I've been coming to swellinfo for years to check the surf reports and have been reading posts on here for quite some time, only recently did I choose to register and chime in. After years of surfing and being around all types of people I've noticed a common theme amongst the majority. What i've noticed is most people stick with one type of board and believe that they are somehow superior to those who choose to surf something else other than what they believe is "acceptable" in THEIR eyes. Short boarders stick to short boards, Loggers stick with their Log, etc.
I'm going to be turning 31 this month and have been surfing for a little more than half my life. I 1st started surfing a 6ft 4" shorty in my teens and that's the only board I had up until my mid 20's when i got got a bit lazy and put on weight (too much beer drinking and chasing women), around that time I realized my board had seen better days and it was probably not the right board for me anymore, so I stepped up to a 6ft 10" WRV Fish to add a little more foam although I was a bit skeptical before buying it because I didn't want to get a board "too big" (that's how I thought too) and be looked down upon. That was when i actually gave a s**** what others thought, but with age you tend to not care as much. So after having my ups and downs with the Fish, mostly due to my shoulder issues and fitness level at the time, I decided to start looking at long boards but I didn't want anything "too big" (once again) but I was convinced by more than a few people that if I have shoulder problems and need to catch waves, then my best bet was to go with a LB, so for my 29th B Day i was given a 8ft 1" HP LB which really got me back into the swing of things and I was able to revive my stoke and as a result have been more dedicated to the sport than I ever was before.
Being in Florida (which i love) I have seen my fair share of flat spells, although we have solid surf here there are those summer spells that really suck and can keep one from paddling out for days / weeks. Although I had always been more interested in the smaller boards I found I was missing out on lots of days due to not having the right equipment for the conditions. My old way of thinking was to just suck it up and wait for the next swell or cry and complain that it's not big enough for my board, but as we get older and we change so does our thinking, and I found myself looking at SUP's as a way to bridge the gap during the down times.
So last April (my B day) I was lucky enough that my fiance got me a new SUP to make it through those flat spells and smaller days which is exactly what I needed. Now I am on the water year round, flat or going off, doesn't matter, there is a board in my home I can grab on any day for any condition, but at the end of the day, i'm on the water, which is where I am happiest, and I find that i'm just as happy on my SUP as I am on my Fish or HP LB. The best part is i'm getting in even better shape than i've ever been in because i'm always in the water, and my skills are returning (i had lost a step... or two) and i'm now progressing at a higher rate than I ever did with one board.
Having said all that, what is the difference? Who really cares what board you have? Am I any different of a surfer because I have more than one option for equipment? Should I consider myself something other than a surfer when I'm on my SUP? I'm a short boarder at heart, and still paddle out on my FISH, but when the conditions allow for it, I also SUP.
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Apr 4, 2012, 06:03 PM #1
Short, Long, or SUP, what's the difference and why does it matter?
Last edited by DawnPatrolSUP; Apr 4, 2012 at 06:20 PM.
Apr 4, 2012, 06:14 PM #2
Don't obsess over the matter. Do what you want/can, and be thankful you can do at least that. What's the saying??? "People who matter don't mind, and people who mind don't matter"
As far as an explanation of why there is a general attitude toward shortboards/longboards/SUPs... I'm not sure, but maybe it's perceived that there is a difference in required skill among the three, with shortboards requiring the most, and SUPs the least. There could also be a "herd mentality" among a lot of surfers who might feel good about themselves when they have a group of peers (or pros they idolize) that ride what they ride, and a general feeling of intolerance for anything else. Maybe it's just human nature from way back in our caveman days of strength and protection in numbers?
I ride 'em all....
Apr 4, 2012, 06:16 PM #4
for me, its shortboards for two reasons. 1. when I started in the late 70s NOBODY rode longboards and if you showed up with one it was bad juju on you. 2. and most importantly, I just don't like the way they ride. I'm a slasher type surfer and never got into the glide thing. My personal opinion on SUPs is that they could be great for exercise on flat days but I'd rather not see them in the lineup.
Even though, you said - screw what anyone thinks about what type of board I ride - it still sounds like you are still trying to validate your board decisions.
Who give a **** what anyone else thinks, do what makes me you happy.
Only person to try to please is yourself.
PS. I too have shoulder problems, so I understand your rationale to protect your shoulders.
Apr 4, 2012, 06:40 PM #6Senior Member
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Apr 4, 2012, 07:00 PM #7
Apr 4, 2012, 07:17 PM #8
the only thing i really care about is that the surfer knows how to handle his/her equipment safely. if that's a shortboard, fine. if it's a longboard, fine. if it's a SUP, fine.
that said, more often than not, it's the people on SUPs who do not know how, or are unable, to control their equipment. this is a huge problem in my eyes, above & beyond the danger posed by out of control shortboarders or longboarders, b/c the SUP, when out of control, turns into a deadly weapon of massive proportions.
it may be irrelevant, but i've also noticed that the majority of SUP riders tend to be 1 of 2 things: 1. older surfers who maybe have shoulder/back problems or are slower getting to their feet 2. new to surfing & have never really ridden anything else.
personally, i have long held a "ride anything" mentality. i'm in the water year-round on a quiver that consists of boards ranging from a 5'8" quad simmons to a 9'6" single fin log. i've got bonzers, thrusters, & a twin keel fish & the vast majority are locally made (the ones that aren't local were made in california). which brings me to my other issue w/ SUPs: they're mostly pop-outs made in china by non-surfers. when was the last time you saw a brian wynn, wrv, austin, or ashton shaped SUP? probably never.
in short, i tend to feel that SUPs are used as a crutch to give people an advantage over others in the water & allow the user to ignore the normal line-up dynamics & be a wave hog. they're a danger to other surfers when in inexperienced hands, & seem to be best suited to back bays, lagoons, & rivers, where i'm sure it would be a great workout. they don't, however, belong in your average east coast line-up.
Apr 4, 2012, 07:34 PM #9
Thanks for your reply, and you very well may be right on a couple things but there are a couple things I'd like to point out. I might care in the sense that I took the time to make this post, but not in the the sense that it would ever stop me from doing what i want to do, because nothing would ever change that. I'm more just curious as to why people think this way and hope that by having this discussion that maybe a few people could open their mind as did I after years of having similar thinking.
I don't fully agree with the attitude that short boards require more skill vs. the longer boards. Sure there are things about short boards that are harder than if you were on a long board, i.e. paddling, balance, endurance and certain manuevers, but there are things that are actually easier on the shorty, like duck diving, making turns, overall control and ability to whip it around, so they both have their challenges. What i've found after experiencing all types of boards is there are definitely DIFFERENT skills needed for each type of board, not necessarily easier or harder, but DIFFERENT. And the SUP is a whole different ball game in and of it'self. It's made me a better surfer having the SUP, no doubt about it.
The one misconception i think people have with the SUP is that it requires "less skill" than a short board. Where that might be true in some aspects, it not exactly true as a whole. Most of the people who say this typically do not own an SUP and have not taken the time to learn on one. They just assume this is only for flat water or think that because it's a much larger board that it's autmatically easy, and I can see why you would think this if you are noticing a guy on an SUP just killing it while you are struggling to even get a wave. What i recommend to anybody who has never tried to SUP surf is to rent one and paddle out into chest high waves and see how it goes. I've seen countless "surfers" try to surf with an SUP and fail miserably, and for good reason, there are definitely MAJOR differences between surfing an SUP and a short board, which require a different skill set... but that doesn't make it harder than short board surfing, it just makes it DIFFERENT.
Last edited by DawnPatrolSUP; Apr 4, 2012 at 08:26 PM.
Apr 4, 2012, 07:44 PM #10
I agree 100%, if you can't control your equipment, you don't belong in the lineup. However, if you CAN control it and are able to surf just as good as the next guy (regardless of board size) then this should be a moot point, that's all i'm getting at here.
Last edited by DawnPatrolSUP; Apr 4, 2012 at 07:46 PM.