Stand up paddle surfing (SUP), stand up paddle boarding, or in the Hawaiian language Hoe he’e nalu, is an emerging global sport with a Hawaiian heritage.
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.
A stand up paddle is a type of paddle used in stand up paddle surfing. The stand up paddle is used to propel an individual across the surface of the water while standing on a surfboard. The paddle consists of a blade, shaft and handle. The proper form for paddle surfing requires a paddle of the correct length and size.
A common rule of thumb is a “shaka” length, or 5 to 7 inches, above the rider’s height. While standing on board, the rider holds the paddle with one hand on the handle and the other hand approximately 1/3 of the way down the shaft. The hand placement alternates depending on what side the rider is paddling on.
When paddling on the right side the handle is held with the left hand and the shaft with the right, vice versa on the left side. When paddling, the blade is placed in the water 1 to 2 feet in front of the rider. The paddle is then pulled through the water with a motion similar to the rider punching with the top hand. The motion is continued until the blade is pulled through the water to a point approximately 6 inches to a foot behind the rider’s body.