Can You Surf on a Paddle Board?

Have you ever wondered whether you can surf on your paddle board? Yes, of course, you can surf on a paddle board, but you need to develop additional skills to do so. 

After all, surfing and stand-up paddling on the board are two different things. In surfing, you have to paddle on large waves, whereas in paddle boarding, you have to paddle in calm water, which is relatively easier.

Can You Surf on a Paddle Board?

But if you have already learned how to paddle, you have the basics of balance and technique that you will need for surfing.

In this article, I am going to discuss how you can surf on a paddle board in detail. Have a fun time catching the waves next time that you are out on the water!

What Do You Need for Surfing on a Paddle Board?

#1. Surf Paddle Board

First, you need to have a proper surfing paddle board board to learn surfing. Choose a surfboard whose width is not more than 30-31 inches. 

The length of the surfing board is a bit smaller than the one that you would normally use for SUP. For example, if you are using a 12-feet SUP board, try to purchase a surfing board with a length of 10-inches. The longer the length, the more difficult it becomes to take turns on the surf.

The surfing board should also not be too heavy. You should be able to easily carry it in your arms. Always cover the front of the board with wax, which will help prevent you from slipping while riding the waves.

#2. Paddle

To surf on a paddle board, you need to choose a lighter paddle to be easy for you to turn when surfing. As usual, the height of the surfing paddle should be more than your height.

#3. Leash

A leash may be optional for SUP, but it is almost mandatory for surfing. Select a leash whose length is almost the same as that of your surfing board. You need to select a straight leash to avoid tangles.

#4. Swimsuit And Rash Guard

You need to wear a swimsuit to go into the water. Another essential accessory is a rash guard, which will protect your skin from abrasions that you might get while surfing.


How Do You Surf a Paddle board?

#1. Practice on Ground

Start by practicing on the ground. You need to first practice pop up on the ground before going into the water. 

Try lying on the board in the belly-down position and with your hands under the chest. Then practice pop-up by jumping up from the board. 

If your right leg is in front of the board and your left leg behind, then you are goofy-footed since most people put the left leg upfront. While some people may advise you to change your stance, I recommend going with what you are comfortable with.

#2. Get Into the Water

Now go into the water. You need to first learn how to push your surfing paddle board in water with the help of your paddle. 

But before using the paddle, you should first propel your board with your hands. Try to keep your board always perpendicular to even small waves. Otherwise, your board will always try to drag you in the backward direction, i.e., towards the shore.

#3. Learn How to Stand on surfing Board

Standing on your surfing board requires a lot of patience. You will fall many times before you master the technique. But after practicing for a few days, you will become more confident. If you have paddled in flat water, then it may be a bit easier for you.

Many beginners first learn to kneel on their surfing board before they stand on their board. By kneeling, they will balance their body with the board. Some surfing boarders pop up their feet from a lying-down position to stand on their board.

Once you become a master in basic techniques like standing and paddling on moving water, you can catch the waves.

#4.Right Spot to Start Surfing for Beginners

As a beginner, you should first find a suitable place for surfing.

  • You need to look for a place on the beach where the waves are small.
  • There should not be any rocks under the water. If you fall, then the rocks may hurt you. It can harm your board as well. So it is better to make sure that there are no rocks underneath.
  • Choose a place where the wind is not very strong and is not blowing offshore (offshore wind blowing from land towards the water).
  • Choose a less crowded beach. There should not be many surfers or swimmers. You do not want to end up colliding with other surfers on the beach while trying to catch a wave because it can be very dangerous.

#5. Catch the Waves

Once you have found the right spot, try to catch the waves. First, you need to pick the right wave and paddle towards it. When you come close to the wave, you need to turn your surfing paddle board 180 degrees and paddle towards the beach. 

Tip: While turning, make sure to move your leg slightly in a backward direction to prevent the nose and tail from dipping in water.

Once you face the beach, you need to paddle hard to gain momentum. Otherwise, the wave will just push you, and you will not get on top of it. You need to paddle very hard to gain momentum. You will require a bit of stamina, so you should probably avoid surfing if you are under the weather.

Tip: Try to keep your body centered on the board so that your surfing board will float on the water, and the nose and tail of the board will not dip in the water. 

Let me explain another advanced technique that may be easy for you. Move halfway parallel to the targeted wave while paddling. When the wave is near to you, then turn 45 degrees while paddling simultaneously. This technique will help you maintain the momentum throughout the water. You don’t have to paddle as hard in this technique.

You should always keep the board’s tail perpendicular to the wave towards the beach.

#6. Time to Stand Up

When you sense that the wave is starting to lose momentum, it’s the right time to stand up on your paddle board. Once you pop up, try to look calmly for the next wave. During pop up try to keep your knees slightly bent with more weight on the back of the foot. Your arms should be on the side to maintain balance.

#7. Get Out of the Wave

Sometimes you may want to get out of the wave to avoid a collision, or you might be about to fall off your board. You should always prefer to jump on the side or back of the board. Also, try to cover your head with your arms while falling to protect it from crashing.


Surfing on a paddle board requires a bit of skill and patience. It cannot happen in a single day. You have to practice a lot before you can start catching and riding waves.

I hope this article has helped you to learn how to surf on a paddle board. Please share your experience with me after surfing on your paddle board; I would love to see your pics and videos in the comments section.

Happy surfing!

Joseph Gambino

Paddle Board Enthusiast, Athlete and Blogger. Learn more about me here:

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