Is sup surfing easier than surfing

So, you’re thinking about catching some waves but can’t decide between SUP surfing and traditional surfing? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Both sports offer an adrenaline rush, an epic workout, and a chance to connect with nature, but they also come with their own set of challenges.

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If you’re a beginner and want to know which one’s easier to pick up, then this blog post is your treasure map. We’re going to delve into the thrilling world of SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) surfing and traditional surfing, comparing everything from learning curves to equipment, fitness levels, and even the best locations for each.

By the end, we hope to help you decide which surfing style might be your new favorite. So grab your board (and paddle), and let’s dive right in!

Stand Up Paddle (SUP) surfing and traditional surfing are both thrilling water sports that offer a fun and challenging workout. But which one is easier, particularly for beginners? This blog post aims to answer that question.

What is SUP Surfing?

SUP surfing, also known as Stand Up Paddleboard surfing, is a fun water sport in which you stand on a huge, wide board and maneuver the water using a paddle.

It’s a hybrid of surfing and canoeing that originated in the Hawaiian Islands. You can paddle in calmer waters or ride waves like a regular surfer.

SUP surfing is a popular choice for novices and those looking for a full-body workout due to its flexibility and the increased stability provided by the paddle.

It also provides a unique perspective of the water surrounding you and is an excellent way to appreciate nature’s beauty.

What is Traditional Surfing?

Traditional surfing requires a person to balance on a surfboard while riding a wave towards the shore. The challenge lies in timing and managing to stand up on the board at the right moment, which often requires practice and physical strength.

SUP SurfingTraditional Surfing
Ease of LearningEasier for beginners due to added stability from the paddle.Can be more challenging due to the need for precise timing and balance to catch and ride a wave.
EquipmentRequires a paddle in addition to the surfboard.Requires only a surfboard.
Fitness LevelsDemands more upper body strength due to paddle usage.Relies more on lower body strength and core stability.
Versatility & LocationsCan be done in a variety of water conditions, including calm lakes and rivers.Requires waves, thus more location-dependent.
Initial InvestmentCan be more expensive due to the need for an additional piece of equipment (the paddle).Generally less expensive as only a surfboard is needed.
Thrill FactorMore about exploration and enjoying the ride, which can be less thrilling but more relaxing.Provides a higher thrill factor due to the challenge of catching and riding waves.

Can you learn to surf on SUB 

You can absolutely learn to surf on a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP). In fact, many novices find that SUP surfing is a simpler way to get started.

A SUP board’s bigger size and extra stability might make it more forgiving for beginners, while the paddle can aid in balance and maneuverability. Furthermore, the option to begin by paddling on flat water before graduating to waves allows for a more gradual learning curve.

However, while the fundamentals of balance and wave reading can be transferred, traditional surfing and SUP surfing differ in many ways, including tactics and equipment. If you’re switching from SUP to standard surfing, it’s usually a good idea to take some lessons.

Comparing SUP Surfing and Traditional Surfing

Ease of Learning

In general, beginners find SUP surfing easier to learn than traditional surfing. The additional balance offered by the paddle in SUP surfing makes it easier to stand on the board and maneuver in the water.

Equipment Differences

While both sports require a surfboard, SUP surfing also requires a paddle. This can make it slightly more complicated and potentially more expensive to get started with.

Fitness Levels Required

Both sports require a reasonable level of fitness, but SUP surfing often demands more upper body strength due to the paddle usage. Traditional surfing, on the other hand, relies more on lower body strength and core stability.

Versatility & Locations

SUP surfing can be done in a variety of water conditions, including calm lakes and rivers, making it more versatile. Traditional surfing, however, requires waves and, therefore, is location-dependent.

Pros and Cons of SUP Surfing vs. Traditional Surfing

SUP surfing is arguably easier for beginners due to the extra stability and control provided by the paddle. However, it does require more equipment and potentially more initial investment. Traditional surfing, while potentially harder to pick up initially, may be more exciting and challenging for thrill-seekers.

Is SUP Surfing Easier than Traditional Surfing?

SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) surfing is easier for many newbies to learn than traditional surfing. SUP is often less scary for first-timers because the boards are bigger and more stable, and paddles are used for balance and movement.

SUP surfing is different from traditional surfing, which requires good timing to catch waves and good balance to stand on a narrower board. Instead, newbies can start on flat water and work their way up to riding waves.

But ease can be different for different people and relies on their skills, fitness level, and comfort in the water. Both games are fun and challenging in their own ways.

Is it hard to paddle surf?

SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) surfing, also called paddle surfing, can be hard at first, especially if you are new to water sports. But compared to traditional surfing, it’s easy for many beginners to learn.

To stay balanced while paddling on the bigger, more stable board, you need rhythm, core strength, and a little bit of patience. You’ll have to get used to standing on the board, paddling, and keeping your balance, all of which can be hard at first.

But most people find that they can learn the basics of paddle surfing pretty quickly if they keep at it. SUP surfing can also be done in different kinds of water, from calm, flat water to water with waves. This means that people who are just starting out can start out easy and eventually make it harder.

As with any sport, it’s best to take a few lessons to learn the right way to do things. This will make sure you stay safe and have a good time.

Tips for Beginners: Getting Started with SUP Surfing and Traditional Surfing

Whether you choose to venture into SUP surfing or traditional surfing, here are some beginner tips to help you get started.

Invest in the Right Equipment

For SUP surfing, you’ll need a good quality board and paddle. Traditional surfing requires a surfboard suitable for beginners – often larger, wider boards that offer more stability. In both cases, a good wetsuit, depending on your location and the water temperature, can be crucial.

List of equipment needed for sup surfing and traditional surfing

SUP SurfingTraditional Surfing
SurfboardA SUP board, usually larger and wider than a traditional surfboard for stability.A traditional surfboard. For beginners, larger and wider boards are recommended for stability.
PaddleA long paddle used for maneuvering and propelling in the water.Not required.
LeashA SUP leash, usually a coiled one, connected to the board and your ankle or calf for safety.A surfboard leash, connected to the board and your ankle for safety.
WetsuitDepending on water temperature, a suitable wetsuit may be required.Depending on water temperature, a suitable wetsuit may be required.
Personal Floatation Device (PFD)In some regions, a PFD is required by law for paddleboarders.Not typically required, but can be used for added safety.
Wax/Traction PadWax or a traction pad may be used to prevent slipping on the board.Surfboard wax is used to provide grip and prevent slipping on the board.

Remember, this equipment list is the basic requirement for both sports. Additional gear such as gloves, booties, and rash guards may be needed based on your personal preferences and the specific conditions you’ll be surfing in.

Take Lessons

Both SUP and traditional surfing have their unique challenges. Taking professional lessons can help you grasp the basics faster, learn proper techniques, and ensure you’re surfing safely.

Practice Balance and Strength Training

Improving your balance and strength can significantly enhance your surfing skills, regardless of the type of surfing. Consider incorporating balance and strength training exercises into your routine.

Be Patient and Consistent

Learning to surf, whether it’s SUP or traditional surfing, takes time and patience. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get it right away. Keep practicing consistently, and you’ll see improvement.

Understand and Respect the Ocean

The ocean can be unpredictable, and conditions can change rapidly. Understand the basics of ocean safety, be aware of the weather and tides, and always respect the power of the ocean.


Regardless of whether you choose SUP surfing or traditional surfing, both offer fantastic benefits, including improving balance, strength, endurance, and not to mention, they’re incredibly fun. The choice ultimately comes down to personal preference. Happy surfing!

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