The challenge, the workout and the essence of surfing all in one package
You’ve likely heard of surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing, but has stand up paddle surfing splashed onto your radar? With roots that reach far back into Polynesian past, SUP’ing or paddle boarding, as it’s more commonly known, is now one of the most explosive water sport crazes the world around.
Though the essence of the practice dates back to ancient times, the movement only experienced a second coming when a few entrepreneurial Waikiki beach boys stood atop surf boards and used canoe paddles to glide out to snap photos of wayward tourists learning to hang ten on Hawaii’s legendary waves.
It wasn’t long before SUP’ing, the act of slicing through the surface of the water on an oversized board with the help of a lightweight paddle, evolved into a practice of its own.
Popular both because anyone can do it and because nearly any body of water is fair game – you don’t need to go big wave chasing or to wait for a gusty Cape Town day – paddle surfing is also well liked because it helps to develop a strong core and upper body and provides good training for other water sports enthusiasts.
Not to mention, the family-appropriate sport suits all levels of fitness – you don’t need to be a body builder to partake – and offers a viable alternative to those keen to get out on the water, but not to engage in the more extreme adrenaline-fuelled activities.
Billed as being both mellow and meditative, paddle surfing treats athletes to 360-degree views of their surrounds and also affords enthusiasts the chance to spot marine life, thanks to higher vantage points.
Though, while SUP’ers will certainly attest to the sport being relatively easy to master, it’s still essential to get a handle on stroke techniques, balance and, arguably most importantly, the appropriate gear to use.
Luckily in Cape Town, if paddle boarding is uncharted waters for you, there are a couple of organisations that can help you glide out onto the glassy surfaces of one of the Mother City’s lakes, canals or oceans with the right foot forward.