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What is an SUP? Getting to know Stand Up Paddleboards - Turn The Tide, a blog by HeySurf

What is an SUP? Getting to know Stand Up Paddleboards

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fast-growing offshoot of surfing that came to modern-day prominence in the 1940s. While, at first glance, SUPs may look like surfboards, there are several key distinctions not only in their construction, but also in their usage. Most SUPs range between 10–12 feet long, are usually thicker than the average surfboard, and are used with the accompaniment of a paddle for maneuverability and stability on the water.

The History of Stand Up Paddleboarding

Prior to dropping into modern day water sports culture, stand up paddleboards can actually be traced as far back as 3000 BC in Peru. Other historical records indicate that stand up paddleboards also have a rich history in places such as Palestine, Italy, China, and Hawaii. 

Modern-day paddleboarding can arguably be attributed to Waikiki surf instructors Duke Kahanamoku and Bobby AhChoy. They would bring paddles along so that they could stand up and easily maneuver on their boards for a better view of other surfers and incoming swells. Over time, they taught this stand up method to tourists and other Hawaiian local surfers.

In the 1990s, professional surfer Laird Hamilton refined stand up paddleboarding and transformed it from a regular pastime into a sport. 

Benefits of Stand Up Paddleboarding

  1. Full Body Workout

Stand up paddle boarding is a great core workout, ensuring that every muscle in your body is strengthened.

  1. Low-Impact Exercise

The chance of damaging your tendons, ligaments, or spine is minimal. Stand up paddleboarding provides a great challenge but without the high-impact injury risk associated with other sports.

  1. Build Your Endurance

Stand up paddleboarding is an excellent way to improve general fitness and cardio endurance.

  1. Fun, High Calorie Burn

Being out on the waves can be really relaxing, but also offers ample opportunity for you to shed those calories. The best way to burn off the pounds is to do something that doesn’t feel like exercise!

  1. Stress Relief

Escaping the bustle of the city and finding your zen out on the water can be a great way to improve your mood while reducing stress. 

  1. Find Your Balance

Learning how to stay upright on your paddleboard is a surefire way to vastly improve your balance and grow your confidence.

What is an SUP? Getting to know Stand Up Paddleboards - Turn The Tide, a blog by HeySurf

Finding the Right SUP

Finding the right SUP depends on three main factors: your skill level, how far away you are from the water, and finally, the surf conditions in your area. 

Beginners frequently prefer to start with broader and more stable SUPs, and inflatable SUPS (iSUPs) are also popular among those who are new to paddleboarding. 

If you have to travel far to reach a suitable body of water to surf in, then an iSUP is likely the ideal choice for you. Since they can be deflated, they can easily fit in a backpack for easy transportation. Traditional SUPs are only for those who have the means to get them from point A to B. 

For those who live around rougher waters, an iSUP that’s built sturdily and is wider for better balance will be key. On the flipside, a longer board will be great for building up speed and gliding through calmer water with ease. 

Fun, Popular Ways to Use a SUP

iSUPs are diverse and can be built in a number of different styles that are suitable for various activities. Just a few of these include yoga, surfing, racing, and fishing.


For those looking for a way to find inner peace out on the waves while also getting in a workout, paddleboard yoga could be the ideal fit. Some iSUP boards that are suitable include the AquaPlanet Max, AquaPlanet Jupiter and AquaPlanet Seeker.


Surfboards aren’t the only choice when it comes to riding the waves. Stand up paddleboarding offers an entirely new way to hang ten! Some great iSUP options for surfing include the AquaPlanet Wingtail and the AquaPlanet Wilderness.


Racing is an adrenaline-filled activity that lets you pit your stand up paddleboard skills against friends and other competitors. The speediest iSUP boards to give you an edge include the AquaPlanet Stinger and AquaPlanet Cuda.


To connect with the water and fully immerse yourself in nature, there’s nothing quite like stand up paddleboard fishing. Some ideal iSUPs for this activity include the AquaPlanet Pace, Goodyear Adventure All-Season, AquaPlanet Rockit Blu, AquaPlanet Rockit Pnk, and the AquaPlanet Allround TEN.

Rise SUP to the Occasion

If you’ve ever been tempted to try stand up paddleboarding for yourself, there are plenty of great options out there to suit your needs. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced boarder, you’ll be able to take your iSUP out on the waves and enjoy a wide range of activities that are great for health, wellbeing and leisure. 

What is an SUP? Getting to know Stand Up Paddleboards - Turn The Tide, a blog by HeySurf
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