The History of Standup Paddleboarding

group of people stand up paddleboarding

Stand up paddle boards are far from a brand new thing. You see them being used for all sorts of activities – leisure rides, exercising, competitive sports, etc. Where did this new way of exploring the water actually come from though?

Dating Thousands of Years Ago

The first stand up paddle boards were seen thousands of years ago. Even if you go back to ancient Egypt, people used to stand up in little boats and paddle for various reasons. Date way back to 3000 B.C. and many believe that there was something called a “tup” that was used similar to how a paddle board is used today. It was made up of bundled reed.

When you move forward in time and in places such as Italy, gondolas are popular and a huge attraction for tourists. These gondolas are used as shuttles and to show off the beautiful city, but the way they travel is similar to what you see now in a modern paddle board.

Hawaii Invents It

You have to go back to the 1940s to see the roots in Hawaii for the first time. Surfing instructors would stand up on their boards with paddles to see all of the surfers as they were practicing. The most famous person to use the paddle board back then was Duke Kahanamoku of the Waikiki beach boys.

In the 1980s a British surfer was taking part in photography of surfers when he began to see people standing up on these surfboards and paddling. This photo of who was known as John “Pops” AhChoy was the first real evidence of stand up paddle boards being used. This practice intrigued John Zapotocky – the father of modern stand up surfing.

Across the Pacific They Go

As these began to travel across the Pacific Ocean more and more people began to realize all of the fun and enjoyment that the paddle boards could bring. When they first started to gain in popularity, there was only one type of board and they were predominantly used in calm waters across California.

Once people started to get the hang of the boards, they started to be used for various purposes. There are paddle boards that are made specifically for riding waves while others are specifically made for competitive racing. With the advancements in stand up paddle board development comes the chance to use these boards for ways that our ancestors never thought possible. Keep SUPing!

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