If you’re looking for information on stand up paddle boarding you’ve come to the right place. Paddle boarding is one of the fastest growing outdoor sports in the world, and with good reason. There are many benefits to the sport that crosses paddling with surfing. We’re hooked and we hope to pass on our enthusiasm to you.
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Paddle Boarding Gear
Paddle boarding looks like a fairly straight forward sport to get into and this is true to the extent that there is a pretty low barrier to entry. But, there are some key points that are worth knowing and understanding to make the most of this fast growing pastime especially if you’re going to invest in decent gear.
Our Top Pick: ISLE Pioneer iSUP
With the explosion of paddle boarding as a fun hobby, manufacturers everywhere have taken the opportunity to create some interesting and useful accessories.
We’ve scoured the internet to bring you a selection of the best SUP accessories available.
Top sellers: Deck Cooler Bag
A lot of paddle boards are designed to target a specific type of paddle boarding such as racing or surfing, but some target the leisure paddle boarder who’s looking for a generalist board that can do most activities quite well.
In this article, we look at the best from this sector.
Our Top Pick: Surftech Saber
If you’re just starting out with paddle boarding you need a board that’s very forgiving.
There are a number of paddle boards on the market that are geared towards the novice and we put several of them through the review process.
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Origins of Paddle Boarding
Anyone who has ever tried stand-up paddle boarding knows that it is one of the most invigorating and liberating physical activities out there. It has grown tremendously in popularity in recent years. With many people looking for ways to get outside and enjoy nature, paddle boarding has become the perfect activity.
Did you know that stand-up paddle boarding has been practiced for thousands of years and across many countries, although its contemporary form and popularity originated in Hawaii in the 1900s. SUP’s predecessors date back at least 3,000 B.C., and its variations span over several countries including Peru.
The Hawaiians used a large board to help them navigate the shallow reefs and lagoons near their island homes. Eventually, people started standing on these boards for sport or recreation, which was called “surfing”. In 1898 surfing became an official sporting event at formal Hawaiian gatherings known as hui.
In 1993, Tom Warshaw introduced paddle boarding to mainland USA when he brought his surfboard with him on a trip from Hawaii to California. He began practicing yoga positions on the board and would stand up to paddle out beyond the breakers.
The ancient Hawaiians already had canoes when they first hopped on a wooden board and caught a wave to shore. They used paddles to propel and stabilize the ocean canoes and would have undoubtedly used paddles to do the same while standing atop the primitive surfboards. Over time the speed and agility of the surfboards made surfing more popular and the precursor to SUP fell by the wayside.
It wasn’t until Laird Hamilton, highly regarded as the greatest big wave surfer of all time, took a particular interest in SUP that the sport began to gather momentum. Growing up in Hawaii he knew about SUPs and saw pictures of them in books. The itch caught hold and Hamilton just had to scratch it. He already had access to the board. Swapping in the modern lightweight short board for the heavier, yet more stable long board, Hamilton was able to actually stand on the board even on flat (no wave) days.
The paddle turned out to be the biggest hurdle, which took Hamilton months to develop and his search took him from the shores of his home in Hawaii to the California coast. Hamilton’s obsession with developing the modern SUP is one of the biggest reasons why stand up paddleboarding is so popular the globe over, with people even use paddle boards for yoga or fishing now.