THE PADDLE BOARDING STORY
Some of the earliest origins of stand-up paddleboarding date back as far as 3,000 years ago to Peru where fisherman would use ‘boards’ made of reeds and bamboo paddles, to navigate through the surf of the Pacific. There are also records of fishermen using early stand-up paddleboards across the Middle East and the Mediterranean around 800-1300 AD.
In 1788 Captain Cook first witnessed and recorded native Hawaiians using carved-out trees to ride the waves. ‘Surfing’, as it later become known, was a deeply spiritual activity and often the best waves were reserved only for the local chiefs and royalty. The boards were often so big (up to 16 feet long) that paddles were needed to get them moving.
Stand-up paddleboarding as we know it today began in 1940s Hawai’i thanks to early pioneering surfers like Duke Kahanamoku and Tom Blake (far left). But it was not until the 2000s that the sport began to gain wider popularity, thanks also in no small part to the legendary watermen Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama
(far left & GALLERY!)
By 2010 paddle boarding had made its way across the US and into Europe gaining a strong core following among boardsports enthusiasts looking for new ways to get out on the water, especially when the wind wasn’t blowing or the waves not big enough to surf.
Today stand-up paddle boarding continues to grow in popularity, with inflatable boards in particular widely available to buy from specialist watersports retailers and even supermarkets. If you are thinking of buying an iSUP (inflatable paddleboard) it is definitely worth doing some research and speaking to a specialist retailer or someone with experience and knowledge before you take the plunge (no pun intended!) Getting the right size of board is really important.
Please also check the SUP SAFETY page for more information and top tips
before you hit the water for the first time.