What is SUP?

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what is stand up paddle boarding SUP

What is SUP?

SUP is short for Stand Up Paddle, that is, another form of surfing. The SUP is practiced standing up on a special table. Let’s find out more together!

What is SUP and how is it practiced

SUP is a discipline which looks new, but in fact it is quite an old sport. It was already talked about in 1700 , when explorer James Cook talked about sportsmen “booming” standing on a big table.

The modern form of Stand up paddle boarding, or SUP was born in Hawaii in the fifties. It is born by accident and at the beginning is called “Beachboy Surfing” . By the 1970s, Stand Up Paddling becomes a very popular sport.

How SUP is practiced

First off you will need a surf board, slightly larger than the ones used for surrfing. Today, unlike in the past, the boards are becoming lighter thanks to the use of carbon fiber.

It is not difficult to learn how to do SUP , especially if you already practice surfing and windsurfing.

It is also an easy sport for those who have never surfed before and want to try it our for the first time.

It’s always better to do a SUP course, if you’re a first-timer, to learn the basic techniques and start your SUP adventure on the right foot, and  avoid classic self-defeating mistakes.

Why do people Love SUP

This is a fun sport; paddling on the SUP, is relaxing, fun and extremely beneficial as a form of exercise.

The whole body is used for stand up paddle boarding and this helps strengthen the various body muscles. Some of the most modern SUP boards can also be used for windsurfing.

Since the SUP table is bigger than the surf board, you can actually use it to surf the smaller waves.

In SUP surfing you need to use a paddle. This serves to improve the balance and to perform very fast maneuvers, not unlike the fin of a fish. Since you are standing on the paddle board you can also see better the oncoming waves.

Also, thanks to the use of the paddle, SUP can be practiced in most types of weathers and wind is not an essential component.

Training with SUP equates to an interval training session. In other words it involves high intensity movements alternated with slower movements.

The training peaks are achieved when you have to catch a wave and surf, as well as when exiting the wave itself.

The SUP is a complete sport and exercise session that works on both the legs and buttocks, as well as on the back, arms and abdomen . Obviously, it is necessary to avoid misplaced positions that could cause back pain.

Doing SUP, then surfing, has beneficial effects on back and sciatic pain. It is a natural movement, which forces the body to work in a coordinated and harmonious way, thereby restoring postural balance and muscles.

SUP Boards

The SUP boards are light and durable and are available in different models depending on the degree of preparation of the athlete and the level of experience.

A SUP board is usually twice or three times the size of a regular wave surfboard which means you get more stability.

The SUP table is made of polystyrene, glass fiber and a special resin.

Combination of SUP and Yoga

A very popular practice is to use the SUP boards to practice Yoga in the middle of the ocean. To read more about this click here.

So, now you have a short introduction to Stand-up paddle boarding. There is obviously much more to it and you will learn more as you read this blog.

History of SUP

Over the last 3000 years fisherman in Peru have been using paddle boards to go out into the ocean and catch fish. Little did they know that they had invented one of the quickest growing sports across the globe.

Jump forward a few thousand years, to the 1960s, and cross over to Hawaii, the decade where stand up paddling made its way to modern surfing. The beach boys of Waikiki would take regular surfboards with a one-bladed paddle and would go out onto the water to film tourists who were learning to surf.

Ku Hoe He’e Nalu, the Hawaiian word for SUP’ing, dates back to ancient times in Polynesia, and is still used by surfing instructors today who want to watch their students from a calm wave and a higher viewpoint.

It has been over ten years since Stand up Paddling or SUP surfing was introduced to mainland United States by Rick Thomas, a Vietnam veteran, who came the US with his eleven foot SUP board and paddle. Think about seeing that one guy alone on the water with his strange paddle board and one oar.

Because of its growth explosion in the United States, the US coast guard has even now recognized SUP’ing and has classified a SUP as a water vessel. This also means that rules have been created around the SUP to ensure the safety of people who use them.

As one of the most interesting and beneficial water sports activities available, more and more people have been attracted onto their SUP’s each year. Various events have been organized across the globe using Stand up Paddles. Races are conducted as well as SUP’ing contests and even SUP board exhibits. The most notable perhaps was the “Battle of the Paddle” in October 2009 at Doheny State Beach, Dana Point, CA.

In the ten years that the sport has existed, there have been many developments. There are different styles of SUP’ing for racing, relaxing and family events. Also there is greater choice of boards available and even fashion wear around the sport. Some people even conduct yoga and different fitness workouts on their paddles.

The Growth of SUP

Whether you are living near the coast or in the inland waterways, stand up paddle boarding is just a very cool sport that provides you with countless fun and adventure!

It is now becoming known in almost every country in the world, and has prompted the development of the sport and its equipment.

Events such as the MolokaiOahu World Championships of Paddleboarding, the Battle of Paddle in California, the Annual Sandbridge in Vancouver, the Annual Gables to the Bay Regatta in Miami are well attended.

As stand up paddle boarding is now recognized as a “real” sport, sup athletes and sup equipment manufacturers are increasing by the dozen.

In a recent statement released by the Standup Paddle Magazine, it was stated that interest for the sport has grown by as much as 800% – and to think, people are just starting to find out about it through the internet.

According to Reid Inouye, editor of SUP Magazine, in a competition held 5 years ago at Lake Tahoe, only 7 people joined, but this year, there were about 400 participants for the same event.

On the other hand, the MolokaiOahu, considered as one of the most prestigious (and most challenging) paddle boarding events today, has sold out early. This is the first time this has happened and is a clear indication of how popular SUP has become.

The MolokaiOahu is considered as the ultimate test of a paddle boarder who will need to cross the Molokai Channel – a 2,300 feet heavy sea, known for its debilitating heat and nightmarish currents.

Learning SUP takes a bit of patience, but it is easier than it appears. Because of this, there are more women who are drawn to sport because it is easy to master. SUP borrows techniques from several sports such as skiing, canoeing and surfing.

The board looks a lot like that of a surf board, only wider, hence it is often used as safety vessels for swimming races and kayaking events.

Aside from this, SUP equipment is also cheaper compared to other water sports. Boards and paddles can cost as low at
$600, hence you can be out and enjoying the water in no time!

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