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Thread: SUPs conundrum

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  1. #1

    SUPs conundrum

    I've read a decent amount of posts on this topic. Let me first say that I'm definitely not saying kill all the SUPers or that they don't belong in the water... more looking for answers and safety while in the water.

    I've found it increasingly dangerous at certain breaks - especially point-ish breaks with guys catching waves outside on these things. There is a line-up for short/fun boarders that are all in one spot respecting each other like a typical line-up.. then a set wave comes and 3 SUPers are charging right at the short-board line-up leaving guys scrambling to avoid them while either catching the wave or just plain trying to get out of the way. Often times the SUPers are in a way snaking the wave because they are dropping in at a point that is more towards the shoulder than the steeper inside shortboard take-off but are either going too fast to stop or view it as their wave since they been on it from the outside already.

    I see this problem just getting bigger as we see more SUPers by the day (now some life-long, never surfed guys appearing) and safety really being of concern on head high days.

    Would like to hear people's thoughts on how people deal with this at their local break and not just "move down the beach" because some breaks don't have that option.

  2. #2
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    Don't have any answers but definitely hear ya. I have no beef w/ the SUP in general, but was out on a sloppy head high day in April. One guy in particular really sucked, and kept wiping out while trying to catch waves. Of course he bails right in front of me as I'm paddling out and this giant board is heading at me. It's the guys who have no previous surfing experience and are trying to learn on those that are the problem.

  3. #3
    1) Say to SUP guy "Get off MY PEAK!!!"
    2) Pull a Fast Eddie and put a fist in SUP guy's grill when he snakes you.
    3) Establish your own Da Hui at your break

    In seriousness, I've yet to see a SUPer at my home breaks that aren't also one of the best surfers in the area and happen to be on their barge (high performance SUP) due to chop or otherwise crap conditions. I know that skilled exclusive SUP riders are out there, they just seem to be hiding from us since we never see them. It's tough for a pure SUP rider to know surfing etiquette when they haven't surfed. The SUP community itself isn't about to be teaching them since that culture seems to be past the Big Bang event and now it's a watered-down trend. I'm sure the real ones are nearly as pissed off as we are about their JV counterparts.

    In a perfect world, SUPs would have their own area as would we and then spongers and swimmers. I've got a hard time believing there can be any co-existence among the different parties since you're then assuming all members know both the etiquette of their trade and also the others around them and therefore how the different groups can act in harmony. When you think how in each group there are usually a few who don't even practice the etiquette of their own activity you can understand the caution to be had with integrating the different populations.

    I was at a New England break last weekend that had good, clean swell and was a magnet for highly skilled surfers with way more than 50 present and possibly more than 100. Space was tight although everyone was in control and rides were had by all. I was too focused on my own surfing and also watching others who were way more skilled, but I bet you there were a few SUP riders and spongers in the mix as well. The reason I didn't notice them is that they knew what they were doing and definitely how to operate within the dynamic environment and confined space of viable peaks.

    All it takes is one idiot to be a hazard for many others around. How many lineups won't have at least one hazard with the kookery that's rampant in SUPing? It's already prevalent in surfing and sponging. A kook with a loaded automatic weapon is far more of a danger.

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    Must be a northern thing. There are no more SUP's in the water down here than I remember ever being out there. Most of the guys out there are older surfers that want something to do on smaller days. Occasionally, I will see a newbie with no clue, but they are no worse than young ignorant kids on shortboards. If someone is doing something dangerous, then call them out on it.

  5. #5
    It seems like it's signicantly more dangerous then other kooks given 'the loaded automatic weapon' (great analogy).

    Brew - I surf mostly in long island, NY, but have a bunch of friends in Cali which say it's an even bigger issue.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewengineer View Post
    If someone is doing something dangerous, then call them out on it.
    Thats really the only option. There will never be zones for each type of craft, and it's all about where you can take off from.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by seldom seen View Post
    Thats really the only option. There will never be zones for each type of craft, and it's all about where you can take off from.
    See my post about exerting Da Hui muscle!!!

  8. #8
    for better or worse, in OCNJ post sandy and north end replenishment, there are very few fixed good peaks so everyone can spread out (especially south end). it is no more crowded than normal although noobs on SUPs are more dangerous than spongers. SUPs actually trying to surf are mostly a mix of surfers/ex-surfers who get the joke and are local/part-local.

    biggest issue i see is just a continuation of the long/short issue where on smaller/mushy days, the SBs and spongers float like little speed bumps inside. there are limits to how agile my aircraft carrier can be if some dummy drops in late on me. and i guarantee that they will be the loser in that impact.

    random dilemna for those of us switching back and forth. on 2-4' mush it is great to get nice long rides on the SUP. it will carry over flat sections that even the log won't. but i am concerned that i am losing paddling fitness for when the real waves return. sunday i surfed although it probably would have been better on SUP just to get a workout.

  9. #9
    One of the better SUPers I've seen does not wear a leash. When I first saw him without it, I was concerned, but he quickly demonstrated that he was in complete control. I think the leash allows newby SUPers to feel like they have permission to just bail when they get out of control. This is a disaster in situations like the one you've discribed when a SUP is barrelling toward a line up and the guy just bails out. I think if leashes weren't permitted at a break, you'd see far fewer out of control guys on SUPs.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RIer View Post
    One of the better SUPers I've seen does not wear a leash. When I first saw him without it, I was concerned, but he quickly demonstrated that he was in complete control. I think the leash allows newby SUPers to feel like they have permission to just bail when they get out of control. This is a disaster in situations like the one you've discribed when a SUP is barrelling toward a line up and the guy just bails out. I think if leashes weren't permitted at a break, you'd see far fewer out of control guys on SUPs.
    Good point Young Jeezy!!

    Any time one is not tethered to their PWC they'll tend to have much greater consciousness of it and will less often operate it in a manner where they're likely to fall off and lose control.