The pure stoke and core workout of stand up paddle surfing continues to unite the worldwide surfing and fitness community. In this article we’ve decided to bring you a review of stand up paddle surfing from its humble beginnings to its current place as one of the greatest movements in surfing history. We are sure you will enjoy it!
The Scene: Picture a perfect sunny morning with azure blue skies, a glassy horizon, and breaking surf. You paddle out early to beat the crowds and are the only one in the water. Just as you reach the lineup you turn toward the horizon to see a magnificent wave roll in as if it were waiting for you to get in the water. Each passing wave, big or small, ridden or not, is a thrill in the heart and mind of the avid stand up paddle surfer. Certitude, cordiality in the water, and surfing with elan is what the sport of stand up paddle surfing is all about…
The History: Surfing has challenged the limits of every waterman’s strength and skill. An age-old sport, the Hawaiians were among the first to have been spotted playing amongst the waves on their long surfboards. While the spirit of surfing has remained the same, variations have been introduced by a progressive group of surfers. Paddle surfing, also known as beach boy surfing, has a history of enthralling people with its noble rhythm and grace. The sport found its beginnings with the Beach Boys of the 1960s who would paddle their long surfboards out into the ocean to take pictures of tourists. Over time, other surfers noticed and experimented with stand up paddle surfing as a way of training and fine-tuning their skills. With this history, paddle surfing has its infamous legends. John Zabotocky, also known as the oldest beach boy surfer in the world, is a source of inspiration to many who have embraced the sport. Since the 1940s he has been found stand up paddle surfing along the shores of Hawaii.
The Evolution: The evolution of longboard, shortboard, and paddleboard designs has culminated in the development of today’s SUP surfboards. As we review history, the traditional surf board designs of 50/50 rails and single fin setups had evolved into smaller, lighter, and faster surfboards. Now, with the materials available today, and new composite construction techniques, shapers are pushing the existing limits of weight, strength, and shape of SUP surfboards thus leading to a higher level of performance amongst SUP surfers.
The Stoke: Paddle surfing is not just about braving the waves. Stand up paddle surfing on calm water is an enriching experience as it affords you a brilliant angle of visibility of life both above and below the water. However, when the surf is up, the paddle surfer gauges the waves from the beach, slides the board into the water, and carefully inflatable paddle board manages to shore break before taking the road less traveled to surf a break away from the crowds. With grace, assurance, and respect for all other surfers in the water, each wave is turned into an epic ride.
The Fitness: SUP surfing is a superior core workout on both flat water and amongst the waves. It is an ideal sport for crosstraining as it builds core strength and balance.
The Equipment: SUP surfboards are generally engineered to be slightly longer and thicker than average longboards. However as of the writing of this article, cutting edge stand up paddle surfers are ripping on 9 foot boards with pulled in noses, constantly paving the way to the future of the sport. Paddle makers have also responded to the demand for SUP surfing gear by producing specially designed paddles for stand up paddle surfing.
The Future: As a rapidly growing phenomenon across the world, paddle surfing has captivated countless enthusiasts. Perhaps it’s the grace and harmonious combination of skill and thrill that attracts us to SUP surfing. Stand up paddles surfing has enthralled surfers for over 60 years now. It’s only a matter of time before beaches worldwide are lined up with boards and paddles of every size, shape and color.