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Paddle boarding: a sport for everyone

Updated on September 8, 2013
Panama City Beach, Florida
Panama City Beach, Florida | Source


Stand up paddle boarding or SUP has become one of the fastest growing recreational and competitive watersports around the world. You can paddle down rushing rapids, ease across a lake, catch a wave on the ocean or glide over a fresh spring. One could take an eco tour of a reef, spear fish, race, work out or just relax on a paddle board. SUP is not just for surfers. It's great for beginners and pros of all ages. This sport truly has something for everyone and can be done just about anywhere there is water.

Badfish Stand Up Paddle Surfing and River Surfboards, Salida, Colorado
Badfish Stand Up Paddle Surfing and River Surfboards, Salida, Colorado | Source

SUP for Competitors

SUP divisions emerged in competition in the mid 2000's at Buffalo's Big Board Classic in Hawaii after several pro surfers such as Brian Keaulana, spent a relatively flat season trying to train. They used longboards or tandem boards, paddling in a standing position. They decided it was a great work out, fun and could be quite competitive. Since then, stand up paddle boarding has been popping up as a division in major surf competitions around the globe. Many events are now exclusive to SUP such as the WPA-Hennessey’s World Paddle Championships. Competitors can travel to South Africa, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, England, Thailand and then some to find races and regattas. One could also compete in the Standup World Series. Several publications have been dedicated to the sport providing the latest in equipment, news and events. Stand Up Journal, SUP Magazine and SUP International are just a few you can find in stores or online.


SUP for the whole family

SUP is also in the recreational and resort watersport spotlight. Many resorts now offer board rental packages complete with lessons that are quite affordable for the entire family. Eco tours and exploration on a paddle board can be an intimate discovery adventure that allows you get off the beaten path and enjoy smaller waterways. Avid exercise enthusiasts love the low-impact work out that will strengthen your core and improve your balance. You can take it a step further and join a paddle board yoga class. SUP can be a serene and very spiritual experience where you can soak up the energy of the environment. Connect with the sun, tune in to the flow of the water and become one with your board!


My Paddle Board Experience

My first experience paddle boarding was at my friends 50th birthday bash. Our motley crew's ages spanned six decades, from teens to old timers. We rented three stand up paddle boards and convened on the beach. I watched my friend as she eased onto her board and paddled out to the sandbar. It looks so easy, I thought, and she's a beginner!. The kids followed behind her. I am not a surfer nor am I a spring chicken but this, I can do. I swam out for a turn on the SUP. Getting up on the board was surprisingly easy. Keeping your balance is a little trickier. After finding my comfort zone, which was on my knees instead of standing, I had a great time tooling around in the water. We took turns playing and exploring on the SUP's all afternoon. I am definitely doing this again!

What kind of paddle board adventure would you like to try?

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    • tokigostudio1 profile image

      tokigostudio1 4 years ago from Panama City Beach, Florida

      Thanks Nicole S!

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 4 years ago from Minnesota

      My husband and I recently rented paddleboards at a resort we stayed at. It was really fun! We just paddled around but I'd really like to try yoga on one someday! Very nice hub here :)