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Wave paddling is the supreme discipline of paddling. And it’s not only insanely fun, but paddle boards are also great for surfing.

With long paddle boards you get almost every wave and even the small ones are really fun.

With Surf paddling you don’t need to paddle strenuously lying on your belly or to stand up wobbly. Especially beginners will have quick moments of success.

In the following, we will go into what is important to Wave paddle boards and present our favourites among paddle boards for waves and sea.

Best Wave Paddle Boards for Surfing

Bestseller No. 1
UPWELL Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board with Kayak Seat, Premium SUP Modular Paddle Boards for...
  • 【PROFESSIONAL SUP DESIGN】UPWELL inflatable stand up...
  • 【PREMIUM MATERIALS】Our boards are made of the...
  • 【FULL SET OF ACCESSORIES】Purchase one you will get...
  • 【ULTRA PORTABLE 】Our paddle board is designed wider...
Bestseller No. 2
Run Wave Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board 10.6'×33''×6''(6'' Thick) Non-Slip Deck with Premium SUP...
  • №1 Superior Material and Maneuverability - Made of...
  • №2 Realistic painted effort - Beautiful lotus shape...
  • №3 Inflatable and Portable - Easy inflates and...
  • №4 Wide SUP Deck Design and Balance - Runwave stand...
Bestseller No. 3
Wave & Beyond Inflatable 9'8" Ultra-Light Stand Up Paddle Board for Youth/Adults at All Skill Levels...
  • NON-SLIP SOFT EVA DECK - Ideal for kids, teen and...
Bestseller No. 4
Bestway Hydro Force Wave Edge 122" x 27" Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Set with Aluminum Oar,...
  • Ride the waves with the inflatable stand-up paddle...
  • Built with 2 molded side fins and a removable middle...
  • Constructed of drop stitch materials to provide...
  • Features a quick inflation and deflation air valve for...
Bestseller No. 5
WAVESTORM 9ft6 SUP Kayak Hybrid Stand Up Paddleboard Foam Soft Top SUP for Adults and Kids of All...
  • EPS Foam Core with 3 Stringers with WBS (Water Barrier...
  • Textured deck traction on top deck
  • Storage accessory straps
  • Collapsing and removable foot rests and adjustable seat
Bestseller No. 6
Hurley PhantomTour 10' 6" Stand Up Paddle Board with Hikeable Backpack, Air Pump, Adjustable...
  • Includes: 10’ 6” Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard,...
  • The Hurley PhantomTour 10’ 6” SUP is perfect for...
  • With 2 ply high density drop stitch and pro laminate...
  • The included hikeable waterproof utility backpack and...
Bestseller No. 7
Skatinger 11'x34'' Extra Wide Inflatable Paddle Board, Up to 420lbsPaddle Boards for Adults, Stable...
  • 【HIGHLY DURABLE MATERIAL】 Non-slip EVA deck pad of...
AngebotBestseller No. 8
Roc Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards with Premium SUP Paddle Board Accessories, Wide Stable Design,...
  • Board dimensions are 10 Feet long by 33 inches wide and...
  • Leading industry weight limit of 350Lb
  • Our extra wide design creates an incredible all-around...
  • All boards come complete with premium accessories that...
AngebotBestseller No. 9
SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (6 Inches Thick) with Premium SUP Accessories & Carry...
  • WIDE SUP DESIGN – The Serene Life stand up paddling...
  • SUPERIOR MANEUVERABILITY – The triple bottom panel...
  • NON-SLIP SOFT TOP DECK – Great for beginners, our...
  • COMPLETE PADDLEBOARD KIT – Every SereneLife Paddle...

Checklist: Here’s What’s Important About Wave Paddle Boards for Surfers.

  • Design (Shape): When surfing and riding waves, the agile maneuverability of the board is in the foreground. Suitable models are therefore usually shorter and have a curved side line (rails), so that changes of direction and turns succeed quickly.
    The tip of the board (“Noserocker”) and sometimes also the tail (“Scoob-Rocker”) are clearly bent upwards on some models and therefore do not sink so easily in waves.
  • Width: In order to ensure a stable standing position when surfing, the width of the Wave paddle boards is quite lush in relation to the length.
  • Thickness: Some specialized models are designed slightly thinner (<15 cm/6″) than the “normal” paddle boards, thereby reducing the lateral attack surface. The board is easier to steer and does not become a plaything of the tides so easily.
  • Volume and payload: wave boards are overall more compact and often cut a little thinner than the boards for “normal” use. The volume and load capacity are therefore lower. However, this is not a problem in practice, but even desirable.
    On the one hand, the board then lies a little deeper in the water and thus has less surface area to attack, and on the other hand, the wave provides additional buoyancy.
    How you can calculate the load capacity of a surf or wave paddle board and what special features there are to consider with this type of board, you can find out here.
  • Fin Setup: Special fin setups are necessary for maximum control and best maneuverability. Especially the side fins of paddle boards for waves and sea are often one size larger. Furthermore, there are also some models with more than 3 (removable) fins. The higher resistance of the fins in the water always improves the stability and maneuverability of the board.
  • Leash (safety line): Opinions differ on the subject of leashes. Many paddlers prefer the so-called “surf leashes” when surfing. In contrast to the “coiled leash”, the leash in this variant is not spiral-shaped, but always full-length.
    In the whitewater area (“Whitewater”) with strong currents, however, the use of special leashes with emergency release (“Quick Release”) is recommended in any case.
  • Scope of delivery: Most paddle boards for surfing are delivered with an accessory package that includes everything you need for a successful start. However, there are also models without paddles, for example, as this is not absolutely necessary for surfing.
  • Price: In terms of price, most wave and surf paddle boards are in the solid midfield, very cheap offers are rarely found and should be treated with caution.
    Although the material expenditure is often somewhat lower due to the compact dimensions, the material quality and workmanship must be all the better to withstand the challenging conditions.

Which Is the Best Wave Paddle Board?

On the subject of paddle boards, there are always mocking comments, especially from surfers. The board becomes an “air mattress” for “untalented landlubbers” who, just because they ride a watercraft the size of a ship, are always the first in the wave.

A look at the pros reveals that a lot can be done with Wave paddle boards. This video is from the 2011 World Tour.

Wave paddling is actually not that easy even for experienced surfers. If you want to start right away with one of the short paddle boards for surfing, you will probably make acquaintance with the water more often than you would like. Normal paddling is perfect on almost windless days, because even small waves are difficult to balance.

With normal wind forces for surfing like 3 or 4 on the Beaufort scale, it becomes very demanding with the paddle board. To make it work for you anyway, I wrote this guide.

The Short Answer: The Best Boards for Paddle Board Surfing

Paddle Boards for Beginners

Learning paddling is not that difficult. I recommend a calm lake for the start. Start by sliding the board about hip deep into the water, then get on the board with your knees first. Place your knees in the middle of the board (this is usually where the handle is).

Now align yourself to the front. The paddling stance is always parallel and about shoulder width. The carrying handle is exactly under your body’s center of gravity. Now slowly stand up.

Just like cycling, the balancing act in the standing position is the hardest part. Once you start paddling, the resistance of the paddle in the water gives you support and the speed immediately makes the board more stable.

The paddle is gripped with the hand of the paddle side down. This hand only guides the paddle. The other hand is on the handle of the paddle. All the power comes from this arm. The arm is permanently stretched.

  • If you paddle right, the left hand is on top of the handle, the right hand is on the bottom of the shaft and the left arm is permanently stretched.
  • If you paddle left, the right hand is on top of the handle, the left hand is on the bottom of the shaft and the right arm is permanently stretched.

Note: The paddle blade is usually beveled. The beveled side faces forward.

When paddling, you thrust the paddle sideways into the water in front of you and pull it toward you up to the level of your feet. Either you change the side every 3 to 4 paddle strokes or you turn the paddle blade slightly outwards and pull it away from you. With both variations you stay on course.

Learn Paddle Board Wave for Beginners

Before you start right away at the next surf spot, you should rather train a bit. I recommend that you first find a quiet beach where you can practice in peace. Here there is no danger of endangering other water sports enthusiasts (and therefore yourself).

According to paddling pro Florian Jung, there are seven golden rules for your wave paddling technique in a nutshell:

  • Wave and surf: First, find a secluded spot. Observe the behavior of the waves. Optimal are at most chest-high, diagonally breaking waves, from which you can paddle out again.
  • Preparation: For Florian, the right preparation for paddle board surfing consists of the three aspects of fitness, the right board and practiced handling of the board. Train paddling beforehand on lakes and canals. You should be an experienced swimmer. For starters, 9 ft (274 cm) is perfect. With experience, boards can get even shorter.
  • Right of way rules: Be friendly and show respect. Furthermore, you should respect the right-of-way rules. Paddlers leaving a wave over the crest (the lip of the wave) have the right of way. If two paddlers are in the same wave, the one who is closer to the breaking zone has the right of way. If you don’t have right of way, you must turn away. Even if that means leaving the wave over the lip of the wave.
  • Alignment in the water: to get into the water at all when rolling white water, you should align your board exactly perpendicular to the white water or waves. This way, the board is barely caught and simply floats over it.
  • Crossing waves: Ideally, you’ll find a spot or timing where no big waves will stop you. You can cross waves lying down (pinch the paddle between your chest and board), kneeling (upper hand also grabs onto the board), or standing (speeding toward the wave, bow pointing toward the wave, kneeling at the crest of the wave and leaning back as you “dive”).
  • Catching waves: With the right timing and feel, you’ll catch the waves. Paddle too early rather than too late or you’ll come up empty.
  • Ride the waves: Now take a surfing foot position with one foot (right or left doesn’t matter) in front. On the crest, shift your weight to the tip of the board. The feeling of riding into the valley is simply gigantic. Before you dive into the wave trough, you shift your weight back and apply edge pressure. With edge pressure, body turns and paddle strokes you can perform turns.

What is Important in a Paddling Board for Surfing?

Paddling pro Florian advises 9 ft (274 cm) long boards for starters. The length plays an important role, but is not a limitation, although it is true that professionals ride with short boards. Franz Orsi, the national coach of the Portuguese paddling team, rides a 7.2 ft board, for example.

In the end, you can surf big waves excellently even with big paddle boards. The most important features of a wave paddle board are high stiffness and reinforced edges.

Real beginner boards offer above all a lot of tipping stability and also conceal sometimes faulty approaching of the wave. Therefore you need much more pressure when carving.

Depending on your experience, your weight and your ability, you have to find your personal balance of buoyancy, stability and handling in the wave. Gradually, with skill, the way goes slowly to shorter and shorter boards.

The rails in wave paddle board are subjected to much more stress than in normal paddle board tours. Many typical inflatable boards are therefore out of the question for wave riding.

The Right Paddle Board Equipment for Waves and Sea

If you take a paddle board wave course, you will be provided with an appropriate board. If you want to start on your own, you can find my recommended boards above. But there is more to paddling equipment.

On the one hand you need a leash. This leash is made of a loop you wear on your ankle. The other end is attached to the board. With Wave paddling it is super important that your leash is coiled. This means that it is coiled and will not expand until you fall into the water.

With older models (simple plastic leashes), you run the risk of getting caught in underwater plants, rocks, or other surfers. This can cause nasty injuries!

The right clothing depends on the water temperature. If you start at the Mediterranean Sea, normal swimwear will be enough. However, the Atlantic Ocean is far from bathtub temperature. Here a paddling wetsuit is the best choice. It not only protects you from the cold water, but also from abrasions and minor injuries.

In a drybag you can transport provisions and all kinds of things that should not get wet. If you absolutely have to take your smartphone with you, you should get a waterproof cell phone case for it. When buying the drybag, make sure that it is securely fastened. With the Wave paddle board this can also be lost. However, the bags float. A model in a bright color is easier to spot between the crests of the waves.

You have probably heard of Surfer’s Ear.

Surfer’s Ear refers to a narrowing of the ear canal caused by abnormal bone growth in the ear canal. In particular, people who participate in water sports for years and are exposed to cold water and wind are considered at risk. The consequences are, water draining out of the ear more poorly, increased risk of ear inflammation, and (in rare cases) decreased hearing performance. Learn more.

The best way to prevent this is with surfears earplugs. These completely seal the ear from water. They are adjustable in three levels and are somewhat gel-like. This way, the surfears adapt to the individual ear. And the best thing is that you can still hear perfectly with these earplugs!

Watch out for the sun. On the water you don’t need it so much, but especially there a sun protection is most important. Because of all the reflections of the water surface, I find wearing surf sunglasses very practical. They don’t have to be expensive.

I always recommend a life jacket if there is a risk of injury. For normal paddling, especially far out on the water, a paddling life jacket can be very useful.

Depending on your skill level, wave height and especially the area you should consider wearing a vest as well. If that’s too much for you, you can at least strap on the rest tube.

This is a narrow abdominal belt. In an emergency, you pull a pin and in seconds a yellow swim buoy inflates to keep you afloat.

Wave Paddling Packing List

The Best Spots for Wave Paddle Board Beginners

Beginners will find the best spots in countries like France, Spain and Portugal. Here, one surf school follows the next on the Atlantic beaches. More and more of them also offer Wave paddling courses. I expect that the number of surfing courses especially for paddle board will increase.

You will also find courses on Fuerteventura or Sardinia. On the latter island, however, there are many more schools offering kitesurfing. For paddle board surfing you will have to search longer.

If you want to go further away, Cape Town, Bali and – probably the origin of paddle boarding – Hawaii are the best destinations. Hawaii is the El Dorado of surfing. Paddle board surfing is also becoming more and more popular here.

Should I Take a Course as a Wave Paddle Board Beginner?

If you already know how to surf well, you will have no problems with paddling in the waves. If you are completely new to surfing, you should take a course. Of course, paddling can be learned quickly on the lake.

If you fall into the water, nothing will happen. But surfing you do near the beach. Especially spots on the Atlantic coast can have their pitfalls.

As a passionate surfer and surfer you are familiar with these and know how to deal with them, as a paddler and surfing novice it can quickly become dangerous. I’m talking about:

  • Cold water
  • Other water sports that can be dangerous
  • Rocks
  • Current
  • Tides
  • Injuries from your own board
  • Dangers from marine animals (jellyfish, sharks, larger fish, …)
  • High solar radiation

If you are new to the dangers and have no wave experience in another water sport, you are in good hands in a beginner Wave paddling course. You will get a basic knowledge about currents and tides.

You will also learn important rules to keep you and the other water sports enthusiasts safe and you will get tips and tricks to recognize if a spot is good for surfing.

The best part of the course is the practical part, where you will learn the surfing and paddling technique structurally, allowing you to progress much faster. Usually a session lasts 2 hours, so you have enough time afterwards to keep trying on your own.


Which is better: an inflatable paddle board or a hard board?

Inflatable paddle boards now account for about 90% of the market. In many areas of the paddling sport, these types of boards strongly dominate.

The ease of transportation and storage are a major reason for this. However, for wave paddling, hard boards are much better.
The edges are much more defined than would be possible with inflatables. In the wave the hard boards (composite boards) show much better characteristics.

For paddle board wave riding, hard boards have been used almost exclusively.
Learn more about Wave paddle Boards.

Should I buy or rent a Wave paddle board?

Before you buy a board, do your research. Of course, if you have the chance to try out your favorites at a manufacturer’s event, that’s even better.

Wave boards, just like other paddle boards, can vary greatly. Especially in the last few years, the speed of innovation in the industry has increased along with the ever-widening audience.

In addition to many new manufacturers, there are also always new technologies. The result is significantly greater differences in feel between old and new boards.

If you want to buy a Wave paddle used, I advise you to go for a newer model. Old boards are inferior to new models in the areas of edge reinforcement, tear resistance and stability without a chance.

When renting, of course, the cost of renting always comes back to you. You also don’t have the flexibility to go to the beach spontaneously.
Learn more about Wave paddle Boards.

How long should the paddle be when paddle board surfing?

The rule of thumb is that Wave paddle length = body height + 10 cm to 15 cm (4-6″).
Learn more about Wave SUP Boards.


For those who are not lucky enough to live by the sea, paddling is a great way to get a little board feeling outside of surfing trips. Furthermore paddling is an excellent full body workout.

This way you’ll reach even more waves next summer. At best, standing on the board and equipped with a paddle, you’ll get them all.

Hi, my name is Max. In 2016, on my first SUP trip, I was still a bit shaky on the SUP board. But quickly the ambition grabbed me and my passion for SUP was ignited. That’s why I founded stand-up-paddling.org the same year. Our mission is to help beginners discover this sport and bring more transparency into the market with our in-depth product reviews.

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