Surfing is one of the more captivating sports on the planet, due to the sheer tenacity and seemingly limitless bravery of the souls who are willing to challenge the ocean to a duel and see who comes out on top. As appealing as it may be to glide along the turquoise barrel of a foam-crested wave, many people are leery of trying their hand at it due to the inherent fear factor associated with trying to reign in the power of the ocean for a mere few minutes’ thrill.
Fortunately, there is an alternative, or even a stepping stone for those who still long to ride the waves: stand up paddle boarding. As old as surfing itself, this Hawaiian sport is growing in popularity all over the world for its incredibly short learning curve and ease of performance. Called Hoe he’e nalu in the Hawaiian language, the first documentation of modern stand up paddle boarding was of Duke Kahanamoku, a local Hawaiian kid and now paddle-boarding legend, taken in the 1940s.
In the 1960s, stand up paddle boarding became popular among surf instructors, who would utilize the method to position themselves for photo ops, and later by professional surfers, who would use the stand up paddle board method to train in between surf sessions. It is best learned on calm, placid waters, but the stand up paddle board is versatile and has also been in use on rivers and in coastal surf.
Stand up paddle boarding is also hailed as a great fitness activity due to the core strength required and gained to navigate the paddle board. You can operate it on your belly, on your knees, standing up, or sitting down, and depending on your preference for the type of water its used on, it can be a great whole body workout.
You can find stand up paddle boards at virtually any beach destination these days, and increasing numbers of them are becoming available at lakeside destinations as well. This video gives a simple rundown of the stand up paddle board and its operation, and makes it easy to see why it’s becoming a popular sport.
Image via Wonderlane