We’ve seen these shows on the Discovery Channel and such with these paddle boards, and wondered “what the heck is that?” During Shark Week, which I’m a fan of, I watched as this “Shark Expert” was standing on what looked like a surfboard with a long oar, paddling out just beyond the breaking waves, to show just how close Great Whites were coming in with people swimming nearby. I was thinking “is this guy nuts?”
But really, this might be safer than surfing as far as shark attacks go. When a shark looks up and sees a surfer on a surfboard, it often looks very similar to the Great White’s favorite food, the seal. Without the surfer’s arms and legs hanging over the sides, the view is completely different. So maybe that is the reason the sharks didn’t bother the expert as he paddled nearby.
By appearances, it may be easier to learn than surfing as well. Surfing is tough. You get beat up by waves. You have to be able to push yourself up and stand on the board while moving pretty fast. And if there are no waves that day, you might as well stay home.
Paddle boards don’t require waves. You can use your paddle board with no surf at all. You are actually better off on a flat day. It looks like something people of all ages and skill levels can do.
It turns out however that paddle boards are not new, they are actually old. They originated in Hawaii. “The sport is an ancient form of surfing, and reemerged as a way for surfing instructors to manage their large groups of students, as standing on the board gave them a higher viewpoint. This increased visibility of what was going on around them such as incoming swell,” according to wikipedia.com.
“The sport benefits athletes with a strong 'core' workout. SUP'ing is popular at warm coastal climates and resorts, and is gaining in popularity as celebrities are sampling the sport, and cross-over athletes are training with SUP. SUPs have been spotted around the globe, anywhere there is easy access to safe waters, as well as in the surfing lineups of the world. Another reason for the rise in popularity of stand up paddleboarding is that, unlike surfing, paddleboarding is very easy to learn. Within one hour you can become very comfortable in the water and on your board. Stand up paddleboarding is also more popular with women because of their lower center of gravity, women are more often skilled at paddleboarding than men.”
There are competitive paddleboarding events such as Hennessy International in San Diego, where stars such as Candice Appleby are emerging. Someday she could be a big star such as Tony Hawk or Shaun White. You’ll know paddleboarding has arrived when you see it on a video game.
Thankfully this is also a sport you won’t need to live near the ocean for . There is no reason you can’t do this in a lake or a river as well. In fact people do take to the lakes on these things.
A good paddle board an be purchased anywhere from $600 to $1500. As people paddleboard more and more, there will likely be a used paddleboard market where beginners can, for little money, give this a try. Hopefully, nobody will get the bright idea to take one white water paddleboarding though. That could get ugly.