Words Dom Moore // Photo Spikyshots
No matter what sort of a day you’re having, it’s nice to think that somewhere, some poor individual (perhaps even several poor individuals) is / are discovering the medieval catapulting effect of being sat on the back of a monster sup as the nose stuffs and it pitch poles in the surf.
Let me tell you it’s quite a launch. But it takes a certain amount of discipline to get into such a ridiculous situation, and if you get the chance to surf a monster sup this summer you’ll want to make sure your leviathan wipeouts are out in the surf zone and not just on the inside trying to paddle out. Remember the mantra, if you can’t go home you may as well go big.
Distributing your squad for best effect is crucial. For best linear drive and wave catching, have your two most powerful paddlers towards the front where the steerage effect is at its least. This allows them to smash away at maximum power without disrupting the line you’re taking for the wave.
These two front paddlers also set the rhythm for the stroke, the paddlers behind them must fall in line. It’s not really important who the middle paddlers are so they can be your least experienced troops. The guys at the back are responsible for steering, as that’s where the craft responds best. They can influence steering by forward or back paddling and while they needn’t be big or strong for this, they must be able to work together to keep the craft on a straight line when paddling for a wave. Now you’ve decided who’s going where, you need to paddle out to the surf…
Over the top
Don’t muck about here. Push the craft out directly into incoming swell. These boards are so heavy that they just smash through whitewater. Once you’re all above waist depth, jump on and start paddling out. Sing, chant, keep the morale up and keep that board perpendicular to the swell no matter what. If everyone keeps paddling, it will get out there!
When faced with a particularly frightening wave about to pitch on you, shift towards the centre of the board a bit, lie flat like a squashed frog, hold your paddle tight and let it wash over you. If someone gets washed off weigh up how close you are to getting out back. If you’re nearly there, proceed and then wait out back for them to swim to the craft.
Well, you’re all out back and have just discovered that paddling a monster sup in surf is the most physically demanding thing in the galaxy. But look ho! A set approaches and glory awaits!
Get your craft pointing directly back to shore well in advance of when you want to catch the swell and have everyone shift forward a few feet. Keep the sup slowly moving forwards at ‘idle speed’. As the swell gets closer start to steadily pick up the stroke till you have a powerful, smooth rhythm. Frantic slapping at this point will disrupt your line and you’ll miss the wave.
If your timing is good you should be able to paddle into the wave at about 60 % effort. Keep paddling for longer than you would on a regular sup though, till you feel the unmistakable release. At that point, everyone should hop to their feet and surf in!
What follows next will be an unforgettable few seconds of bliss mixed with disbelief that it’s all worked before either a rail or the nose digs and everyone gets flung off. It’s a complete yard-sale and every man for himself, just pray that it’s not you that resurfaces underneath the monster sup and gets stuck underneath it. Maybe you’ll get banned from your beach, maybe you won’t! Retrieve your paddles and bodies etc…, have a breather and try again. Just remember to save some energy for the really hard part – carrying it back up the sand afterwards. SUP