Standup paddleboarding (SUP) is an offshoot of surfing that originated in Hawaii.
Unlike traditional surfing where the rider sits until a wave comes, stand up paddleboarders stand on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water. Variations include flat water paddling for outdoor recreation, fitness, or sightseeing, yoga and even fishing.
Standup paddleboarding (SUP), the act of propelling oneself on a floating platform with the help of a paddle or pole, traces back to thousands of years ago and across many continents, but its current form and popularity originated in Hawaii in the 1900s. Records of earlier forms of SUP have been found as early as 1,000 B.C. (i.e. 3,000 years ago) and its origins span over various regions such as Peru, Israel, Italy, China, and beyond.
The contemporary form of the sport originated in the 16th century.
Hawaiians surfed on boards of up to 5 meters in length. These surfers used a paddle to operate boards that were otherwise unwieldy.
Today’s form of standup paddleboarding, which uses a surfboard-like vessel, dates back to the 1900s. It emerges from a collection of loosely-related activities by a few individuals. Two of them were Duke Kahanamoku and Dave Kalama. Once it reached California in the early 2000s, stand up paddling formed four epicenters, each with its own fountainhead. From there, the sport gained popularity and California served as the catalyst for worldwide adoption.
By 2005, SUP, started to diversify from just surfing into racing, touring, rivers, yoga, and fishing. Its surfing heritage coupled with its various disciplines made the sport a way for individuals to seek adventure, serenity, personal achievement and a deeper connection with nature.