Just because its Florida, you can't automatically assume that one of the most popular outdoor activities here is surfing. Florida's west coast/Gulf of Mexico is never going to be a world class surf-producing machine. The continental shelf saps power and the limited fetch reduces the swell period.
However Florida's Atlantic coastline is home to some quality surf spots, but unfortunately the swells it gets are pretty small and inconsistent.
One of the most epic surf spots here is Cocoa Beach, home to six-time World Champion Kelley Slater and Ron Jons. The latter is the founder of the world famous Ron Jons Surf Shop with their Cocoa Beach location being the largest surfing shop in the world !
That's where I was planning to rent a longboard. But since I've never had a chance to surf a SUP, I went with a 11'6 South Point Dave Kalama Model SUP.
And I didn't regret....
The waves at Cocoa Beach are pretty...mellow...which makes it a good choice for longboarders.... and even better for paddleboaders !
If you've never surfed in your life, make your first time surfing on a SUP instead of a longboard. Highly recommended !
Comparing to a longboard, popping up and keeping your balance on a SUP while riding a wave is extremely easy.
On the downside, paddling while trying to catch a wave was...very frustrating....
It took me a while to realize that you can't surf a wave facing forward. You need to change to a sideways surfing stance. Also, unlike surfers who can catch waves late on their short boards, you need to catch the wave before it breaks.
Catching waves on a SUP will take a few sessions and a lot of wipeouts to get the hang of, and a lifetime to truly master, but wave-riding is one of the best experiences you can have on your SUP.
It is hard to explain why catching a wave on a 10-11' board is such a buzz and the only way to find out is to do it! Though, the swell here is no better than at our local Westport, still, there is something about surfing/paddling in Florida - they don't call it the Sunshine State for nothing!