The Last SUPper

Rob Gilley on where SUPs fit into our aquatic world.

| posted on June 12, 2012

The SUP is not always an inappropriate craft—just usually. Photo: Gilley

Rob Gilley

Previously in denial about his photographic past, Rob Gilley now rummages through his trove of mediocrity.

Recently a friend of mine took me to a hidden surf spot. Not a full-on secret spot really, but more of an out-of-the-way place that I had never surfed or shot before. The weird part is that it’s not too far from my house.

Even though it was a Saturday there was only a handful of dudes out, including one guy who was taking full advantage of this spot’s coastal privacy: a solo, stand up paddle surfer waiting way out the back. This guy was oar-stroking into capping set waves, fading, banking off the white water, executing a couple of on-rail turns, backdooring the shorebreak, and then kicking out right before dry docking on the sand.

More importantly, when this guy got even remotely close to one of the prone surfers, he immediately cut his ride short, kicked-out, and simply stroked back outside.

“Wow,” I thought to myself, what do you know, a polite SUPer who actually knows what he is doing. In addition to the guy I saw stroking from his moored sailboat to shore the day before, this was the second positive thought I had had about a stand up paddler in the past 48 hours.

Maybe pigs can fly after all.

Truth be told, I’ve haven’t really had many positive thoughts about SUPers ever since they started to populate our lineups over a decade ago. In fact, for the last 10 years I’ve been pretty vocal about my anti-SUP stance. For example, I often refer to them as “Oar Dorkers.”

It occurred to me that there’s a segment of the surf population that has absolutely no idea that some people are down on stand up paddling, so I thought I might explain how I arrived at my own position—a position that seems to be shared by a fair amount of prone surfers in my area.

But first we need to rewind the tape.

Not long after Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama were pictured oar-logging small Maui lefts in The Surfer’s Journal in 1996, a collective light bulb seemed to go off in the public’s mind. Almost overnight, everybody and their brother and their brother’s hairdresser wanted to try stand up paddling. For some reason, the visual message received by the herd seemed to be that if Laird does it, then they should probably do it too.

Since SUPing is a lot easier to pursue at surf spots with length and associated channels, our local point and reef breaks began to populate with groups of erect, oar-wielding zealots.

Problems began to arise immediately.

As it turned out, adding SUPers to already crowded lineups was like adding Sherman tanks to an already crowded freeway system. They didn’t mix well.

In addition to a select handful of talented surfers, this new sport seemed to attract three principal personality types: aging alpha males who saw SUPing as a way of maintaining their dominance over the pack, severely out-of-shape surfers who suddenly felt re-invited to a party they left years ago, and complete neophytes who thought stand up paddle surfing looked cute in a Nordic Track kind of way.

Irrespective of personality, about 1 in 3 of these new SUPers seemed to have a blatant disregard or ignorance of the unspoken rules for sharing the lineup, and would consistently back paddle the prone surfers who were patiently waiting their turn. In addition, even decent SUPers would lose their unleashed boards while riding, and these errant behemoths would plow through the lineup, cleave-axing all within striking distance.

As you might expect, this new SUP reality wasn’t exactly received well by many, myself included.

And it just got worse from there.

Next, SUPers, possibly emboldened by mainstream media coverage, the birth of a recession-proof cottage industry, and the existence of SUP boards at Costco, started to invade beach breaks. Near havoc ensued.

Not full-on pandemonium really, but ignition of new Waterworld realities in which SUPers, with feigned nonchalance, would routinely edge towards a pack of stink-eye emoting prone surfers in High Noon games of water-borne chicken, in hopes of raiding the kitty (the only relief coming when a peak would bottom out, and an unsuspecting SUPper would get unceremoniously rammed and dispatched to the pit, accessories and all).

Comic relief aside, it was only a few years ago that SUPers began to realize that they weren’t being received with open arms, and started to take the hint. Some of them began to abandon marquee spots for more remote reefs and would simply paddle down to the next break if prone surfers paddled out. Also, like the tide, SUPers seemed to recede from most our beach breaks. SUPing, at least for the time being, seems to have leveled off.

Which has provided a welcome break from the onslaught, and allowed for moments of reflection and clarification.

Watching this last talented SUPer at the hidden spot near my house was one of those moments—a pause when I realized that I’m not categorically against stand up padding. In fact, it’s nearly the opposite: I see SUPing as an extremely valid training and transportation means, an environmentally friendly motor-less activity that is a fantastic way of navigating still water, and, if the conditions are right, for wave riding too—as long as it doesn’t impinge on the nuanced realities of existing surf spots.

In the end, what I concluded is that my views on oars are similar to my views on hand guns: most people can’t be trusted with them. So, like the six gun-toters who were required to check their pistols at the outskirts of the Old West, perhaps we should require SUPers to turn in their oars at the beach once they get a certain distance from a major surf spot.

Kidding aside, to seamlessly include SUPers into the democracy of a normal surf crowd makes for good parlor philosophy, but just doesn’t work in the real world. It’s just too apple and orange-ish. Too oil and water-ish. Too India and Pakistan-ish. And since prone surfers represent the vast majority and were there first, it is my opinion that SUPers should stay clear of crowded, or even semi-crowded surf spots.

And if you think that’s a harsh, elitist opinion, then you really don’t want to know what I think about goat boaters.

  • Evan


  • David

    There are still too many bad ones, just come to south shore O’ahu.

  • David

    I have been SUPing for five years now. I started because of chronic shoulder pain. I got to the point where I couldn’t rotate my shoulder (paddle) so had virtually given up prone surfing or take a heap of drugs after each surf. SUPing doesn’t put the same pressure on my shoulder. I can now surf (SUP) as much as I like without the drugs.
    I look for lone breaks and most often find them (Victoria, Australia). What annoys me most is when prone surfers watch me and then paddle out and give me the stink eye. How about prone riders avoiding breaks when a SUP is already out?

  • http://g-l-a-n-d.blogspot.com g-land

    wow thanks information is great ide

  • Sully Woosh

    another fad gone bad… shot out

  • Jason

    Gilley, Gee nice article, I think I’ll give up SUPping because you have a problem with it. Any real waterman, or even someone using their own brain to think, could care less about your opinions on standup.

  • ifallalot

    @Jason- you are a kook and the whole reason why real surfers don’t like SUPs. You are completely out of touch with the realities of the ocean and I would bet dollars to donuts you are the alpha male type who uses a SUP to assert dominance over the pack. Using the term “waterman” outs you as the exact type of SUPing kook that we all can’t stand.

  • http://www.BuddyPrinceton.com Frederick Rawlins AKA Buddy Princeton

    THE issue is HOT here in SOCAL, my 12 year old grandson was ploughed by an SUP kook who took off on him, and then actually shot his board out into my grandson’s head when he dropped in, having never seen dude coming from the far outside! THE lifeguards here in NEWPORT BEACH then banned that dude and all SUP’s for the day. THAT is not enough with the weigh and damage one of these “LOGS” can do in the wrong hands and under the wrong feet! RENTAL SUP HAS INCREASED THE PROBLEM!

  • Beej

    I’m backing David. Similar reasons, and luckily, similar remote breaks to hand here in Ireland – also think shortboarders should show some respect in turn or just shut their mouths. We had the same with windsurfing around the world – loads of idiot die-hard shortboarders catching no waves in 30+knots of wind onshore and creating a fuss about those wise enough to learn a new way to ride the waves that suits the conditions of the day. I’m tired of it all. If we’re polite and show respect and paddle/sail in or away when out first after making an effort to avoid crowds (as I would avoid if I chose to shortboard that day, as I sometimes do) nobody thinks that’s cool either. It’s like being black and tolerated in certain zones but only if you’re polite and let the facist xenophobes have priority on the roads, in-line, in society…

    I’m tiring of it and am going to just sail, kite, SUP, surf, body surf where and when I like and just not be greedy – although being in position and able to catch wave at the right point more than others, especially on tight take-offs – doesn’t make you greedy – it just shows you chose the right craft for that day…. Screw being overly-polite just to appease some idiots.

  • josh

    Awesome perspective of the rise and fall of the SUP.
    I would only ask that you refrain from referring to us normal surfers as “Prone”.
    It seems apply a negative or even submissive element on those without a paddle.

  • wind

    You should have seen the SUP idiot out at Tamarack this morning, what a f*ckin’ kook!

  • Jaime

    I agree that we should condemn the attitude and not the sport. In our turf we have more issues with longboarders than with them sweepers. The loggers seem to have more respect to others than those figure posers. I rather share with SUPers…

  • duc

    So, Jason. If you “could care less” about his opinion why are you taking the time to post that you “could care less” about his opinion.

    And it’s “couldn’t care less,” tiger.

  • john

    I do the SUP-thing but prefer to surf, and feel that there are way too many people who SUP that SUCK, without any clue on surf-etiquette. They fall everywhere then sit in the impact zone as buoys.

    Come on get a clue! With a paddle you can get to the spots a little farther away from the established major surf-breaks and have a really good time. Expand your horizons go to the next reef. This is what I do, you can too!

  • Ben

    What the heck is a goat boater Gilley?

  • http://korduroytv.com Cyrus

    Nice Rob. Love to SUP, but they don’t belong in the lineup..

  • Jason

    Duc, I am a “prone” surfer, SUPer, windsurfer, kiteboarder and diver. I guess what I meant to say was, “I couldn’t care less” about Gilley’s opinion because it does nothing but spread hate on the water. Anyone that thinks they are entitled to more of the wave than anyone else because of the size of the board they ride is selfish and dellusional and should get the fark out of the water.

  • brian

    There is a time and a place for everything.

    SUP is a beautiful way to experience the ocean on a daily(regardless of swell) basis. I use SUP to keep the peace with my body and brain…when the surf gets good, I surf.

    SUP put’s me in the water catching waves that I would have let go unridden with tradition surfboards, for that I’m grateful.

  • Marcus

    +1 to Jason, +1 to Beej. Criticize the individual, don’t show prejudice to the craft. Choose the right board for the break and conditions. The fact that Gilley chose to use the word ‘oar’ exemplifies typical ignorant shortboarder mentality. Know the roots of SUP surfing, these guys were watermen, not kooks.

  • Jarryd

    i definatley agree with what you are saying, most sup riders are inconsiderate assholes and this comes from a sup surfer, like you say most are middle aged men or people who have never surfer before, they just paddle out and dont give a shit about anyone else or dont know any better

  • Luke

    Prone surfers should just use pack mentality and politely ask sup to leave, if he doesn’t then grab his paddle and get creative. Easy.

  • diego

    almost had my leg broken by some goof who shot his SUP carelessly into the lineup. to use a land-based metaphor it’s like having mountain bikes in the skatepark. they’re just too large and not maneuverable enough, simple. same deal with kayaks. far too much risk. as i struggled to shore in agony the guy had the nerve to tell me i broke his gopro. get f-ked!

  • Malcolm Kirby

    Please don’t SUP at my break anymore. Longboarders are difficult enough to work into the lineup. SUP’s are nitemares. Please be respectful of surf spots. SUP elsewhere.

  • Newcastle

    I’ve been a shortboarder for more than 35 years in the area referred to as “near my house”(very territorial in an area where 3 million people live) in the story. I also SUP when its very small as an alternative to longboarding. More fun for me. I try to stay away from other surfers when i SUP, doesn’t always happen and i can feel the hate when i get near crowded spots. I’ve been on the other side when i’ve been shortboarding and SUPs dominate the spot. Rob’s article, while it addresses a lot of good points, is just too filled with prejudice and slurs to be useful in the debate. He may look back and regret writing it. SUPers have negative names for surfers too, no need to write them down. I do agree that SUPing and surfing don’t get along well. Too different. SUPing isn’t going to go away. Surfers are really going to have to figure out what to do about the issue without going into hate mode.

  • Brian

    1) Either go back to school or use spell-check.
    2) Goat-boats are a largely Aussie term for surf-kayaks (aka torpedos)
    3) SUP’s are a good cross-training tool, that should be relegated to downwind paddles, and generally unsurfed/unsurfable mushburger reefs.

  • Matt

    Been mowed by SUP too many times. Packing a diving knife now. Try me. Boycott SUP shapers and retailers.

  • fourtyplus

    im been surfing a long time and i can definitely say ive had wayyyy more problems with other surfers then SUP has ever gave me. and you say in this article that the SUP trend is dying? come to oahu. SUP is exploding. i see it everywhere more and more. i remember seeing the figures from transworld busiess on surf sales for 2011 and SUP had like 100% growth in one single year STILL compared to every other surf product out there. so its defintiely not dying (if you had of done your research)

    i’ve had way more problems with old tilly hat wearing longboarders that feel entitled and drop in one every wave there is. those douchebags are way worse then any sweeper i have ever encountered. same with all these hipster retro fish riding yuppies that feel the need to surf in flannel shirts and throw your board all over the place trying air reverses on every wave. get dane reynolds nuts off your chin already. i don’t see you guys writing any article about these idiots. your article was obviously super biased based on you already been set in your ways about people that use an ‘oar’

    if a SUP gets in my way, i deal with it. just like i would if you were being a kook on a longboard, or a kiteboard. it’s not what theyre riding, it’s the person. banning certain board types from breaks is not the way to go. if someone is being a kook then deal with it about yourselves! bunch of whining kids these days need the lifeguard to intervene boo hoo. not how we woulda done it in the 80s. anyone can be a kook.

  • Mike
  • Slim

    Classic. This reminds me of the blog post you did with the “naked” volleyball players.
    Instant and plentiful reactions.
    Like religions, there is no agreement on this as we all have our own beliefs, passion and rights to do what we want. Who was here first? Debateable. Paddle to the next spot and it’s OK, not for the guys at the new spot. Banned to the c-grade spots, f@3k you! Guys hog waves on all board types.
    There is no right answer here, everyone is right as much as they are wrong, so enjoy the blog hits as they pile up.

  • RDubs

    Too much territorialism in this article to be valid. Those who think they own something because they were the first to be there remind me of companies like Ford and GM. They started the “Buy American” chant when it was all they could do to compete against the superior foreign brands. Ski / Snowboard is a similar argument. At the end of the day with anything new it is going to require change and learning.

    How many people in this discussion now drive a foreign car? How many snowboard and not ski? Whether we like it or not, SUP is going to advance far beyond that of surf by sheer volume of people who can do it. I personally know several guys that used to be mediocre surfers and since taking up the paddle have become great surfers in a short period of time. It’s hard to argue that those guys should be pushed down and forced to slowly develop their skills …for what reason, they didn’t spend enough time learning the ropes?

    Surfers are in danger of sounding like the old guy in the corner office that get’s pushed out by the new blood. I love my surf board, but I went from the long boarder who dominated the lineup to the short boarder who hated the long boarder to the SUP Short boarder (7’…not exactly a barge) in the water that shares waves. I’ve enjoyed it and enjoy sharing etiquette with other SUP’s…but let’s be honest, the surfer etiquette only goes so far as you believe an individuals abilities are. Surfers drop in A LOT on their brethren. Who are SUP’s supposed to learn from, you angry curse words in the water or your example?

  • German

    Someone disrespectull should be kicked out! SUP or Prone, the fact that there are a lot of disrespectul supers (because they can catch more waves or because they are kooks) doesnt change a thing. If i am on my sup on the waves and you show no surf etiquette, you will learn, just like when i was on a regular surfboard.
    Its what you do not who you are/ what you ride/ what color you skin,etc that matters.

    And for the writter of this article, i see that you are trying to look like you respect or put it on a positive way, but your judging, stereotypying and pleasing thereading audience grows old quick! I hope more articles would adress subjects and this sports in a less judgmental way!

    We are missing the point of being in the ocean and riding waves…

  • Laughable

    So if you’re really going to abide by the “we were there first” line of reasoning, I guess you’ll be embarking for Europe shortly to let the Native Americans have the land that’s rightfully theirs.

    The ocean has been breaking at your local spot for millenia. Only in the last century (or really last half) have humans gone out and ridden the waves there. So any claim of ownership by one group strikes me as comical. By that timeline, prone surfers got there a few seconds before StandUps. In fact, the first surfboards were longboards, so I guess anyone riding a shortboard should cease doing that.

    I’m 100% with you on etiquette and I dislike it when anyone impinges on another’s enjoyment of the ocean. Regardless of what they choose to ride. Enjoy the water anyway you want. Be safe. Let everyone enjoy it.

  • Peace-Loving Supper

    So if you’re really going to abide by the “we were there first” line of reasoning, I guess you’ll be embarking for Europe shortly to let the Native Americans have the land that’s rightfully theirs.

    The ocean has been breaking at your local spot for millenia. Only in the last century (or really last half) have humans gone out and ridden the waves there. So any claim of ownership by one group strikes me as comical. By that timeline, prone surfers got there a few seconds before StandUps. In fact, the first surfboards were longboards, so I guess anyone riding a shortboard should cease doing that.

    I’m 100% with you on etiquette and I dislike it when anyone impinges on another’s enjoyment of the ocean. Regardless of what they choose to ride. Enjoy the water anyway you want. Be safe. Let everyone enjoy it.

  • Warren

    Replace SUP with Snowboarder and Prone with Skier, and it’s 1984 all over again. We all know how that ended up.

  • knob silley

    “And since prone surfers represent the vast majority and were there first, it is my opinion that SUPers should stay clear of crowded, or even semi-crowded surf spots.”

    so since longboards were around first….does that mean us longboarders are allowed to regulate surf breaks to ‘longboard only’ spots? man get out of here with your shortboard! you are going way too fast and you are a liability! especially you goons with quad-fin setups. way too fast!!!

  • Gk

    There are more idiot short an long boarders out there than sup surfers and yes there are sup surfers that abuse the rules of common sense surfing. But jeez there’s more to life than just riding a 6ftr…. Oh sorry you’ve got a fish to. Yeah biased article, if sup surfings so bad why do well respected short boarders do it. Heaven forbid the same reason we all surf, to have fun.

  • Caine

    I love to SUP…in the bay. It is a great workout and very fun. Keep the popular spots prone.

  • kevin

    I ride an SUP in the surf when it’s small and/or uncrowded, but I spend a lot more time surfing on a traditional shortboard, fish, or progressive longboard.

    I find it really hard to surf around SUPs. It is difficult to get in a rhythm with SUPs in the lineup, and it’s hard to tell which waves they’re going to catch and which they’re going to let go.

    When I’m riding my SUP in the surf I definetly try to avoid lay down surfers because I know how much it interferes with their ability to enjoy the session. But if you’re surfing on a day I’m on my SUP the waves are pretty marginal to begin with.

  • what it is

    I have surfed for quite some time.
    I usually have an open mind when it comes to people at certain breaks. Well, in Wrightsville Beach, NC..its pretty wide open.
    One morning, I watched this guy … bright blonde late 30’s literally take out a short boarder.. it was truly shameful. He could not control his board…
    that is a major factor here.

    Obviously, this is one tiny incident, but this sup guy was the aging dude type.
    I watch out for these guys. Some rip… like the guys that went out at the wedge a while back and were respectful, but there are these categories.. the author didn’t arrive at these truths blind. I’ve seen/experienced and agree.

  • Burg

    The longboard re-emergance all over again, but this time with an “oar”, sorry it ain’t an oar, credibility gone, just like that.
    The haters on short boards must not have been around when the longboards became popular again. Same whining, back to the future.

  • Rob

    Why the F*** bring the Second Amendment into this conversation? Pinhead, those who make a living from the rights protected by the First Amendment should be happy there’s is a Second Amendment. Without the Second, the First would be gone. Dumb@$$, change the water in your bong and head to to Boar’s Crossin’ to chill out.

  • wesley

    When the line up is full of prone surfers I take my SUP and go to the sides and get the leftovers, it’s about having fun and being safe for everybody. As far as short borders vs. longborders what are you gonna do when Duke re-incarnated shows up on a long board- disrespect him? As far as who was here first Pacific Coast Natives hunted salmon with spears and paddles from stand up paddle boards made from slabs of cedar for thousands of years prior to first contact. Show some Aloha and share…you’ll have more fun with your life.

  • kim

    kooks are kooks….SUP, long board, short board, skim board, skate board, boogie board, automobiles, bicycles, the list is endless. Respect and consideration for others goes a long way in my book.

  • Jon

    some valid points-but sup surfing has come a long way-boards are getting shorter and guys are ripping harder-whose gonna tell Collin McPhillips he sucks and should leave if hes out on his sup-he and a lot of other guys rip harder on his sup than the majority of the short crew. Yes shorties i realize the vast majority of suppers are not CMP, but irregardless, in the end, who made you king of the lineup?
    Dosent matter to me-im gonna sup surf when and where i want, sure im prepared to get hassled-even physically, although as i get older, why would i?, isnt the point of surfing, no matter what craft you ride, to have fun?
    Get over it proners and loggers-SUP surfing is here to stay.
    Also Rob shouldnt you be hating on Surfer for their DIRECT involvemnent in SUP?-yes, they are backdooring you! Haha!

  • John Hashimoto

    Jarryd said it right, a bunch of assholes!!!

  • Shep

    I’m an SUPer and Bodyboarder- so doubly hated by prone surfers!- who makes it his prime objective to mix well in the line up wherever I am in the world.
    The kinds of characters you mention are there is all walks of life- be it the local gym, a mountain bike trail, a ski slope or a bar. They are ignorant. As ignorant as the prone surfers who go all “Local” on a visitor to a surf spot.

    There is a period of adjustment to be had, and in that period is a fair amount of education to newcomers and converts alike.

    A great point is that there’s space for everyone. Personally I’d hate to be on an SUP in a crowded line up. I don’t care how good you are it’s fraught. But the benefit is you can go further out, and get to more isolated spots and away from the crowds so go do it.

    Ultimately there is space along our coastlines for everyone- so lets use the space. And make sure we educate all watersports lovers to respect each other an keep a look out for each other along the way.

  • Ron

    Have to agree with Rob 100%!!

    The funniest was a guy that surfed at our local spot on a shortboard. He painted a paddle on the bottom of his board with a circle and slash through the circle.

    Whenever a SUPer would paddle anywhere near he would get off his board and wave the image at the SUPer.


    I’ve seen them in Bays and even on the Payette River in Idaho–kinda cool–and that’s where they belong!

  • ferris_moses

    kim said it best. There are inconsiderate kooks everywhere. You should judge people on their behaviors, not what they ride.

  • http://singlikebuildings.com shark_boy

    it just kills my nature movie. i’m sitting in the water, watching sea and sky, there theres the backside of a SUP’er. in front of me. it’s like someone standing up in a movie theater. i am disapprove.

  • Erik

    If “we were here first” is a viable argument, than all the guys riding 5’8 Al Merrick’s should get out of the water to make way for the body surfers.

    I really don’t prefer sharing the water with long boarders…per capita they seem overwhelming less aware of the rules of the water, less in control of their equipment and generally grouchy (not NEARLY as grouchy though as the cooler-than-you icy glaze that most air-boosting short boarders sport when it’s crowded mind you).

    Having said that, I wouldn’t every try to justify logically why they shouldn’t be in the water…that’s just childish. “You can’t play with that toy, get out of my sand box!”

    It seems my 3 year old has more logic than Gilley.

  • Erik

    @frederickrawlins, last month a long boarder “ploughed” into me in San Clemente.

    He dropped in on my like your grandson dropped in on someone else.

    Maybe educate the little tike to not drop in when someone is already on the wave. Rule #1 ya know?

  • myke

    Supping is an entireily different endeavor and doesn’t belong anywhere near designated surfing zones. “Attention vessels! you must remain at least one half mile off-shore at all times…”. Unfortunaetly, its going to take little Susie getting her 8 year-old skull crushed in by one of these rampaging whitewater behemoths before they’re eventually outlawed in populated swiming / surfing zones…

  • john

    @Shep. “Prone”, means laying down silly.

  • Jon

    Doesn’t matter what kind of watertoy your using – respect for others is parimont. Evolution of surfing continues – get used to SUP’s or find yourself becoming dated.


    1) they are called Twat Yachts
    2) please enjoy responsibly
    3) do NOT use a leash – swim for your mistake – you want to see the SUP population dwindle, demand NO LEASH. Besides, they are Watermen, right? They can swim.
    4) surfing and the ocean are dangerous – get out if you don’t like it. SUP coming at your head? Dive, fool.

  • Masse

    The only thing I can say SUP is best thing.

    Remember times of skiers shooting on snowboarders. USELESS

    Simply as hell get AWAY from my line, stupid shortboard, next time I will see you in front of my board I will cut your ignorant head with my blade.

    Please don’t think that aerial’s move are cool with your shortboards, take a snow/skate ramp stomp a serious trick and LAND it. Other things are toys for kids.

    SUP has been the beginning (TOTORA board PERU, CHICAMA) and will be the future.
    For that idiot that think that sitting down you can appreciate the surroundings, shut the fuck up and wait a set standing up.

    No more negotiations SUP against SHORT

  • og

    i always called them “sea janitors”

  • http://surfer madmax

    want some cheese with that wine?. its so much fun that i think people that hate it either havent tried it or are diehard shortboarders.i mean if you ride a longboard only are you really any better? how many times have you been out and theres some dick on a longboard taking off outside and then just standing there for the whole wave. now if its too bad ill go in grab my sup and paddle to a spot with no one out and catch a thousand waves come in stoked take my shortboard back out and stuff anyone riding a sup . ya thats right im crazy .now tell me to go in while im holding a paddle in my hand. if i wanted rules id play baseball.the ocean makes the rules. take a sup to a slab you will break it and get hurt. surf sort shitty crowded waves you will get hit by some kind of board eventually. skate on the freeway youll get shmucked . gilley is asurf photographer? no soul there bud. nice try at deflecting the hatred of surf photograpers to sups. if only i was as stupid as my dad says i am i would actually have fallen for it like some of these other clowns

  • mogie

    SUPin’ is best enjoyed away from surfers, absolutely. What is a goat boat?

  • Dawnpatrol:)

    Broom pushers!!!!!

  • Chris

    Selfish people ride all kinds of boards. I have MS w/a serious loss of arm strength among a host of other issues. Supping is all I have left. The few times I’m out a year is not done around other surfers. Yet, Gilley and some of you others try your all to keep me out of the water even if I’m by myself. I’m out of Oregon and almost all difficulty from this way of thinking comes from California. What I think of you if your a young person is I hope you get over it. What I think of you as someone of Gilley’s age is not printable.

  • http:www.youtube.com/user/hodgsonhawaii Peter Hodgson

    There is no way a SUPer is a good thing in a crowded short board line up. That being said I find it amusing how short board surfers justify their existence alone in the lineup. The truth is they are the most close minded surf crafters going. The only way you are cool, in a short boarders mind, is to paddle out on your little board on your belly and stand up once you have the wave. If you lay down the whole day like boogie and body surfers do you are just in the way. If you stand up you are a bully. To me, to be fair, there is even a difference in ridding a longboard and a wrongboard (just on a log to hog). But at the same time it also seems to me like anyone in the water having fun while not paddling anything, shortboard to a canoe, threw the line up and not taking of on anyone is doing it right. No matter what you ride the idea is to enjoy the surf just like the road. Share and realize you are not alone… no matter “who was there first”.

  • jon

    Rob Gilley, and Surfer Mag… Blackballed from SUP. Don’t try it, Don’t write about it.

  • http://Coloradostanduppaddle.com David Weihnacht

    Here is the thing. I live in Denver 1000 miles from the nearest ocean. We are seeing four fold growth in SUP this summer. We can paddle any day we want, well when the lakes and rivers are not frozen. We race, ride river waves, and train hard to improve our fitness and skill levels. This is happening all across the country. People are experiencing the joy of gliding through water and it’s changing our lives. We like to travel and we like to surf as well. So what you will be seeing is more and more SUP folks looking to share waves. Strong skilled dedicated water people.
    Its the evolution of surfing like it or not and education and hospitality will create a better water environment than hostility.
    You want to boycott companies that make SUPs? Good luck. What do you buy a board every other year? Most people I know have five or six boards in their families. I have a board for my wife each of my kids, and for myself a race board, distance cruiser, and downriver board. We are the driving force in the surf economy and every board maker knows it.
    Do you want to river surf? Come on out to Colorado, we will welcome you, train you and even lend you equipment.
    See you in the water.

  • Taller than 5 ‘5″ and 165 lbs..

    Most prone surfers are insecure midgets that don’t catch waves. It’s pretty simple. 20% of the riders get 80% of the waves. The 20% prone surfers I know could give two shits, the other 80% are the little twats that say shit when your back is turned when you are on an SUP.

    The ocean is free. I’ll do whatever I want. If you respect me, I’ll respect you, it’s as simple as that. Most SUPers, mysel included, f tear it up and have way more control than most surfers and more often than not can get out of your way a lot faster.

    Here’s a deal, proners can hang out at barreling shore break spots, if it is a long longboard/SUP type wave, it’s all us. Go find a spitting barrel and stay there complaining amongst yourselves.

    O and bye the way I longboard too, so I am a prone surfer, you can forget about approaching the argument from that angle. O yeah, and I kitesurf strapless and windsurf. So yes, I am a well rounded waterman, just like Kalama, just like Laird and just like Naish, not a one trick pony that has a bad attitude. If you were true watermen and not midgtes you would understand the ocean owes no one anything and your self imposed rules to manage it are a bunch of bull shit. You are all invited to go pound sand.

  • Rob

    This is such old news. Who the eff cares? I like to surf, sup surf, body surf, horizontal wife surf, whatever. Go paddle out at crowded Lowers, Cottons, T-Street, or wherever and tell me how much fun it is to constantly rub elbows with a bunch of agros. Yeah that sounds like fun. The reality is people are like sheep. Where the herd is the rest follow. There are plenty of waves and plenty of spots to surf. Get rid of the sheep mentality and go where the herd or flock isn’t. Go surf on whatever you feel like surfing on. Go paddle whatever you feel like paddling on. Shut the F%$K up and just paddle or surf. One last note, where would the surfing industry be without the Stand Up Paddle industry? Just saying…

    One last thing just don’t be a Kook on whatever you decide to ride on.

  • backie

    sometimes i tow my shortboard to out the way spots on my sup. it really depends where u are on earth when it comes to suping, never had any issues anywhere, got skills, got respect, know whats up. there are many surfers in the same category as you put supers. we are also much larger than the average surfer too which seems to help in preventing no confrontations too and its not a beer belly. was in lineup one time (not suping) and surfers were taking piss out of suping, out comes 125kg maori dude built like brick shit house on a big sup and they were like best friends to him lol, all took turns all had fun, no dodgy dangerous dramas, you see its not what you ride – it is your actions that count. i find the generalized anti sup thing from talented surfers laughable because when they finally see us riding our sups (and shortboards maybe) they are all questions… especially at certain place with strong currents / fat takeoffs

  • SUPrStarr

    Get the SUP outta California!! Take your SUP to the wonderful, SUP-friendly part of the Pacific that is Punta de Mita, MX. Rent your ride right on the beach at El Anclote. The water is warm, the waves are fun, the locals SUP and surf. Show some respect and you will have an awesome SUP adventure.
    If the rest of the world was like Punta de Mita, we would all have fun, get plenty waves, and talk story afterwards.

  • Jeff

    Well said Rob. It is a real problem here in the Encinitas breaks. I to have been glad to see a skilled SUP’er that would pull out when a surfer drops in. That, by the way is my conclusion, always drop in on SUP when you want a wave! I believe they are cheating if they catch them outside of the surfers and backdoor first break sections in the actual take off spot.

  • Ryan

    Boo-hoo…. I had a dream once that I was the only surfer in the world, all the waves I could want and no one around… Then some loudmouth writer dude decided to use my hobby as a way to get attention and he wrote about how awesome it was… He had smoked my juice card and now the masses wanted to surf. My point- you write about surfing,no? While we all love to see pics of waves and share the stoke- the act of participating in promoting surfing through mainstream media is crowding the lineups more than anything. I guess a real waterman has to learn that there are many changing conditions out at sea that need to be navigated in order to get what you want out of it.

  • scottys music

    Remember when long boards started making a comeback? The short boarders called them “logs” and had the same attitude as this article. The most critical “crawlers” cannot stand up paddle and besides not having the skill they also have a fear that stand up paddling is better than what they do. And thus are jealous.
    SUPing takes more skill especially in Hawaii with the constant trades and bumpiness. It is hard to paddle into a lumpy windy wave while maintaining balance standing the whole time. It is also a way better workout. FULL BODY workout. Most crawlers develope upper body with scrawney legs. That’s a fact.
    Because SUPing is hard( I have crawl surfed for 40 years also so I can fairly compare the two) it keeps many from learning it enough to succeed in the lineup. The learning curve to surf decent waves is pretty hard. It takes learning a whole new skill set and that also has given me the bug so much that I have only SUPed for the last 5 years. I do not drop in, hog waves or hurt anyone.

  • Justin

    stop whining you schmuck. just enjoy the ocean and share.

  • Brian

    SUPs are kooky sorry …ive surfed everything from body boards, short and longboards and SUP….for one thing dummies your already standing up…the hardest thing to learn in surfing is the timing and pop up balance….your already one step ahead….all these idiots who paddle out on SUPs in Santa Monica…my biggest gripe is guys who paddle back and forth left and right ….not basically staying in the lineup in your spot…if your on a SUP and you dont try and snake everyone i really have no problem with you..but i have yet to see anyone who practices this….and SUP is stupidly easy…dont kid yourself thinking otherwise…a visiting friend wanted to rent one..after i heckled him he got it and I tried it ….it was the easiest board i ever went in the ocean on…i paddled right out and instantly caught about 10 waves and then gave it back before anyone saw me…lol..the one thing i liked about it over prone is you can see all the fish and stingrays better…but it felt like surfing with training wheels…like bodyboarding prone your already in the position you need to be in so of course its easier

  • euro

    there are 5’11” shortboards SUP’s available. maybe shortboards should try those and judge afterwards……

  • Shane

    I am a professional shortboarder and Stand Up Paddler. I’ve got news for you, If you are shortboarding in a area where Stand Ups dominated the lineup you are surfing a soft, mushy beginner wave and you yourself are a kook. The places I normally choose to shortboard 99% of SUP’rs can’t ride anyway.

  • Slatch Jim

    I remember when you could surf anywhere at any time you wanted. Safety ‘church ladies’ disguised as tyrannical lifeguards closed large swaths of So Cal for most the prime time summer. Now knuckle draggers advocate further nose trimming to spite the face of surfing? Let the line up police itself, quit whining about safety in an unsafe sport like surfing, and enjoy the thrill and danger. Most of us have the sense needed to go to an open spot to surf or sup, and the ones that don’t will be naturally selected for extinction.

  • jack

    All you shortboarding, 135lb soaking wet, chronic mastrubating, douche bags need to get something into your heads. Sorry, you don’t own the ocean. Show respect, give respect, regardless of the craft you are riding. If someone is being an idiot, they need to be called out. It’s not about the craft you are surfing.

  • amp

    “You become what you hate.”

  • SUPwahine

    FUCK OFF ALL YOU SUP HATERS! You M.F.’s dont own the ocean. Funny how you all blame SUP’s. SUP boards are smaller than most longboards now. I will continue, with my friends, to surf at so called “shortboard spots”…and show you that we know surf etiquette and give respect. Its you M.F’s that need to work on giving respect. You wonder why YOU are hated? FUCK OFF

  • Vernin

    Last week I’m out at a packed point break. Even though it’s crowded, all in the line up (short and long boarders) are sharing waves.

    Enter the 3 SUP’s. They paddle out the channel 20 yards past the point, turn and burn every set wave that comes in. The mood grows dark in the line up. What was a functioning group now is becoming a mess of anger aimed at the three dorks on SUP’s that don’t know how to surf without a paddle and a board so long you can walk on it like a boat dock.

    Enough comments are directed at them, so they move off, after routing the lineup for the past hour.

    Granted, not all SUP’ers are like this, but too many are and all this article does is acknowledges that.

    By the way, I have a SUP, and a long board, and I use them, but there’s nothing better than a good session on a shortboard. Clearly you “ripping SUP’ers” can’t tell me that you can’t even see that anymore?

    Great article Rob, thanks for representing us “not so” silent masses.

  • David

    Interesting article. I am a SUPer, in fact I SUP professionally, it is how I feed my family. I would never call myself a surfer although I will one day! I live in Sligo, North West of Ireland, home to one of the top five Big Surf Waves in the world. I am a passionate supporter of Surfing and promote it when and wherever possible. Although I grew up sailing everything and anything on the Atlantic Ocean I practise all my commercial SUP inland, on the incredible Lough Gill and River Bonet. Yesterday, I took 28 American tourists, most who had never SUP’ed before on a SUP Safari covering 5km. They were all in their regular clothes, not one fell in the water! Within five years the economy surrounding SUP will dwarf the combined economies of BOTH Surfing and Kayaking. Regardless of what you feel Stand Up Paddling will be the single biggest water sport in the history of all water sport. Language like ‘oar-wielding zealots’ is, in my opinion, immature and unhelpful. Frankly your article, although well written, reminds me of homophobic rants with the soft handshake of ‘I have nothing against Gays, some of my best friends are..’ added at the end.

    Cop on, In life there are idiots everywhere, certainly a significant percentage of prone surfers fall into this category.

    • Mark

      ‘I am a passionate supporter of Surfing and promote it when and wherever possible.’ – Why do you promote it? To what end? You realise ‘it’ doesn’t need supporting, surfing is not a charitable cause or worthwhile idea. If you like surfing then go surf.

  • Damien Share

    stand up row boaters kindly yield 300 feet between yourself and the nearest surfer, Thank you kindly

  • Not a fan

    SUPs shouldn’t be allowed at most breaks. It’s not even surfing, it’s a boat or as the Coast Guard classifies a vessel, that can easily hurt someone. If you need anything but your arms to paddle into a wave then it’s not surfing. Yes, that means you tow-in boarders.

    As little as 3 SUPs can ruin a break for real surfers for as long as they are out there. Do us a favor and go find an unnamed break with no surfers.

  • Pete

    SUP is as weak as wind surfing and kite boarding and all these kooks should be banned from all surf spots.

  • Cliff

    Nothing really changes when it comes to man’s bad behaviour. Apartheid, segregation…..extermination??? SUP haters, there is no difference. Surfers have to be some of the most selfish people in our world today, with so many behaving like selfish, arrogant brats. Not willing to share. What makes you think you have the right to dictate who is allowed in the lineup. Do not give me the argument that SUPs are dangerous, because there are plenty of kooks on surfboards.

    • Jonah

      Yes there are kooks who are dangerous but your just giving them a bigger board to run over people with and paddle

  • dakar34

    I love the feel of accelerating and standing up on a long board, but there are days and places where the right tool is an SUP. Are there sometimes dorks or newbies out on an SUP? Absolutely – I’ve been hit by one who was in conditions above his skill level (as well as, admittedly, by people on long boards too). In cold water locations I think an SUP might be a great choice, especially on small to medium days (I’ll leave big wave SUPing to Laird et al). Unless you just like sitting with 1/3-1/2 of your body in cold water on an otherwise beautiful day. And BTW, it’s worth remembering that people on fiberglass boards were the new kids on the block once, pushing out the body surfers at breaks like Queens on Oahu’s south shore.

    • Oldfart

      I ride an 8’8″ sup . I prone surfed for 50 years. Back problems caused me to quit prone surfing and I took up suping. It cured my back problem. I been suping for about 5 years and I love it. My board is rather small for a so I pretty much have to take off in the lineup like every one else. I understand these guys with these 12 ft. sup logs taking off on any ocean going swell out there. Yeah it kind of pisses me off too. Most those guys are kooks and don’t belong in the line up. I don’t sup in any of the popular spots. I got my shitty little break and I size up the crowd and if it’s to thick I move down the beach. I think that a lots of surfers my age are kind of knuckle heads don’t want to try anything new. Respect me and I’ll respect you.