Stand Up Paddle Boarding Through the Years - A Brief History & Its Popularity Today

stand up paddle boardingImagine a hybrid between kayaking and surfing that is both a great source of exercise and undeniably fun. Take elements from your favorite water sports and combine them into one easy-to-learn activity, and you have stand up paddle boarding. Although this activity is still relatively new, there’s no question as to why this sport is rising in popularity. Over 21.7 million Americans enjoyed stand up paddle surfing in 2014 alone and the trend continues to grow.

How did stand up paddle boarding come about? Experts say it has existed for decades but came to prominence in the 2000s where it evolved into the sport that’s recognized today. Its earliest roots trace it back to the 18th century when native Hawaiians paddled along the Pacific from island to island. The modern applications of stand up paddle boarding, or SUP as some call it, emerged in the mid-20th century with the radical popularity of surf culture in the 1960s. The shores of California first welcomed SUP in 2005 where it caught on instantly among the locals. Today, SUP has spread across the country and is enjoyed by millions of people.

SUP has changed drastically since its earliest days. The first boards were made of wood and were fairly primitive. Today’s models are fashioned from several different materials. Carbon fiber paddle boards are incredibly sturdy, yet lightweight. Electric paddle board models have motors which propel you through the water. There are even inflatable versions of paddle boards for maximum buoyancy that help the rider stay afloat. Because of the several different types and sizes of boards, anyone can enjoy SUP regardless of age or skill level.

It’s easy to see why nearly 1.2 million tried SUP in 2011 for the first time. Its universal appeal attracts many riders to the water year after year. A main draw to the sport is that you can paddle board on any body of water. From oceans to lakes to rivers, people in many different geographical locations can hop on a board and reap the benefits of SUP. Mainly categorized as a sport, stand up paddle boarding is a great source of exercise. Over 73% of paddlers say they like SUP for its aerobic and muscle-strengthening benefits.

So aren’t you curious to see what all the hype is about? Join the millions of people who fall in love with SUP every day and try it for yourself!