Six SUP Skill Games for Summer

There are so much more than paddling you can do with a SUP. Here are 6 SUP skill games you should definitely try out this summer:


This is exactly what it sounds like! Just like the old basketball game where you make a shot and the other person has to do the exact same shot, or else they get a letter. Whoever spells “HORSE” first loses! Try things like, “how many strokes can I take on my right leg” or “3 buoy turns in a row” Your potential is only limited by your own creativity in this game!

Beach Start Madness

This is MY FAVORITE THING TO DO IN THE SUMMER. EVER. It helps if you have a buoy, or an inherently buoyant life jacket tied to a rock ;-). Find a sandy beach and set your buoy about 50m off shore. Run heats without paddles, paddling prone, then with paddles. The first heats can be run just practicing starts without paddle in hand. The paddler that glides the furthest (or glides past the buoy first) wins. After a few heats, add in prone paddling around the buoy and back to the beach for the win. Then, add in paddles and see who can get to the buoy first. Finally, the last few heats should be a full run with the beach start, a buoy turn, and a sprint back to the beach for the finish.

Spinners and Grinners

Silly fun. Works best with at least 4 people, more is better, all in pairs of 2. Pair up, and set a very short course. Within each team, paddler 1 is going to do constant buoy turns (getting dizzy) while paddler 2 sprints the short course. When paddler 2 gets back to paddler 1, they switch. Make sure each paddler does the buoy turns at least twice to make it interesting.

Bocce Board

You can buy a floating ball, or use an old water bottle. But the idea behind this game is that someone will throw the ball out, and all the paddlers will sprint to see who gets there first. If someone is lagging behind, its a good idea to throw the bocce right next to them once and a while! Spice it up by throwing it backwards and seeing who can do a turn fastest to sprint and grab it.
Simon Says

This is the same as the old kid’s game. You tell everyone else to do something, and they have to do it, as long as you say “Simon Says.” If they fall in attempting a legitimate request, or make an attempt without the prompt “Simon Says,” they’re out. Make it interesting by assigning a task to whoever gets out, such as paddling to a bridge or buoy and back, or doing board burpees.


OK–so this isn’t a game, but it can be fun! Out for a summer paddle but don’t want your fast twitch muscle fibers to go into hibernation? Try out a few fartlek intervals. Pick out a landmark ahead and sprint to it. These can vary in length, intensity, and how much rest you give yourself in between. The point is to be pretty unstructured about it and not go TOO hard. Its a great way to spice up a summer paddle with friends!

Do you have any games you like to play on your SUP? I would love to hear about them!

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