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Stand up paddle surfing overcomes small waves

Here is a story from Florida today which talks about how to use stand up paddle surfing.

SUP is more than a way to get around limits on text messaging. It’s actually an acronym for stand-up paddle surfing.

For some, it’s a new way to catch small waves and beat the flatness that plagues Central Florida’s surf every summer. For others, these oversized surfboards are family entertainment, a flats fisherman’s dream or a hardcore workout machine.

When surfing and kayaking got married and had a baby, stand-up paddle boarding was born. The sport looks exactly like it sounds — the riders stand atop jumbo boards and propel themselves with a lightweight paddle.

Sounds easy, right?

Well, it is.

“Anyone can do this, stand-up surfing does not discriminate,” said Ryan Fischer of Longboard House in Indialantic. “Even if you’ve never surfed in your life, you can be standing up on a paddleboard in 15 minutes.”

It’s the length and high volume of the boards that make them a better choice for novices and a new challenge to veteran wave carvers.

“Most boards average 10 feet, with some longer or shorter depending on the rider’s preference,” said Fischer, who rents and sells boards of all sizes.

“Longer, narrower boards up to 14 feet are used for distance and racing, while a shorter, fatter board is better for tighter turns and riding larger waves.”

The sport’s roots are grounded in Polynesia. It was eventually adopted in Hawaii for surfers to stand tall and spot far-off, oncoming swells.

“It has evolved as something for the whole family to do,” Fischer said. “I can take my kids to the beach and they love paddling around while I surf. We had an 88-year old cancer patient come in and buy one this summer.”

The increasing popularity of stand-up paddleboards can be attributed to their versatility. They’re not only ideal for catching up with Florida’s often knee-high summer waves, but they make perfectly portable vessels for cruising lakes, ponds or the Indian River Lagoon. Stand-up surfers have been spotted rolling through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River and speeding down back breaking waves lsuch as “The Wedge” in Southern California.

T.J. Gaudy of Satellite Beach is taking advantage of his stand-up paddleboard’s flexibility.

“Fishing off a SUP gives you such an advantage compared to fishing off a kayak or wading,” said Gaudy, who fishes grassflats in the Banana River for redfish and seatrout.

“I like it because they are much easier to stand on and pole than a kayak. They are perfect for polling in the skinniest of water. You see more fish because you’re on top of the water instead of being knee deep.”

Paddle surfing is a unisex sport, but apparently women are more efficient since a lower center of gravity makes it easier for them to balance, especially when riding waves. But for guys and women, paddling makes for some hardcore calisthenics, perfect for staying in shape until solid swells arrive on the Space Coast.

After renting a board from Longboard House, Melbourne resident Melissa Adams discovered the core workout possible from a long-distance paddle. She traveled four miles back and forth across the Indian River Lagoon.

“My abs burned for days after,” the marine biologist said. “I’ve been trying to find a core workout that compares, but there’s not much like it.”

On her trek, Adams’ high vantage point helped her see dolphins, eagle rays and fish she couldn’t have spotted while sitting on a kayak.

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