SUP surfing, longboard style: the core of Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co’s Classic range.
SUP surfing can (mostly) be split into two distinct camps. Firstly, rip, shred and tear shortboard style riding, which aims to mimic the aggressive prone surfing type of wave riding. And, secondly, longboard sliding, which can just as equally be about turning and carving, but also walking the board, getting those tootsies over and smoothly flowing with the wave.
SUP surfing’s roots.
When stand up paddle boarding first came around (in present form) it was about piloting long boards in waves. SUPs were oversize. In fact, the earliest stand up boards – that Laird and Co starting messing about with – were tandem surfboard. SUP specific boards didn’t yet exist.
So straight off the bat the longboard element was how the art of wave riding with a SUP began. Of course, as with everything, progressive riders started demanding more and more performance orientated equipment. SUP surfing boards gradually got smaller, narrower, shorter and lower volume.
Around 2011 or so we started seeing super slinky SUP surfing boards which were mainly the machines of pros. Or lighter weight paddlers. Real world surfers may have experimented but it quickly became obvious the lack of glide, tracking and ease of use detracted from the overall SUP surfing experience.
SUP surfing in 2021.
At the start of 2019 the industry started to consolidate. Some brands may still have pumped out those toothpick esque surf SUPs mentioned above. By and large, however, the shift was back towards longer platforms with a renewed emphasis placed on glide. Design lessons learned in previous years did pay dividends. The knowledge of what makes a good surf SUP was incorporated into these newer, longer board shapes. Rather than step back to what could be regarded as ‘clunkers’, longer stand up paddle boards were now highly tuned machines. Proper ripping of waves, whilst riding more user friendly gear, was now possible.
Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co’s range of Classic longboard SUPs takes these concepts and uses them to good effect. Both the 9’11 and 10’6 have superb glide, tracking and versatility. Whilst they were created with SUP surfing in mind the Classic’s also plenty versatile. Flat water paddling is totally doable aboard either shape. Whether you be heavier weight or lighter paddler. But both light up considerable when chucked at some swell.
What’s really going on.
A pretty flat deck belies what’s going on underneath. The Classic’s hull is a fairly rockered affair with a thinned out rounded pin tail. Up front, right on the nose is a pronounced upturn that experienced riders will appreciate. As you whip off the top and come back down to the trough this rockered nose avoids pearling. Even though you think you’re going under. The fact you’ve been able to roundhouse a turn in the first place is testament to that tail and accurate fin cluster. And the flatter mid-section, combined with additional volume lends momentum to the Classic which allows sections to be made and early roll in to gutless waves easy.
We won’t lie. To get the maximum out of Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co’s Classic SUPs you need to be proactive. Accurate trim is key. So walking forwards and back, whilst transferring weight from rail to rail is best practice. Less experienced paddlers can learn the ropes aboard either the 10’6 or 9’11. But moving your feet is extremely important to unlock the Classic’s full wave riding potential. Flow and trim are the go to words here which is what the Classic loves most. And this plays straight into what most surfers would call longboard style riding.
Bigger waves – no probs!
One other prized element of the Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co Classic range of stand up paddle boards is their ability to tackle bigger surf. Utilising all the design elements mentioned above SUP surfers will love the Classic’s ability to get stuck into some proper juice.
We know Classic riders who’ve had these boards out in well overhead conditions. And they cope well. The Classic is dependable and bombproof. Full power, sizzling rides can be achieved when the surf’s on the cook. All with the ‘get out of jail free’ traits of piloting a bigger board. The extra glide of a 9’+ SUP means zooming away from potential gnarly situations is far easier than with a sinker. And when you see your wave it can roll in early allowing the rider to set up efficiently. Or just go for broke and take the late drop.
Smaller surf action.
Of course, bigger lumps may not be your thing. In which case no worries. The Classic range of stand up paddle boards can do dribblers with the best of ‘em. That momentum carries through, meaning even ankle slapping surf can fulfil.
And don’t worry, we aren’t forgetting all you traditionalists. For those that love a spot of ‘walking the plank’ and hanging some tootsies over, the Classic fits the bill. Head for the front and you’ll be rewarded with a SUP that locks in and holds steady while you style it. Add the Californian retro aesthetics of the Classic and the vista could be straight out of the early days of surfing. Only this time you’ve a paddle in hand!
Stand up paddle boarding is still growing. It stands to reason that a percentage of those recently discovering SUP will want to progress. Stand up paddle surfing is one area of paddling boards that riders will gravitate towards. And with a Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co Classic you’re poised to tap into the best of it.
We live and breathe all that’s best about longboard SUP surfing and see it as the main area of paddling in waves. SUP may change yet again but there’ll always be those that need the right tool for the job at hand. And for waves, there’s no better tool than the Classic.
If you haven’t checked out Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co’s range of hard shell Classic SUPs then hit up the links above. Also, don’t forget to scope other blog posts similar to this here.