I realize that most of our readers are paddlers of the kayak kind, but before you skim this over and move on to the next article, take a moment to consider trying a stand up paddleboard — if even just to break your curiosity. And for those who do SUP, well, this one’s for you too!
My curiosity of stand up paddleboards came about when a customer chatted me up about using a kayak paddle on a surfboard almost 10 years ago. He proceeded to say this was a big thing over on the west coast. Without hesitation I asked what the point was and he simply said “umm, it’s fun”. What I didn’t realize at the time was how quickly this new-to-most sport was to become one of the next big things in paddlesports.
At ACK, we were quick to acknowledge this growing trend, did our homework and settled on two brands, which were Hobie SUPs and SurfTech. This wasn’t simply by chance but by sheer determination on our part to find the best brands in the business. While dozens, if not more, SUP manufacturers exist, we knew we made the right move with these two brands. Both companies had been in the board making business for eons, but more importantly have proven themselves manufactures of quality products.
As “SUPing” became more popular, other manufactures took note and decided to try their hands at it but with a twist. Within a time span of just a few years, companies like Ocean Kayak (Nalu) and Native Watercraft (Versa Board) came up with their own renditions of SUPs, which I personally refer to as kayak/SUP hybrids. These SUPs offer best of both worlds meaning you can paddle them while standing but also have the option to sit. Furthermore, they offer a variety of outfitting options for both fishing and recreational use. One brand in particular, Diablo Paddlesports, edges more towards the kayak side of things but as pictured, the design clearly focuses on the ability to stand up.
So now this begs the question, what’s the big deal…why do I want to stand while I am paddling? Sure, it’s fun but depending on your personal recreational interests why one would SUP can vary. Standing can feel somewhat liberating and provides a new visual perspective of your surroundings. For the angler, specifically those that enjoy fly-fishing can take full advantage of being able to cast while standing but can also utilize a higher viewpoint for sight fishing. And of course, for the more courageous, you can hit the waves and even whitewater for the ultimate experience of it all.
If you already SUP, I applaud you, not because I personally enjoy it and think it’s a fun sport but rather because you simply gave it a shot. Sure, it may not be for everyone but I can tell you that almost every single person that I have professionally and personally introduced to SUPing enjoyed it. I challenge all of our readers to at least give it a shot. I can assure you that even if you don’t decide to add a SUP to your fleet, you’ll have to agree, you had fun trying it.