Today I had a session with one client from Spain Mainland and we had some discussion about the size of SUP boards. As the waves were small today I borrowed him 10,6 long board. In the beginning he was little bit afraid about the size of board but in the end absolutely happy. Our main discussion was about size of boards. We both had agreed that smaller board is much more agile and easier to turn. From this point our ideas were little bit different.
I do SUP like 5 years now and I came from kitesurf word so no experience with surfing. My first board was Starboard Hero 9x33 150 liters. That board was fantastic. stable enough and thanks to volume in the nose of board no submarine takeoffs in the wave. After one year I bought local board 8,11x 30,5 140 liters. Completely different board, compared to Hero. Fast in the wave, easier turning but in choppy water it was always really fight to stay on board. So on really choppy days I still was using old Hero. I stayed with this quiver until last autumn. In the summer I recognize that my SUP skills were much better than 8,11 board can offer me and start looking for smaller board.
My favorite spot has the waves from knee high up to overhead waves in big days. Nice long wave but choppy very often.
I new that the board will be some compromise between the ability to turn and carve and stability in choppy water. In the end I choose RRD classic 7,11 x31 120 liters. Easy entering in the wave, not so fast, but turning easy and thanks to 31 inches wide body still stable in choppy conditions.
Since I have this board I have improved so much. Not SUPing like pro but doing this sharp carve turns, off the lips and other crazy stuff. Now I really enjoy the word of SUP.
But what I do in the days when the waves are really small and without energy? I grab my school BIC 10,6 x 31 and I surf all small wave with rally ease and I have a lot of fun too. The board thanks to his length and catch any wave and is moving slowly allowing you to control your balance on the board and move more like on a longboard.
For me is sometimes more funny those small days then big waves and the peak full of people.
My recommendations for SUP wave boards.
If you are completely new to SUP word and you like to try waves but still enjoy some tours do for board between 9-10 feet and 30-31 wide 150-160 liters. You can enjoy this type of board anytime. SUP tour, from small to mid waves. And it helps you with the balance on the board. You will not be falling to the water so often like if you start with 110 liters small board. And these type of boards obligate you to move on the board to turn them so you will get the proper balance and paddle positioning. When one day you switch to small board you will do all this movements much easier and correct way.
When you have some experience with surf already you can go smaller in the beginning. 8,11 or even 7,11 can be ok. those boards are more like surf boards.
Personally I am not very friend of boards with less volume (like 85-90 liters). for sure someone light with a lot of experience will enjoy the boards but in choppy conditions they will be lost. Mostly sitting on the board and waiting for wave to stand up and surf the wave. Then you can take normal surf and have the same fun. Stand up paddle in more about staying on the board then sitting I suppose.