What Is Paddleboarding?

Paddleboarding is a new sport that has really taken off in the last decade. SUP is the acronym that stands for standup paddleboarding and it represents something that is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon. During the 1990’s and 2000’s kayaking has been the fastest growing sport on the water but now it has serious competition.

Perhaps as recently as just five years ago not many people knew what paddleboarding was, and just like any new sport there are variations. They are paddleboards for surfing, fishing, touring, lobstering, wake surfing, and just about any water activity you can think of. The appeal of this new sport is that it is very relaxing, but don’t be fooled your body is getting a good workout too. Originating in Hawaii, paddleboarding is now being done just about everywhere in the world from Alaska to Egypt you can see paddleboards on rivers, lakes, seas, streams, just about anywhere with water.

What Is Standup Paddleboarding?

Known as Hoe he’e nalu in Hawaii, paddleboarding was an ancient sport in the pacific islands, but slowly the craft gradually got more popular in modern times by surf instructors as they could get better vantage views by standing up. The paddleboard is basically a surfboard with a long paddle, in a way the sport is a cross between surfing, kayaking and canoeing. Paddleboarding has grown from its original surfing roots as a way to catch the towering waves to a more sedate activity on calmer waters.

How to Get Started

Paddleboards come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they have different designs and materials. Going out and buying the first one you see in a shop may not be the best way to approach starting out. Sensible advice would be to take lessons first from your nearest surf shop and try a few boards out. See which ones you like the most and suit your physique the best. Good surf stores will take off the rental fees and discount a new board when you purchase it from them, don’t be afraid to buy second hand equipment at first, many stores have boards that have been traded in as an upgrade and there is nothing wrong with these boards at all.


As with any new fashion or sport there comes a new vocabulary that comes with it. In some places they do not use the worldboarding, instead paddleboarding is simply referred to as surfing. In other places in the world they simply call it paddling. But the best terminology to save any confusion is to call the activity standup paddleboarding.

If you see the acronym SUP or any of the terminology already mentioned, you will know what people are talking about. In effect it is not what you call this new water sport that is taking place all over the globe, it is how you do it that really matters. If you are old or young, tall or short, male or female, fat or thin it does not matter. Paddleboarding is a great activity for everybody, so get out there paddling!