October 20th, 2017

  1. Learn how to control your board in the break

The “inside” (whitewash zone closest to the beach where the waves have all already broken) is an intimidating place to be no matter what size board you’re on. For SUP surfers with big surfboards, the difficulty being “stuck inside” is magnified. The high volume of our boards means a duck dive beneath the “force” of each breaking wave is not an option; it also means even smaller waves can spin our boards around, flip them over, and drag them further inside.

When stuck on the inside, proper board control builds confidence, saves energy, and will get you where you want to be… “outside” the surfline. The following are key points for board control:

  • Keep your nose pointed towards the wave at all times.
    • If you are off your board, turn it it by the tail, pivoting over the fins
    • If a wave catches your board lengthwise, it will get dragged inside and/or flip over
  • Propel your board over big waves
    • Whether you are ON or OFF your board, forward momentum and a balance bias towards the tail will get your board over the wave and reduce risk of it getting carried further inside
      • If paddling from a kneeling or standing position, stroke hard and fast into the wave, leaning back as you hit it to ensure the nose doesn’t get buried in its force; even if you fall, you’ll probably be past the wave.
      • If prone paddling, shift your position back to de-weight the nose, and kick hard with your feet if they are in the water to keep the board from flipping over vertically as you crest the wave
      • If off the board, push down on the tail and give the board a well timed shove over the breaking wave. If you can, dive your body beneath the wave after launching the board. If you time it right, your board will be facing the right direction (outside) when you come up on the other side of the wave
  • Wait out the sets
    • Trying to paddle through a big set of waves can be a fool’s errand even on a shortboard and can be a costly waste of mental and physical energy. Focus on making it over each wave.
    • Keeping control is the main priority; don’t worry about actually paddling, sprinting, and expending energy, trying to make ground towards the outside when stuck inside a big set.
    • Managing frustration and anxiety when stuck inside is key; if we reduce our expectations about getting outside during set waves, we will keep calm and stoked! Soon, you’ll be outside and cruising on one of those big beautiful set waves yourself!


  1. Open up your sphere of awareness. → see what happening around you so you can catch the wave behind the one you’re going for.


  1. Learn to work the inside. → thats where the best waves are.