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Stand Up Paddle Boarding - Hottest Board Sport

Updated on September 27, 2016

What Is Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand up paddle boarding is a fascinating and easy looking sport that requires about 30 seconds to learn!

Quite simply you take a board, similar to a surf board, and a paddle, you stand on the board and you literally paddle yourself about.

You will need fairly flat  water, or open sea, to get the hang of stand up paddle boarding, but once you've got the hang of stand up paddle boarding, you can move onto more complex moves such as riding small waves on your paddle board.

Stand Up Paddleboarding, SUP Photo by mikebaird
Stand Up Paddleboarding, SUP Photo by mikebaird

Stand Up Paddle Boarding  has been around for quite a number of years, even though I've only recently discovered it.  In the UK, there's even a British Stand Up Paddleboard Association (BSUPA).  It's very popular in Cornwall in the United Kingdom, which already has a strong history of surfing.

As a sport it's certainly a lot easier than surfing would be, meaning it is accessible to more people who just want a bit of fun - although if you're fiercely competitive then there is a whole raft of SUP contests you can enter.

The History of SUP

Stand up paddleboarding has its roots and history in Polynesian culture, but it really started being seen and used in the UK in the 1940s when surf instructors wanted to find a way to more easily teach people to surf - they wanted a way to be able to move around and between their students more easily, in order to instruct them. A stand up paddleboard enabled them to do this.

SUPing is currently the fastest growing sport in the UK, popular most in Wales and Cornwall.

Stand up paddleboarding is popular around the world - wherever there's water people are taking their SUPs out and just having fun with them.

Where to Learn to SUP

There are a growing number of places where you can have a go at stand up paddleboarding, from Llandudno in Wales, through to Newquay in Cornwall.

The boards are a massive 11' long - so certainly more in line with the size of a kiteboarding board than a surfboard or longboard. If you're interested in SUPing then you need to think about the size of these boards, one issue being where you'll store it between SUP sessions, but also, how you're going to transport it to and from the beach!

Balance is key when riding a stand up paddleboard. If you've got good balance, if you're already a surfer, skater or skiier, then you've got a head start.

After the first few minutes, you'll quickly find that you're finding it really easy to use the board and paddle - at first the best position is to kneel just behind the middle of the board, then move on to standing up - it really is something you'll find you're doing very quickly.

In fact, what IS there to learn at all? Just grab yourself a board and paddle, done your wetsuit for safety, find some safe water and get going. I bet you'll be powering along within just 10 minutes, being quite a pro within an hour.

Benefits of Choosing SUPing

Well, the biggest benefit is that it's quite easy to get started and to do. Apart from that, the other benefits are:

  • You don't need to be a pro to enjoy it
  • You're able to enjoy SUPing without needing to learn special techniques ot tricks
  • It works out your stomach, abs and arms easily making you stronger and leaner with what seems like little effort
  • It's just great fun
  • SUPing is a great calm sport, it's not aggressive or testosterone-based, so it's fun and suitable for people of all ages
  • You can even take your pet or small children stand up paddleboarding with you, simply sit them on the board! Obviously lifejackets and wetsuits should be used for optimum safety
  • You don't have to stand up, you can enjoy this sport even sitting down on the board if you want!  It's just as much fun!

Stand Up Paddle Boarding Photo by mikebaird
Stand Up Paddle Boarding Photo by mikebaird

Inflatable SUPs

While I was really interested in checking out stand up paddleboarding, the size of the board was an issue for me.  I am small and have a very small car, so how could I actually ever hope to get the board to/from a lake or a beach to be able to use the SUP?  At first it seemed that I might need to buy a roof rack, then to become adept at actually fixing the board safely to the roof rack - and then I discovered what I can only describe as "pure genius" ... there is actually a really rigid looking inflatable SUP!

And I looked at some videos and fully grown macho men were demonstrating how easily and automatically they could be inflated and deflated - and weren't at all unsafe, but could easily bear the weight of a fully grown man. 

So, that seems the answer!

With an inflatable SUP you don't need the storage space for a large board, you don't need to get the board onto and off a roof rack, or secure it.  An inflatable paddleboard literally deflates and packs away in its own medium sized shoulder bag in just a few minutes.  As I said, pure genius.

Why not check out stand up paddleboarding for yourself - as far as lazy man's sports go it's high on enjoyment and fun, yet low on barriers to entry.

Stand Up Paddleboarding Photo by Michael_Dawes
Stand Up Paddleboarding Photo by Michael_Dawes

The Best Places for Stand Up Paddleboarding

Of course, you can use a stand up paddleboard on most beaches, while it is most often seen on beaches that are currently popular for surfing, the beauty of it is that it is even better done on estuaries, lakes and beaches that are flat and don't have any surf.

Below is a list of some beaches where people have definitely been seen stand up paddleboarding - if you've seen anybody on a SUP, why not leave the details in the comments box below and I can add it to the list!

United Kingdom

  • Cornwall, Newquay, Fistral beach and Porth Beach
  • Wales, Llandudno

United States

  • Morro Bay, California


  • ??

Add your own in the comments box!  Help spread the word :)

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    • earner profile imageAUTHOR

      Dedicated Content Curator 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      I was watching some Stand up Paddleboard (SUP) guys at Fistral Beach, Newquay just last week. It was a flat day for surfing and they were sure having a much better time than the surfers who were just lying on their boards waiting for non-existant waves!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      We live a thirty second walk from a wonderful bay on Oahu in Hawaii. Sandy beach, surf waves one side paddlecruising on the other. dolphins and turtles visit and I have found my hearts rest stand up paddling here. We live the rest of the time in Canada on the west coast and we have standup boards there too - lakes and rivers wil be where we paddle most here and warm weather mostly - feet get very chilled in Autumn. Want to paddle when we tracel now - want to paddle in Cornwall and switzerland. It is such an amazing sport. distance - surfing - cruising . Please share spots we should try on our next travel adventure.

    • earner profile imageAUTHOR

      Dedicated Content Curator 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Yes Matt

      The Gower in South Wales is gorgeous and it is a great place for paddle board beginners in the UK. Plenty to do off the water as well as in.!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      It's a no-impact sport ,improves balance and coordination...strength and endurance.Its stress reducing, relaxing and invigorating for people of all ages,ability, & size... and where better to try out in 'Gower' south Wales

    • earner profile imageAUTHOR

      Dedicated Content Curator 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      I tho ught that at first, but a look at the paddle boarding videos shows you how easy it really is.

      I think for water sports it's the most exciting and accessible water sport invented for a long time.

      Surfing can be fun, but a lot of work - and if the surf is flat there's nothing you can do. Add a paddle and you've hours of fun whatever stretch of water you've access to!

      Great for lakes and rivers as well as the sea, so you don't even need to be at the coast to enjoy paddling on a paddleboard.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      It looks simple but difficulty. I never Try it before. Because I can't swim....hahaha. nice hub. very interesting.

    • earner profile imageAUTHOR

      Dedicated Content Curator 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks John

      I think stand up paddleboarding is a brilliant water sport because it's ideal for the casual person as well as the enthusiast and they can enjoy the same water space at the same time without either feeling they're having to go along with what the other one wants to do.

      One can be racing for the waves, while the other could be further out in the calm water or closer in catching the white stuff or small waves.

      Stand up paddleboarding is definitely something for people from 6 to 106 too and even makes a great sport for the disabled or less mobile.

    • John Alan profile image

      John Alan 

      9 years ago from Florida

      Very cool hub regarding this new (at least to me) water activity.

      I am from Florida and I have seen this, most recently this past summer.

      good hub!


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