Below is a brief history of stand up paddle boarding.
Originating more than a thousand years ago, standup paddle boarding began as a simple means of transportation and has evolved into one of the most popular water sports today. Also known as “SUP,” stand up paddle boarding was invented by the Polynesian people and refined by the Hawaiians as a form of surfing. The first known individual to use a paddle while on his surfboard was Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic swimmer who won three gold and two silver medals at the 1912 Olympic Games. Surfing schools in Hawaii also utilized stand up paddle boards to help teach students how to surf.
In the early 1960s, surfers in Waikiki would paddle out to sea while standing on their long boards so they could take photos of people learning how to surf. Thirty years later, two world-class big-wave surfers, Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama, began using paddles when riding their boards on smaller waves during practice. Soon after, more and more surfers began adopting this new twist on surfing, and a new water sport was born. Today, there are official stand up paddle boarding competitions, including the Makaha Big Board Surfing Classic and the Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race.