SUP places to paddle – overseas edition.

SUP places to paddle – overseas edition.

‘SUP places to paddle’ now turns its attention to some choice overseas destinations. Whilst this isn’t a exhaustive list these are suggestions based on experience that may prick your interest. You may have your wanderlust sparked to investigate other further flung locations as well.

Maui, Hawaii.

No SUP places to paddle list could be published and not feature the epicentre, and birthplace, of stand up paddle boarding as we know it, Maui.

Maui’s south side has plenty of SUP options for all skill levels.

Laird and co brought about SUP’s renaissance during the early 2000s. And with such a wealth of put ins to choose from, Maui has established itself as a SUP centre of excellence. Waves of all types, world class downwind runs and a handful of adventure SUP spots; it’s a bucket list venue worthy of any paddler’s time. From beginner through to advanced.

Grenada (The Spice Isle), Caribbean.

With its bath warm waters, friendly locals, fragrant spice smells wafting on the air and amazing SUP potential, Grenada is definitely worth visiting. A very under the radar location, when compared to neighbouring West Indian islands, Grenada offers mellow SUP surfing, cracking adventuring and a few downwind runs. And that’s just what we know about.

Grenada is a stunning place for some stand up up paddle boarding action.

Grenada is untapped with a whole host of SUP put ins waiting to be discovered. For anyone with time and inclination who knows what you’ll find in Grenada and its sister island Carriacou.

Zakynthos (Zante), Greece.

Zante is often thought of as a summer season party island. The south’s located Laganas Strip certainly plays into this. Although even here you’ll find some pretty good flat water SUP opportunities. It’s the northern part of Zakynthos where the real SUP magic happens though. Head towards the port of Agios Nikolaos and the stunning Ionian waters open up a world of paddling opportunities.

The renowned Blue Caves are to be found here – within easy reach by SUP from the port. Whilst a whole load of other adventure SUP routes can be found heading back slightly south. If you get the opportunity to paddle Shipwreck Bay (mostly only accessible by boat) then we’d say take it!

Ile de Re, France.

Even closer to home (UK), located in France’s Charentes Maritime region, is the offshore island of Ile de Re. In close proximity to La Rochelle the island is a real watersports haven and a hub for SUP. It doesn’t matter what type of stand up paddling you’re after you’ll find it here. Mellow sand bottom beach breaks, full on reef waves, picturesque adventure SUPing and a few downwind runs. 

Il de Re can be perfect if you’re after easy going SUP surf waves.

You also have the option of checking out Ile de Re’s neighbouring island Ile de Oleron. Similar in some ways but with its own vibe, Oleron is another bang on overseas SUP location.

Corralejo, Fuerteventure, Canary Islands.

The NE part of Fuerteventura is where you’ll find the harbour town, turned tourist hub, Corralejo. The town’s sheltered harbour is great for flat water paddling and getting to grips with basics. Just downwind you’ll find Rocky Point which is a great SUP surfing wave. Handling decent size it’s still doable for experienced paddlers up to significant wave height.

Fuerte’s northern track gives access to plenty of SUP spots like this.

Across on the other side of Fuerteventura you’ll find the Cotillo area has an abundance of performance orientated wave spots. From world class breaks to more accessible put ins Fuerte is a surfing playground that many a UK rider hits up during winter.

Cork, Ireland.

The Cork area of southern Ireland isn’t as widely promoted for watersports as the more well known west coast. Yet around the coastal town of Cork, you’ll find an abundance of stand up paddle boarding opportunities.

Cork Harbour itself features plenty of flat water SUP routes. Heading out towards Ireland’s culinary capital of Kinsale is where adventure paddlers will find fulfilment. Then you have the surf spot of Garretstown and its surrounding beaches to quench those wave thirsts. 

Cork and its surrouding beaches offer awesome stand up paddle boarding opportunities.

If further investigation of Ireland’s south coast temps you, head back east towards Tramore where there’s plenty of SUP friendly surf or hit up the West Cork area for off the beaten track put ins.

Whatever the type of stand up paddling you subscribe to there’s somewhere in the world perfect for you. Do some research and get gone!

Don’t forget to check out our other SUP places to paddle articles via the links below.

SUP places to paddle. Adventure SUP location suggestions.

SUP places to paddle. Adventure SUP location suggestions.

SUP adventures for when you get hold of your first (or second, third and so on…) stand up paddle boarding equipment. But where to head for some every man/woman adventure paddling?

SUP paddling The Caledonian Canal (the Great Glen).

Epitomised as an endurance SUP race in the last few years, The Caledonian Canal formed as part of a geological fault line bisecting the Scottish Highlands, the Grampian Mountains and onwards into the Northwest Highlands.

A well paddled kayak route, it’s now become synonymous with SUP adventurers. As such there are plenty of amenities along the way. Although it’s still easy to get off the beaten track, out into the wilds and do your own thing.

Circumnavigating Hayling Island by SUP.

Sitting in the shadow of its bigger neighbour (and Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co. HQ) the Isle of Wight, Hayling’s circumference is roughly 17 miles. As such it’s a tantalising prospect to paddle the whole way round; being perceived to be a relatively easy adventure SUP route.

And easy enough it is (mostly) as long as paddlers get it right with tides. Using the flowing water to push and pull through both Langstone and Chichester Harbours, you can complete the journey in a decent time (if speed’s your thing). Getting it wrong with the tides, and inclement weather means it’ll be a lot more arduous.

One to tick off your bucket list though. Perhaps take part in the annual Round Hayling SUP Challenge that happens every year.

UK river/canal routes.

A bit broad this one but it’s worth mentioning there are numerous great SUP rivers and canals around the UK. All with their own individual personalities and conditions – determined by on how much water flow there is and seasonality.

Unlike coastal spots, inland rivers and canals can often go between points, almost like being on a road. In fact, that’s what many of these waterways were originally for. For adventure SUPing this is great as they have, in some ways, more of a reason to paddled.

SUP places to paddle. Adventure SUP location suggestions.
River and canals are great for SUP adventures.

Whatever your flavour of SUP adventure you’ll no doubt find it with rivers and canals. Off the beaten track or the more well trodden routes can all be ticked off depending what you’re looking to achieve and how Bear Grylls you fancy getting. and don’t worry if you’re based in towns and cities. For instance, in London, Regents Canal is worth checking out. An even better our friends at offer hir, tuition and guiding to make it as easy as possible.

Scotland’s Hebridean islands.

Back to Scotland and the country’s renowned Hebridean islands. Scattered like pebbles across the NW part of the UK the Hebrides all have their own individual look and feel. And with many in close proximity to one another, it’s sometimes easier than you think to paddle between landmasses.

Depending on your experience, time and weather conditions will dictate just how far you can get on your SUP. It may be you’re only paddling a few short distances. Or, alternatively, your plan could be a mammoth track taking in some of the more under the radar routes and locations.

Whatever your choice there’s plenty to keep any stand up paddler looking for adventure busy in this neck of the woods.

The Lake District.

England’s north west corner is where you’ll find the iconic Lake District. Famed for its peaks and fells The Lakes are a hill walker’s dream. But the waterways of The Lakes are also worthy of inspection.

In recent times the area’s become a hive of SUP activity with many schools and centers now in existence. You can take your first paddling steps here or, for those with adventure SUP aspirations, there’s plenty to keep you amused.

Of course, the most identifiable lake is Windemere – the largest natural lake in England. It boasts 11 miles of length and is 1m at its widest. This alone should be enough to keep most paddle boarders entertained.

For those looking at adventure SUP with a bit of endurance paddling thrown in for good measure, considering ‘The Three Lakes Challenge’ could be a good thing. Taking in Bala Lake (Wales), Loch Awe (Scotland) and Windermere is a test of will, wits and paddling. Alternatively, stick with The Lakes itself and investigate all this area has to offer.

Adventure SUP is a broad and diverse topic. It can encompass whatever you feel accounts for an ‘adventure’. The above suggestions are merely that; suggestions. Whether coast or inland, if there’s water you’re ripe for a SUP adventure. And summer 2022 is the perfect time to indulge.

You don’t need particularly specialist SUP gear for adventuring. A standard 10’6 inflatable board will be enough. Of course, should you fancy a more touring orientated shape in your quiver then our 11’5 Compact Tourer will make trekking and adventuring a little easier.

Whatever your idea of SUP adventure our advice is get involved. Unlike SUP surfing for instance you’re not bound and constrained by one location. Get out there, get gone and put some SUP adventure in your life.

Don’t forget to check out more from Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s blog here.

SUP places to paddle. Improver SUP surfing location suggestions.

SUP places to paddle. Improver SUP surfing location suggestions.

SUP surfing can be tricky when you’re looking to improve. Having enjoyed those first few slides on micro waves the next step is to get involved with more challenging swell. But the right location, with the right wave, needs to be given careful consideration. Taking on too much is a recipe for disaster. And not all waves break the same. Making life as easy as you can is the best approach.

Here are a few SUP surfing locations that’ll help paddlers improve their wave riding skills. There are plenty more but these should set you off on the right foot.

Saunton Sands, North Devon.

Saunton Sands is a mecca for longboard surfing. The rolling nature of the swell, wide open space of both the beach and water, plus the easy going atmosphere make Saunton a magnet for stylists and performers alike.

Easy like Sunday morning for a spot of Saunton SUP.

At the northern end, next to the rocks, is where you’ll find the main peak. It’s also the corner that’s sheltered from N-NW winds. We’d suggest avoiding here though as it’s where Saunton gets most busy. And with plenty of peaks further along the beach, you’ll most likely find a quiet patch to yourself. (Which is much better for improving).

During high season Saunton’s mellower style waves are great fun. And there are plenty of rides to be snagged. Do be aware that if the surf pulses, however, it can be a tricky paddle out with lots of white water to negotiate. And big waves are still big waves, regardless. With consequences of getting it wrong the same wherever you go.

Compton Bay, Isle of Wight.

We couldn’t pen a guide like this and not mention Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s own backyard. Compton Bay sits on the southern side of the island and picks up a decent amount of swell, relative to its English Channel location. Compton’s waves are mostly mellow, slower breakers but just as with every spot it has its day – especially during winter.

During bigger swell sessions the paddle out can be tricky and you’ll take as much of a beating here as anywhere. Also, there’s usually a frothing pack of other riders – surfers and SUP surfers – that you’ll need to be aware and keep clear of.

SUP surfing vs surfing
Mello days at Compton Bay, IOW.

Some rocks that appear during certain stages of tide should also be noted. You can move either left or right a little if Compton’s main peak in front of the steps gets too busy.

Marazion, Mounts Bay, Cornwall.

Marazion – or Maza as it’s commonly referred to – is a beach that’s overlooked by the iconic St. Michael’s Mount. Being in close proximity to St. Ives and Penzance, Marazion’s a southern facing beach that doesn’t get quite the same swell as surrounding beaches. As such, it can be quieter and more suited to improver SUP surfing. Unfortunately, Maza’s inconsistency shows itself more starkly in summer when you’ll be hard pushed to find a wave here unless it’s windy.

Maza’s off season SUP surfing opportunities are more abundant. You’ll need to watch out for a few rocks dotted about, depending where you launch. And high tide can see quite a thumping shore dump is there are waves. When Maza lights up though it can be a fun SUP surfing spot with some fairly decent rides to be had. And if all else fails, other spots are close by, if you choose wisely.

Hayling Island, Hampshire.

Tucked in the lea of the Isle of Wight Hayling Island isn’t perhaps the first location you think of when talking waves. Yet Hayling – particularly in winter – does pretty well on the swell front. It’s also a fab place for SUP in general, not just SUP surfing.

Should you get lucky with waves the beauty of Hayling is its room. There’s plenty of space to practice and get it wrong. Without too much chance of causing problems to others. Hayling’s waves break on an offshore sandbank that’s just out to sea around a mile or so. Depending of the swell is dictates where along the bank you get waves. Solid pulses see waves break along the sand bar’s entire length. Small waves, meanwhile, will probably be right out back.

SUP places to paddle. 5 improver SUP surfing locations.
SUP surfing at Hayling Island.

Tide is a big factor here so it’s wise to know what’s going on. And watch out for the high water shore dump which can get pretty hefty at times. If it’s thumping then better to sit on the bench until waters recede.

Tiree, Hebrides, Scotland.

The Hebridean island of Tiree is a stunning location that, on any given sunshine day, could be mistaken for further flung, more tropical locations. White sand beaches and azure coloured waters make it a very attractive spot for some SUP surfing action.

Tiree has multiple beaches to choose from, depending on conditions. The Maze is where experienced riders will head, although if smaller then it might also be doable for improver SUP surfers. Gott Bay and Crossapol are the more mellow put ins for improving wave riders though due to their more sheltered nature.

Tiree is a watersports paradise so even if waves aren’t playing ball there’re other activities to choose from. Windsurfing, for instance, is big on the island. It’s home to the Tiree Wave Challenge windsurf comp which happens every year. If you want coaching then there’s a watersports school on the island to help you on your way.

Llangennith, The Gower, Wales.

Llangennith’s huge beach, merging with Rhossili at low tide, gives ample space for improving your SUP wave riding techniques. It’s easy access and on smaller swell is very doable. It can get busy – especially during summer. But spreading away from the pack is simple.

‘Gennith’s exposed nature means it does pick up all swell that swings into the area. It’s actually the indicator spot for surrounding beaches. And can get quite hefty if there’s a big pulse. At size Llangennith can be a brutal paddle out will seemingly endless walls of white water to overcome. At this point, it’d probably be worth taking a breather or checking elsewhere.

On a summer day with 2ft of swell, this corner of Wales can be blissful though.

These locations aren’t a comprehensive list of improver SUP surfing locations as many others also exist. As a starting point though, these put ins will get you on your way to wave riding nirvana.

Check out more from Freshwater Bay paddleboard Co.’s blog here.

SUP testimonial: The Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co Classic 9’11 & 10’6.

SUP testimonial: The Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co Classic 9’11 & 10’6.

SUP boards are numerous – both hard boards and inflatables. And as part of my ongoing work I’ve tested a huge number of both. With a keen on eye what the everyday paddler wants my own needs are a little different. It’s therefore gold when I come across SUP equipment that fits both categories.

The first Classic 9’11 SUP test.

I discovered the first incarnation of Freshwater Bay Paddle Co.’s Classic 9’11 during the brand’s initial stint on the scene. Before it was mothballed. Keeping an eye on industry SUP products if something new pops up that I think will be interesting I jump on it and get in touch with the company in question.

Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s Charlie Cripwell – the original brand head – came back to me with details about the orange and white striped Classic 9’11. After some back and forth this is the one that landed on my doorstep for testing.

Retro inspired, longboard SUP surf tastic aboard the Classic 9’11.

Having reviewed so many watersports products I can look at a piece of kit and have a fairly good idea of how it’s going to perform. The Classic 9’11’s mid-section flat rocker, accentuated by a narrow pintail and progress kick, with pronounced nose scoop looked like a retro inspired longboard shape. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was its generous volume and width.

Speak with any performance orientated SUP rider and they’ll tell you that too wide isn’t great for manoeuvrability. Especially in waves. And I have to admit that 31.5” is right on the cusp. But the overall shape of the Classic screamed surfing. And I know from experience that dimensions mean naff all really. It’s how a board feels once on the water that’s more important.

Onto the water.

Unfortunately, due to seasonality, waves were scarce during the initial few outings. As such it was mostly about flat water performance. That wasn’t a bad thing per se as SUP boards need to be as versatile as possible. It’s all very well pimping out your latest wave riding shape. But punters want as broad performance from their gear as they can get. Mostly. I appreciate some riders own a quiver of stand up paddle boards – with specialist tools in the mix. The masses, however, tend to stump for one style of SUP and stick with that for a while.

Paddling the Classic 9’11 on flat water revealed there was (is) plenty of fun to be had. It’s obviously not a touring SUP so doesn’t glide or track quite the same. But that’s obvious straight off. Yet cover distance and deliver fulfilment, without waves, the Classic 9’11 does. To add further kudos to the 9’11’s flat water prowess: Charlie Cripwell himself paddled quite a few miles across home waters back in the day, thereby proving the 9’11 is applicable to a wide range of paddling scenarios.

SUP surfing proper.

Sometime later the first decent swell swung into my local. Anybody aux fait with Hayling’s set up will appreciate there can often be a long paddle out. Waves break on a sand bar, which stretches a mile or so offshore. It’s not uncommon to have to paddle right out back to score. As you can imagine piloting short, low volume and narrow SUPs can be a ‘mare. So the Classic 9’11’s length and stability was welcome news.

Taking off on that first wave it soon became apparent just how good the Classic is on swell. The narrow pintail allows hard carving turns when ridden from the back. Whilst the pronounced nose rocker ensures pearling isn’t common when riding steeper sections. The Classic carries good momentum through flat spots whilst the width gives forgiveness to those still dialing in their technique. Yet not to the detriment of maneuverability.

Fun and frolics aboard the Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co. Classic 9’11 SUP.

Post-session and I was made up. Had I just found my magic surf SUP board?

Next up.

Following a brief interlude, my next surf SUP session was a decidedly breezy affair. This can often be the case in my neck of the woods. But you deal with it. With gusts right on the point of the session not quite being doable, I paddled out, but at a different spot. The waves were lumpy, but steep, sucky and fast.

In conditions like this, you definitely don’t want to be trying to balance on an unstable sled. Fortunately, the Classic 9’11’s width ensured I wasn’t constantly bracing and spending more time trying to avoid a dunking. This meant I could concentrate on trying to pick off cleaner sections and enjoy better rides.

Flat water SUP fun with the Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co. Classic 9’11.

Considering the junky surf it was a lovely session. The sun was shining and I had a few belters. Some of the prone surfers were quite jealous! One of the biggest takeaways from that session was just how the momentum carried was allowing me to round sections and get onto unbroken faces. And when facing a decent hit I could fang the 9’11 round and chuck some spray. In some cases, less than ideal surf can be supremely fun! If, you have the right tools for the job.

Onwards and upwards.

Following the aforementioned session, I decided this Classic 9’11 was a keeper. And I’ve since gone on to enjoy countless SUP surfing sessions around the UK. Often it’s been a session saver. And the Classic’s coped well with everything from junky onshore mush to overhead bangers.

Don’t get me wrong. The Classic 9’11 has its limits. Super hollow, high performance waves (once past a certain size) aren’t its forte. You’d be better off with something else, or even prone surfing. For most real world SUP surfing conditions, that the majority of wave riders will face, the Classic 9’11 works a treat though.

There are other great wave orientated stand up paddle boards out there too. But with brands updating their shapes each season, it’s hard to keep on top of the situation. The Classic shape doesn’t change, from season to season. So you know what you’re getting.

The Freshwater Bay Classic 10’6 SUP.

SUP surfing the inside section
Sliding on the Classic 10’6 Pawlonia Wood version.

Not only have I enjoyed extensive use of the 9’11 I’ve also put some decent hours in aboard its bigger sibling. The Classic 10’6 is another adept performer. The magic thing here is whilst the board is a scaled upsize it retains all the performance traits of its smaller cousin. Albeit with bigger dimensions in play. This translates to the same style of riding from a familiar shape of SUP board. It’s also quite unusual getting an upscaled version so on point, with exactly the same feel as small SUPs in the same range. Often that feeling is lost between board sizes.

The 10’6 allows smaller swells to be ridden perhaps more efficiently than the 9’11. Heavyweights will appreciate this and be able to use the bigger version in larger waves. There’s also slightly more efficiency on flat water, compared to the 9’11. And anyone who’s truly into their traditional ‘toes on the nose’ longboard riding will find the 10’6 just pips the 9’11 in this category.

All in the Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Classic range of SUPs is a great choice for riders of all types, with a bias towards waves. They can be used perfectly fine on flat water but really do shine when real world SUP surfing conditions show up. For my money that’s worth every penny…

Tez Plavenieks – SUP Mag UK.

For more SUP articles and knowledge, posts head over to Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s blog here.

SUP paddle strokes and techniques to nail down.

SUP paddle strokes and techniques to nail down.

SUP paddle strokes and fundamental techniques that you should have in your arsenal.

SUP and paddle strokes are like cars and engines. Neither works without the other. Yet pair the two up and suddenly you have an efficient mode of transport.

It’s easy to think (and act blindly) that hopping aboard your stand up paddle board, and just paddling, is all that’s needed. Yet refinement of the forward stroke is often needed as well as adding other types of paddle strokes to your ‘tool box’.

Forward SUP paddle stroke refinement.

One of the biggest tips any progressing paddler can take away is ‘bury the paddle blade’. Often times riders just ‘tickle’ the water with no dynamism.

Submerging the whole blade will ensure that maximum power is delivered. Complete submersion also encourages the paddler to ‘reach’. And reaching combining with paddle blade’ submersion goes a long way to developing an efficient forward paddle stroke. 

SUP paddle strokes and techniques to nail down.
Whatever type of SUP you practice a solid forward stroke is definitely needed – here shown in SUP foil mode.

There are a few other elements to also work on but if you only concentrate on the above two points you’ll be winning. And stand up paddle boarding better. Whether recreational SUPing or aiming to become more technically proficient you’ll be well on your way.

The SUP J-stroke.

Paddling in a straight line, whilst continually changing sides, isn’t as efficient as it could be. There are also situations that require the same side paddling for long periods of time – such as with crosswinds. Using the J-stroke will help keep your SUP straight and true whilst removing the need to constantly swap from one rail to the other. You lose less efficiency and can pilot narrower, more unstable boards. Especially if you stand with offset foot placement (think surf stance) which tends to favour either left or right side paddling.

Reaching forwards as normal, riders should bury the blade in standard fashion but slightly wide of the nose. Draw the stroke in towards your SUP and continue through the power phase as normal. The ‘drawing’ of the stroke gives forward propulsion as well as keeping your board tracking straight. Taking time to practice the J-stroke yields desired results.

A demonstration of the J-stroke for SUP.

The SUP sweep stroke.

A paddle stroke for all occasions the sweep can be used in so many SUP scenarios. Stand up paddle surfers put the sweep stroke to good use when paddling for and riding waves. 

Spotting their chosen swell (having positioned his/herself accurately in the line up) a sweep can be used in tandem with a tail sink pivot turn. Having spun on the spot the rider doesn’t lose ground nor stray either side of the wave’s peak. As such a few hammer down forward paddle strokes will see a smooth roll in and the wave caught.

The sweep stroke asks the paddler to perform a wide arcing motion with their paddle. Depending on the wants/needs of the rider the sweep stroke can pull out wide from the board’s nose to tail or be a shallower, snappy maneuver. 

The reverse sweep stroke. 

Where the standard sweep stroke means pulling wide, nose to tail. The reverse sweep starts on one side of your SUP, with the blade facing in towards the rail. And passes over the board’s nose to end on the opposite side. So the rider will stretch (and stand) quite a way forward. 

Some paddlers prefer the reverse sweep stroke to standard sweeps. As with all skills it has many uses and should therefore be practiced. Mixing and matching paddle strokes intuitively ensures your standing as a skilled stand up paddler.

SUP paddle strokes and techniques to nail down. #4
Reverse sweep strokes are great in scenarios like white water river running where you need a whole bag of techniques at your disposal.

Brace strokes.

Bracing is used mostly for balance and to stop the rider from falling. It’s often that a SUPer can overegg their balance and tip the board too far into its rail. Using a brace stroke will stop dunkings and bring the stand up paddle board and rider back upright.

A classic use of the brace stroke is during bottom turns on waves when SUP surfing. As the paddler carves off the bottom the paddle is extended to the inside, onto the wave’s face, and allows proficient surfers to carve harder and not fall into the wave.

SUP paddle strokes and techniques to nail down. #6
A high brace stroke used to support the rider whilst bottom turning along a wave.

You can employ a high brace – which in SUP surfing mode sees the paddle rest higher up the wave face. If it’s smaller swell then the paddle can brace on top. Or adopt a low brace where the paddler’s blade feathers the wave’s surface, tapping or pushing harder into the water as needed. 


Sculling paddle strokes are mostly a positioning tool. With the paddle pulled in close to the board’s rail, he/she moves the blade back and forth, just below the water’s surface, with a slight angle. This angle of attack gives paddle pressure as it engages with the water and serves to keep rider and board stationary. Or as stationary as possible.

SUP paddle strokes and techniques to nail down. #7
Sculling has a variety of uses that require sideways movement in confined spaces.

A typical sculling scenario could be when coming into land in deep water next to a jetty or pontoon. Having slowed to a crawl the rider can skull on the side closest to the landing platform. This slowly draws the paddler closer to the get out. And all without slamming into a hard surface and dinging the SUP. If you’re using a hard shell board then this is important. Inflatables can brush off knocks like this easier.

Back paddle strokes.

Used for stopping abruptly or reversing – especially in tight spaces where a pivot turn or sweep stroke won’t work, back strokes are simple but effective.

Unlike all the other SUP paddle strokes mentioned already a back stroke uses the reverse side of the paddle blade to push water as opposed to pull. Hand grip will be exactly the same with no need to change. SUPers then need to avoid angling the paddler’s blade otherwise it won’t work.

SUP paddle strokes and techniques to nail down. #8
Back strokes help when you need to stop and/or reverse.

Practice, practice, practice.

As with everything the more knowledge you have the more you can progress and develop your SUP skills. And have a bag of paddle strokes to call upon will see you enjoy your SUPing more and be able to cope with a broader set of paddling conditions.

If you want more effective and efficient stand up paddling then learning to put to good use all these paddle strokes is best practice.

SUP paddle strokes and techniques to nail down. #9
The more you practise the better you’ll get a SUP.

For truly rapid progression and understanding, getting some SUP coaching is worth its weight in gold. A qualified, experienced instructor will guide and help you develop paddle stroke skills much quicker than going it alone. So instruction is definitely worth considering.

Paddle Monster have some great resources and tips for SUP paddle strokes you can find here.

If you’re after more stand up paddle boarding articles like this then check out the following. And don’t forget to give us a shout if you have any questions.

SUP board choices for beginner/improver SUP paddlers.

SUP board choices for beginner/improver SUP paddlers.

What to consider when buying your first SUP.

There are so many stand up paddle boards available today that making a choice is a hard task. For many newbies, it can seem overwhelming. Do you go hard board or inflatable? And what about SUP length, volume and width? Style of board can also play a part. So where to begin?

SUP skill (and being honest with yourself).

When in the market you need to consider multiple aspects. First up is your personal skill level. Whilst it’s good to have aspirations and goals good practice is to be honest with yourself. You may yearn for that uber narrow race machine, or low volume performance surf sled. But these will be hard craft to pilot if you’re barely out of the beginner stages of stand up paddling.

SUP surfing: waves are where you find them.
Are you an aspiring wave head or flat water SUP paddler?

Something that’s accessible, but with traits to grow into, will be the best course of action. This will deliver maximum fun as you progress on your SUP journey. And it’s the fun element that’ll keep you coming back for more. Owning a board that’s too tricky to use won’t do much for your continued enjoyment of the sport. If you find yourself groaning at the prospect of paddling your own SUP then you might not have chosen the best fit.

Usual stand up paddle board stomping grounds.

Your local stomping ground should dictate what type of stand up paddle board should be purchased. By this, we mean what type of conditions you get and are most likely to be riding in.

For instance, if your local is generally mirror flat water, with some interesting nooks and crannies, then it’d be foolish to buy an all out surf SUP. Something touring orientated would make more sense.

Or if you want a dabble in waves on the same board a SUP like Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s Classic would be a good option. Perhaps the bigger 10’6 if it’s going to be a more flat water bias to your paddling (or you’re a heavier rider). But the 9’11 works as well.

The inflatable SUP option.

Your first stand up paddle board doesn’t have to be the hard variety. Inflatables are good to go as well. In fact, based on what the masses generally buy, iSUPs are it. Usually around the 10’6 mark. But you don’t need to follow trends. Following your own path is often the course of direction.

The issue with inflatables – as has been discussed at length across various forums – is the manufacturing and material quality with some of these boards. Cheap iSUPs are just that: cheap. Not budget. Budget, wallet friendly is something else entirely. You can get quality inflatable SUPs that are budget orientated.

Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co offer two styles of iSUP. Our 10’6 is designed to give enhanced glide and tracking (via its slightly elongated nose). Whereas the longer 11’5 compact touring SUP is fit for any adventure you can to throw it at. Both these designs are examples of time and effort spent getting the shape right and making them fit for purpose for many different styles of paddler.

Don’t forget your SUP paddle!

We talked about upgrading your SUP paddle in this article. To reiterate: your SUP paddle is everything. Arguably more important than your board, the paddle defines what stand up is and should therefore be given due thought and consideration.

Far too often we see riders happy to make do with any old paddle. This is never going to enhance the fun factor of stand up paddling. So the best advice is leave a few coffers in the kitty for an upgrade if your included package paddle isn’t up to the job. (Unlike Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s package paddle which has a good deal of thought and design behind it).

SUP board choices
Inflatable SUP boards are sometimes the best choice.

Stand up paddle board progression.

Whatever type of stand up paddle board you plump for it ideally should have some progression elements inbuilt. SUPs can be high price ticket items for many so having to upgrade mere weeks down the line isn’t that cost effective.

Fortunately most well respected brands, offering quality stand up paddle boarding gear, have plenty of applicable kit that can be used to advance your skills with. For instance: Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s 10’6 Classic is a great longboard style surf SUP. It’ll quite happily cover some ground (or water) on the flat. But, for those who fancy some wave carving fun or toes over the nose riding, it does the job perfectly.

The 9’11 Classic is just as progressive and versatile. Albeit with slightly more leaning to waves for bigger riders. Mid to featherweights will have plenty of flat water paddling fun aboard it though. And still be able to slide small to medium sized waves.

Whatever you stump up for should deliver on the smiles front. Do some research, ask questions of reputable sources and speak to the brand you’re looking at. Knowledgeable retailers should also be able to guide you accurately. The more happy paddlers we have the more longevity SUP has. So it’s in the best interests of all parties to get riders partnered up with their ideal stand up paddle boarding craft.

If you have any questions about Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s range of hard or inflatable SUP boards get in touch. And for more articles like this hit up the following links from our blog.