SUP Surfing: Poor to Fair, but I Don’t Care
Updated: Oct 19
Inaugural Infinity New Deal SUP surfing session at Doheny State Beach
We’ve all seen the photos and professionally edited videos of what top SUP surfers can do. More often than not, they are surfing in ideal conditions at a pristine exotic location. You know the ones I’m talking about. The sun is shining and judging from the surfer’s apparel, the water appears to be warm. They are the jet setters of SUP surfing. The one’s who hop on a plane and fly off to an elusive break to surf perfect waves.
But what about the times when the conditions are not perfect? Or how about those who don’t have a quiver of boards to choose from in order to perfectly pair their SUP with the waves on any given day?
If you’re a new SUP surfer and don’t come from a surfing background you are going to be super excited the first time you catch a wave and ride it straight back to the beach. And you should be. But what if there was another surfer in your path? Progressing towards carving a turn while SUP surfing is an important first step in learning how to maintain control of your board.
Knowing in advance what type of wave a location typically produces is important. For most recreational SUP surfers, this is going to be a softer, slower wave. As this column continues to unfold I plan to highlight some of the more favorable locations for SUP surfing with a focus on those particularly suited for the performance attributes of the Infinity New Deal.
Conditions on the day
The conditions on my first visit to Doheny with the New Deal were not the best. “Poor to fair” stated the forecast on Surfline. Wave height was predicted to range between 1-3ft. Nevertheless, I had cleared the morning with my wife and I was committed. It was a Saturday and I can generally make it from my house to Dana Point in just under an hour if I leave before seven. The drive down that morning went smoothly and I was eager to get the New Deal on the water.
Spring in Southern California is an interesting time for SUP surfing. The water is starting to warm up a bit, but bearing in mind that many prone surfers wear a wetsuit year round, warm is relative. I felt I would be able to comfortably pull off a session that morning wearing my Vaikobi V Cold Storm top and a regular pair of boardies.
The Infinity New Deal was shaped with waves like Doheny State Beach in mind. As I drove down I hoped that poor to fair quality waves at Doheny would trump better quality surf in Manhattan and Hermosa Beach. I was not disappointed.
The surfable water at Doheny State Beach is divided into two sections demarcated by a decaying jetty. Viewed from the water, SUP surfers are required to keep to the right of the jetty. The waves always look better to the left, and it is a larger surfable area, but those are the rules.
The tide was out and as I paused with my board to assess the conditions on the water a fellow SUP surfer ambled over, took a look at the three neon stripes on my Infinity New Deal, and said, “That’s a bitchin’ board!”. He went on, despite not having an Infinity board of his own, to talk about his admiration for the brand because the Boehne family still surfs. “Too many shapers just get fat, lock themselves away in the shaping bay and no longer surf,” he said.
Waiting out a lull in the action.
The rails on the Infinity New Deal are foiled to perfection. I have one of the mid-sized models, 9.6 x 31” at 141L. It weighs a mere 12 lbs. Yeah, you read that right, 12 lbs. I enjoy the comfort of being able to stand on the board without sinking it. The freedom to move around the lineup and select the waves I want to ride. If you are going to have just one board for SUP surfing, the Infinity New Deal is the board to have.
Poor to fair can mean a few different things and on that day the waves were a bit crumbly and didn’t quite hold their shape. There wasn’t anything I could do to make the conditions improve. I recalled one of the mantras my outrigger coach often repeats during practice and before races. Essentially, don’t dwell on the things you can’t change. Focus on the things you can work with in any given situation and strive to improve upon them.
For me on that day it was making a quick right to ride the wave as long as possible and then sinking the right rail to pop back out over the whitewash without falling. Upwards of a dozen other SUP surfers came and went during my session. I just kept going back and forth. Larger wave, smaller wave, it didn’t matter. I had driven down from LA and I was committed. Poor to fair, but I don’t care.