The land paddling side of the sport has been steadily growing over the last few years. There is no doubt that with the right board it can feel very similar to surfing. You can work your legs in the same way as surfing too, so it’s a good way to keep your fitness up on those flat days.
To use it for race training, sure it helps but you might struggle to find enough suitable land paddling tarmac to cover the distance you need for your training! But all types of paddling helps with your fitness and getting your paddling fix!