What is the difference between SUP and surfing?

In recent years, stand up paddle boarding has become a hit with locals and tourists to Hawaii alike. Anyone can learn to do it in a short amount of time, and it’s a great way to see all the Hawaiian waters have to offer.

Many who are new to the sport wonder how stand up paddle boarding differs from surfing.  Here are a few key questions we receive about the sports.

What’s the difference?
Stand up paddle boards, or SUP, uses a paddle to move, while surfing utilized the surfer’s body — hands to paddle out in the surf, then weight changes to move the board while riding a wave.

Are the boards the same?
Stand up paddle boards and surf boards differ drastically in size. SUP boards are much longer, about 14 feet long, and usually heavier and thicker. Stand up paddle boards are great for beginners and families, because they’re very stable.  Surf boards generally range in size from five to nine feel long, and are lighter.
The reason for the difference is the uses of the board. SUP boards are meant to glide over waves, and are generally better used in more stable water. Surfboards are meant to ride with or along waves, and need greater mobility.

Can they ride the same waves?
Yes, SUP surfers and surfers can ride the same waves however, it’s good practice for SUP’s to plan on staying away from areas where surfers are riding waves, and vice versa. SUP boards for the most part are much larger and less responsive than surfboards unless of course you are an expert wave rider in both surfing and SUP surfing. Because SUPS are larger, less responsive and less maneuverable it can be hazardous surfing in areas with big crowds.

How do I try surfing or SUP?
Ready to give either — or both! — sport a go? Rent equipment or take a surf lesson to learn more about either sport! Give us a call today for more information.