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Is Wave SUP dying / dead?

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Created by robbo1111 1 month ago, 28 Feb 2020
robbo1111
NSW, 508 posts
28 Feb 2020 1:59PM
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Just back from a 2 week east coast road trip and was surprised just how few SUPs I saw out in the surf. Had some pumping surf at Sawtell, only one other SUP, no other SUP's at Byron and just a couple at Burleigh and Kirra.
I guess the ridiculous prices might have something to do with it but you can still grab a bargain if you don't need the latest gear.
Have noticed the same in Sydney over the last year too, not that I'm complaining, quite happy being out on my own with the proners

OkiWild
32 posts
28 Feb 2020 11:16AM
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Great appeal of SUP to me was not having to surf with "proners" anymore. In fact, up until about two and a half years ago, I never even knew that SUP surfing was a real thing other than a few people trying to ride tankers just out of the lineup. Turns out all of the SUP crowd here surfs the more remote and empty breaks. Maybe the people where you are have simply figured out that you don't have to hassle for waves, and have moved away from the crowds ;-) Let the proners be miserable by themselves, I say.

tightlines
WA, 3248 posts
28 Feb 2020 11:26AM
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They were waiting for the swell to drop so they could go foiling.

DaveSandan
VIC, 910 posts
28 Feb 2020 3:57PM
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You will find most of us have to work at some stage, not surprised around Sawtell I know a knee boarder up there and they hate SUP so they have scared everyone off
Get a job like the rest of us?

micksmith
VIC, 1366 posts
28 Feb 2020 5:01PM
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Could be right but don't care

colas
3753 posts
28 Feb 2020 2:56PM
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From what I see here in France, surf SUPing does not seem to grow a lot in average any more. I guess it is a combination of factors:
- SUP racing is dying, so you have a smaller pool of people that could to surf SUP from flat water SUPing
- SUP hate may be less vocal now than some years ago, but peer pressure prevent most prone surfer to try SUPing. Only the most open-minded ones will try, and they have already done so, so less people come to surf SUPing from the prone side.
- SUP surfing is easier than surfing in some conditions (clean gentle waves), but much harder in others (chop, wind). In a lot of places, if you only have a limited time on the water due to your work, chances are that you can be more in the water with a surfboard than a SUP. This is especially try in places with good waves
- If you look at a pack of prone surfers, a lot of them do not take a lot of waves, they are content just to bob around, enjoying the ocean and chatting with friends. I makes for a relaxed experience that you cannot find on a performance wave SUP where you must always keep your balance, and is quite technical to just move around.
- SUP gear is more expensive, cumbersome to store and have in the car. I know some surf SUPers that had gone back to prone surfing because of this, and also to be less conspicuous on the spots: if you can only get to the water during your lunch breaks, getting out in a crowded peak to snatch a few waves without getting bad vibes can be done more easily proning in than standing out.
- As OkiWild says, a lot of us surf SUPers tend to seek places away from prone surfers
- In places with mediocre/rare waves, I see Wingfoiling taking the place of SUPing, and a wingfoiler will rather be SUP foiling than SUPing if there is not enough wind.
- With the help of some innovative shapers, it is now easier to find prone surfboards that can take waves as well as SUPs, but still be fun to ride.

So, in my place, surf SUPing is definitely not dying, but it is not growing either.

OkiWild
32 posts
29 Feb 2020 6:07PM
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Same here as where Colas is. Not dying, but not really gaining. I see a new face from time to time, though. You know what is dying, though? Shortboards. 15 years ago, that's all there was with the exception of a few, and I mean a few longboards. Now I see more mid-lengths than shortboards, and longboards are in every lineup. This morning, my main surf buddy and I headed out to one of our local hangouts. 30 minute drive, 1K meter paddle from the put in. Only two people out...us

cantSUPenough
VIC, 1918 posts
29 Feb 2020 10:29PM
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I also wonder if some surf SUPers went back to surfing because of improvement in strength, fitness, back health, etc. I certainly feel that I would do much beter on a prone board than I used to - but I don't want to go back.

Kami
1460 posts
29 Feb 2020 10:21PM
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OkiWild said..
Same here as where Colas is. Not dying, but not really gaining. I see a new face from time to time, though. You know what is dying, though? Shortboards. 15 years ago, that's all there was with the exception of a few, and I mean a few longboards. Now I see more mid-lengths than shortboards, and longboards are in every lineup. This morning, my main surf buddy and I headed out to one of our local hangouts. 30 minute drive, 1K meter paddle from the put in. Only two people out...us



I agree with you that SB has been given up and make room to the midlength board or LB because of the more easy fun using both of them.
In the same time SUPs (too) slowly lose some dims but still have some embarrassing size waiting for waves at the line-up crowd.
I hope shapers would do some innovations to find some shorter dim SUP shapes easy to stand up and fun to ride as well as SUPers improve their paddling abilities...

hilly
WA, 5180 posts
1 Mar 2020 8:48AM
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Foiling is taking over small waves which used to be the sups domain.

Gboots
NSW, 849 posts
1 Mar 2020 5:20PM
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Expensive sport and getting harder to
purchase from local stores .
Most people want to see a board in flesh before committing.

I think Colas post pretty much covers it. Sup surfers are also expected tk
be 100 % compliant with surf etiquette.....and rightly so. However many proners break all the rules and seem to escape a high level of criticism.
Last Monday I found a nice wave north of my local. About 3 -4 foot max and on my 8 footer . Just myself and two proners . Spoke to one of the guys (he introduced himself) and he was very friendly .....however he literally jumped on every wave regardless if I was in inside and on wave already .
He was pretty advanced so he surely knew the etiquette but just didn't care . It gets bloody dangerous even with only two out

colas
3753 posts
1 Mar 2020 4:09PM
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Gboots said..
many proners break all the rules and seem to escape a high level of criticism.


So true, yes.
SUPers literally stand out and are permanently scrutinized and judged, a lot of people are more comfortable staying prone to avoid this kind of pressure and not having their mistakes immediately pointed out.

stehar
NSW, 303 posts
1 Mar 2020 7:54PM
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After two months out of the water, I had a couple of small surfs to get back into the swing of things. Went out yesterday at my local break (a point break) where I am treated as a surfer, like any of the local surfers, - the us against them thing - is locals against backpacker/blueberry pickers! Sounds crook BUT instead of learning on the small user friendly beach break, they flounder, wide eyed and parallel to the waves in the take off zone. I went out yesterday and it was about waist high - sitting in right spot, sooo the crew give me the wave - F""K I missed a perfect wave which I was in the right spot for and been given --- embarrassing, said sorry and went to go to the back of the ( local) line, but decided to head for the beach break -- need to improve back to my old standard -- pretty humbling really. Steve

bobajob
QLD, 1377 posts
1 Mar 2020 8:39PM
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I do both and mix it up depending on conditions and mood. Too much sup hurts my shoulders in one way. Too much prone hurts the shoulders another way. I enjoy both but now that you mention it, where I go Sup seems to have plateaued.

OkiWild
32 posts
1 Mar 2020 7:14PM
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cantSUPenough said..
I also wonder if some surf SUPers went back to surfing because of improvement in strength, fitness, back health, etc. I certainly feel that I would do much beter on a prone board than I used to - but I don't want to go back.



My shortboad ability is light years ahead of what I can do on a SUP, and right after I started SUP surfing, I sold all of my prone boards. I have some groms that tag along from time to time, and once in a while I'll get on one of their boards to teach them something, but I'll never, ever go back. I surf three to five times per week, which is impossible on a short board here. Almost every time I surf, it's me and who came with me, which is also impossible on a short board here unless you really work at it . People love to joke about "the accessories" needed to SUP surf, which is essentially a paddle. You should see the accessories required to surf more remote breaks on a shortboard, which is what I did for the last 10 years or more. Sea kayak, paddle, spare paddle, PFD, anchor, spray skirt, bilge pump... I'm having way more fun at 51 than I have in the entire 40 years I've surfed.

Brenno
QLD, 731 posts
1 Mar 2020 9:19PM
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I'll be stoked if it's dropped off. Too many punters out there giving us a bad name anyway. Quite happy to see it dwindle in to a niche past time for the dedicated few. Thought about foiling. For about 10 seconds. It fascinates me but meh, I'll leave that up to the dedicated as well.
I love SUP surfing and wiil do it until I am physically unable.
Keep sharing the stoke people.

supthecreek
1926 posts
1 Mar 2020 9:09PM
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I freeking love SUP surfing!
All my surf life I have been completely comfortable with surfing alone, at remote breaks.

I am also very happy to solo SUP surf a crowded proner line-up....
no other person has any more right to a wave than me or anyone else.

However, If no one ever SUPs or surfs again, I am ok with that

But they will.
SUP surf will find people who need it for so many reasons.... and those will be the same reasons they can't foil or prone.
We are here to stay

Coming through!



My new GenRation boards are amazing
SUP surf isn't stopping.... not by a long shot!




supsean
64 posts
1 Mar 2020 10:44PM
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I am 2.5 years in, and loving it. Never proned before, and can't see myself doing it.

backbeach
NSW, 19 posts
2 Mar 2020 2:29AM
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Good topic. I'm just new to it and come to supsurfing having 40+ years a shortboarder on the scoreboard. I still love surfing my shortboard and my gut tells me that stoke will never die and nor do I want or need it too. One of the things holding back my sup learning is that I can't totally dedicate all my surfing time to supsurfing cos I still so enjoy shortboarding when its on. And it makes for a bloody good spearo float and crab pot carrier.
There's absolutely no conflict, both disciplines totally complement each other. Its just a different approach (i.e. surfboard) to exactly the same pastime (obsession?) of surfing. Even the manouvres are the same-which is where lid riding differs-but I digress.
Short version I came to supsurfing cos watching you mob I thought this is a lot of fun and adds another dimension to what all surfers live for, riding waves. New waves, different waves, uncrowded waves, bommies, wide reefs, full as a boot breaks and all the same waves I shortboard as well.
I feel I'm on a win-win ticket here and I'm opening new doors and going next level with cake in hand and a mighty gobful and chewin' like all fk
All that and I'm a total gumby
I had a crack at kitesurfing and it actually was an interesting exercise because I was looking for something different but it made me realise that for me, there's no substitute for surfing. Plus you need a truck load of gear and the right conditions and ropes, harnesses yada yada and all I wanted to do was put it all on a wave and have a kite powered surf. Doomed to failure in retrospect so just went surfing and happily let the waves lick my wounds.
Not worried about the haters, small minds deserve the respect they give. Bigotry, mysoginy, rascism, zealotry its all ugly and should be ignored. As a most famous victim of all the above once sang;
"Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights"
(Brothers and sisters if its not the best SUPSurf theme song ever, its gotta be in the grand final!)
In the end who gives a rats bottom as to the popularity if it works for you and you respect the ocean and fellow surfers then live the stoke were so lucky to enjoy. Fk I better shutup now I'm sounding like a desktop calender.

RbGar
69 posts
2 Mar 2020 3:03AM
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I'm definitely in the camp of do it all, SUP surf 75% of the time, gets windy longboard prone and really wind Kneeboard, windy to nuking onshore kite surf. I'm new to kneeboarding but when it's blowing hard side to offshores it's freaking cool on a wide 6' board and flippers duck diving no problem and sitting way deep, taking off deep and actually get barreled from time to time. After SUP surfing for so long it way cool to be able to duck dive and sit deep with no real consequences. The shortboard rat crew are like WTF is that big old fart doing now!

Ishie
NSW, 23 posts
2 Mar 2020 4:46PM
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backbeach said..
"Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights"
(Brothers and sisters if its not the best SUPSurf theme song ever, its gotta be in the grand final!)


Great post backbeach, that's what its all about! And great SUP theme song - who would have thought.

Gboots
NSW, 849 posts
2 Mar 2020 7:03PM
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I was watching my local break today . 3-4ft offshore however a lot of close outs . Hundreds of proners out . Maybe 5 SUPs . Hardly anyone catching anything and everyone getting in each others way . Proners catching "party waves" on close outs and looking like gooses.
And yes it was a Monday not a Sunday

colas
3753 posts
2 Mar 2020 5:10PM
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supthecreek said..
However, If no one ever SUPs or surfs again, I am ok with that [...]
My new GenRation boards are amazing


Well, we need a SUP market big enough so that it can sustain SUP shaper skeep innovating in shapes and construction to provide us with killer boards :-)

PS: RbGar, well now you have me looking at kneeboards too :-) Never tried it, but I enjoyed bodyboarding.

dcc55
NSW, 74 posts
2 Mar 2020 8:29PM
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Over the last week I saw quite a few SUPs out at a southern point, south of Sawtell and one foiling too, so no I think there's still plenty around.

supthecreek
1926 posts
2 Mar 2020 8:06PM
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colas said..

supthecreek said..
However, If no one ever SUPs or surfs again, I am ok with that [...]
My new GenRation boards are amazing



Well, we need a SUP market big enough so that it can sustain SUP shaper skeep innovating in shapes and construction to provide us with killer boards :-)

PS: RbGar, well now you have me looking at kneeboards too :-) Never tried it, but I enjoyed bodyboarding.


Colas, that's exactly why I am so stoked that Sunova is diving in full power on their surfboards!
I figure "let the surfers float the boat, so Sunova can keep making great SUPs for us forever!"

SunnyBouy
431 posts
2 Mar 2020 11:12PM
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A view from the South Coast UK.

Well, after the initial whoosh of SUPs about 8yrs ago it has steadily grown here ever since.

Initially the Surf side of SUP took off, then the racing came and thats seen a lot of growth and now we have some established "regions" that have large turn outs. It looks like it's peaked over my way, but we still have a lot of dedicated racers out. We've just run a small South Coast gathering for co-ordination of race fixtures, it was well attended by the distributors etc. We have some very interesting races over here, Head of the Dart (a River into Estuary top to bottom) race that's always over subscribed... and Round the Island (Hayling Island.. where windsurfing was born - ohhh controversial!) and thats always over subscribed too (my club run it - HISC)
Surfing side it's sort of plateaued, plenty of folks out on good days, and we've got a really good groundswell of Women out surfing and a great bunch they are too. But my breaks do seem to have "peaked" with regulars out and occasionally we see new folks.
Inflatables, probably the biggest rise in SUP sales thats for sure. Seem's like every one has one or two of the things. We get large turn outs at my Club with families and kids and Mom/Dad all out playing, and the summer is littered with the things.. It's certainly a large participation SUP environment... and looks like it's still growing.

I'm happy that my club caters for SUPS, in what ever form that is. We actively encourage participation by running informal and formal races, fitness events, SUP Yoga, race training... you name it.. and I've encouraged a few flat water SUP'ers to come out into the Waves too...

Has it peaked? I'm not so sure just yet.. I still see plenty of new boards and new folks at the club so maybe the focus it changing ... which is fine by me..

ombakSup
4 posts
3 Mar 2020 2:13PM
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Hello everyone! First time poster here.

For me SUP surfing is very much alive! I just started in jan, due to a shoulder injury that kept me from prone surfing.

Now I'm actually thankful I had that injury cos I like SUP surfing so very much!
Also my shoulder seems to have improved a lot by paddling this way for some time now, 12 sessions/6 weeks..

I'm pretty sure I could go prone again, and I will someday.., but at the moment all I think about is SUP

I'm 57yo and live/sup/surf in Bali, and was blessed with the perfect beginner small waves we've had these last few months.

Thanks for the many great articles on this forum. I love reading about the older crew keeping the stoke going, it jumps from these pages! So inspirational!

Souwester
WA, 1010 posts
3 Mar 2020 4:13PM
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I found last year the SUP numbers were up during summer months then backed away in Winter, I had some cracking winter sessions with not a SUP to be seen last Winter - mainly beach breaks I might add.

Will be interesting to see what happens this year though, I feel there are more SUP's on the water this time of year, I actually would not have minded sharing waves with another SUP'er last Winter, had sessions on my own a lot of times which I could not believe.

Location also makes a difference, next to no SUP's on solid beach breaks when the swell is up but I know there would have been heaps on the same day at the protected places.

Gboots
NSW, 849 posts
3 Mar 2020 8:55PM
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Summer for surfing of any kind seems to be less fun. Too packed and gets to windy early in with onshore . Glad summer is over . Only had 16 surfs all summer

Kovert
63 posts
4 Mar 2020 3:46AM
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Interesting topic and I would say foil has had a big effect and you can see it in the lack of development in surf sups from some of asthe majors as the budgets are obviously going in to the new markets of wing and foil.

I'm further west on the south coast of the UK in to proper swell territory and numbers have definitely dropped. Same faces around for sure but the surf aspect is certainly not growing and if it is it's not from people with a surf background which sadly does cause issues in already crowded line ups. I've proned since I was 8 and ridden kneeboards for the last 16 years in a tight knit line up (Colas, if you ever want a board give me a shout! I can hook you up with a file ??), I do sup at the same spot but on the outside bank and not with the pack out of respect to my mates!!

Lucky to have some stand out local sup guys like Dave and Blue Ewer, Dave owns the local shop and Blue is a JP team rider, but price is definitely becoming an issue and a lot of guys have turned to prone foils for small stuff now rather than even considering sup.

Id say 90% of surfers around here have a negative view of sup because there aren't that many that actually can surf and play by the rules so the pack are pretty much on the defence straight away. Sad really, I swore I'd never sup a few years back but I love it! I also ride mats alongside kneeboards and windsurf and they all do different things in different waves. Dont understand the 'im a longboarder/shortboarder and that's that' mentality, why limit yourself? Too much ego and scene, do think that surfing still holds on to a weird bigotry that has no place anywhere in the oceans...

Kami
1460 posts
4 Mar 2020 6:11AM
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It suddenly appears to me if is SUP surfing is dying it's less than any other good reasons as you said, mates, it's more because Dogman didn't come around since too much longtime.



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"Is Wave SUP dying / dead?" started by robbo1111