13 Reasons Why Surfers Hate SUP (Standup PaddleBoard)

Why Do Surfers hate SUPs

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a fun ocean sport that offers participants a great way to play around on the water. 

The sport is an excellent, full-body workout, allowing you to burn many calories in just a short space of time. 

Another reason that SUP is becoming highly popular is that it requires the user to stand up on the board. This gives them a wonderful vantage point with beautiful views into the ocean water, and beyond. 

So, if stand up paddle board sounds so great, why is there so much hate among surfers when it comes to SUP? 

This article will delve into the reasons why there is this animosity towards SUP among surfers and will give you a unique perspective. Let’s take a look!

Ask any surfer who has ever encountered someone who is stand up paddle boarding in the water, and they will tell you about a time when they were almost taken out by an SUP. 

Head injuries in surfers are particularly dangerous when someone close by is having fun stand up paddle boarding. 

This is not surprising as both surfers and stand up paddle boarders are aiming for the same waves and whenever there is a nice, fat wave, they will both try and go for it. 

With the sheer size of a paddle board (they are normally around 14 feet long), you can clearly see why they pose a threat. Their huge weight also makes them very dangerous if used incorrectly and it would never be a good outcome if a 100kg paddle board were to be dropped on you in the water. 

This makes them very difficult to avoid or move around if you are surfing.They are so big that the US Coast Guard is now considering classifying them as actual vessels.

If you combine the large size of a paddle board with a lack of experience in the user, this could be a deadly combination and it just a matter of time before someone is fatally wounded or there is a massive lawsuit. 

2) Stand up paddle boarders cause a lot of irritation for surfers for many reasons.

SUPs cause a lot of irritation

Surfers have always had this uncanny knack for feeling that they are at one with the ocean. When it is just you, your surfboard and the waves, the ocean becomes a part of you.

Unfortunately, stand up paddle boarders also often state that they are “at one” with the ocean. This is quite difficult and rather irritating for surfers to understand. After all, how can it be just you and the ocean when you have an immense board and a massive paddle? As a and up paddle surfer, you may be in the ocean, but you are certainly not a part of it. 

3) There is a growing culture of rudeness and unfriendliness on the part of stand up paddle boarders towards surfers.

Even though surfing has always been the original ocean sport, surfers often feel as if stand up paddle boarders have forgotten this. 

Speak to any stand up paddle boarder about their sport and they will explain to you why SUP is much more difficult than surfing. They state that stand up paddle boarding is a much more intense sport, much more difficult to master and requires more skill than surfing. They also often remark that surfers simply have to stand back and wait for the waves to come to them, while stand up paddle boarders have to be alert and watchful at all times. 

This attitude has offended many a surfer who was in the waves long before SUP was even a concept.

4) Stand up paddle boarding seems like cheating to surfers.

To become a skilled surfer, you need years of practice and experience. Over time, you learn to balance properly and position yourself perfectly so that you can ride the waves in the way you want. There are no short cuts and it takes a lot of trial and error and much hard work. 

With stand up paddle boarding, getting your balance right is not such an issue because you have a paddle to guide you and to help you ride the waves in a very easy way. 

When stand up paddle boarders boast about their skill on the waves, it can feel like a slap in the face to surfers as anyone could ride the waves with a paddle after only a few short sessions. 

5) Surfers believe that stand up paddle boarders do not have the right wave etiquette.

This is a common complaint amongst surfers: with the growing popularity of stand up paddle boarding, there are more of them in the waves and many of them do not understand that you have to be polite and mindful of others in the water. 

The lack of etiquette of stand up paddle boarders is becoming worse as time goes on, especially if you consider that it has now become a popular way for tourists to experience the ocean. 

Being polite in the ocean means not hogging the waves or constantly stealing the best swells. An unwritten rule with surfers means that you do not do this and you always consider your fellow surfers. 

Stand up paddle board culture has been said to be rather egotistical with paddle boarders only thinking of themselves and how they can best take advantage of every wave. 

6) Surfers have noticed that stand up paddle boarders cannot control their SUPs correctly.

Surfers have noticed that stand up paddle boarders cannot control their SUPs correctly

Any sport that takes place in the ocean should be met with respect for the sea and a dedication to water safety. 

Most surfers do not enjoy have stand up paddle boarders in the ocean as the vast majority of them do not have enough experience and cannot control their SUPs correctly. This lack of experience, coupled with an inability to control their boards, puts not only stand up paddle boarders at risk, but also others that happen to be in the ocean at the same time. 

Surfers would like to see stand up paddle boarders going for more lessons and gaining more supervised experience before venturing out alone into the waves as this will protect themselves and everyone around them. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be happening at all and seeing a stand up paddle boarder in the waves is enough to make any surfer’s blood boil!

7) SUPs can cause a lot of costly damage to surfboards.

As mentioned above, the average SUP weighs around 100kg and is about 14 feet in length. 

Should an accident occur in the water, and should the SUP come into contact with a surfboard, the surfboard will always come out second best. This can result in costly material damage and also injury to surfers. 

Unfortunately, many surfers say that when this happens, they do not even receive an apology from the stand up paddle boarder, let alone an offer to (and quite rightly so) to pay for damage that their SUP has caused. 

In years gone by, surfers could happily ride the waves without having to worry about someone inadvertently damaging their property and themselves but now everything has changed, making surfers constantly having to be on the look-out for an idiot SUP who may harm them. 

This takes away some of surfing’s amazing enjoyment and it is no wonder that surfers harbor a lot of bitterness and resentment towards stand up paddle boarders.

8) SUPs are not elegant, swift or good to look at.

It is difficult to understand what we mean by SUP not being an elegant sport if you have never seen it in real life. 

Unfortunately, surfers see SUPs on a daily basis and despair every day about their lack of style and ease of flow in the water and their inability to make SUP look attractive. 

Surfers particularly hate the inelegant way that stand up paddle boarders wiggle their butts and pose as if they are constipated, while, at the same time stabbing the water in an aggressive way as if trying to kill it. 

They believe that stand up paddle boarding is definitely not an art form like surfing is and it has no soul or beauty to it. 

9) Stand up paddle boarders have no idea what the different waves are.

To be a talented surfer, you have to have a sixth sense for the waves and have extensive knowledge about the various kinds of swells and peaks. Over the years, as you come to know the ocean and its waves, you develop a great ability to read the sea. Many surfers also read up a lot about waves and where they can find the best ones. 

This intense head knowledge and experience puts surfers at a distinct advantage when it comes to ocean sports

It is a generally accepted fact that the majority of stand up paddle boarders do not have any idea about the wave types and this not only makes them seem ignorant, arrogant and stupid, but also makes them dangerous in the water. 

10) Stand up paddle boarders are selfish and love to control the line-up.

Stand up paddle boarders are selfish and love to control the line-up

As you can see from the above, for everyone to enjoy the ocean equally, we all need to respect each other and have the attitude of “give and take”, not “take take take”, as seems to be the norm with stand up paddle boarders. 

This is especially obvious when it comes to the line-up: stand up paddle boarders appear to control the line-up and only let surfers have waves that THEY feel they can have. Very often, these are the waves that SUPs have rejected or feel aren’t good enough for them. However, if they see a nice-looking wave, they will selfishly take it with no regard for others around them who might also have their eye on it. 

11) Popular surfing spots are now being overrun by stand up paddle boarders.

As stand up paddle boarder grows in popularity, SUPs can be found everywhere- from the lesser known surfing spots to some of the world’s most famous surfing beaches, like Malibu, Jeffrey’s Bay, Sunset Cliffs and Rincon. 

Traditionally, surfers had the run of all these places and enjoyed the waves in harmony with mutual respect for each other. Today, stand up paddle boarders have infiltrated into most beaches and have made surfing more difficult and unpleasant. 

Since many stand up paddle boarders do not have a sense of personal space, they are seen as a nuisance and a hindrance. This has got to be so bad that surfers are hoping and praying that SUP is just a fad and will decrease in popularity soon. 

12) SUPs call surfers “prone surfers”, which is highly offensive.

When you put surfers and stand up paddle boarders together, animosity and tension is bound to happen. 

Recently, SUPs have taken to calling surfers “prone surfers”, which is incredibly hurtful and offensive to them. 

Surfers may have a lot of criticism for SUP as a sport, but this criticism is based on fact and they never call SUPs names or say anything that is below the belt. They expect the same respect from stand up paddle boarders but sadly this is not forthcoming, as is evidenced in the names they are called. 

13) SUPs are viewed as cherry pickers and foam ballers.

When in the waves, SUPs are seen to be cherry pickers and foam ballers and, what this ultimately means is that they act like jerks in the waves. 

By cherry picking, we mean that stand up paddle boarders choose only the very best waves for themselves and then ride beyond the mass line-up so that they can catch it. They bulldoze their way through and sneak in where they are not wanted and, in doing so, mess things up for surfers. 

Foam ballers refer to the way in which SUPs act like shoulder hoppers. They like to take off beyond the shoulder or the bowl of the wave and do not realize that they have collapsed the entire section for anyone else. This is the ultimate in selfishness and pig-headedness. 


Best Infatable Surfboard Woman

As can be seen from the above, there are many reasons why surfers hate SUPs. 

That said, there are many surfers who still wish for unity, harmony and mutual respect among both SUPs and surfers, and believe that this can be achieved. 

Sadly, this seems to be a pipe dream and the conflict between stand up paddle boarders and surfers may continue to be a point of contention for years to come. 

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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