any kid to the world of paddle boarding and surf SUPs at the same time.

Paddleboard #5: Tower Xtreme 8″ (Best Hybrid Surf SUP For Adults)

surf sup

Where To Buy: Tower Paddle Boards

Key Features:

– Inflatable Paddleboard

– Hybrid Surf SUP and paddleboard

– Size 10’4″

This is an extremely good inflatable paddle board that gives you the best of both worlds! You can take it into the waves and enjoy some surfing – the board is stable and maneuverable in the water and the pointed nose allows for dealing with chop. And you can take it out for regular touring.

This is for the person that wants the absolute best when it comes to a paddle board. It also works extremely well for heavier riders (weight capacity = 550 lbs). This is a board that you don’t want to pass up on!

Factors to Consider When Buying a Surf SUP

When buying a Surf SUP, it is important to consider factors such as shape and design, fin setup, deck pad, inflatable vs. hard board, and value for money.

Shape and design

Paddle boards for surfing come in various shapes and designs, each serving a different purpose on the waves. The shape of a surf SUP affects its performance, stability, and maneuverability in the water.

Shortboard-style SUPs are smaller and offer more control for experienced surfers looking to carve tight turns.

Longboard-style SUPs, on the other hand, are larger and provide better stability for beginners or those riding small waves.

Quiver killer style SUPs combine elements of both shortboards and longboards to deliver versatility in different wave conditions. High-performance surf SUPs are designed specifically for advanced riders seeking speed and agility on larger waves.

Fin setup

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Different fin setups can significantly impact the performance of a surf SUP. The configuration and placement of fins on the board dramatically affect its stability, maneuverability, and control in the water.

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Factors such as number of fins, size, shape, and placement all come into play when choosing the right fin setup for your surfing style. It’s important to consider your skill level, wave conditions, and personal preferences when selecting a fin setup that suits you best.

Whether you opt for a single-fin setup or multiple fins, finding the perfect balance will enhance your experience on the waves.

For a detailed guide on how to choose paddleboard fins for your surf SUP, read this article:
Choosing Paddleboard Fins Like a Pro: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

Deck pad

The deck pad is an essential component of a surf SUP board. It provides traction and grip, ensuring that you can stay stable and in control while riding waves. Made from high-quality materials, the deck pad offers comfort and support to your feet, allowing you to maintain balance and execute maneuvers with ease.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, having a well-designed deck pad can significantly enhance your performance on the water. So when choosing a surf SUP board, be sure to consider the quality and design of the deck pad to ensure an optimal surfing experience.

Inflatable vs. hard board

In the world of stand-up paddleboarding, there is an ongoing debate between inflatable SUPs and hard boards. Both options have their advantages and it ultimately comes down to personal preference and specific needs.

Inflatable SUPs are known for their portability and easy storage, making them a great choice for those who need to travel or have limited space. They also tend to be more durable and can handle rougher conditions.

On the other hand, hard boards offer a more traditional surfing experience with better performance on the water. They provide greater stability and control, allowing riders to execute sharp turns and maneuvers with ease.

Value for money

Choosing a surf SUP that offers value for money is crucial. You want to make sure that you’re getting the best quality board at a reasonable price. Consider factors such as durability, performance, and brand reputation when making your decision.

Keep in mind that while some boards may be more expensive upfront, they might offer better long-term value with their higher quality materials and craftsmanship. Ultimately, finding a surf SUP that balances affordability and quality will ensure that you get the most out of your investment in the sport of stand-up paddleboarding.

Tips for Choosing the Right Surf SUP

Consider your skill levelFor beginner surfers – you’re most likely going to have a better experience with a larger board with more stability to help you learn and get confidence.

For advanced surfers – you’re going to want a smaller board that offers more control on bigger waves.
Seek expert adviceTo make sure you choose the right surf SUP for your needs, it’s always a good idea to seek expert advice. There are professionals and experienced surfers who can provide valuable insights and guidance on selecting the best board based on your skill level, wave conditions, and personal preferences – Just visit a surf shop to find one.

How to Care for Your Surf SUP

Properly storing your surf SUP and regularly maintaining it are essential for its longevity and performance. Regularly rinse off any saltwater or sand from your board, keep it in a cool, dry place when not in use, and check for any signs of damage that may need repair.

Taking good care of your surf SUP will ensure many more exciting sessions on the water.

Proper storage

To ensure the longevity of your surf SUP, proper storage is essential. After each use, rinse off any saltwater or sand from the board using fresh water to prevent corrosion and damage.

It’s important to store your board in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. This will help protect it from warping or delaminating. If you have limited space at home, consider investing in a board rack or wall mount to keep your surf SUP off the ground and out of harm’s way.

Here’s a few good recommendations for storage:

Best Marine SUP Storage Rack (BEST RACK FOR 1 PADDLEBOARD)

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– You can store up to 125 lbs on these mounts and they are extremely sturdy. This means you can store anything from a SUP to kayak on this.

– Top quality steel tubing means these will last for an extremely long time.

– Have soft cushioning and clips that will protect your SUP from damage.

– Really easy to install (just add 3 screws for each rack and it’s done)

Or you might want a more simple budget option.

Best Marine Folding Kayak Stand (BEST BUDGET STORAGE RACK)

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– You don’t have to assemble anything – they just fold out and store your board.

– They are lightweight (2.5lbs each) so you can easily transport them.

– They can hold up to 150lbs or weight.

– These are really good for maintenance and spraying down your SUP after use.

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By taking these simple storage precautions, you’ll be able to enjoy many more fun-filled sessions on your paddleboard for years to come.

Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your surf SUP in top condition and ensuring it performs at its best. Start by rinsing your board with fresh water after every session to remove saltwater and sand.

Store it properly, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures, to prevent damage. Regularly inspect the board for any signs of wear or damage, such as dings or cracks, and promptly repair them to avoid further issues.

Additionally, check the fin system regularly and tighten any loose screws. By taking these simple steps, you can prolong the lifespan of your surf SUP and enjoy many great sessions on the waves.

Here is a detailed video guide to help you out:

Avoiding damage

Taking care of your surf SUP is essential to ensure its longevity and performance. To avoid damage, proper storage is key. Store your board in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

Regular maintenance is also important; clean your board after each use with fresh water to remove any salt or sand that can cause scratches or corrosion. Additionally, avoid dragging your board on abrasive surfaces and be mindful of sharp objects that could potentially puncture the material.

By taking these precautions, you can keep your surf SUP in great condition for many enjoyable sessions on the waves.

Inflatable Surf SUPs vs. Hard Boards

Discover the differences, pros, and cons of inflatable surf SUPs versus hard boards in our ultimate guide to stand-up paddle boarding for surfing. Dive into the world of SUP surfing and find out which option is best suited for your needs.

Differences in performance

Different types of paddleboards offer varying performance levels when it comes to surfing. Shortboard-style SUPs are designed for quick turns and maneuverability, making them ideal for experienced surfers in more challenging waves.

Longboard-style SUPs – on the other hand, provide stability and ease of use, making them suitable for beginners or those looking to catch smaller waves. Quiver killer style boards offer a balance between speed and maneuverability, giving riders versatility in different wave conditions.

High-performance surf SUPs – are built for advanced riders who crave speed and precision while riding larger waves. Hybrid surf SUPs combine the features of different board styles to offer a balance between stability and performance.

Understanding these differences can help you choose the right board that matches your skill level and surfing preferences.

Pros and cons of each

There are both pros and cons to consider when choosing between an inflatable surf SUP and a hard board. Inflatable SUPs offer convenience and portability, as they can be easily deflated and packed away for travel or storage.

They are also more forgiving for beginners due to their softer surface, which reduces the risk of injury during falls. However, inflatable boards may not provide the same level of performance as hard boards, especially in terms of speed and responsiveness on waves.

Hard boards offer better maneuverability and control, allowing experienced surfers to take on more challenging conditions. They also tend to have a longer lifespan compared to inflatables.

Adjustments and practice

To excel in SUP surfing, it’s crucial to make adjustments and practice regularly. Once you’ve chosen the right stand-up paddleboard for surfing, take some time to familiarize yourself with its specific characteristics.

Experiment with your stance and foot placement to find the sweet spot that provides more control and stability on the waves. Practice paddling out past the breaks and catching small waves, gradually building up to larger ones as your skills improve.

Remember that consistency is key when it comes to honing your SUP surfing abilities, so keep practicing whenever possible to become a proficient rider in no time.


In conclusion, this ultimate guide has provided you with everything you need to know about stand-up paddle boards for surfing. From the different types of surf SUPs and top brands to consider, to factors you should keep in mind when buying a board and tips for choosing the right one, this guide has covered it all.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer looking to take your skills to the next level, this guide will help you make informed decisions and enjoy the exhilaration of SUP surfing.

Dive in, catch some waves, and have fun! πŸŒŠπŸ„β€β™‚οΈ

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What is the best SUP for surfing?

The best SUP for surfing depends on your individual needs, but it’s important to look at factors such as width and how the board is shaped. Check the recommendations above for more information.

How do I use paddles while surfing with a SUP?

Using paddles while surfing can seem tricky initially, but placing your back foot properly and making smooth strokes in the water gets easier with time.

Can I surf with a SUP at any location?

While you certainly can have a good time using paddle boards on a calm lake or coast, they are specially designed for beach waves which makes them more efficient there. Obviously if you’re planning to surf then you need waves πŸ˜‰ Choose a location with small breaks to start with.

Is wind a factor when trying to surf with an SUP?

Wind does affect your control over stand up paddleboards during surf; it could either push you along or make things difficult based on its direction. Wind also makes the waves choppy and harder to catch so make sure you keep track of the weather before you go.

Do I need to spend much money initially when selecting my first Surfboards?

There are various options available in the industry that cater to different budgets; finding the best way to get into this sport doesn’t always mean you have to spend too much. You can also look at places like Craigslist or the Facebook marketplace to find a good surf SUP.

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Jason Watson

My initial goal was to document my paddleboarding experiences with friends and family, but that has evolved into a commitment to share this sport with as many people as possible because of the health benefits & peace of mind it has given me. This sport is not only a great way to see the world, but it also helps us come closer to ourselves. Information gives us strength!

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