Introduction to Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Where did stand up paddleboarding begin?

The first stand up paddleboards were actually long, low profile canoes. Hawaiians used them for transportation and fishing. Many historians point to the Hawaiian surfing community of the 1930s as the first notifiable SUP presence as a pastime, with stand up paddling as a sport not developing a real global presence until as recently as 2005.

Is stand up paddling good exercise?

Stand up paddleboarding is great for your heart, your figure and your entire body. When you stand on land you burn between 150 and 175 calories per hour. The act of balancing on your board means that simply standing on your SUP will incinerate around 250 calories per hour. The more you paddle, the higher that number goes. Downwind and surf paddlers can torch as many as 800 or 1,000 calories per hour. Even just cruising along at a leisurely clip on flat water will burn 400 or 500 calories per hour or more.

Where can I paddle an SUP?

Just about anywhere you find water, except your bathtub, you can get out and get paddling. A rough rule of thumb dictates that anywhere you can kayak or canoe you can also paddle an SUP.

How much does an SUP cost?

You can expect to spend $400 or $500 on a low-end, recreational, flat water board. Dedicated racing or downwind boards can fetch as much as $5,000. A lot of the cost has to do with your SUP’s material and construction. An inflatable SUP will obviously cost a lot less than a handmade wooden board.

Do I really need a personal flotation device?

Maybe. Some cities and jurisdictions require a personal flotation device (PFD) if you are not staying close to the shore. Some areas have no requirements at all. However, it is a good idea to keep one handy, just in case you are going cruising or touring in an area where you are unfamiliar with the water.

Is it hard to learn?

Not at all. You really just need an SUP and a paddle, and of course a body of water, and you are good to go. Check out a few YouTube videos that teach you how to paddle correctly if you need some guidance. But honestly, once you get on the board and grab your paddle, the technique comes naturally and quickly

Can I rent a board and try it out first before I buy?

You definitely can. There are rental stations that pop up every summer and spring around any large body of water. This is true in the United States, the UK and elsewhere around the world. Some sporting goods stores also rent out SUPs. This is a great way to figure out which type on board you want to buy before you make a purchase.