The history of Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand Up Paddle boarding is believed to have been used by our ancestors for thousands of years for hunting and the discovery of safe, more verdant shores. Some believe that ancient Peruvian fishermen from Chan Chan, once the largest city in South America, have laid the ground for Stand Up Paddle boarding as they have been standing in their small vessels and paddling through the sea with a double bladed paddle made out of wood. Other argue that Paddle boarding has Hawaiian heritage and it translates in Hawaiian to Ku Hoe He’e Nalu; to stand, to paddle, to surf a wave. But everyone agrees that Stand Up Paddle boarding as we know it today dates back to the 1950’s when surf instructors on Waikiki beach (Hawaii) used to stand up and paddle out to the surf break using their regular surf boards and a one bladed paddle. The higher view point offered better visibility of their group and the incoming swell. It’s not long after when the first Stand Up Paddle surfers started to surf for the sheer joy of flying down the line on a board. Duke Kahanamoku, one of the most famous Waikiki ‘beach boys’, was said to use an outrigger paddle to help propel his heavy board into the waves – he didn’t stop using the paddle as he surfed for the next 60 years. Around the same time Charlie Force, a carpenter and builder from the UK designed and built a hollow wooden surfboard which he successfully rode in Newquay Bay. So there is evidence of SUP surfing in the UK some 50 years before it became popular.

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