What is Stand Up Paddleboarding?

What is SUP

SUP stands for Stand Up Paddleboarding. While the roots of Stand Up Paddleboarding can be traced back to the early days of surfing in the 1930's, its distant cousin is really outrigger canoeing with the direct link between the idea of standing on a board and propelling it with a canoe paddle, seeing as these two primary skills (board riding and paddling) were merely being combined, by people who had traditionally grown up around both skills as part of their cultural rite of passage.

However, it wasn't until famous big wave riders Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama (the driving force of Imagine SUP boards) turned their attention to paddle surfing that it really emerged into the wider public's conscious. Most people can get up and paddle around almost instantly, but once you start refining it you can keep improving forever. Add to this the fitness element and what is probably the most all encompassing physical work out you will ever come across, in perhaps the most calming situation you have experienced, SUP just leaves you wanting more.

And you don't need to surf to be able to take part in Stand Up Paddleboarding, in fact 80% of all SUP is done on flat water. Whether you are fortunate enough to live by the sea or near a river or lake, SUP can be done anywhere there is water. And with the portability of inflatable boards today, you can access places you never thought possible.

Stand Up Paddleboarding is growing at a rapid rate and with this growth, we are seeing the sport go off in lots of different directions from the obvious race side, right to the white water SUP, to the more calming Yoga SUP - Stand Up Paddleboarding has something for everyone.

But what led to this surge in popularity? There are many theories around the boom of SUPing, one of them would involve the need of older surfers to pursue the waters without risking injuries. A more obvious theory hits out at the everyday chaos of big city life, and its damaging affect on our mental health. The concrete jungle pushes more and more people to seek an escape, and paddleboarding is a hell of a way to do it. Once mastered, paddleboarding can become a highly therapeutic experience. The silence of nature, the calming water and some astonishing views can turn anyone's bad day all around.


Another demographic tempted into the world of SUP is the world of fitness and yoga. Most big city gyms are an overcrowded mess, turning what used to be an escape from the 9 to 5, into an extension of it. Paddleboarding can be practiced at different intensities, and being a core discipline, can make for a hell of a workout. Also, for those that practice Yoga, SUPing opens up a whole new world of control in an significantly calmer environment.

Another issue of city living that is making people take on the waters on top of their SUPs is the water pollution. Opening up large areas of waters, that are otherwise inaccessible has put more and more people face to face with the harsh reality of water pollution. But, SUPing has also provided them with a weapon against it, empowering them to take action and keep their local waters clean. Together with the initiative of companies such as Starboard more and more SUP groups arise world wide, who pledge to clean the world's lakes and rivers, one paddle at a time.

With people from all walks of life seeking the thrill of exploration, the intensity of a SUP workout, a relaxing paddle down the local waterway, a 3 day fishing trip or simply a fun day at the beach with the family, who knows what the future of SUP will look like? Either way, it is looking bright and we are proud to be a part of it!

To get started try one of our guides - SUP Board Guide - Hard SUP or Inflatable SUP - SUP Paddle Guide

If it is all a blur and you want someone to help you make sense of it all, give us at The SUP Company a call, we are experienced and non biased in our approach. Our love for the sport (we all paddle and have done for sometime) means we just want to help you get afloat on the right paddleboard for you.