A Short History of Standup Paddle Boarding & Where It Is Today
Modern standup paddle boarding originated in Hawaii from surfing in the 1900’s. In fact, for thousands of years Mankind has propelled themselves through the water on a board–using a stick or pole as a paddle. There are records of these early forms of SUP being found across multiple contents as far back as 3,000 years ago. Natives in Africa would stand on their canoes and push themselves with their paddle. Warriors used it for stealth in battle. In the 1900’s in Tel Aviv lifeguards would use boards on the water and propel themselves over to people in need. Standup paddle boarding has been on the auxiliary of our senses for ages, without us even noticing it.
Emerging Old and New
When modern day standup paddle boarding emerged in Hawaii, characters such as Duke Kahanamoku and Dave Kalama emerged and helped bolster its appearance. By the 2000’s modern-day SUP moved from Hawaii to California, where it exploded in popularity. Professional athletes such as Chuck Patterson, Colin McPhillips, and Byron Kurt began to form professional SUP race teams. By 2005 SUP began to be recognized as a means to a variety of sports. SUP touring, yoga, and fishing took off in popularity as well, and a variety of boards began to be offered to the public for various uses. The world’s first official SUP event was held in 2007 in Lake Tahoe, California–dubbed “Ta-hoe Nalu” (the event still runs today). And by 2012, the world saw its first Standup World Series Championship race in Oahu, Hawaii.
Standup Paddleboarding Today
Today, SUP is enjoyed by all age groups, all over the world. SUP’s soaring popularity has led to a decrease in consumer prices for boards, as well as an increase in the available types of boards and materials used for construction. Paddles also have seen a revolution of their own, coming in various designs and materials. It’s popularity has also led to an increase in safety regulations, and with good reason.
Currently in the United States, SUP is treated as a form of prone surfing–such as bodysurfing or boogie boarding. This means that you’re not required to have a personal floatation device (or PFD) while standup paddleboarding in a surf zone. However the rules surrounding using a PFD vary depending on local water jurisdictions. The US Coast Guard also classifies a SUP as a vessel similar to a kayak or canoe, which means a PFD is required when paddling in certain areas outside the surf zone. Sometimes, places will require you to only have the SUP on a leash–which is a similar law for surfboards. Lastly, if you are paddling in whitewater conditions, you must use a quick release belt. These allow you to safely detach instantly from a tangled leash, and could very well save your life.
So next time you get out there and hit the waves, remember that standup paddle boarding has been used and enjoyed for thousands and thousands of years. Being out on the open water on your board is one of the most natural things you can do. What’s your favorite form of SUP? Let us know in the comments below, and if you enjoyed this post, subscribe for more!