Stand up paddle surfing was born in Hawaii. In Waikiki in the 1960s, there was a group of legendary surfers known as the the beach boys lead by the world renowned Duke Khahanamoku.
It was invented by this innovative group of young men as a means to watch and photograph the tourists they were teaching to surf closer in.
They would take the paddle boarding paddles on their surfboards and swim out. Once out, they would stand up and use the paddles for balance and navigation. Thus, this current worldwide phenomenon was born.
This sport has many names:
Whatever you call it, I love it! What fun!?!
Not only is it fun, it is a lot easier to learn than conventional surfing! And since it has its roots right in Hawaii, you can bet that it's a very popular thing to do in Maui.
All it takes is a board, a paddle and a desire to learn! And the learning is such a blast. It's part hilarious, part exhilerating and completely unforgettable.
If you are going to try it, I recommend that you get some instruction first. That whole analogy about give a man a fish and feed him for a meal, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime is so true here.
Being taught takes a little time, but once you're taught, you'll enjoy this sport for the rest of your life. Otherwise, you'll probably spend more time trying to figure it out than actually SUPing. Look at it this way, this is a sport for all ages! So get some instruction and then have a ball!
My recommendation for instruction is The Maria Souza Stand Up Paddle Boarding School.
Maria (pictured above) is a transplanted Brazilian. An accomplished athlete, Maria began surfing at the age of 13. She was the first woman to ever tow-in the rugged waves of Peahi, Maui (“Jaws”).
She teaches everything from this to windsurfing. This is a person with decades of experience and someone who can get you up and SUPing in no time!
Combine your new ability with the ability to surf and you literally have every kind of wave weather covered. SUPing is a great “waveless” water or short wave sport. In contrast, surfing is the wind and wave riding equivelant. Be it windy or still, wavy or not, your riding enjoyment is guaranteed!
Looking back on those amazing beach boys of Waikiki, who could have known that they would give birth to a worldwide phenomenon? But that's exactly what they did.