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8 Fun Facts About SUP

SUP might have first been called “surfing for the lazy” but it is now one of the most popular water sports to do in the summer, and it is possible we will one day see it in the Olympics. If you are a fan of paddleboarding, and even want to invest in the best inflatable SUP boards available, then we feel it is right you should know more about this fun activity, so have put together some fun facts – read on to find out more!

Man going into water with Riber iSUP board

Paddleboarding is Thousands of Years Old

The act of propelling yourself on a floating board can actually be dated thousands of years, with examples found across the world, such as Hawaii, Peru, Israel and Italy. In the 16th Century, Hawaiian surfers had boards up to five-metres long that required paddles to operate. In the 20th century in Tel Aviv, lifeguards stood on wide boards to give themselves a view of swimmers in distress.

Modern SUP Began in the 20th Century

However, modern-day SUP originated in Hawaii in the 1940s, when instructors such as Duke Kahanamoku would stand up on their boards so they would get better views of the waves and the surfers around them, which was called Beach Board Surfing. The sport became hugely popular in California in the early 2000s. In the 1990s, SUP was taught in Hawaii surf schools when there was little swell to surf on, and it became a favourite activity.

SUP is Diverse

Though SUP was initially considered a surfing discipline, in the mid-2000s it began to diversify into several disciplines, which made it more and more accessible to people. Some of the popular disciplines include SUP racing, touring, rivers, yoga and fishing.

Flat-Water SUP Began in 2007

In 2007, the idea of flat-water SUP began, with paddling boards being designed specifically for flat-water SUP, and touring. Touring boards had a different shape and could carry extra gear. Tour paddleboarding became a way for people to seek adventure and a deeper connection with nature.

Paddle Boards are More Buoyant than Surf Boards

A surfboard has less volume than a stand-up paddleboard, as SUP boards need the extra volume for buoyancy. Various shapes and sizes make them suitable for different disciplines – narrower and shorter boards made from carbon fibre and used in competitions; racing boards are longer. Inflatable boards are often used for touring as they are more stable and durable.

It’s Possible to Ride a SUP in a Hurricane

Not something we would advise, but Laird Hamilton, a hero of SUP in America, couldn’t resist the swells off the Southern California coast when Hurricane Marie hit it in 2014. He took his SUP board out onto the sea to take on waves three times taller than he was.

SUP Could Follow Surfing and Appear in the Olympics

Surfing will make its debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with 20 men and 20 women competing on shortboards, and it is possible that SUP will make an appearance in future Summer Olympics. However, for it to happen, the International Canoeing and Surfing Sporting Federations have to choose who will oversee the sport.

There Are Guinness World Records in SUP

As there can be a World Record in pretty much anything, it is no surprise there are quite a few in SUP. The largest parade of stand up paddleboards took place in Russia on 10th September 2017, with a total of 844, achieved by members of the Vladivostok SUP community. Other records include longest SUP ride on a river bore by a human/dog pairing (1,690.5 metres) and the greatest distance by SUP on flowing water in 24 hours by a female, at 169.32km.

If you want to know more about SUP take a look at some of our recent blog posts:

Do something different with SUP this summer

The benefits of an inflatable SUP

Top safety tips for SUP

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