High performance SUP surfing, or paddle enhanced surfing, is a completely different experience from riding “traditional” surfboards. The modern shortboard is getting shorter and shorter without compromising tons of volume. Surfers are finding it easier to throw their boards around at will on the face of a wave, changing how we get down in bigger surf, in smaller surf, or whatever we please. In the high performance SUP world however, the objective is still the same. Throw as much water over the edge as you can, make your turns tighter, faster and more radical off the top, and pretty much redefine what people think is possible on volumes in the range of 75 liters. Imagine trying to throw the fins out on that. Or paddling into a wave, already standing up, with your board sinking down to your knees in the face of the wave. It’s a wild jump from your 26 liter Hypto Krypto.
So how small is too small in the SUP world? And where is the threshold for performance SUP surfing as you get more and more foam? “Who can paddle the smallest board,” in what Erik Antonson calls the race to the bottom. This conersation between Paddlwoo host Antonson, Justin Bing and Tom and Tarryn King is an insightful look at those debates. They’re all riding multiple boards a year, going through shapes left and right, all to find out what works and doesn’t work for performance. Surprisingly, some of these professional athletes are finding they’re having less fun the less foam they have, while contest formats are making them run for the lowest volume they can still stand on.
Design is evolving in every aspect of the surf world and Stand Up Paddle surfing is no exception. If you want some insight on the impact of volume of SUP surfing, this is a quality listen.
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