Stand up paddle boarding in Minnesota and Maui!

11:45 AM, Jun 11, 2011   |    comments
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WAILEA,Maui-HI - Stand up paddle boarding is building in popularity all over the country and the world.  Stand up paddle surfing, or SUP, is a surface water sport, a variant of surfing where the surfer uses a paddle to move through the water while standing on a surfboard. Stand up paddle surfing is derived from its Polynesian roots. The Hawaiian translation is Ku Hoe He'e Nalu; to stand, to paddle, to surf, a wave.

The popularity of the modern sport of SUP has its origination in the Hawaiian Islands. In the early 1960s the Beach Boys of Waikiki would stand on their long boards and paddle out with outrigger paddles to take pictures of the tourists learning to surf. This is where the term "Beach Boy Surfing" originates, another name for Stand Up Paddle Surfing.

In the early 2000s Hawaiian surfers such as Dave Kalama, Brian Keaulana, Rick Thomas, Archie Kalepa and Laird Hamilton started SUP as an alternative way to train while the surf was down.   The big difference is that today you don't really need any waves to enjoy stand up paddle boarding.  The boards are really bouyant and even novices can enjoy paddling around.

I recently had a chance to travel to Wailea, Maui and rented a SUP board for a week.  I kept it at the beach with the help of my friends from Pro Diver Maui that run the beach concessions at the Fairmont Kea Lani where we love to stay when we travel to Maui. 

I had done it a few other times both in Maui and in Minnesota, but I really had a chance to do it quite a bit.  I really enjoyed going out over the reef and checking out the fish and the sea turtles with my kids and also just by myself.  It really is so fun, relaxing and a great workout. 

In Minnesota it has also caught on and MN Surf Co. has everything you will need from equipment to lessons, to adventure travel.   There is a race series that will take place on Gull Lake on June 25th.  The Brainerd Lakes Area plays host to the 2nd stop of the Midwest SUP race series.  Gull Lake is an amazing body of water and we have planned a spectacular race course.  This course is spectator friendly as the racers will pass by the spectators area multiple times. 

Try it this summer they rent boards at Lake Calhoun or give the folks from MN Surf a call and they will help you try this out!

Belinda Jensen