Apparently when someone got the idea to make a surfing game, they actually meant “racing game,” because that’s what Surf’s Up is. There’s almost no wave catching or riding. At the start of the race or whenever you slow down too much you’ll do some paddling, but after that you just cruise down a track. Most of the time, the waves are in the background outside the course boundaries. Even when there are “waves” on the track, they appear to have no noticeable effect on gameplay.
The trick system is rudimentary and unrewarding. The touch screen has four icons that appear when you go off a jump, and you simply tap icons with the stylus to perform tricks. You create "combos" by tapping the icons in different orders. There is no sense of satisfaction when completing tricks because there is no difficulty or variety, and they occur so long after you tap the screen that you feel removed from them. You can’t even crash - you can keep attempting tricks until you hit the water again, so there is no risk involved.
Surf’s Up is a bad Mario Kart clone (replete with cloned weaponry) with a dash of the barest of bones from SSX thrown in. As such, there’s no excuse that it’s made for young kids, because any kid would be way better off just playing Mario Kart DS, which uses almost the exact same basic formula, but offers depth and polish.