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Balancing on a SUP - for newbies

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Created by cantSUPenough A week ago, 3 Oct 2018
cantSUPenough
VIC, 1630 posts
3 Oct 2018 8:50AM
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I have been supping for a few years now, and there is no doubt that the more you do it the stronger your legs get, and the more your brain dials in how to handle sup wobble. I can balance on a smallish sup in crappy conditions that once would have had me cursing and swimming and cursing some more.

But one thing has dawned on me in more recent times - and the point of this post - is that it quite amazing what you can recover from when you try - and when you have the technique.

Once upon a time I would have just fallen in if the board tipped too much. "Here we go again - splash". But now I find I can stay on with a combination of patience (the board will right itself in a few secs), confidence (the board really will right itself), and paddle technique (see below). If you are frustrated with a tippy board, you can go bigger, or you can actually practice how to stay on so you stay upright when it counts.

I think everyone knows that your paddle is like a third leg - keep it in the water for stability. But with the right angles, and pushing the blade forwards, backwards, sidewards, downwards, and upwards, it is amazing how much stability it can provide. With the right motion, the board will come back flat, even if it is tipping over to quite an angle.

So you don't have to try the tricks we saw on the forum recently, but go out in a couple of feet of water, away from other people, and just try tipping your board and recovering. See how much angle you can put on your board without falling off. Try moving your paddle to provide the stability. And then go out in crappier conditions and try again. You need to do it enough so you don't have to think about it - it will become second nature.

DaveSandan
VIC, 610 posts
3 Oct 2018 1:35PM
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Also applies to getting a new skinny board, good advise though as we all forget the basics from time to time!

Tardy
2498 posts
3 Oct 2018 3:10PM
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Do you think there is a limit to volume and width cantsupenough. on what we can ride ?

i have found age play's a big part too.can't bend as good .

I found the max weight very helpful on the naish site ,when buying boards ,not all board web sites have this on their sites .

But some good points ....i sure have done my fair amount of swearing over the years but persevered ,but never go below
120 litre and 30.25 for my weight ,(age) I just swear and curse too much ,

cantSUPenough
VIC, 1630 posts
3 Oct 2018 7:44PM
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I guess there is a limit to what we can paddle/balance on. And there is a limit to what we will tolerate in the pursuit of surfing on a smaller board. But I sure know that I can ride a board that once I would have thought impossible (106L @ 90 kg - and others do much better). The first time I got on the Hokua 8'8 X32 153L I was pretty frustrated, but now it is a piece of cake (I was 93 kg).

And as we have discussed many times, there is far more to the "tippiness" of a board than just the volume.

But I also know that I wobble less, and I recover from major wobbles (that once-upon-a-time would have thrown me off), thanks to what I described earlier.

Bighugg
NT, 106 posts
4 Oct 2018 8:32AM
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Well explained with the third leg movement's, we are unique we have gone from a bi-ped to tri-ped.
With a new board I do a brief smooth water play then head into a rip or other washing machine lump n bump for a good just staying up paddle workout . Treating this as orientation / worst things first challenges, starting out with familiar sup to warm up then altering to new sup then back as I really start to lose it, repeat .
Starting with a surf length big paddle n reducing to regular.
Also twin fin by removing the center n rears lets the sup flex / squiggle around on the lump n bump to begin with, adding them back in later for more paddle challenges . Am not trying to get waves, its all about up time, maybe not even get to the back of the break, chasing the gnarly junk standing still in the same spot
A few sessions of this sync's me in ,then head to the break with the familiar "new board".
Mmmmmm may have hooked into some white water kayaking in previous life . Enjoy

aceman8772
1 posts
8 Oct 2018 1:44PM
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Today was my47th paddle, beginning my 10th week. I paddle in Tokyo bay by Yokosuka. My spot is about 3 miles from the shipping channel going to Yokohama and Tokyo.
Today's paddle was into 1-4' chop and 14 knots wind.
Your point about the body getting acclimated is spot on. The first time I tried conditions similar I had to turn back.
I do think I need to work on my bracing. I also fell more down winding. I think that will take practice as well.
Thanks for sharing. Made me feel better about my skill level and the way forward.

Brenno
QLD, 626 posts
8 Oct 2018 8:20PM
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The most important thing for me nowadays is stance. Narrow as possible. Front foot on a slight angle just in front of the sweet spot, back foot just behind at a 45 degree angle. Especially important on a narrower board. I think it was DJ who put me on to Erik at Paddlewoo. Did a lot of reading there and elsewhere. No good with both feet out on the rails with your nuts swingin in the breeze, tip, tip, tip, and over you go. And yes, your paddle is your best friend, lean on it.

Hoppo3228
VIC, 246 posts
8 Oct 2018 9:30PM
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Yep narrow stance definatly helps - counter intuitive to a newbie but makes it feel so much more stable.
My mal style surf sup is 28.5" wide and i'm around 110kg... keeps me honest...but not hard at all really...
125L is the smallest i've surfed, surfed great but the challenge of staying upright wears you out so fast, that longer sessions are no chance.

One thing i've learnt / accepted most recently is the bigger the surf, the smaller the board, thus the smaller the surf the bigger the board. I know it sounds simple, but I kept wanting to go smaller and smaller as my everyday board and you end up just getting frustrated in not catching smaller everyday waves... a bigger board fixes that straight away. Smaller boards in bigger surf don't need the glide into waves, but need to be positioned more critically (so you do cop more on the head)

SunnyBouy
270 posts
9 Oct 2018 1:46AM
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Ahh, good thread.

I'm now used to sub 8ft Sup surf boards in waves, I prefer smaller waist high than larger over head stuff.. but that's by the by. The point I'm making is I'm happy on small boards, my little Shroom is 7'9x30" and that's a great little toy.

But the other day I borrowed a 14'x24" race board for our "round the island" race..14miles of it.. and I thought to myself I'd be fine on the race board, that I wouldn't notice any difference apart from length..

How wrong was I.

I tripped up, fell over, wobbled and generally looked like a total beginner

Until I got some speed on, then it all came together.

Never again, 14miles is a long way

JEG
VIC, 885 posts
9 Oct 2018 8:22AM
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Select to expand quote
SunnyBouy said..
Ahh, good thread.

I'm now used to sub 8ft Sup surf boards in waves, I prefer smaller waist high than larger over head stuff.. but that's by the by. The point I'm making is I'm happy on small boards, my little Shroom is 7'9x30" and that's a great little toy.

But the other day I borrowed a 14'x24" race board for our "round the island" race..14miles of it.. and I thought to myself I'd be fine on the race board, that I wouldn't notice any difference apart from length..

How wrong was I.

I tripped up, fell over, wobbled and generally looked like a total beginner

Until I got some speed on, then it all came together.

Never again, 14miles is a long way


welcome to race board world

supthecreek
1562 posts
9 Oct 2018 8:08PM
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For surf SUP, one of the most important factors in balance, is muscle conditioning.

In the beginning, I relied on building skills.

When I ordered my first 8'10 x 29" wide board @ 130 liters, I knew I needed to up my game.
I was 66 yo and 112 kg
I had 3 months before the board arrived.

I borrowed every 8' board I could get my hands on
then went out on the windiest days, in the roughest conditions

My goal was never to surf them.... it was simply to abuse my legs and body
Just staying upright for as long as I could, was my goal.
Climbing back on, after the constant falls, was a good workout.

I would take my big boards out and stand on the nose, with the fin forward and out of the water
Then paddle with as little of the board in the water as possible

My legs got more workout in those few weeks, than all the previous years of SUP surfing.

What I was doing was waking up my "small twitch" muscles and strengthening them.
I rode my mountain bike to build the larger, upper leg muscles

It did wonders for my balance....
when the board came, I continued the workouts until the board was comfortable.

Even at 70, I feel my skills on small boards are better every year.
I still fall a lot, but my legs are so much better than they were 4 years ago.

Bracing is a skill that keeps improving.....
I noticed 2 different moves this week.... because my "brace instincts" are becoming more intuitive.
Like bracing in mid stroke, by simply changing the blade angle
It comes naturally, as you use the brace more often.

I'll see if I can find some footage from those "balance" sessions.

normster
NSW, 116 posts
Wednesday , 10 Oct 2018 9:48AM
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its kind of related - i would like to get new board - perhaps go to a one board quiver or maybe two.

i am 5 8 tall and vary form 78/82 kgs - my current main board is 9 laird surfer -its great board but at 120 litres and i think 28/29 across i want to get custom refined version - maybe 100/105 litres and less than 28 across - maybe 27 ?

length im happy somewhere between 8 6 and 9 still - i am 50 years plus and experienced supper - also got a 8 2 stubbie which has vol 105

i guess what i ma thinking is volume of stubbie in narrower long board style - but question is how wide ?

if it is too windy or choppy i generally don't go out - i prefer early mornings when hopefully no wind.

summer is coming so i dont mind getting wet

Hoppo3228
VIC, 246 posts
Wednesday , 10 Oct 2018 9:26PM
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Normster,

All of what you say screams custom. Sunova, Smik, Deep, One, ECS, Surefire etc could all make this for you and be awesome...

Or/

Infinity New Deal 9 x 28 (104L) - High performance LB
Infinity New Deal 9 x 26 (93L) - High performance LB
Starboard Longboard 9 x 28 (101L) - high performance LB
Fanatic Stylemaster 9 x 29 (115L) - trad noserider
Sunova Style 9'6' x 27.5 (112L) - trad noserider

Personally I really like the shape of the One Sup 9'x29" (124L) board...but get it custom at 105L and maybe a smidge narrower (will probably be just over 3" thick). Cost would be about $1800

I have a custom Sunova Surf, 10'4 x 28.5 x 140L (i'm about 110kg). Brilliant for what it was designed for - HP Longboarding

normster
NSW, 116 posts
Thursday , 11 Oct 2018 11:04AM
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Thanks hoppo - plenty to think about ther



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"Balancing on a SUP - for newbies" started by cantSUPenough