Stand Up Paddleboarding or SUP for short, is taking the world of watersports by storm, with more new participants per year than any other discipline it is growing in popularity daily.
Hitting the sweet spot between the short-burst action of surfing and the all-day touring of kayaking, it is an incredibly accessible sport that can be enjoyed in a wide range of conditions. The adaptability of SUPs means there is a water condition to suit any user, whether you plan to surf on your board or gently meander along a river.
Where Did It All Start?
Standup paddleboarding, like so many board based water sports, started in Hawaii before it exploded in popularity as the sport reached mainland America (a bit of history, ancient civilisations did use similar SUPs as early as 1000BC!).
The stand up paddleboard’s ability to enable surfers to catch waves on calmer days and to provide surf instructors/photographers with a higher vantage point in the water helped to fuel its initial interest.
Legendary surfer Laird Hamilton was an early adopter and helped lead the warm welcome of stand up paddleboarders to the surfing community. This further spread the sport and by the late 90’s it was a recognised surfing discipline at competition events.
But it was the mid-noughties that saw a more mainstream expansion, SUP race events paved the way for paddleboard touring, fishing and even SUP yoga, creating the diverse sport we have today.
Is Stand Up Paddleboarding for Me?
If you have ever enjoyed any form of watersport the answer to this question is nearly always going to be “Yes!”. Due to the diverse uses of SUPs nearly all fans of being on the water should find something for them. Here are some of our top reasons to love stand up paddleboarding!
1. It’s like Surfing… with a Few Differences
Stand up paddleboards are essentially massive surfboards, making them brilliant for surfing in conditions that would usually be too calm. The paddle makes it easy to jump on a passing wave and the size of the board generally makes it is easier to stand up compared to surfing.
Pros can even catch some seriously gnarly waves on SUPs, check out YouTube to see them in action.
2. It’s Not Incredibly Difficult
Yep, unlike so many other watersports this one is actually pretty easy to learn, once you have mastered standing on the board you are most of the way there. Paddling is logical for anyone who has rowed before and unlike surfing you can learn how to stand up on a serene river!
3. There Is so Many Options!
You don’t have to live by a surf spot to enjoy SUP, you can hit the nearest lake or river and enjoy some SUP touring. Paddleboards can go most places covered by water so the possibilities are endless, with everything from all-day touring to paddleboard yoga being at your disposal!
The large flat surface of the paddleboards is also a great place to carry a cooler bag filled with a day’s worth of food!
4. Easy to Transport/Store
As with any sport, storing the equipment can become a real headache. The great thing with SUPs is that they can be inflatable, making storage easy. Simply deflate the board and roll it up, you can even leave it in the boot of your car ready for when you next have the sudden urge to paddleboard!
5. It Has a Great Community
Paddleboarding is one of the most popular watersports in the UK and has a great community to back it up. Most major cities with water will have a dedicated club which can help you learn the basics or find a fantastic new spot to explore!
Get Involved Today
If you are interested in giving paddleboarding a go, the British Stand Up Paddleboarding Association is a great place to get started.
You can even find the nearest qualified SUP instructors using their directory located here – https://www.bsupa.org.uk/sup_school/