In the early 2000’s, a group of Hawaiian watermen were photographed standing up on large surfboards and paddling to catch waves. From this point forward, modern-day stand up paddle was born and the sport was brought to the masses, solidifying itself at the forefront of the water sports industry. Its origins date back 3,000 years when ancient Peruvian fisherman would paddle their ‘Caballitos de Tatora’, rafts made of reeds, standing up. Throughout its history, other cultures from Africa, the Americas and Polynesia also stood up on their canoes and rafts and paddled waterways as a mode of transport. Therefore, stand up paddle (SUP) can be described as standing up on a board on the water and propelling yourself forward using a paddle.
The main attraction to stand up paddling is how easy it is to get started. With the right equipment, almost everyone can enjoy flat water touring on rivers, lakes and canals. A fantastic recreational activity, SUP allows users to be on the water, explore waterways or try their hand at other disciplines of the sport such as surfing, racing, river rapids, yoga and fishing.
The are also holistic health benefits to stand up paddling. The engagement of your core muscles when paddling helps to improve your overall fitness. All of your muscles are working hard to keep you balanced, from the tiny muscle fibres in your feet that twitch to keep you steady, right up to your fingertips gripping at the paddle. It can also enhance our mental health and emotional wellbeing. Breathing the fresh air, feeling a sense of connection to nature and actively participating in a recreational activity can benefit the mind greatly. Endorphins are released when exercising, which makes us feel good.
SUP is a sport that engages the user. It relies on feeling the blade of your paddle glide effortlessly through the water. You seek to make that stroke every single time. You are in pursuit of a constant learning curve, and that is what makes it so much fun. It challenges you to do more and to achieve more and inspires others to take up the sport. It brings communities together and forms lasting friendships between fellow paddlers.
A SUP holiday offers a unique perspective as paddling tranquil rivers or surfing the ocean’s waves will connect you back to nature. This is something that may have been lost in today’s world of technology. So, take some time to switch off and ready your gear to enjoy a few precious moments in the outdoor world.
We would also love to know why you stand up paddle. Leave a comment below and share your stand up paddle stories with us.