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Stand Up Paddling (SUP), or in the Hawaiian language Ku Hoe He’e Nalu, is an emerging global sport with a Hawaiian heritage it can be traced back to the 1940’s in Tahiti. The sport is an ancient form of surfing and, began as a way for surfing instructors to manage their large groups of learner surfers, as standing on the board gave them a higher viewpoint, increasing visibility of what was going on around them – such as incoming swell. To begin with, this started with using a one-bladed paddle, whilst standing on a normal length surfboard.


The popularity of the modern sport of SUP has its origination in the Hawaiian Islands. In the early 1960s, the Beach Boys of Waikiki would stand on their long boards, and paddle out with outrigger paddles to take pictures of the tourists learning to surf. This is where the term “Beach Boy Surfing”, another name for Stand Up Paddle Surfing, originates.

Stand Up Paddling From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“One difference between the modern idea of surfing and SUP is that the latter does not need a wave. In SUP, one can paddle on the open ocean, in harbours, on lakes, rivers or any large body of water. One of the advantages of Stand Up Paddle Surfing is the angle of visibility. Because of the standing height over the water one can see both deeper into the water and further across the surface of the water, allowing better visualization of features others lower above the water may not be able to see, whether it is the marine life in the harbours, lakes and coves or the incoming swells of the ocean marching on the horizon.”

The paddle didn’t escape notice either and has grown into a more complimentary companion. Far from the simple borrowed oar, the surfing paddle now sports a more engineered shape permitting a far more powerful and flexible experience. Paddles are tailored to fit the individual and one size definitely doesn’t fit all. To get great equipment requires research and advice from SUP veterans. As with any sport, time doesn’t stand still and the diligent rookie needs to keep current to get the best out of the experience.