ride the waves sup surfing in malibu california
ride the waves sup surfing in malibu california

Come experience the thrill of Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) surfing in the iconic beach town of Malibu, California. As the waves crash against the shore, we invite you to hop on a paddleboard and ride the waves like never before. With its picturesque coastline and crystal-clear waters, Malibu offers the perfect setting for beginners and experienced surfers alike to enjoy this exciting water sport. Whether you’re looking to catch your very first wave or challenge yourself with some advanced maneuvers, our knowledgeable instructors will guide you every step of the way. Get ready to feel the rush of adrenaline as you Ride the Waves SUP surfing in Malibu, where breathtaking views and unforgettable memories await you.

Where to Go

When it comes to SUP surfing in Malibu, California, there are several amazing spots to choose from. Whether you’re a beginner looking for gentle waves or an experienced surfer seeking a challenge, Malibu has something for everyone. Here are some of the best spots to check out:

Surfrider Beach

Surfrider Beach is a popular destination for all types of surfers, including SUP enthusiasts. Located in the heart of Malibu, this beach offers consistent waves and a vibrant surfing community. With its iconic Malibu Pier and stunning views, Surfrider Beach is a must-visit spot for any SUP surfer.

Zuma Beach

If you’re looking for a more laid-back and family-friendly beach, Zuma Beach is the place to go. With its wide sandy shores and manageable waves, Zuma Beach is perfect for beginners or those looking for a relaxing day on the water. This beach also has ample parking and facilities, making it a convenient choice for a day of SUP surfing.

Point Dume

For those craving a bit more adventure, Point Dume is a fantastic option. Located at the northern end of Malibu, this beach offers breathtaking views of the coastline and is known for its powerful waves. Point Dume is recommended for experienced SUP surfers who are comfortable in challenging conditions and want to push their limits.

Topanga Beach

Topanga Beach is another gem in the Malibu area, offering a more secluded and tranquil experience. The gentle waves and smaller crowds make it an ideal spot for beginners or those looking to escape the hustle and bustle. With its beautiful cliffside views and peaceful atmosphere, Topanga Beach is a hidden gem for SUP surfers.

Best Time to Go

Malibu’s weather and surf conditions vary throughout the year, so it’s essential to know the best times to go SUP surfing. Each season offers a unique experience, so plan your trip accordingly.

Summer Season

Summer is a prime time for SUP surfing in Malibu. From June to August, the weather is warm, and the waves tend to be smaller, making it perfect for beginners and those seeking a more relaxed surf session. Additionally, the longer daylight hours allow for extended time on the water.

Fall Season

Fall is another fantastic time to go SUP surfing in Malibu. September to November brings cooler temperatures, but the waves are typically more consistent and powerful. Intermediate to advanced SUP surfers will enjoy the larger swells and challenging conditions that the fall season brings.

Winter Season

While the winter months of December to February can bring cooler water temperatures, experienced SUP surfers can find epic waves during this time. Winter storms can generate big swells, creating ideal conditions for those looking for a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping surf session.

Spring Season

Spring is a transitional season in Malibu, where the weather begins to warm up, and the crowded summer season hasn’t quite arrived yet. March to May offers a balance of moderate waves and pleasant weather. It’s an excellent time for all skill levels to enjoy SUP surfing before the peak summer crowds hit.

Essential Equipment

Before hitting the waves, it’s essential to have the right equipment to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential items for SUP surfing in Malibu:

Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP)

The most critical piece of gear for SUP surfing is, of course, the paddleboard itself. There are various types of SUP boards designed specifically for surfing, offering stability and maneuverability in the water. Make sure to choose a board that suits your skill level and the wave conditions you’ll be tackling.


A SUP paddle is necessary for propelling yourself through the water. Adjustable paddles are recommended, as they allow for customization based on your height and preferred paddling style. Choose a paddle that is comfortable to hold and lightweight for better maneuverability.


A leash is a safety device that tethers you to your SUP board and prevents it from drifting away if you fall off. It’s crucial to use a leash to ensure that you stay connected to your board at all times, especially in strong currents or big waves.


The water in Malibu can be quite chilly, even during the summer months. Wearing a wetsuit is essential for maintaining body heat and protecting your skin from abrasions. The thickness of the wetsuit will depend on the water temperature, so be sure to choose one that suits the season and your personal preference.


Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is crucial, especially when spending hours on the water. Choose a waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF rating and apply it generously before heading out. Don’t forget to reapply throughout the day, as water and sweat can diminish its effectiveness.

Safety Whistle

A safety whistle is a small but invaluable tool for attracting attention in case of an emergency. Attach it to your life jacket or wetsuit for easy access. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, blowing the whistle can help alert nearby surfers or lifeguards to your location.

Life Jacket

While not required for experienced swimmers, wearing a life jacket is highly recommended, especially for beginners or those who may feel less confident in the water. A life jacket provides additional buoyancy and can potentially save your life in the event of a mishap.

Choosing the Right SUP

Selecting the right SUP board is crucial to maximize your enjoyment and performance while SUP surfing. Several factors come into play when choosing a board, including length, width, volume, weight capacity, and hull shape. Understanding these factors will help you make an informed decision.


The length of a SUP board affects its maneuverability and stability. Shorter boards (around 9 feet) are more maneuverable and better suited for experienced surfers. Longer boards (around 12 feet) offer more stability and are suitable for beginners or those looking for a more relaxed surfing experience.


The width of a SUP board also contributes to its stability and balance. Wider boards (around 32 inches or more) provide excellent stability, making them ideal for beginners or larger individuals. Narrower boards (around 28 inches) are more maneuverable, but they require better balance and technique.


The volume of a SUP board determines its buoyancy and weight capacity. Higher volume boards have more buoyancy and can support heavier riders or additional gear. Lower volume boards are more responsive and suited for lighter riders or those seeking a more performance-oriented board.

Weight Capacity

Each SUP board has a recommended weight capacity, indicating the maximum weight it can support while maintaining performance. It’s essential to choose a board that can comfortably accommodate your weight and any additional gear or accessories you may bring along.

Hull Shape

The shape of the hull (the bottom of the board) affects how the SUP board performs in the water. Flat bottom hulls offer stability and are ideal for beginners, while concave or V-shaped hulls provide better maneuverability and control for more experienced surfers.

Getting Started

Now that you have your equipment and have chosen the right SUP board, it’s time to get started with SUP surfing in Malibu. Here are some steps to help you get started:

Finding an Instructor

If you’re new to SUP surfing, it’s highly recommended to take lessons from a qualified instructor. They can teach you the fundamentals, help you learn proper techniques, and ensure your safety in the water. Look for local surf schools or instructors in Malibu who specialize in SUP surfing.

Learning the Basics

Your instructor will guide you through the basics of SUP surfing, including how to paddle, stand on the board, and maintain balance. They will also teach you how to fall safely and get back on your board. Take your time to master these fundamental skills before venturing into more challenging waves.

Practicing Proper Paddling

Paddling is a critical aspect of SUP surfing. Learn the proper paddling technique, including how to hold the paddle, how to position yourself on the board, and how to generate power efficiently. Practicing paddling in calm waters will help you build strength and endurance, making it easier to navigate the waves.

Mastering Balance and Stance

Maintaining balance and having the correct stance are essential for SUP surfing. Practice finding your center of gravity and maintaining stability on the board. Start with a wide stance and gradually narrow it as you gain confidence. With time and practice, you’ll develop muscle memory and find the balance that works best for you.

SUP Surfing Techniques

Once you have a solid foundation in SUP surfing, it’s time to learn some specific techniques to ride the waves like a pro. Here are some key techniques to master:

Paddling Out

Paddling out through breaking waves can be challenging but essential to get to the lineup where the waves are breaking. Use an angled approach to navigate through the whitewater and avoid getting hit by waves head-on. Keep your paddle in the water and use strong, consistent strokes to propel yourself forward.

Catching Waves

To catch a wave, you’ll need to be in the right position and time your paddle strokes correctly. Position yourself slightly in front of the breaking wave and paddle hard as it approaches. Once you feel the wave lift your board, continue paddling to match its speed, then transition into a standing position as smoothly as possible.

Adjusting Your Stance

As you ride a wave, your stance plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and control. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees to absorb the motion of the wave. Distribute your weight evenly on the board and engage your core muscles for stability. Adjust your stance as needed to maintain control and maneuverability.

Turning on a Wave

To turn on a wave, you’ll need to lean and shift your weight in the desired direction. Start by looking towards where you want to turn, then shift your weight onto your toes or heels, depending on the direction of the turn. Engage your paddle to help guide you through the turn and maintain balance.

Exiting the Wave

Once you’ve ridden the wave and it starts to lose energy, it’s time to safely exit. Turn your board away from the breaking wave, keeping your weight centered and using paddle strokes to steer. As you paddle away from the wave, maintain a stable stance and be aware of any other surfers in the vicinity.

Safety Tips

While SUP surfing in Malibu can be an exhilarating experience, it’s essential to prioritize safety at all times. Here are some crucial safety tips to keep in mind:

Assessing the Conditions

Before heading out, take the time to assess the surf conditions. Pay attention to the wave size, current strength, wind direction, and any potential hazards. If the conditions are beyond your skill level or comfort zone, it’s best to wait for more suitable conditions or seek an alternate surf spot.

Avoiding Collisions

Always be aware of other surfers and water users in the vicinity. Maintain a safe distance and avoid crowding the lineup or interfering with others’ waves. Communicate with hand signals or verbal cues to help prevent collisions and ensure everyone’s safety.

Dealing with Wipeouts

Wipeouts are an inevitable part of surfing, including SUP surfing. If you fall off your board, try to fall away from it to avoid being hit or tangled in your leash. Protect your head by covering it with your arms and hold onto your paddle to prevent it from becoming a hazard to yourself or others.

Being Aware of Rip Currents

Rip currents can be present at certain beaches in Malibu and can be dangerous if you’re caught in one. Learn how to identify rip currents and how to escape them by swimming parallel to the shore until you’re out of its pull. If you’re unsure about the conditions, consult with local lifeguards or experienced surfers for advice.

Watching Out for Marine Life

Malibu’s waters are home to a variety of marine life, including dolphins, seals, and occasionally sharks. While encounters are rare, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and respect their natural habitat. Avoid disturbing or approaching marine animals and report any unusual or concerning behavior to the appropriate authorities.

Local Etiquette

When SUP surfing in Malibu, it’s crucial to follow local etiquette to ensure a harmonious and enjoyable experience for everyone. Here are some essential etiquette guidelines:

Respecting the Lineup

The lineup refers to the line of surfers waiting to catch waves. Respect the lineup by taking turns and not cutting in front of others. Wait your turn patiently and avoid dropping in on someone else’s wave. Treat fellow surfers with respect and courtesy.

Taking Turns

Take turns and share the waves with others. Avoid hogging all the waves or continuously catching waves without giving others a chance. Remember that everyone is there to enjoy the experience, so be mindful of others and share the waves fairly.

Avoiding Drop-Ins

A drop-in occurs when a surfer paddles into a wave that another surfer is already riding. Avoid drop-ins by waiting for your turn and not paddling onto a wave that is already being ridden. It disrupts the flow and can be dangerous for both parties involved.

Being Mindful of Others

Always be aware of your surroundings and the presence of other surfers. Avoid getting in someone’s way or obstructing their line of sight. Communicate courteously and avoid aggressive behavior or unnecessary confrontation.

Must-Try SUP Surfing Spots in Malibu

Malibu offers numerous incredible SUP surfing spots, and here are some must-try locations:

Latigo Point

Latigo Point is known for its consistent waves and breathtaking views. It offers both left and right-hand breaks and is suitable for intermediate to advanced SUP surfers. Make sure to check the tides and swell conditions before heading to Latigo Point.

County Line Beach

Located on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles County, County Line Beach is a popular spot for SUP surfing. It offers a variety of breaks and attracts surfers of all levels. Prepare for crowds, especially during peak surfing hours.

Nicholas Canyon Beach

Nicholas Canyon Beach is a beautiful stretch of coastline known for its impressive surf. With powerful waves and challenging conditions, it’s best suited for experienced SUP surfers. The scenic beauty and thrilling surf make Nicholas Canyon Beach a must-visit spot.

Leo Carrillo State Park

Leo Carrillo State Park is not only a pristine beach but also a great spot for SUP surfing. It offers a mix of mellow and more powerful waves, catering to surfers of varying skill levels. Explore the park’s coves and tide pools after your surf session for an immersive coastal experience.

Exploring Beyond Malibu

While Malibu offers fantastic SUP surfing opportunities, there are also incredible spots to explore beyond its borders. Here are some notable destinations worth checking out:

Malibu to Paradise Cove

Embark on a SUP surfing adventure from Malibu to Paradise Cove. Paddle along the picturesque coastline, enjoying the beauty of the surrounding cliffs and the possibility of encountering marine life. Paradise Cove offers manageable waves and a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for a post-paddle picnic on the beach.

Malibu to El Matador State Beach

Take your SUP board from Malibu to El Matador State Beach for a scenic and thrilling journey. Experience the exhilaration of paddling through Malibu’s iconic coastal cliffs, then enjoy the powerful waves and stunning views at El Matador State Beach. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the picturesque landscapes along the way.

Malibu to Point Mugu State Park

For a longer SUP surfing expedition, venture from Malibu to Point Mugu State Park. This picturesque park offers a scenic coastline with diverse surf conditions. Paddle along the coastline, exploring hidden coves and rock formations, and enjoy the thrill of catching waves in this beautiful natural setting.

Malibu to Topanga Beach

Lastly, take your SUP board from Malibu to Topanga Beach, a gem nestled in a rugged canyon. This scenic paddle journey offers a serene and secluded experience, showcasing the untouched beauty of the Malibu coastline. Enjoy the gentle waves at Topanga Beach before heading back to Malibu, feeling refreshed and immersed in nature.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned SUP surfer, Malibu, California, offers something for everyone. From its iconic beaches to challenging surf spots, there are endless opportunities to ride the waves and experience the exhilaration of SUP surfing. Remember to prioritize safety, respect local etiquette, and take time to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you. So grab your SUP board, paddle out, and let the waves of Malibu carry you to new adventures.

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Jake Walker
Hi, I'm Jake Walker, a passionate outdoor sports enthusiast and SUP Board expert. With years of experience in the field, I have gained extensive knowledge and expertise in all things related to SUP Boards. I am dedicated to providing valuable tips and advice to help fellow enthusiasts make informed decisions when it comes to choosing the right SUP Board gear. Throughout my journey in the SUP Board community, I have been recognized for my contributions and have received several prizes and rewards for my expertise. These accolades have further motivated me to continue sharing my knowledge and helping others navigate the exciting world of SUP Boarding. I believe in the transformative power of outdoor sports and how they can enhance our connection with nature. My writing philosophy revolves around inspiring individuals to embark on their own SUP Board adventures and embrace the thrill of exploring new waters. When it comes to my writing style, I strive to inject a personal touch into every piece I create. I want my readers to feel like they're having a conversation with a friend, providing them with relatable and practical advice that they can apply to their own SUP Boarding experiences. I am excited to be a part of SUPBoardGear.com, where I can engage with a community of like-minded individuals who share the same passion for SUP Boarding. Connect with me on this platform, and together, let's explore the world of SUP Boarding and make unforgettable memories on the water. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need assistance in choosing the perfect SUP Board gear for your next adventure. Let's embark on this incredible journey together!