The Ultimate Guide to SUP Surfing: Tips, Techniques, and Gear for Riding the Waves


Welcome to the exhilarating world of SUP surfing, featuring insights from professional SUP surfer and #teamRSPro Benoit Carpentier! If you're a fan of stand-up paddleboarding and ready to take your skills to the next level, SUP surfing is an exciting way to combine your love for the water with the thrill of riding waves. In this ultimate guide, we'll discuss essential gear, techniques, and tips for success on the water, as well as valuable input from Benoit to help you elevate your SUP surfing experience. Let's dive in!

But before we start, let’s warm up:

Benoit, what's your favorite warm-up routine before a SUP surfing session, and why is it important to warm up?

Warming up is something to always consider before heading out in the waves, I like to do a bit of cardio running on the beach followed by some articulations stretch starting from my neck to my ankle before any session, It's really the best way to avoid any injuries and improve your performance.

Essential Gear for SUP Surfing:

Before you hit the waves, make sure you have the right equipment for a fun and safe SUP surfing experience. Here's a list of must-have gear:

  1. SUP surfboard: Choose a board designed specifically for surfing, with the right dimensions and shape for your skill level and body size. TIP: As surfers we always tend to go shorter, narrower and with less volume, but most of the time the shape is as important as the pure and cold numbers. If possible talk to a shaper who will help shape the board of your dreams.
  2. Paddle: Select a high-quality, lightweight paddle that's easy to maneuver in the surf. Paddle length is key. Way shorter than for recreational or racing. Also the blade surface should be smaller for a higher cadence when paddling to get a wave.
  3. Leash: A durable leash is crucial for keeping your board close and ensuring your safety.
  4. Wetsuit or rashguard: Protect yourself from the sun, wind, and cold water with appropriate clothing.
  5. Much needed accessories: Keep your board's rails safe, improve your paddle grip or get alternatives to surf wax and eva pads. 

Benoit: Can you share your most memorable SUP surfing experience and any lessons you've learned from it?

My most memorable SUP surfing experience was my first ever world champion title in El Salvador in 2019 in front of all my friends and team mates from Surfing France. That is something that I've been looking for my entire career and that took me many years to achieve... What I've learned from that experience is to never give up in your dream and give your best everyday without forgetting to have fun, that's the key of success.

Benoit Carpentier winning in El Salvador

Mastering the Basics: Techniques for SUP Surfing:

Beginner or experienced, mastering these fundamental techniques is crucial for a successful SUP surfing session:

  1. Paddle positioning: Learn to use your paddle for balance, steering, and catching waves.
  2. Foot placement: Practice the right stance for stability and maneuverability on the board.
  3. Catching waves: Time your paddle strokes and positioning to catch waves with ease.
  4. Turning: Hone your ability to turn on the wave face for a smooth and stylish ride.

Benoit: What are your top 3 tips for someone looking to transition from flatwater paddleboarding to SUP surfing?

First try in small waves, clean conditions and empty line up. Get well informed about the daily forecasts and location you SUP surf at. Find a SUP surf buddy and spend as much time as you can in the water.

Benoit Carpentier RSPro spray turn

Tips for SUP Surfing Success:

Follow these tips to maximize your enjoyment and improve your skills in SUP surfing:

  1. Start small: Gain confidence and experience by starting with smaller waves before tackling larger ones. Big waves on a SUP can get tricky and dangerous pretty fast. Respecte the Ocean.
  2. Learn the surf etiquette: Familiarize yourself with surf etiquette to maintain a friendly and respectful atmosphere in the lineup. This is key. Nothing worse than a SUPer not respecting surf etiquette.
  3. Practice in various conditions: Improve your skills by SUP surfing in different wave types and conditions. We all love glassy and perfect conditions, but those are rare to occur, so make yourself comfortable in not that ideal conditions and your yearly wave count will increase dramatically.
  4. Join a local SUP surf community or take lessons: Connect with others who share your passion and learn from experienced SUP surfers.

Benoit: How do you stay motivated and focused on improving your SUP surfing skills, and what advice do you have for others who want to progress in the sport?

It's all about passion for the ocean, if you wanna get better at SUP surfing, try to surf different spots and different boards, spend as much time as you can in the water, that's the best key to success.

Benoit Carpentier SUP surfing into a surf tube


SUP surfing is an incredible way to enjoy the ocean, challenge yourself, and elevate your stand-up paddleboarding experience. With the right gear, techniques, and tips, you'll be well on your way to riding the waves like a pro. Remember to stay safe, respect other surfers, and most importantly, have fun out there! And don't forget to join the RSPro community for more tips, inspiration, and premium watersport accessories.

Benoit: Are there any specific SUP surfing maneuvers or techniques that you find particularly challenging or rewarding? Can you share some tips for mastering them?

Going to the air with such big boards is a challenge and a move that always gives good adrenaline!. All these turns of the lip are about timing, compression down the bottom to extension of the the top of the wave. The body position needs to be centered over the board always looking down the landing area.

Finally, what do you think is the biggest misconception about SUP surfing, and how would you like to change people's perceptions of the sport?

When people see a stand up paddler coming at a surfing spot in most situations, they see a man with a big board that will catch all the waves and be dangerous to others.

As an ambassador of the sport and prone surfer myself before stand up paddle surfing, my goal as always been to show people that stand up paddle surfing has their place in the line up and deserve respect as much as others.

How to be cool in the line up ? Sit down, wait for your turn, give waves and they will give you some, if you're not in the mood, choose a different surf spot, don't forget to smile and have fun...

If you want to be guided, don't hesitate to reach out to me and come say Hi at my SUP school "Ocean&Wind academy"

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