About two weeks ago I finally made the jump and added a surf specific SUP to the collection of paddle craft. I picked up a 8'11" Lopez Lil' Darlin the night before I left for a week of surfing in SoCal. Up until now I've been surfing boards in the 11 - 12' size and having a blast, but I was ready for more performance. I made the trek down by car and met up with Hales and some other friends and right away got into the water.
The board is obviously much less stable and slower than what I'm used to - on flatwater. On the wave, it is fast, stable and maneuverable, but I need more time before I have control of it. After five days in well formed small waves, I felt really pleased on my progression in that short time and got a good sense of what the board can do once I improve my skills a bit.
My background in the surfzone is roughly ten years of sea kayak surfing. Very little in short boats, some longboarding and a bit of time on a shortboard. I've always really loved surfing waves, especially in sea kayaks, but I won't be switching back anytime soon. The SUP is sooooo much more fun on the wave and is opening up a new realm of paddling fun for me.
After five days in San Diego the deck pad was barely hanging on, so first order of business once I returned was to strip it off and remount it. I didn't document the process with photos, but feel it is worth mentioning that it is a ton of work. The pad peeled off easily enough, but obviously left a ton of residue. I finally came to a system that made short work of a clean removal of all stickiness. Next I wanted to try something different and cut the pad into many smaller pieces approximately 2" by 4". After more work laying it out, taping it off, using a spray adhesive to mount and walking on the board to provide pressure, I'm finally done and the finished product is pretty nice. So far I really like the grip it provides but time will tell as to how long the pad will stay down. If it fails me, I will likely be going back to good old fashioned wax.