Stand Up Paddling


The Stand Up Paddling ( SUP) is currently one of the rulers of the water surface. This is contributed by the fact that inflatable boards can be folded into a backpack and can be inflated in 3-4 minutes.

According to historical sources , the first paddleboarding was done by Peruvian fishermen who called them “caballitos de totora.”

They used long bamboo sticks to return safely to the shore after all-day fishing. Hawaiian natives have used woodcock rods to sweep away to the open sea and to catch the surfing waves after the turn, back in 1778.

The use of boards and rods is mentioned many times and was done all throughout Africa and South America and in England, where P.H. Emerson first recorded the use of a rope-like rowing stick in stand-up position in 1886.

The fresh beginnings of paddling on the board as a sport, also appeared in Hawaii , when instructors Leroy and Bob AhChoy swirled on the board while giving instructions to the participants of their surfing course, in the 1940s.

All this led to the first competition in paddleboarding in 2003 at the Buffalo Big World Tournament on Makaha beach with 49 contestants signing in for the paddling discipline. Since then, rowing on the board spread to California and very soon after that to the whole world.
The final confirmation of the significance of this new sport came in 2008 when the American Coastline Guard defined “the rowing board as a boat and placed it in the rank of kayaks and canoes, which indicated that sport has become massive and was often practiced.

Equipment for paddling

The necessary equipment needed for rowing on the board consists of the board and the paddle itself.
Differences in equipment can be substantial, from the material used to make the board (wood, fiberglass, epoxy, carbon) or paddles (aluminum, carbon, epoxy, fiberglass), and how to use it (hardboard, inflatable board) and forms and applications (whitewater board, touring board, surf pad, cruising paddle).

Additional equipment should also be included, such as the waistcoat, the tunic, the non-uniform suits, the gloves, the shoes and the dry bags, compass and similar. The choice of equipment depends mostly on purpose, so we recognize the recreation equipment and professional equipment.

The Board

The primary classification of the boards would be on the material from which they were built. There are currently two different boards on the market – a hard board and an inflatable board.

The inflatable board has become the most common choice for the application in recreation because it is accessible to transport and storage and offers equal opportunities to the average user as well as the hardboard. Inflatables are built in a more quality version, mostly from a combination of materials like PVC laminates, PVC elastomers and various foams (e.g., EVA) with the fibers which provide longitudinal strength.

Inflatable pads usually come in handbags with a hand pump and are very easy to transport and storage. The board is pumped with a manual pump to 15-20 psi (1-1.4 bar) and is ready for use within ten minutes.

Hard boards are built mostly of fiberglass, epoxy, wood, and carbon. They weigh more than inflatable pads (in the same class), but they also offer higher carrying capacity. Professional rowers mostly use carbon boards because they provide an ideal weight and strength ratio that provides the best time and race results.

The rowing board is usually not less than 250cm long, but the end length can reach 550cm and above. The width of the board moves from 65cm to the competitor variants which can be up to 150cm. As with other rowing equipment, the length determines the speed (longer = faster), and the width determines stability (wider = more stable). The thickness of the board varies from 10-16cm and has an impact on the bearing capacity. Load capacity is defined as the maximum weight that the board can withstand before losing its specifications and ability to float, and it varies between 60 kilograms and up to 600 kilograms per board for eight users.

Boards can be divided into a huge number of categories and sub-categories by their shape and to simplify the understanding of forms we mark the five most important ones: surf, whitewater, all-around, cruising and race.

Surfboards are suitable due to their smaller length and the specific shape both for paddling and surfing on the waves. Whitewater models are characterized by a higher number of peruses (5-7) and broader and shorter form that allows you to move on faster rivers and in more extreme conditions.

Allround models are most suitable for most users; they are characterized by excellent stability and easier manageability. This board is most often recommended for recreational users and families.

Cruising models are designed for longer tours and several day trips, and enable achievement of higher speeds while maintaining excellent stability. Race models are designed for professionals for use on races. Small width and specific shape provide maximum speed but minimum balance.

The Paddle

The paddles, just like the boards, differs most clearly from the materials used for their making. There are aluminum paddles that can be found in cheaper variants wighing 1.5kg, fiberglass pads weighing under a pound and finally competitive carbon pads that can only weigh up to 500g. Shape and size of the blade itself dictate most applications of the paddle – so we easily recognize surf and cruising shape…

The surf form defines a larger surface and rounder shape and contour, which increases the force that is created and thus speeds but also causes quicker tiredness in your hands.

Cruising shape is dominantly used for remote races and long-standing rowing because of its smaller surface that reduces stress on hands and allows more prolonged use. The size of the blade may vary from 400cm2 to 700cm2.

A larger blade usually produces more force and speed, but it also causes higher fatigue while the smaller blade is suitable for continuous rowing and is used in training for developing muscular endurance.

Further, it should be noted that paddles can be made as a one-piece paddle, two-piece paddle, and three-piece paddle. One piece paddles are selected for professional users or enthusiasts who know they will be the only person to use the board because it is cut to the desired height.

The double option is excellent for recreational users who share the board with family and friends because the paddle can be adjusted to the height, while the three-piece set is the best option for easy transport and storage (dismantled occupies space of approx. 70cm).

All paddles mainly float for a certain period, until they are filled with water, which is desirable when falling from the board and similar incidents where the paddle could sink.

The height of the paddle is determined in several ways and varies according to the desired application.

The most commonly used method is the following: in the standing position, you put the hand you use in rowing (catch the quiver of the paddle) in a slight angle of 170 ° in the elbow joints and hold your paddle with your whole hand and body. The toe pad is touching the floor. The height of the paddle is adjusting to half the length of the forearm – a recreational setting (long-lasting rowing), or precisely on the wrist joint – a professional setting (higher speed and rowing power).

The paddle is cut or adjusted to the desired height, which of course can be further changed depending on the experience of rowers and the conditions in which they row.

Additional Equipment

There are many accessories for paddling on the board so that we will talk about only the most essential equipment that can be used in recreation to increase safety, comfort, and attractiveness.

Floating Vests – the water supplies that are carried in the vicinity of the water to help in dangerous situations, when someone is injured, and the vest help the person to float on the surface of the water, and thus it is easier to receive help. They are used in boat trips, kayaking, canoeing, diving, water skiing and more.

Neoprene suits, shoes, gloves, and caps – neoprene suits are made for longer staying in the water and the same as floating vests they increase the user’s speed. They are not often necessary for paddling on the board, except for beginners who have not yet mastered the balance in the winter months or sweltering conditions when the possibility of falling in cold water is, and there is a risk of overheating.

Neoprene shoes are also recommended for winter conditions or extremely rough sea, but due to their roughness, they are sometimes uncomfortable for the feet of the user. Gloves and neoprene hats are recommended for winter conditions.

Binds – it is a strong bond between the board and the rower, it is a bind that connects the hook on the board (which is usually on the stern) and the rower’s leg. It is used in harsh conditions, ensuring that you don’t lose much energy trying to get to the board after falling into the sea lost or in extreme circumstances when you completely lose the board and jeopardize your security.

Dry bags – bags designed for water sports, completely sealed and resistant to rain, snow, mud, and similarly unfavorable conditions. They are an xcellent addition to longer trips and tours because they contain dry clothes, food, liquids, mobile phones and similar.

Compass, GPS, a map – navigation tools recommended for longer tours and more serious trips. You must always be sure where are you and where you going

Paddleboarding Technique

Unlike many sports, adopting paddleboarding techniques is in practice more straightforward than it seems. Though motor tasks are quite simple, most common mistakes and methodical exercises, have been pointed out for their correction, because each trainee is a separate individual with a unique level of motor skills and capabilities.


DEFECTS: lousy posture, wrong positioning of the paddle concerning the hands, no bending, the use of smaller and then the larger muscles first while rowing

METHODOLOGICAL EXERCISES: analytical learning mode (phases), recording technique and fingering, giving resistance to the paddle by using an elastic band to point out errors


DEFECTS: deep/shallow immersing the paddle, losing balance, tilting sideways the blades of the paddle, bending body in the hip joints

METHOD EXERCISES: rowing to only one side to allow the board to go into the circle, precisely going around the buoys or similar


DEFECTS: Loss of balance, the body is not entirely upright at initiation or goes in the mild pre-stroke in discomfort, after a couple of scuffs trainee, drops on “all four,” insufficient activation of the hull

METHODOLOGICAL EXERCISES: switching between deep and heavy strokes and more short and fast ones so that the learner can see differences in the movement of the board, holding the position of the kneeling with hands near the body or in front of the chest / bending forward or aside


DEFECTS: Loss of balance at the exit of the rowing boat from the water, the hull doesn’t bend while rowing, using smaller muscles before the big ones, legs are entirely stretched and passive which makes it difficult to maintain balance and generate the power of rowing

METHODOLOGICAL EXERCISES: changes of the rowing side to the acoustic signal, movement between the buoy, turning in one place, attempt to row backward, speeding on a particular section

Enjoy with reason, watch the weather forecast before going out to the sea or lake and if you are not an experienced paddle, practice paddling along the coast.


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