"What wave is the right wave for stand up paddle surfing?" It's a question that goes through our heads from time to time as we paddle out. On a small day, you may be wondering to yourself if this is the kind of wave where stand up paddling truly shines. Likewise, on a bigger day, the thought may cross your mind, "Is this really a good idea? It's a perplexing thought.
Looking back after a morning session in Haleiwa, Hawaii, Sept. 2007
This article is an attempt to answer the question, "What is the right wave is for stand up paddle surfing?"
One of the most remarkable qualities of stand up paddle surfing is that, with the right equipment, the sport shines in all surf conditions, from flat water to overhead bombs. In recent years, as the sport started to make its comeback, it seemed that the general consensus was that stand up paddle was for the small, mushy surf that is nearly impossible to ride with a regular longboard. That notion has been shattered to pieces with insane photos and videos of stand up paddle surfers taking on the meanest of world class waves. With the right equipment, any wave is the right wave for stand up paddle surfing.
Lazy days and summer swells seem to be the foundation of many of our stand up paddle surfing memories. Why? Because it feels like "home". Everyone has at least one place they call home, someplace to go and feel at peace. Home could be anywhere, from where you were born to that special stretch of sand you frequent to simply sit and meditate. Likewise, the peace and tranquility of paddling calm water and mellow waves feels like home to many stand up paddlers.
When the surf is up and the crashing waves call your name, the channel feels like home. After exerting your energy to make it though an intense ride, the glide back to the channel provides a serentity that feels like home. Then, you want to leave home and do it again, intent on returning to where you started...at home.
Nobody wants to live at home forever. There is a giddy satisfaction that we all feel when we raise the bar of our surfing performance. Whether it's riding a bigger wave or cranking a harder bottom turn, there is something thrilling about leaving "home" and venturing into unknown territory. There is no telling where this sport is taking us. The journey into unknown territory is a daily experience for stand up paddle surfing.
Now, back to the question of "What wave is the right wave for stand up paddle surfing?"
Close you eyes and picture your favorite wave....whether it be big and hollow or smooth and easy, it's the right wave for stand up paddle surfing.
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