Can Paddle boarding Make You a Better Surfer?

Can Paddle boarding Make You a Better Surfer?

Are you an avid paddleboarder looking to get into surfing? Or maybe you’ve never tried stand up paddle boarding, but you’re interested in finding ways to catch some waves. As you might expect, stand up paddleboarding is a great way intro to surfing, and it could ultimately make you a better surfer. Here are a few ways paddleboarding can help you hone your surfing skills. 

Practice Your Surfing Skills with Stand Up Paddle

1. SUP has a smoother learning curve.

For beginners, learning to SUP is easier than picking up a traditional surfboard and might help ease you into the sport. The biggest reason? Buoyancy. SUP boards are more buoyant than traditional surfboards, so standing up and balancing while the board is still are much easier. SUP boards are usually wider and usually include a deck pad. A deck pad will help you to stay on your board easier since the grip offers more traction. SUP can help you find your sea legs and balance if you’ve had very little exposure to water sports. 

2. Stand up paddling helps to become more comfortable in the water.

That being said, once you get comfortable floating along on your paddleboard, you’ll quickly feel more comfortable in the water. It’s common for beginner surfers to experience some fear. The oncoming surf might can feel intimidating, or the mysterious darkness below might make you uncomfortable. But once you learn and practice basic SUP and surf safety, you’ll get your bearings and build confidence. SUP can help you become more comfortable out in the big blue.  

3. Catching waves is easier.

Once you get comfortable paddling around in the water and you’re ready to catch some waves, you’ll find that catching waves with your SUP board feels a bit easier than catching waves with your surfboard. When you practice riding waves from a SUP board, you’ll have more opportunities to get the feel of riding the waves, and the more you practice, the better you’ll get! 

SUP and Surfing

4. SUP helps with standing and balance.

It goes without saying that you have to stand to SUP! This gives you a few advantages. First off, you’ll already be standing when a wave comes. One of the most significant learning curves with traditional surfing is learning the pop-up. The pop-up happens after you paddle hard for a wave, catch the wave, and then pop-up on the proper area of your board to ride the wave. Many beginner surfers either pop up too soon, too late, or on the wrong location of the board and wind up nose-diving, falling off, or losing the wave.

Since you’ll already be standing on your SUP board when you catch a wave, you’ll already be in the proper position, and you can get the feel of what it is like to catch a wave and learn how to balance. Learning how to balance while catching a wave will make it an easier transition for switching to traditional surfing. The stance is a bit different, but it’s easier to pick up if you’ve experienced the general feel of riding a wave while standing. 

 5. SUP offers more visibility. 

In addition, standing up on your SUP board will give you greater visibility than anyone sitting down staring at the horizon--at least initially. You are better able to gauge the size, speed, and intensity of the set coming and whether or not you should go for a wave. Learning to assess waves standing up will give you an advantage and more practice.

6. Paddleboarding is a great workout.

Stand up paddleboarding is excellent for cross-training when learning how to surf. Paddling builds strength, balance, and core endurance. It also works your back muscles, shoulders, arms, abdominals, and your lower body. Plus, the constant muscle confusion will target less-used muscles for a more complete workout, which will help with surfing as well. 

7. You can catch what others can’t.

You may not be able to do the same sharp maneuvers on a SUP board, but you can catch waves that are too mushy for a surfboard. Since stand-up paddleboards can catch waves easier than traditional surfboards, that means you can catch waves that traditional surfers won’t go for.

Surfers may go out to view the surf and turn around because the waves look sloppy or blown out, but that’s when a SUP board can really shine. Even experienced surfers should keep a SUP board in their quiver because you can go out on days that just won’t work with your traditional board. It’s a fun, low-key way to enjoy unsurfable waves. This is also a great time to bring a kiddo along for an introduction to surfing.

SUP vs surfing

Change Up Your Surfing Game with Smooth SUP

Whether you’ve been surfing for years or just getting into it, SUP is a great way to change things up and enjoy the waves. Smooth SUP offers convenient and durable inflatable boards that you can take on just about any water adventure! Check out our full line of products at