An Introduction to SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboarding)
Stand-up Paddleboarding is a water sport where the rider stands up on a large board and uses a paddle to move through the water. SUP (as it’s referred to) is one of the fastest-growing board sports in the world. Paddleboarding has its roots in ancient Polynesian culture where riders used paddleboards to move from one place to another. More recently, paddleboards have been around in one form or another since the 1920s, but have remained in the shadows of other board sports until the turn of the century. Standup paddleboarding started to see a resurgence of interest in the 1990s, when several long-distance races became popular, bringing attention to this once forgotten sport best known now as an alternative to surfing.
Standup paddleboards are between 9’-13’ long, about 20” wide and weigh about 20-40 lbs. SUPing is primarily done on flat oceans, lakes, rivers, canals and inland waterways. It is a great way to get some exercise while having fun, as well as an excellent way to get around. SUPing has even recently been merged with other sports such as Yoga, Pilates and Fishing to add an extra element of difficulty and challenge.
To ride a standup paddleboard the rider needs to stand in an upright position in the center of the board. The rider then places the paddle in the water before starting to pull back. Each paddle stroke thereafter is the same and will propel the rider into whichever direction they are paddling. SUPing is now an official mode of transportation. In 2008, the United States Coast Guard officially classified paddleboards as vessels.
Standup paddleboards can be rented all over the island and there are countless places to SUP in Oahu.
Some popular spots to consider Stand-Up Paddleboarding:
Closest to The Modern Honolulu
- Ala Moana Beach (5 Minutes Away) – Protected by an outer reef, the waters here are extremely calm and make this beach ideal for beginners trying to get familiar with the sport.
- Waikiki Beach (5 Minutes Away) – Watch beautiful sunsets here with its calm waters. This beach is very popular, so expect it to be crowded.
Favorite spots throughout the island
- Lanikai Beach (40 Minutes Away)– Meaning “heavenly sea” this beach boasts a smooth entry on its half-mile of white sand beach. SUPers love the calm clear water and find it soothing to the soul while out on the paddleboard.
- Sunset Beach (1 Hour Away) – Best in the summer months, this beach is known for its calm waters where SUPers can go more miles checking out the marine life below.
- Puaena Point Beach Park (1 Hour Away) – This beach is great for more experienced SUPers who want to experiment with small waves. The beach also has tide pools created by lava, where sea turtles can be seen relaxing in the sun.