Extreme SUP: The Do’s and Don’ts of Boat Wake Surfing

Using Your SUP Surf Paddle Board on Flat Water

Naish Mana Surf SUP

The Naish Mana 8’10” Surf Sup is incredibly stable and maneuverable.

Suppose you have a Naish Mana 8’10” Surf SUP, a paddle board that is designed for dominating the surf using an awesome tail rocker and a near perfect platform for excellent maneuverability but you are hundreds of miles away from the nearest ocean. What can you do with it? It isn’t necessarily designed for flat water paddling or distant touring because of the grooved diamond decking, a must along the shoreline. It is designed to be a lightweight and stable ride for every wave condition. But what of there are no waves?

But maybe you can use it on flat water if you make your own surf. I say this with this huge caveat in mind: what I’m about to write about is dangerous and is worthy of a few cautionary notes before you try it.

If you’ve never seen this done, this video will get your juices flowing. All you need is the Naish Mana, an inboard motorized boat, the right amount of ballast in the boat, good flat water, and a just a dash of crazy.

We already talked a bit about the paddle board and why it will work best for this kind of wave riding activity. So let’s move on to the wave maker. Inboard motorized boats are the best to try this with for several reasons. Outboard motors have exposed props and that is just simply not safe. In order to get good waves from those types of motors, dolfins need to be installed. Leave the outboard motor boats for the skiers.

The best waves are created by a boat that is lower in the water. Some folks use water filled bladders as ballast to drive the end of the boat deeper into the water and create deeper waves. Be sure you do your homework on this weighting of a boat. You can sink it. Don’t forget to calculate the passengers and gear. Everybody should have a life vest on; SUPs should have a PFD as well. (And don’t forget to remove the ballast when you trailer the boat.)

SUP Wake Surfing

SUP Wake Surfing

This sort of wave making can upset other water users so be responsible and follow the rules of the body of water you are on.

You should note that the SUPer is in close proximity to the boat itself and that is not something a beginner should attempt. You may be tempted to try this on open water with passing vessels. Keep in mind, the USCG considers you a vessel on bays, harbors, and open water situations. If you are creating a danger by hanging out in shipping or boating lanes looking for bigger and faster waves, you will get caught.

If a friend is trying this for the first time on your Naish Mana, they need to identify their dominant foot. This is the foot you brace yourself with if you are pushed unexpectedly from behind. If it’s the left foot then they should be looking for waves generated on the port side or left side of the boat; right footers should be on the opposite side or starboard. Not all boats create waves of equal size on both sides of the boat, so as your experience grows with each run, you might switch.

It won’t be long before you begin trying to do tricks. For a full list of these maneuvers click on this link. It also includes the criteria a competition uses to judge your skill level. Yes, there are competitions.

The general idea behind SUP boarding is the freedom from motors, the extension of your mind and body in the pursuit of balance and speed or distance, and the endless pursuit of fun on liquid. Wake SUP surfing on flatwater is not for everyone but it is undeniably a rush. One last thought:  Be safe out there.

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