With the fast rate of growth in popularity over recent years, it is hard to believe that stand-up paddling is still such a new sport.
The benefits are numerous, but there are three main reasons that I believe stand-up paddle boarding is so extremely popular all around the world.
10 Second SUP History Lesson
Stand-up paddling originated back in the 1950’s and 1960’s in Hawaii when surfing teachers and beach boys would use the technique while taking photographs of other surfers.
However it wasn’t until the year 2000 that Rick Thomas, a native to Hawaii and Naval Special Forces Vietnam veteran introduced it to mainland America.
From there it took off like wild fire, especially with the likes of pro surfers Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama promoting the sport.
Fast forward to 2013. Today you will see stand-up paddle boards on every type of water from ocean surf to rivers to lakes, in all parts of the world being enjoyed by a very large variety of people.
3 Main Reasons for Popularity
I believe there are 3 factors that have propelled this sport to stardom.
1. Ease of Learning
Whereas surfing can take hours upon hours and days upon days of practice to get any good, stand-up paddling can be learned in under an hour.
Kids and adults of all ages can give it a try and be enjoying their time on the water very quickly.
For those who feel unsteady or nervous, they can start on their knees and only stand when their balance has improved.
Once you get the hang of it, you can then begin to work on increasing your skill level. However there is very little you need to know in the beginning to get started and feel confident. With one or two tries, you will be having a lot of fun.
2. Ideal for All Athletic Types
You do not have to have a surfer’s body to be good at stand-up paddling. People of all shapes and sizes and all athletic abilities can do this sport.
It can be tailored to suit your needs as well as your fitness level. Slow and easy for those who need to build up strength and balance or if you are up to it, you can take it to a far more extreme level.
The fitness benefits are outstanding. There are very few other sports that provide such a complete core workout while still being very safe and easy on the body. For this reason it is popular with people from all walks of life.
You will find that not only does your overall body strength improve very quickly but your balance will improve as well. The stronger your core gets, the better your balance will be.
You may just find that after a year of paddling you end up with one of those hard to miss surfer bods.
3. You Don’t Need High Surf
Stand-up paddle surfing allows you to get out on the water anytime. You don’t have to schedule your activity around high and low tides.
Surfing has long been a popular sport in areas with big waves, but stand-up surfing allows the rest of us who do not live in high surf areas to enjoy paddle boarding as well. We can now take our boards down rivers, across lakes, or touring in ocean bays.
River SUP’ing in particular is gaining huge popularity in the kayaking community. I know several whitewater kayakers myself who have become addicted to stand-up paddling. The thrill of navigating a board down a raging river is almost unmatched.
For the more recreational paddler, you can stick to flat water cruising. This can be enjoyed by any person of any age. I love to see parents paddling with their children or kids giving it a try solo.
If you are lucky enough to live where the surf is always up then you will likely notice that the number of stand-up paddle surfers is growing exponentially as each year goes by.
Bottom line is that stand-up paddling is truly a universal sport that will continue to grow in every which way all around the world.
There are articles in the news constantly about a new feat that a stand-up paddler has accomplished. There are more and more boards on the market to choose from and even inflatable SUP’s for those who want convenience and easy portability.
There are option to suit each persons needs and no reason not to give it a try.
There is no better time to get outdoors, learn a new sport, increase your fitness level and have a fantastic time doing it.