Have you ever wondered when stand up paddle boarding became a thing?

Some people attribute SUP to ancient Africans who used wooden boards and paddles to glide through jungle waters in search of fish and to transport possessions. Mayan and American Indians also are known to have done this.

It wasn’t until 1939, however, that paddle boarding was identified as a sport. Surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku was spotted with a wooden paddle tethered to his board while filming at Waikiki Beach. Duke was notorious for constantly tweaking his boards to get the perfect ride but this was the first time anyone had been videotaped while surfing with a paddle.

Duke’s surfing buddy, Bobby AhChoy, adopted the technique after a car accident left him unable to swim. According to SUP World Magazine, “Pops” AhChoy would paddle into the surf zone to photograph surfers and shout tips to help them catch the choice swells.

Later, AhChoy taught his technique to John Zapotocky, a gifted athlete who fell in love with surfing when he moved to Hawaii in 1940. “Zap,” as he was commonly known, is considered the father of SUP and paddled daily until he died in 2013 at the age of 95.

As more and more surfers began to pick up paddles to find uncrowded waves, the cross-training benefits of SUP became evident. Core strength and balance were greatly improved, and world class surfers learned they didn’t have to miss a day on the water when the surf was flat.

By 2009, stand up paddle boarding had become the fastest-growing paddle sport. With this kind of growth came ingenuity and competition to build the best board possible. Boards became sleeker, faster and more durable, however, they were bulky and difficult to carry.

Not to be discouraged by a bit of bulk, the iROCKER team became determined to solve the challenge with an inflatable board that wouldn’t sacrifice durability for convenience. It also had to be fast, stable and built to last. With these standards, the iROCKER inflatable SUP board was born.

iRocker boards are built with the best materials on the market today. They are designed to withstand water hazards and harsh terrain without sacrificing speed or stability. Our boards are fast, durable, and able to handle two riders or even a water-loving pet. And the incredible stability of iROCKER boards gives extra love to yogis by providing an on-water spot for SUP yoga.

But the genius of iROCKER didn’t end there. All of our boards are designed to give riders as much convenience and flexibility as possible. For example, every board comes pre-fitted to convert to a kayak with the simple addition of our expertly crafted Kayak Bundle. Attach the seat, add on the kayak blade attachment, and any iROCKER stand up paddle board becomes a cool kayak in a couple of minutes.

And while we’re proud of the work we’ve done to craft the best SUP boards and gear on the market today,  we owe a bit of thanks to the early surfers who gave us the sport and the will to excel. Thanks to them, the iROCKER was born and gets better and better each year.

Do you use your iROCKER to find great waves the way the early surfers did? If you do, we’d love to hear about it and see your photos. Please use the fields below to share your stories.