Surfski vs. SUP paddling

3 years 8 months ago #23503 by Laz
Surfski vs. SUP paddling was created by Laz
Makes someone periodic fitness cross training Ocean Surfski vs. SUP paddling?
Whats is the best of both worlds in your opinion and how they complete each other ?

Sorry guys my Google translator sucks every time...again & again

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3 years 8 months ago #23510 by robin.mousley
We have some top SUP paddlers here who do more or less the same downwind routes that surfski paddlers do...

But I have to confess that as I shoot past them, linking from run to run, I think to myself, "dang, that looks like hard work..."

But I know of some surfski paddlers who have switched to SUP paddling altogether and the SUP guys clearly think their sport is the best (just like us!).

How do they compliment each other? I suspect you'll be using completely different muscle groups, but both sports rely on a strong core. There must be some paddlers who do both sports on the forum, though - what do you guys think?

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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3 years 8 months ago #23514 by Atlas
Replied by Atlas on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
I'm no expert but I reckon SUP paddling has got to be a bigger workout because it is considerably less efficient. The act of standing up and balancing on a skinny racing SUP is very impressive. I can't see that SUP paddling would make one a better ski paddler or vice versa however SUP paddling would be brilliant for balance and core stability.

Current skis:
Epic V10L, Think Zen, Fenn Bluefin, Fenn XT double

Previous skis
Fenn Swordfish, Fenn Swordfish S, Fenn XT, Spirit PRS

Most with DK rudders.

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3 years 8 months ago - 3 years 8 months ago #23516 by Davidw
Replied by Davidw on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
I do both, although I very seldom will paddle a sup on flat water. My sup paddling is generally downwind or surf. Paddling a sup upwind is soul destroying. Let me say though that I'm not particularly good at either sport.

I find a sup downwind, although slower, much more involving and I think it requires a greater skillset (maybe the challenge to learn those new skills is part of the attraction) than a surfski.

On a surfski you paddle, catch a run and then drive - with your feet primarily - to try and stay on the run or link to the next one. On a sup you work harder to get on a run, and getting on, staying on and linking runs requires a coordination of paddling, balance and being in the right stance in the right place on the board. You have to move around a lot to work the board properly to get on and maintain runs.

There's definitely a greater requisite for full body fitness on a sup. As hard I sometimes pull to get on runs on a downwind it's always my legs that take the most strain from running up and down the board and moving in and out of surf stance constantly.

As for crossover fitness, last summer I paddled sup almost exclusively. When I got back on a ski my surfski paddling mates were surprised at my performance, commenting that the sup paddling must really have helped.
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3 years 8 months ago #23523 by Bermy
Replied by Bermy on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
End of January we have a SUP race in the British Virgin Islands (Caribbean) called the Painkiller Cup - named after a local cocktail.

After much begging we got the organisers to open a surfski class as well. The organisers put up a spectacular event. There were supposed to be around 16 surfski - but the St. Maarten crew had to pull out at the last moment due to logistical problems. BVI Surfski Club completed the field - a few Saffas and a lone Aussie.

The course follows the trade winds (around 15-20 knots ESE this time of year). Plods law race day was flat as (which might have added to the St Maarten crew's logistical problems :whistle: ).

The SUP's were supported by chase boats and were racing in teams of 3 (2 men, 1 female) that rotated in 20 minute heats on the airhorn. So while we were slogging away in the flat these guys were putting in 20 minute intervals followed by 40 minute rests. Needless to say they were a lot quicker than we anticipated. While they cannot keep up in a downwind they were doing real well in this format.

The surfski race was won by Mark Doig, a Saffa out of Cape Town that almost beat the organisers chase boat to the finish line and pulled in at least 30 mins before the winning SUP team.

Mark is an all-round nice guy and amazing waterman. He suffered a horrible surfing accident last week and the BVI Surfski Club is wishing him a speedy and total recovery.

Next year we'll try secure some proper sponsorships and get some big guns over here (rumour has it that the Narrows Crew out of Perth might send a team over in 2016 B) ).

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3 years 8 months ago #23542 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
I participated in a local 10k down coast paddle board race where the wind and waves are mostly side on and becomes more down wind as the race progresses. I was the only one on a surfski. I started about 5 minutes after the start. As I made my way through the pack I noticed a lot of participants on both SUP's and prone boards struggling and even falling off in the 2'-3'chop and 10+ knots of wind. Of course as I moved ahead in the pack the skill levels improved but still noticed SUP paddlers working real hard and seemed to be fighting the conditions a bit.
I noticed the lead SUP paddler was some 300 meters or so ahead of the rest of the pack. I caught up with him and spent at least 5 minuted just observing him. He was on an unlimited custom lightweight SUP. It was at least 14' or longer and was obviously designed for downwind paddling.
This guy was amazing and made it look so easy! He would paddle onto a runner and cross step forward on the board and assume more of a surfing stance, trim the board and suspend his stroke. As the runner was petering out, he would step back , paddle aggressively and do it all over again. Much like a surfski. Very impressive!
Of course I still got to the finish line before any of the race committee. Guess I won my division?! :laugh:

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3 years 8 months ago - 3 years 8 months ago #23562 by Davidw
Replied by Davidw on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
Here's a link to a Michael Booth interview. He's a top surfski paddler and now stand-up-paddler as well

The SUP/Surfski Dichotomy - with Michael Booth

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3 years 8 months ago #23564 by Cryder
Replied by Cryder on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
I cross train on a SUP, maybe one to two sessions a week (I do two workouts a day). When I am in the ski, I constantly find myself wanting to go fast, so the SUP is a nice way to slow things down and focus on building strength to round out the muscle groups that are part of ski paddling but not central to it.

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3 years 2 weeks ago #25019 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
I started Stand Up Paddling about 14 months ago. During that time:
About 1500 km on my SUP, and about 1200 on my surfski.
It's the most fun I have had since I started on a surfski some 30 years ago - hands down!

The workout is very different: the balancing part on the SUP complements the surfski rather well. Muscle groups are totally different, down the point that I can paddle my SUP for about 15 to 18 km, and immediately take off on my surfski to paddle another 20k.

Using a SUP makes my surfski faster.
Using my surfski makes me paddle faster on the SUP.

My SUP board isn't the norm… it's a 17'6 x 23" without a rudder, that I take in open ocean - took quite some time to get really comfortable with it though… and that was the fun part.

I recommend both - and more coffee. :sick:

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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3 years 2 weeks ago #25021 by JonathanC
Replied by JonathanC on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
I started on SUP in 2007 and became totally addicted, flat water, downwinding and surfing. First real exposure to surf ski was doing the Doctor race in 2010 on. I was on a 12'6 SUP and remember being astonished at how much faster the ski's were - well the guys out the front anyway! At the time I didn't realise the esteemed company I was mixing in, I think we started an hour before the ski's and remember Dawid flying past with a couple of k to go.

The mixture of different craft adds to the fun in a big race IMO and the water reading skills translate and benefit both ways.

Races in Hawaii often have SUP, surfski, OC1 and OC2, the sense of camaraderie is wonderful, if you have a paddle you are welcome.

I do both now and enjoy the change and the cross training, when conditions are good downwinding a SUP is amazingly good fun, riding a big swell with your back foot on the very tail of a 17'6 board is an extraordinary experience.

Downwinding on a ski has given me a much greater insight into the subtleties of reading the water, which has definitely improved my skill on the SUP.

I heartily recommend both, and an open mind. Just like coffee.....and tea, both good!

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3 years 2 weeks ago #25022 by JonathanC
Replied by JonathanC on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
Fantastic video of a Maui to Molokai paddle on a 14 foot SUP. Typically considered to be the smallest SUP that really works in downwinding.

This gives a real sense of how dynamic SUP downwinding is.

www.supracer.com/josh-riccio-stand-up-paddling-downwind-hawaii/
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3 years 2 weeks ago - 3 years 2 weeks ago #25032 by Uffilation
Replied by Uffilation on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
and the SUPs are getting faster too when looking at small distance flat water races ...

design of both might converge further?

Below a picture of "Paddle Sports Almanach 2026" ...

< left: a SUP board than can be used a a SOT; right a surfski that can be used as a SUP >

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3 years 2 weeks ago #25033 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
My surfski… I mean my SUP :)



Ludovic
(Brittany, France)
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3 years 2 weeks ago #25035 by zachhandler
What I like about SUP is the challenge of a new sport. 2-3 foot waves that are boring on SKI are a huge challenge for me on a skinny race SUP.

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3 years 2 weeks ago #25058 by Flowmaster
Replied by Flowmaster on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
I started the other way around.
Being a surfer for many many years, sup came in my life about 7 years ago, boards where big and heavy and not good for surfing. years passed, shapes developed and its a great way to surf now.
From this surfing, I started downwinding , bought downwind boards which are longer and have a rudder control.
It's a nice workout, fun to do and fast, if conditions are good, or perfect, if not, it can be not pleasant to a drama.
Because conditions are not always good or perfect , a Ski is faster, better to control ,another but fun workout and a very nice way to be at sea when the winds are up.
So I sold the downwind boards and bought a Ski and another one, guess that makes me addicted right ? :evil:

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JUST LEAVE FOOTPRINTS

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3 years 2 weeks ago #25059 by kwolfe
Replied by kwolfe on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
I started both SUP and surfski at the beginning of this summer. SUP first, then the ski not long after. I find ski paddling a lot more technical and graceful motion which emphasizes rotation.

Paddling the SUP is fun, involves a lot of muscles for balance and seem to require more brute strength to go fast.

Truth be told, I like the ski better, but they both have their place.

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3 years 2 weeks ago #25060 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
Based on my experience, I feel that it's totally possible to use a lot of twisting and tremendous power when using a SUP, but it takes time to master. Don't beat yourself up either.

I like them both - a lot - but during winter months, hands down: I like SUP better as I stay totally dry !

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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3 years 2 weeks ago #25061 by kwolfe
Replied by kwolfe on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
Yeah, you can twist a bit but do need to make sure that it doesn't wind up in foot steering.

The one thing it really emphasizes is reaching/extending for the catch.

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3 years 2 weeks ago #25062 by andis
Replied by andis on topic Surfski vs. SUP paddling
2 very different things. However, I find the sup to be 3-4 times harder work; an hour on it beats me like 3-4 hours in a ski.
I love taking my touring/race 14' sups out in the calm and going for it, but I prefer surfing the waves in my ski. The ski is far more exhilarating in conditions because of the speed thrills it offers, but i find it dead boring in the calm.
One significant difference I have found is that the ski is more suited to longer day-long excursions with fellow paddlers as it allows a greater reach and safer handling of changing weather conditions. The sup offers neither and it is really a toy; more or less the way sea kayakers consider skis to be...
So, I enjoy both; they actually complement each other. And with the increasing availability of serious performance inflatable sups, it is possible to carry both to the beach.

Epic V7, Fenn Bluefin, Epic V10S
Huge fun!

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3 years 2 weeks ago #25065 by zachhandler
For me ski is more physically demanding, which is surprising because I have been racing kayaks for over a decade and just started sup this year. Doing hard workouts in a SUP I feel like am lifting weights between the long paddle and the slow speed. But it never makes me sore. In the ski when I go hard my abs burn with lactate and my shoulders fatigue. Doesn't make sense to me but that is how it is.

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