STAND UP PADDLE, WHAT IS IT?
The Stand Up Paddle also called SUP or simply Paddle is a water sport which consists in standing on a board and rowing with a paddle. First practiced by Polynesian kings on large wooden boards carved from tree trunks, Stand Up Paddle was intended to help them explore the surrounding area and trade. It was then Duke Kahanamoku, the swimming champion and Hawaiian surfing legend who revived it in the 1940s, and then his friends the Beach Boys who used it on the beach of Waikiki to accompany their students in surfing lessons, to take pictures of them and to watch the bathers. It is only later that the great surfers like Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama among others, revived this sport which can be similar to surfing by practicing the “down wind” courses along the coasts of Maui as well as crossing from one island to another by taking part in the famous Molokai – O’ahu canoe race. Boards were then shortened and Stand Up Paddle boards were brought up to date. Today, there are two main families of SUPs; the first one is the rigid Stand Up Paddle and the second one is the inflatable Stand Up Paddle, which arrived more recently on the market. Since then, this discipline has developed enormously. It first started to explode in the United States and in Australia and since a few years, it also starts to settle in Europe and more particularly in France. What attracts so many people is that it is a very easy sport to access. Starting Stand Up Paddle is not very complicated and you can practice this sport alone, with friends or family at the sea, on a lake, in a river, etc. The Stand Up Paddle can be practiced in the waves to surf and get a little more thrill as well as on flat water as “Cruising” for more quiet rides. Beginners will be lucky to be able to use the same board in both practices but with a little more experience, you will have to think about buying two different boards. The Stand Up Paddle can be used for many different purposes; it can be used for fun, for hiking, for fitness, for yoga, for fishing, for river runs, for windsurfing, for surfing and more… It’s the perfect sport to keep fit while having fun!