One of the most exciting ways to enjoy SUP is on a wave. It’s the feeling of being pushed forward. Of sliding down into the face of the wave. Of the speed you pick up as you are propelled by its energy. And the adrenaline you feel that produces a smile on your face as you make it out the other side.
It’s truly unmatched in the world of SUP.
Recently, more paddlers have begun to take note of how SUP can be enjoyed in the ocean. And quite naturally, they are starting to look towards purchasing SUP surfboards that will fit their needs.
The experience of buying a new SUP surfboard can be as confusing as when you first started out as a beginner. To avoid any buyer’s remorse, we’ve decided to lay out how to pick out the perfect Evolve SUP surfboard for you.
One that will fit your needs, your body type, athletic ability, and one that will get you successfully catching waves in no time!
The first question you need to ask yourself is, are you a complete beginner?
If you have never paddled in the ocean before, the answer is yes. There is a huge difference between the feel of paddling flat water and in a moving environment like the ocean.
Many paddlers believe their balance and skills will translate. This is often not the case.
The wind, the tide, the waves, the whitewater, just the general energy of the ocean can make it very difficult for a first time paddler to enjoy success.
If you are in this position, the best thing you can do is take your flat water board to the ocean and give it a try! Don’t even worry about catching a wave your first time. This will likely put you in a dangerous situation you want to avoid.
Get the hang of paddling in a moving body of water. Understand how you can use your paddle to assist with your balance.
Once you have this down, you can start to try and surf small waves on your flat water board or begin your search for the perfect SUP surf board.
The best Evolve boards for true beginners are the 10’4’’ Good Buddy...
The 10’ Perfect 10...
And the 9’5’’ Juice.
These boards have a longboard shape that is ideal for smaller waves a beginner can handle. In addition, they are thicker and wider than our other models which will increase your balance on the water.
Remember, the wider and thicker a board is, the easier it is to stand on.
The team at Evolve have all learned how to SUP surf on one of these boards.
Plus, certain members use either the Good Buddy, the Perfect 10, or the Juice to this day! The reason for this is because they are fantastic SUP surfboards for the experienced rider to continue to have fun on no matter how their skills progress.
If you are brand-new to SUP surfing, check out one of the boards listed above.
Each of these boards are shorter in length, more narrow in width, and have an aggressive shape with a pulled in nose and higher amounts of rocker.
"Rocker" is defined as the curve of the board that allows you to drop into a wave without burying the nose. The higher amounts of rocker a board has, the steeper a wave you can drop in on.
Each of these boards make for fantastic rides in waist to head-high surf with the Goose Bumps being the most aggressive in the lineup.
Here’s a quick rundown of each…
The Deej/Deej XL — 8’4’’x30’’(123 liters) or 9’6’’x33’’ (164 liters):
This versatile SUP surfboard is a great all around board for the mid to light weight rider and performs great in waistys to overhead waves. It has a quad fin future set up with carbon blend rail for durable paddle wacks. It is extremely stable for its size and turns on a dime. The Deej comes with a plug to mount your GoPro camera so you can relive that perfect session. Try the Deej XL for a little more stability or the heavier rider that doesn't want to give up the shred factor.
This board is great for a mid size beginner to intermediate rider or heavier experienced rider that wants to take his surfing to the next level. At 31.5" wide and full shape it is stable and easy to paddle but also turns like a dream with its stepped in tail to a rounded pin.
The Goose Bumps (7’11”x29” 108 Liters):
This board still works great in small waves but really holds it down in the waves that give you Goose Bumps. This is the most aggressive SUP surfboard in the Evolve lineup and is for the experienced paddler only!
If you’re not sure if a board can float your weight, it is always a great idea to demo one in flatwater before you take it to the waves!
Height and Weight
If there is one advantage smaller people have in this world, it’s their ability to paddle any SUP board with no issues!
Due to this advantage, we don’t have to take into account your height or weight when it comes to picking out a SUP surfboard.
Instead, we’ll focus on the bigger paddlers.
It’s quite obvious, the bigger you are as a paddler, the more volume you will need to float you on the water. This is even more the case when it comes to SUP surfing. The moving ocean is difficult to stand on even during calm days, let alone when the waves are pumping.
If you are a bigger paddler, your best option is to start on the Perfect 10’. This longboard shaped SUP surfboard has the most volume out of the every board in the Evolve lineup.
This will give you the best platform to stand on, paddle, catch a wave, and keep on going all day long!
However, if a longboard cruiser isn't to your taste, the next best option is the Deej XL. This board has enough volume to float bigger paddlers but still retains an aggressive shape for carving up the face of any wave.
For bigger paddlers, start with one of these two options before you decide on anything smaller.
Types of Waves — Your Location
Some waves are made for longboards. Others are perfect for shortboards.
How do you determine what type of waves your local surfing spot has? The simple answer is to observe what boards surfers are using in the water!
But the more complicated answer has to deal with the shape of a wave. If a wave is hollow, is a shore break, and has a steep drop (the motion of getting into the wave) then you have yourself a shortboard wave.
If this is the case, the smaller Evolve SUP surfboards will work great here. These include the Suwak, Deej, and the Goose Bumps.
With their aggressive shapes you’ll be able to easily drop into a steep wave and carve up the face.
However, if a wave is mellow, has a slow break, and an easy drop, it’s a longboard wave. To surf these types of waves with ease, you’ll need the Perfect 10, the Juice, or the Good Buddy.
These boards are longer which means they have more glide. They have room for nose riding to stay in mellow waves for a longer period of time. And they don’t have a ton of rocker, which means they will paddle quickly in the ocean to catch waves that are even 1’-2’.
One quick note: If you are a smaller rider, you can possibly surf the aggressive Evolve SUP surfboards on a longboard wave. But the longboard shapes will be a liability in hollow, big waves. This is due to the lack of rocker when it comes to steep drops. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for a board that will work in all conditions!
The last aspect you need to consider in your SUP surfboard is the fin setup. Contrary to popular belief, fins are very important in waves! Well, technically, they’re very important in flat water too — no one really like to paddle in circles without a fin.
But they can be a huge liability or advantage when it comes to surfing bigger waves.
If your local surf location has a steep drop and requires an aggressive bottom turn you will need at least a thruster setup (three fins) in your board to deter you from sliding out. If you are an ultra-aggressive surfer, a quad setup might even work better (the more touch points you have in the water, the more your tail will stay controlled while surfing).
However, if you’re a relaxed long boarder, a single fin will be just fine.
Luckily, every board in the Evolve lineup has the ability to become at least a thruster, with the aggressive shapes able to turn into a quad fin setup.
Even with these options, it’s always important to test your own setup the next time you are on the water!
This seems like a ton of information. We understand. But hopefully it has helped you to begin to formulate what you are looking for, and more importantly, what you need in a SUP surfboard to be successful on the water.
Of course, if you have any questions about what might work for you, or if you need locations where you can demo an Evolve SUP surfboard, reach out to us at any time! We're always happy to help.