How To Go Stand-Up Paddleboarding

By: Brent Hennen

June 07, 2021

Category: Recreation

Summer is here, and there's no better time to learn a new watersport! Stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP for short) is a watersport where you stand on a board and use a paddle to propel yourself. It originated in the Hawaiian Islands. In Hawaiian, stand-up paddleboarding translates to “Ku Hoe He'e Nalu,” which means “to stand, to paddle, to surf a wave.”

In the following videos, learn all about the parts of a paddleboard and how to get out on the water. Then read on to learn a bit about the evolution of stand-up paddleboarding, how to join a lesson and where to rent one and try it out for yourself.

The Evolution of Stand-up Paddleboarding

Surfing was and is an important part of the Hawaiian culture and lifestyle. As surfers aged and continued to surf recreationally, they started to use a paddle to make turning and balancing easier.
Instructors also used paddles with their surfboards to gain mobility and better manage their surf classes. In the 1960s surfers began to use SUP as an alternate form of training when the surf was down. They began having SUP races as well. 

It was not until 2000 that stand-up paddleboarding found its way to California and the rest of the United States. Since then, the watersport has exploded in popularity, transitioning to flatwater and whitewater.  
Although the current style of stand-up paddleboarding is widely considered to have originated in the Hawaiian Islands, it is worth noting that stand-up pole boats or any watercraft that is guided while standing up and using a pole or paddle could be considered a precursor to stand-up paddleboarding. 

My Experience with SUP

I really enjoy stand-up paddleboarding because it is a great way to navigate water while having a high vantage point to see what’s going on in and above the water. 

Being that it is a silent sport, a user is able to get up close to wildlife without scaring them off from a faraway distance. I have personally seen large bass, northern pike, countless panfish, turtles and even loons swimming right under my board! 

For me, paddle sports are calming and good for mental health. Stand-up paddleboarding is also a low-impact way to improve or maintain your physical health. Stand-up paddleboarding engages your entire body when done correctly, and it is a great way to work on balance, core strength and fine motor skills. 

Try It

Look for upcoming programs and try stand-up paddleboarding yourself this summer or rent one from a park near you!

About the Author

Brent is an Recreation Program Specialist with the Three Rivers Outdoor Recreation School.

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