Much like the surfing craze that swept the West Coast in the 1960’s, there is a new sensation that is sweeping the nation: paddleboarding. The fastest growing watersport in the world since 2004, standup paddleboarding – or SUP – offers some of the same excitement as surfing when you catch a wave, but also affords moments of serenity as you cruise across the ocean’s surface. Generally done in calmer, flatter conditions compared to surfing, SUP is an excellent full-body and core workout and is perfect for ocean enthusiasts of all ages. Give a Ko Olina Paddle Board a try!
Ko Olina Paddle Board: All About a Board
SUP boards are similar to surf boards in construction, but they are much thicker and are designed to float higher in the water. They range from 8-12 feet in length and are 28-32” wide and 4-5” thick, and users enjoy the stability afforded them by the increased dimensions as they stand atop their board and navigate O`ahu’s bays with iconic curved paddles.
Paddleboards come in a variety of types: traditional, inflatable, fishing, yoga, surfing, racing, even long-distance. Ask any SUP pro what’s up and he or she will tell you to be sure to select a board that is the right size for you (the boards are large, but most beginners start too small).
What’s Up With the History of SUP
Paddleboarding is hardly a new invention. Beginning over a thousand years ago, multiple peoples (Hawaiian, Peruvian, and African cultures) all had some form of wave surfing using a craft and a paddle (hoe he`e nalu in Hawaiian, though they were probably not the inventors of paddleboarding as they were with surfing).
SUP was reintroduced into popular culture by Maui surf legend Laird Hamilton in the early 21st century. While looking for a way to cross train in preparation for big wave surf season, Laird took a canoe paddle and his largest surf board and struck out across the waves. He found it to be the perfect workout, and an excellent way to enjoy the waves even when not surfing.
The beauty of paddleboarding is its ease and flexibility. You can try it at night with lighted boards, even venturing out to watch the fireworks off Waikiki. It is an easy way to explore a bay or visit an offshore island, and Ko Olina even offers yoga classes aboard SUP’s (the nighttime version of this is known as Glowga!). SUP can be done off any calm beach, and those comfortable with it can even surf smaller waves. Popular spots include Ala Moana Beach Park, Kailua, and Waikiki, all of which have shops offering paddle board rentals Oahu.
Closer to home, SurfHNL offers private, group, and exclusive lessons and tours in Pokai Bai, next door to the rental properties of Beach Villas Hawaii. Pokai is sheltered from big swells by an offshore breakwater and is the calmest beach on the West Side, so conditions are perfect for family members of all ages. Whether you are looking for a peaceful joyride across the waves at sunset or facing down a 4-foot wave as you stand atop your SUP, you owe it to yourself to give a Ko Olina paddle board a try!