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  Roll Call: Doesn't "get" paddleboarding
  Posted by: bogmonkey on Jul-15-13 1:41 PM (EST)
   Category: unassigned 

I find the phenomenon of Paddleboarding very odd. I personally know FOUR people here in Florida who have purchased these gigantic, useless things only to sell them within months or (in one guys case) to just leave it hanging up in the garage after 3 trips on the water.

I do not know one Paddleboarder who is "passionate about paddleboarding" in the way the kayakers I know are. They have such limited functionaility. I can see them as useful to rent to tourists for fun, but why buy one?

I always get a chuckle watching a group of pale white northerners go paddling by while I'm fishing the bay here in St Pete...9 out of 10 paddleboarders appear to be tourists.

Good on you if that's your thing, I have just been un able to find one single person who "stuck" with paddleboarding, and I know a LOT of folks into watersports here on the Gulf.

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Messages in this Topic


  i'll bite
  Posted by: thegoose on Jul-15-13 1:57 PM (EST)
ME.. never been on one myself and only get 20- 25 paddling miles in a week and not willing to give up any of those for SUP time.

- fastest growing sport in America past 5 years
- seem to be at least a group of SUP'ers that have taken it to a higher level.
- Whats the diff between a group of tourists on SUP's and a group of tourists in a bunch of wide bulky rec boats? (not wearing PFD's)

BTW, i would rather see a group of paddler's than a group of SUP'ers if i must see anyone while i'm out there.

just sayin'
  Posted by: bogmonkey on Jul-15-13 2:11 PM (EST)
I have nothing against tourist traffic on the water...I have my special spots I go to when I want to be free of them. You should see the big pods of paddleboarders though!

The things have almost zero maneuverability, and when a pod of SUPPERS comes down an inlet it's like a wall of white flesh and supersized surfboards affecting all traffic up and down the inlet. (They all tend to board next to each other, rather than in a line, usually, thus the "wall of SUPS")

At least the tourist Yakkers can get out of the way relatively quickly and easily.

I too keep hearing this "fast growing sport" thing and it just baffles me...especially since 4 people in my immediate circles of friends have tried it and given up on it. I just don't understand what makes a person say "Man I want to do this all the time and buy my own board!"

  agree, dont dig the wall
  Posted by: thegoose on Jul-15-13 2:26 PM (EST)
  couple of friends
  Posted by: djo on Jul-15-13 2:02 PM (EST)
They do little for me, but I have a couple of friends that have given over to them completely in the last few years. One swears that it is the best full body exercise he has done and the second because she says they are the biggest adventure in whitewater she has encountered. I do enjoy the extra height above the water for sightseeing. I guess it is whatever floats your boat.
  Another invention
  Posted by: mrmannerz on Jul-15-13 2:12 PM (EST)
that didn't need to be invented (sailboard without a sail, or is it a canoe with no cargo capability). I guess if it's better than nothing if you don't have storage space for a boat of any sort. I imagine that we will see paddleboards for a dime a dozen in a year or two, because I've never seen anyone that is remotely skilled at using one.

But, at least they are on the water. Maybe it is a gateway boat leading to the hard stuff?
  that's what folks have said for years
  Posted by: NateHanson on Jul-16-13 3:15 PM (EST)
Each year people say that "paddle board will be for sale everywhere for cheap next year". But we're not there yet.

Personally, I have enjoyed a day or two on a paddleboard. It's a blast surfing them. If I lived in Southern Ca, I'd buy one, but around here (eastern ME) I think a kayak meets my needs better.

I know a number of people who are quite serious about it, and race them, surf them, and are very skilled on them.

It's another kind of paddling in my mind, and they're all good. People say it takes no skill, but I think the same can be said of kayaking. Most folks can get in a boat and make it go forward. Nearly all of them are pretty sure that they "know how to kayak". I think the same is true of any sport. Lots of people do it in a fairly basic way, and a very small proportion really get into the technical aspects of the sport, get training, and realize the full potential of whatever it is.
  They aren't my cup of tea
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 2:28 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-15-13 2:30 PM EST --

I have no intention of ever trying, but I am certainly not going to judge them or the people who use them - they are clean, quiet, slow, don't endanger others or wildlife, don't tear up seagrass. I would much rather see people on them than on jetskis or in speedboats. And I see a lot of kids on them, yet I never have seen a kid texting while paddling one, so if they are getting kids outside, on the water, and away from their electronics, they are fine by me.

What is it 9 out of 10 SUP paddlers do that makes them look like "tourists" to you, and what is it about you that makes you so much more "serious"?

Why do we traditional paddlers have to "get" paddleboarding, anyway? There are lots of hobbies that aren't for me that I don't feel the need to comment on. Really, I think we as "serious" paddlers need to ask ourselves if our condescension towards SUP, no matter how qualified ("at least they are on the water, but") isn't just another form of snobbery (with a little "locals only" turfwarring mixed in), like that against "bulky rec boats", etc.

  not a snob
  Posted by: bogmonkey on Jul-15-13 2:43 PM (EST)
Don't get me wrong...I am not a snobbish "locals only" type of guy. I have been observing the SUPPERS for a longish while now and just honestly don't get the appeal.

Like the response above that notes "they invented a sailb oard with no sail, or a canoe with no cargo space"...I have never understood the appeal beyond "the full body workout".

I am on the water all the time, so I see the tourist pods and other renters a LOT...most are cool and I'm glad to share the water. I can identify most rentals from 30 yards including telling you what company is doing the renting.

I can "get" canoes, surfboards, kayaks, rubber rafts, innertubes and pretty much any other watercraft known to mankind...but for the life of me, I will never understand the paddleboard.

It just seems so nonsensical...I want to get inside the heads of the masses buying the things and thinking they'll do it enough to warrant the purchase.

  This is what I think.
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 3:33 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-15-13 3:57 PM EST --

SUPs are to the 2010s what windsurfers were to the 1980s. They've become a fad, so a lot of people have taken to them, but in a few years the novelty will wear off for the vast majority and eventually they will get tired of their long-unused boards taking up space in their garages and will sell them in garage sales or on craigslist. The SUPing world will contract to a niche group of serious enthusiasts that will endure, just like surfboarding has endured.

SUPing seems nonsensical to you and you want to get into the heads of the masses to understand why they would spend time doing it, while to me what seems nonsensical is to spend time caring about the "nonsensical" nature of the motivations of people who are just having fun doing a healthy activity that doesn't bother anyone else.

If you really want to understand the motivations of people who try SUP, I'll try to help you out. First, you need to realize you are judging both the activity, and them, from the perspective of someone who paddles kayaks, who is very familiar with them and understands the versatility and performance kayaks offer, and knows that SUPs don't compete with that. You would never want to get into SUPing because you know what a kayak can do instead. But most people trying SUPs aren't coming from that perspective. For a lot of these people, an SUP is their first time to be "helming" a small watercraft by themselves, they might not come from boating backgrounds, and aren't familiar with kayaks and canoes, or their landlubber impression of them is that canoes are some slow oldfashioned thing their parents paddled around the lake at Camp Wannahumpya, and kayaks are some tippy thing that will roll over and if you don't possess some magical rolling skill at, you'll drown. SUPs, however, have a trendiness about them, and at the same time they seem very accessible - just a stable platform you stand on and require very little learning curve to get out on the water on.

You might be surprised to know that among the sailing community, there is an attitude that doesn't "get" why anyone would want to paddle. Why sit down in a cramped little boat having to exert yourself so much to get anywhere when you can harness the wind and go much faster, much farther? I'm a sailor, I also water ski, fish and cruise in motorboats, own a canoe and a kayak. I see the fun in all these different ways of getting on the water, and ultimately, that is what they all are, ways of getting on the water and having fun. When people forget that, and stop thinking of themselves as watermen, instead thinking of themselves as kayakers, or sailors, or whatever, falling along partisan lines based on what kind of boat they use, they have lost their way.

The Rat sculled smartly across and made fast. Then he held up his forepaw as the Mole stepped gingerly down. `Lean on that!' he said. `Now then, step lively!' and the Mole to his surprise and rapture found himself actually seated in the stern of a real boat.

`This has been a wonderful day!' said he, as the Rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. `Do you know, I`ve never been in a boat before in all my life.'

`What?' cried the Rat, open-mouthed: `Never been in a - you never - well I - what have you been doing, then?'

`Is it so nice as all that?' asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.

`Nice? It's the ONLY thing,' said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. `Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING...absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,' he went on dreamily: `'

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

  Excellent response, Spadefish.
  Posted by: Steve_in_Idaho on Jul-15-13 7:08 PM (EST)
  Posted by: mwhussin on Jul-22-13 3:03 PM (EST)
I want to second the thoughtful reply on this discussion about SUP's. Brilliant, and anyone quoting 'Wind in the Willows" wins major points!
I was recently out paddling with my wife and went past a family, parents and several kids, having a grand old time playing on SUPS. I commented ,like others on this forum, that "I didn't get the appeal", thought it was odd and silly, what can you really do with these things after all, etc. etc. dripping paddler condescension. My wife , a very experienced paddler, white water, sea kayaking,etc. said ,as a pediatric occupational therapist, that she was just glad to see these kids out here playing on the water, learning how to balance, falling down,getting up, laughing, being goofy, and NOT being inside stuck to a computer, getting some exercise, learning to love the water. whatever it took to get kids ,and others, out on the water and using their bodies on a HUMAN powered craft was OK with her! Lesson learned for me. Will it "stick", be just a fad? Who knows ,who really cares.As Spadefish suggests let's just acknowledge them as fellow "watermen" (people!), give them a thumbs up ,and smile as we paddle by. We are all in this together!
  I tried it, and dont get it. at all.
  Posted by: mcimes on Jul-15-13 2:35 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-16-13 10:45 AM EST --

I did s very short demo a couple weeks ago and have to agree that I dont get SUPs at all. They're slow and remind me of a sport that Iyore (the depressed donkey from winnie the pooh) would love. Does this make me old? I hear myself saying "Damn kids and their newfangled surf boards".

I really dont get it considering you can easily spend $1500+ on a board and paddle. there's literally 100 boats I would spend that much $ on before a SUP.

Afterthought: at least around the Twin Cities, the average SUPer girl is a thats 1 point for SUPs.

Edit: Eyore!!!! How often was his name spelled on the show?? =)

  Eyore dude EYORE!
  Posted by: TommyC1 on Jul-15-13 6:26 PM (EST)

jeesh! where'd you grow up anyway?
  I have a couple
  Posted by: davbart on Jul-15-13 2:49 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-15-13 3:45 PM EST --

They're great for a lazy day on the lake when swimming is more the goal than paddling. Great in the surf when you're better at it than I am, mostly falling for me. Lastly, a more complete workout than any other form of paddling.

As far as skills, it is like any other paddling, people are at various levels and there are those who can do some pretty amazing things with them.

Visit Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina if you think it is just a "tourist thing". There is a meetup and training race every Thursday.

  me neither but to each his/her own
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Jul-15-13 2:53 PM (EST)
1. I have to stand up?

2. It's really not for surfing?

3. Where do I put my gear?

4. Looks cold for spring and fall.

5. Takes up twice the garage space as a bike.

6. More specific rack fittings!

Ok, those were in jest. But I have two words for a similar phenomenon: roller blades. They were a fad once, also. How many people do you see using them today?

Different strokes.
  best thing to happen to paddle racing
  Posted by: CapeFear on Jul-15-13 3:21 PM (EST)
In this area, SUP's are the greatest thing to happen to paddle racing. They hold several ocean paddle races here now - meaning SUP groups organize them. And they open them up to sea kayaks, surf skis, outrigger canoes, etc.
They are the first group willing to take on seas in large enough numbers to hold ocean races. There was an effort here years ago for kayaks, but without ideal conditions it was moved to the sound. They have far surpassed the sea kayaking community in terms of conditions they will hold an event and have participation in. Very welcoming to all paddlecraft, with a significant skilled bunch out surfing waves and paddling rough open water. A fantastic group of people over here with skill, strength, endurance, and a friendly attitude to go with it as far as I've noticed.
  this guy can
  Posted by: thegoose on Jul-15-13 3:44 PM (EST)
again i never have .

look in the wave at the 40 seocnd mark. Doesn't look like the same wave to me but caught my eye.

  Posted by: emanoh on Jul-15-13 4:17 PM (EST)
I would consider myself a hard core sea kayaker. I've demoed and rented a few SUP's. I prefer the touring displacement hull boards vs. the more surf oriented boards. Where I live, a surf oriented board would be a waste, but I could put some miles behind me with a touring board.

I have enjoyed them enough to attempt to build one. My project is coming along nicely and it's been fun. While I would never trade my sea kayak for a long "touring-like" trip, I've seen paddlers gear up fof long trips. My true passion is touring and for me a paddle board would fall into the glorified pool toy and exercise toy category.

I'd want to hop off and on for hot days in front of the cottage. I want to sit my kids on the nose and paddle (with pfd's). I'd be attached to the board with an ankle leash. I would keep the board at the lake home vs. having to haul all my kayak gear each time we visit.

You do get a different kind of exercise burn than you do from straight paddling. Of course you can go faster and farther in a kayak, but I'm not looking for 20 mile days.

I have other various wife, time and kid reasons for wanting to add one to my stable of paddle options. In all, I do think they are fun. Get on youtube and check out some of the races and you can see experts logging some serious speed. I've seen some amazing long-board racers catching wave train after wave train.

At this pace, maybe my board will be done before it snows. But who knows maybe by next summer the fad will have passed :-)
  So, what advice, suggestions, or
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-15-13 3:56 PM (EST)
general help are you offering? Pnet has a swell discussion forum when you lose track of your purpose
  aaaand..cue self-appointed forum cop
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 4:17 PM (EST)
  And if he has the right to post a thread
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-15-13 6:42 PM (EST)
on the wrong forum, why do I *not* have the right to call him on it?

Actually, there have been far fewer inappropriate threads on the Advice forum recently, but I take no credit for it. Apparently, people have half a braincell.
  and if you have the right to call him on
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Jul-16-13 11:11 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-16-13 11:12 AM EST --

it, we have the right to call you the self-appointed forum cop.

Carry it with pride, it's quite obvious that it's beyond your ability to control.

I do have to ask why you'd spend so much time in forums you don't care for and conversing with people you think so little of.

  Not my cuppa
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jul-15-13 3:58 PM (EST)
I can stand in a tandem canoe and use an SUP paddle though my six foot long Maine Guide Paddle makes more sense to me.

And off I go..with no outlay of cash. Better yet when I fall down, I don't have to call for help to get up!
  Very popular here on the west coast
  Posted by: nickjc on Jul-15-13 4:17 PM (EST)
There are regular races here the NW practically every week. Last surfski race I did in BC had as many SUPs as all the surfskis and kayaks. The fast guys are doing 5kts on the flat and much more if they go downwind. Upwind is a different story.
I know quite a few people with a quiver of boards, some for surf, some for racing. There's even a SUP yoga class here in Seattle.
Personally I would rather paddle a surfski or kayak.
  Don't "get" it?
  Posted by: PJC on Jul-15-13 4:17 PM (EST)
I "get" it, rather like I "get" surfing. Looks like fun but its not something that one would expect to exert an overwhelming attraction on any reasonable inland Midwesterner. That's just a prescription for frustration. I know a couple folks who paddleboard around on the local lakes here and seem to enjoy it. Good for them.

I also paddled a couple weeks ago on a river near LaCrosse Wi. One of the guys who went on that trip, a good whitewater paddler, brought along his new paddleboard. I was kinda' curious to see how it worked out on a typical mild river trip - there were a few drops and places where one had to thread through strainers or under low overhanging trees. He didn't take it off the car and paddled his Mohawk Probe instead.

There are some things "about" paddleboarding I don't get though:
A) Folks are promoting the bejeebers out of them around here. There are paddleboard festivals and visiting "experts" who travel here to do the important work of teaching folks in the art of stand-up paddling. They sell like hotcakes though there's nowhere with regular large waves to capitalize on their greatest advantages and they aren't well suited to carrying camping gear, though there are many nearby places admirably suited to river camping or BWCA-like lake to lake trips. So why this overwhelming need for education promotion of and education in stand-up paddling in a place better suited for other types of paddling? That I don't quite "get". I understand the desire to sell stuff and the compulsion some folks seem to feel toward being on board for latest new thing. But I don't understand the push to sell this here and why are folks seem so anxious to hop on a bandwagon that's selling what is at best "thin soup" for our area.
B) Why don't apparently ANY of these folks wear PFDs and why don't any of us get on our high horses about that as we so often have if they were canoeists or kayakers? Does their not wearing cotton make up for their other sins? This I don't "get."
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 4:31 PM (EST)
A) The reason you see these "educators" is there are a lot of distributors and manufacturers' reps out there trying to strike while the iron is hot. They know that if this is a fad, like windsurfing was in the 80s, they need to push hard and make their money now while the fad is going strong. Even if they are hoping it will be more than a fad, they know they have to achieve some critical mass fast. They can't just rely on the geographies that are best suited to their products, they have to push them whereever there is water to do this. I think the reason why so many folks are jumping on the bandwagon is as I said before, these things seem like an easy approach to water - not "stodgy" and "old-fashioned" like they think canoes are, not tippy like they think canoes and kayaks are either.

B) I think the reason people aren't wearing PFD is because no one wears PFDs on surfboards. And these things haven't been regulated yet. States haven't passed regs requiring them to even carry PFDs, because they are still seeing them as surfboards.
  In North Carolina,....
  Posted by: davbart on Jul-15-13 4:49 PM (EST)
If not in the surf, you are required to have a PFD when on a paddleboard like any other vessel.

I wear an inflatable belt PFD to meet the legal requirement. The SUP has much more buoyancy than any PFD.
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 5:00 PM (EST)
It's probably the way it should be, but funny that you still aren't required to wear one in the surf, where you are most likely to fall off, and maybe hit your head.
  Leashes are required....
  Posted by: davbart on Jul-15-13 5:04 PM (EST)
at most beaches.

If they required them for SUP they'd have to do it for surfers who would be hampered by PFDs.
  I know World Paddler's Association
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 5:24 PM (EST)
petitioned USCG to amend the reg:

"“if the stand up paddleboard operator is tethered (wearing a leash) to their board or vessel, can this be deemed as an alternate or replacement for having a PFD.” Most would feel that a stock (12’6”) or larger SUP board would be a better floatation device as long as the operator were attached to the vessel."

I am not sure I understand the logic of that. PFD stands for Personal Flotation Device, ie a device designed to float your person. You kind of have to wear it in order for it to work. If you are unconsiously tethered to a paddleboard, it isn't keeping you afloat, you are acting as a sea anchor for it.

And yes, I know all the arguments about PFDs not keeping an unconscious person face up, so if you are conscious and attached to the paddleboard, you can get back to it and get back up onto it. That's fine, but if that is the logic, then it makes no sense that if you choose not to be tethered to a SUP, you have to have a PFD on the SUP but don't have to wear it. If a conscious person is swept off his board and can get to it to put his PFD on, then he shouldn't need a PFD because he can use the board as a PFD, right? But if he can't get back to it, having a PFD on it is going to do him no good.
  PFDs and paddleboards- answer
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 5:05 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-15-13 5:09 PM EST --

seems I was wrong about there being no regs on PFDs for paddleboards. As Davbart stated, some states do have their own state-level regs requiring PFDs. Also, I did some research and found out in December 2010 the USCG declared that paddleboards are vessels, and therefore require PFDs

However, WPA at least at one point was trying to get them to revise the language so that if you are tethered to your paddleboard with a leash, the board itself counts as a PFD.

  USCG and paddle boards
  Posted by: NateHanson on Jul-16-13 5:58 PM (EST)
At least in the Northeast sector, the USCG has decided that SUPs are "vessels" (subject to all the same carriage requirements as a kayak) only when outside of the surf zone.

In the surf zone they are basically a pool toy, and no PFD is required - just like a surf board.
  Why should we care if you get it?
  Posted by: seadart on Jul-15-13 4:45 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-15-13 4:48 PM EST --

A lot of people do get it. I like the fact that a lot of women now are getting out into the surf and ripping it up on SUPs, has certainly changed the dynamic in the surf zone. I surfed saturday with 8 20 somethings trying out SUPs and they were all avid board surfers and were having a blast on the SUPs, I was in a surf kayak.

And I'm no longer considered a menace on my 8' wave ski in the line up because of all the barnies out there.

It's a really good work-out on flat water and gives you a different feel for paddling; it's fun. I'm not so sure about not being fast. I was on a wide beginners board last week and a ranger in a kayak was trying to catch up to me to talk with me and could not do it. I did not realize he was behind me, I was paddling as hard as I could go and he was fat and old, but with good technique you can move along pretty fast.

  How come you didn't want to talk
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 4:47 PM (EST)
to the ranger? :)
  I didn't notice him.
  Posted by: seadart on Jul-15-13 4:51 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-15-13 4:52 PM EST --

I didn't have my glassses on and I almost ran over a sea otter (I thought it was a kelp bulb), he was trying to warn me that they were popping up unexpected in the channel I was paddling in.

  Oh, okay, it sounded like you
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 4:58 PM (EST)
were trying to outrun him ;)
  An additional note,....
  Posted by: davbart on Jul-15-13 5:07 PM (EST)
I think the popularity of SUP is apparent by your use of paddleboard and everyone's understanding that you meant SUP.

Prone paddleboards have been around a long time, and are important tools for ocean lifeguards.
  for anyone
  Posted by: radiomix on Jul-15-13 5:53 PM (EST)
Doubting the legitimacy of SUP, I suggest you do something. Go sign up in a good race with unlimiteds and 14 footers. After the race when they have beaten your kayak or canoe to the finish and are drinking a beer waiting on you, you can tell them about how slow, unmaneuverable, and a waste of time their sport is. I did this, and was absolutely amazed by the class of athlete I saw on those boards.

Ryan L.
  Posted by: PJC on Jul-15-13 7:39 PM (EST)
There's no doubt about it, some of these folks are very very good at what they do and I've no doubt its a good activity for many. I've no doubt its great exercise. I've no doubt that some folks can get them moving darned fast. I think its an especially attractive sport where there are big waves. I don't really mean to be disparaging, only that I think there are forms of paddle sport better suited to our location, and most others as well.

I also have a feeling - and that's all it is, a feeling - that there's something just a little cynical about such intensive promotion, strictly for profit, of a sport that will probably turn out to be a passing fad to many that are now buying into it. All the major TV stations announced the SUP fest and seemed to give it almost as much air time as the paramilitary security team from Arizona tracking the activities of campers and hikers near the proposed site of an iron mine up north. There will, no doubt, be thousands spent on SUP outfits that will probably end up hanging unused in the garage and then be sold at a significant loss. That's thousands that might have been spent on forms of paddlesport that might be of more lasting interest to the participants. I wonder if that's good for paddle sports in general. But on the other hand, I can go out on our local lakes on most any warm day and see sail boards scooting about and their users having a blast. It may turn out to be a fad but there will be some who find deep and abiding satisfaction in it. Good on 'em.

And it sure doesn't matter whether I, or anyone else, "gets it" or not. I'm sure there are those who would find some of the paddling activities I enjoy tedious, toilsome, dull, whatever. (Its pretty hard to make the portaging many of us do seem like an enjoyable activity, for that matter.) That's OK, they don't have to "get it". (But I sure did enjoy seeing the Milky Way last weekend with no light pollution and not a man made sound... the early dawn mists rising off the river, the call of cranes and the squeak of sand underfoot . If someone doesn't "get" that then I am most grateful that they weren't out there taking up good camping sites.)There's no good and bad here, just what we enjoy and have access to.

The whole kayak surfing thing looks like a hoot, and develops skills that aren't required for other aspects of paddle sport. I have nothing but respect for those who do that. Same with the big water expedition kayakers and their off shore navigation in foggy tidal currents or the big water open canoe whitewater folks. My hats off to guys who make long portages across the tundra and deal with grizzlies in order to see muskoxen. I "get" that just as I "get" surfing, though I'm not in a position to do any of these things often enough to get good enough at them to claim expertise in them.
(And I'd hope that there might be enough others here who share interests in paddling fields they can't actively participate in that the rather aggressive "who cares if you don't get it" attitude doesn't dominate. We all share a love of paddling and our shared interests hopefully outweigh our relatively minor differences. Good chance we all can enjoy and learn something from others here at least occasionally.)

Same with mountaineering. I "get" it and respect those who do it. I respect AT through hikers and bicycle tourers also. I would have a hard time though, "getting" large scale promotional efforts to encourage unicycle touring, off-road unicycling, AT trail unicycling, a south col unicycle race, etc. It would take skill, no doubt, and I'd have a certain admiration for those dedicated enough to do it, but I can't say I'd exactly "get" it. Would that really be a better way to do these things, or would it look to you, as it would to me, like a cynical attempt to dupe people into buying unicycles?

See what I mean?
  you're missing the point
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Jul-16-13 11:15 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-16-13 11:16 AM EST --

The OP wasn't that it didn't take ability. It's not a macho insult. The OP was that people didn't get the draw. I guess I don't see why that's a problem.

I watch F1 racing on TV. It's televised at odd hours on network affiliates because the appeal isn't enough to justify more. Sure they're great athletes. Does that mean everyone has to like it?

I don't get golf, but I'm sure the pros are athletes also.

  i get it
  Posted by: radiomix on Jul-16-13 11:30 AM (EST)
I was just addressing the issues in the op and that others raised as to why they don't get it.

In not sure I get it either, but its still cool, and not because of any of the reasons most people here have listed.

I don't get mini coopers.

Ryan L.
  Posted by: bogmonkey on Jul-16-13 1:13 PM (EST)
Again, let me clarify that I am not "mocking" SUPPERS or the experience of paddleboarding. I just find it odd that I don't understand the appeal, and yet SO MANY seem so enthusiastic about it

Kiteboarding - looks fun, not my thing
Golf - nice walk outdoors hitting a ball
Sailing - fun!
Windsurfing - looks like a blast
Innertubing - what's not to like?
Swimming - water, goggles, fun!
Canoeing - love it
Kayaking - full bore addict

Then we come to SUPPING...standing on a large flat board with no cargo space and tripping around. It just has zero appeal to me, and I can find the appeal in most any watersport activity.

Also, the four people in my circle of friends who bought boards and "stopped liking it" almost immediately tends to cement my opinion that it is a fad.

When I questioned a couple of them on more detail they said:

"kindof a hassle to transport"
"more of a workout than a leisure activity"
"kayaking is more fun"
"felt kindof like a douche on the thing"

If SUPPING is yer thing, it's cool...any time on the water is time well spent. I was just trying to get my head around what drives the SUP crowd.

  i understand you arent mocking it
  Posted by: radiomix on Jul-16-13 3:16 PM (EST)
I'm just saying your reasons and most of the other reasons are dumb reasons.

Tell me your balance is sub par, or your back hurts from standing, or you just like sitting and paddling.

Because these reasons:
"kind of a hassle to transport" "more of a workout than a leisure activity" "kayaking is more fun" "felt kind of like a douche on the thing"

Could be said about any endeavour.

With the right rack a board takes about 1 min to lock down if you are going slow. They are lighter than most paddlecraft. If you view it as a workout then it is a workout. If you think kayaking is more fun, fine, I do too, but not a reason to think others wont. I feel like a douche everytime I put a skirt on.

Sidenote, there is plenty of cargo space, its just different than a canoe or kayak.

In the interest of full disclosure, I don't SUP. I just like good arguments.

Ryan L.
  So, you're the odd one? ;-)
  Posted by: steve_in_idaho on Jul-16-13 4:24 PM (EST)
"I just find it odd that I don't understand the appeal, and yet SO MANY seem so enthusiastic about it"

Nothing odd about that. I don't get the huge attraction to *most* ball sports. I get the appeal of golf, but I don't get why everyone who golfs thinks I'm sub-human because I don't.

I don't worry myself over it, and I don't hassle anyone for golfing (much).
  I hear you on golf
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-16-13 5:22 PM (EST)
I don't know why people look at me like I just poured a sack of dead kittens on the table at a dinner party when they ask me about golfing and I say that I don't play.

I was happy the other day because my boss (a cool guy) and the owner of this company (also a cool guy( we are working on a project with and I were sitting around talking. The other guy had just lost a lot of weight, and my boss asked him "how did it affect your golf game?" The other guy replied "I have only played like once. I'd rather go fishing." A guy after my own heart, and for once I didn't feel like the odd man out when golf was brought up in a business discussion.

I think this speaks to the reason why I feel the way I do about people going on and on about how they don't "get" SUP, even though it doesn't appeal to me. I find it annoying that in our society there are apparently these default hobbies that you are supposed to like, and if you don't, it's okay for people to look at you like you are weird. I don't do that to people who don't like camping, or fishing, or hiking, or paddling, or pondkeeping. I feel like if it is obnoxious to question people's motives for not liking a hobby you like, then it's also obnoxious to question people's motives for liking a hobby you don't.
  Posted by: jbernard on Jul-16-13 7:14 PM (EST)
I love it when some guy in a kayak says SUPs are slow.
  What figures are you looking at?
  Posted by: wavespinner on Jul-18-13 10:51 PM (EST)
The assertion seemed highly unlikely considering the wind resistance and obstacles to getting full body drive into an SUP stroke. So, I checked results for some of the bigger pro SUP races for unlimited boards, including some billed as world in scope, and the winning speeds ranged from 5.6 to 6.0 mph. We regularly exceed that in our amateur kayak races and the distances are even longer. And the pros (comparing to the pro sup results) are frequently at least a mph faster than us.
  i did the same thing.
  Posted by: radiomix on Jul-19-13 10:07 AM (EST)
I thought for sure I could out pace a SUP of any length. If I was in a ski or a fsk I would probably would, but in an average 17 ft sea kayak, there are plenty of high level sup guys easily capable of beating me. The race I am specifically referencing was a 30 mile race. Some of the SUPs shot out in front of me, and I thought surely that full body stroke would tire them out and they would come back. It never happened. I finished averaging just north of 5 mph.

Now of course, it takes some of the better racers to do this, but it is certainly possible. The assumption that SUPs are slow and cumbersome is an uneducated one.

Ryan L.
  large and unweildy?
  Posted by: Peter-CA on Jul-15-13 6:46 PM (EST)
I like the comments about these large, unwieldy boards - coming from kayakers. Most boards are 12'6" or under (yes, some go to 14 for a particular race class, and sometimes even longer, but I don't see as many of those). Most of my kayaks are longer than this. And these unwieldy boards are half the weight of any of my kayaks.

I lead kayak tours and also instruct. I have seen many new kayakers who control their kayaks at the same level as the description of boardies blocking the channel. I don't think it is the vessel, just them being new and untrained.
  So - you don't get it.
  Posted by: Steve_in_Idaho on Jul-15-13 7:06 PM (EST)
That's because you haven't been paying close attention.

I doubted the SUP thing at first, but I've seen enough of them in use now to understand the potential advantages for some people.

Around here, they're taking them down class 3 rivers now and surfing the standing waves on the way. When they fall off, they don't have to worry about swamping their boat. They seem to have little trouble getting back on, with practice. They don't have to learn to roll. They don't need any special vehicle or heavier racks to carry them.

All in all - they're a pretty low-maintenance and low-stress toy. Pretty appealing to the masses, and some paddlers are getting really good with them. And they *are* wearing pfd's here.

What was the question?
  Posted by: bowler1 on Jul-15-13 7:25 PM (EST)
I don't have one and have never paddled one, but I can see it to some extent. I am an avid sea kayaker, whitewater kayaker and canoeist.

Paddling a SUP is kind of like a cross between paddling a canoe, a whitwater kayak and a surf board. I watched a video on it and there is more to it if you chose to be serious about it.

One might say the same things about rec kayaks lacking sophistication, etc.

The SUP apparently responds quite a bit to trim and moving backwards and forwards on the board to turn and in the surf zone, and you can spin it by sinking the stern a bit kind of like a whitewater kayak pivot turn.

Plus they look like a blast to surf.

One of the best sea kayakers I know has gotten pretty heavily into SUPs for surfing.

  paddleboarding for kayer article
  Posted by: Peter-CA on Jul-15-13 8:12 PM (EST)
California Kayaker Magazine had an article on paddleboarding for kayakers. It was the musing from a person who became a convert to paddleboarding after many years of kayaking (and as a kayaking instructor). Can be read online for free at - issue #9.

The magazine has been renamed with the newest issue to California Paddler Magazine, and it will have SUP content in each issue. Started with then most recent issue covering the basics of SUPs (types, sizes, etc.). can be read at the same link.
  For apt. dwellers, or
  Posted by: edzep on Jul-15-13 8:44 PM (EST)
for use in small recreation areas, I get it. Other than that, not so much. As above, I have noted that wimmin on paddle boards are always fit, and worthy of a double-take.
  Posted by: scombrid on Jul-15-13 9:13 PM (EST)
""""I have just been un able to find one single person who "stuck" with paddleboarding, and I know a LOT of folks into watersports here on the Gulf.""""""

Funny, I know dozens in Pinellas County, several sponsored by major brands like Quickblade Paddles and YOLO Board. A bunch were over here on Saturday racing at the East Coast Paddleboard Championship.

Attendance at races is 5:1 SUP to kayak/surfski/oc-1 these days. Last race I went to I was like one of five surfskis and there were 50 or more SUP. Out of those SUP there were a lot of nubes but the top 20 or so were all good watermen and women.
  I don't get it, but only because it's
  Posted by: Ayornamut on Jul-16-13 8:19 AM (EST)
not for me.

Why stand up to paddle when you can sit? Plus it seems kind of slow moving. On the other hand, you can get a better all over tan than you can kayaking.

As far as its longevity, I guess that depends on how many adherents it has. Windsurfing is not exactly a good comparison, since there are still a fair number of windsurfers out there.

Now, _kiteboarding_ looks sort of exciting.
  That's why windsurfing is a fair
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-16-13 8:42 AM (EST)
Comparison, because when the faddiness of SUP dies down, there still will be a decent number of SUPers out there. It's here to stay, it just won't be as high profile as it is now, just as windsurfing isn't as high profile as it was in the 1980s. And just like windsurfing, the dabblers will sell their boards in garage sales once the buzz dies down, but the true enthusiasts will remain.
  good comparison
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Jul-16-13 11:18 AM (EST)
  Posted by: CEWilson on Jul-16-13 9:12 AM (EST)
Canoeing is a "better" game than kayaking because it requires more skill. SUPing is a better game than canoeing because it requires more skill. Maybe astro-physics is the best game of all. ??
  Aaah but canoeing does not teach
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jul-16-13 9:29 AM (EST)
many about sea sense.

In a kayak on the ocean I am always learning about that.. The only bad type of paddling is spanking.

Some paddling is easy to learn and hard to master. It's all good.
  its all good and amusing!
  Posted by: tdaniel on Jul-16-13 11:18 AM (EST)
my 18 year old daughter is dating a SUPer. We ran the upper new (Glade to the Sandbar in wv) a few weeks ago. My daughter and I kayaked and the boyfriend had an inflatable SUP. I got the speil at the put in about the great fitness benefits, vision advantages, and general wonderfulness of SUPs along with the myth that there is great whitewater in the middle of Summersville lake (but that's a different topic).

I rather enjoyed seeing the young man getting worked in "grassy shoals." It seems the leash was yanking him around pretty good as he swam through the standing waves which comprise the rapid.

In the flats he wasn't real fast so it made for a nice float. I could talk to my daughter while he paddled to keep up.

The rest of the rapids involved a lot of swimming with the SUP. He seemed to have the most success kneeling.

I gave it a go at the take out. He advised me not to standup when getting on- it was quite rocky and he didn't want to see me actually bleed. So I paddled out on my knees. I ferried a little bit but never even tried standing up. SUPs aren't made for fat, over the hill guys, with bad knees. Its all I can do to climb out of bed in the morning with them knees so you think I'm gonna actually try standing up on board floatin' out in the middle of the new river? It ain't happenin'.

I've seen some very talented SUPers that I admire shredding playspots but these individuals are "park and players" as opposed to river runners.

Its all good. As long as it ain't me tryin' to do it.
If the "boyfriend" gets spanked a little bit bein' hip that's ok too. Bein' cool has always had its price.

As a spectator, I believe I could learn to embrace the sport. Just as I embrace women's beach volleyball purely for the athletic prowess these ladies possess.

As far as my own daughter, she would be allowed to compete. In a berkini- a berka with a bikini underneath. SUPs??? they beat the piercings, tats, dreads, texting, and some of the other stuff my daughter is into. Her boyfriend seems nice enough, so its all good. That bein' said, seein' a good beat down
was kinda nice ...especially when it involves my daughters boyfriend.
  ok that was a good read
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Jul-16-13 11:43 AM (EST)
  Get it ?
  Posted by: on Jul-16-13 2:06 PM (EST)
I don't get it...........
It doesn't matter whether I get it or not.
If you get it; go for it.

They've certainly done one hell of a marketing job.

  You are not the target market
  Posted by: wavespinner on Jul-18-13 3:26 PM (EST)
A local paddling shop is thinking of going big into SUPs and asked me to assess the market for them. My research revealed that current paddlers aren't the primary market. They don't expect to convert a significant portion of paddlers who embrace the virtues of kayaks and canoes.

Their primary target is people who want to exercise for fitness and think it would be cool to do it with "surfer" motif. A secondary segment would be those who live in warmer climates with clear waters and stuff to see under the water, which would include paddlers in those areas. Paddlers get some of the marketing budget but the makers who go about this methodically are looking more mainstream for the volume.

I tried it and was not bowled over. Of course, when the murk clears around here, the view is old washing machines and engine blocks.
  I though it was just me
  Posted by: leob1 on Jul-18-13 4:21 PM (EST)
Glad I'm not the only one that doesn't get the attraction to stand up and paddling. My wife thinks it's the greatest thing going. I just think it's a dumb idea.
  Very popular 'round here
  Posted by: Kocho on Jul-18-13 9:24 PM (EST)
Both for flat water and for whitewater. I got an inflatable that I take on trips - tons of fun for the kids and I get a workout too.

I'd rather SUP than canoe. But paddle boarding (not SUP, just paddle boarding) - this I don't get either...

The OP is wrong on most points though, except probably about his fiends selling their boards... The SUP is a lot more maneuverable than a kayak (but one needs to know how to turn it), is fun, is different. Not perfect, but does things we can't do in kayaks.
  Agree that SUP has many benefits ...
  Posted by: water_walker on Jul-19-13 10:12 PM (EST)
But disagree with your point #2. Sit down paddling can be an excellent full-body workout, especially if you have a boat that allows you to paddle in a knees-up (racing) style and use proper technique.

Agreed that not many sea kayakers actually paddle that way -- but not many SUP paddlers actually paddle in a way that maxes out their muscles and aerobic capacity either.
  It's better because its harder
  Posted by: jbernard on Jul-19-13 2:00 PM (EST)
I had 10 years of advanced sea kayaking behind me when I discovered SUP 3 years ago. I don't kayak anymore. (Got a Valley Nordkapp lv for sale cheap) Like anything else it is not for everyone but I work with and am friends with more than a dozen (former) hard core sea kayakers who do not kayak much anymore (not really at all) We are all SUPing now. But it is definitely not for everyone. The people who are attracted to SUP tend to be very physically active. They are the kinds of people who would join a Crossfit Gym rather than a traditional health club. People who would run a Tough Mudder race rather than a road race. They are not people who just want to go for a "relaxing paddle", though you can certainly do that.

There are a couple features of SUP that are very attractive to this type of paddler, features that sea kayaking lacks.
1) SUP is harder to do well in challenging sea conditions. (This is appealing)
2) SUP is a better workout, kayaking or canoeing can't even come close. (This is appealing)
3) You can see better from a SUP than from a kayak or canoe, both above the water and below the water.
4) Less stuff to deal with.

Just different strokes for different folks.

Give it a try, you might like it. Just don't take up surfing, surfing sucks- don't do it.
  Posted by: mcimes on Jul-19-13 5:02 PM (EST)
Any paddling without a rudder is tougher than with one for obvious reasons, but I think SUPing no harder than canoeing. I think canoeing is probably a little tougher because canoes dont have a keel to keep you sort of straight.

I will give you that SUPers are better looking on average =)
  Points 2 and three....wrong.
  Posted by: Steve_in_Idaho on Jul-20-13 12:41 AM (EST)
"2) SUP is a better workout, kayaking or canoeing can't even come close. (This is appealing)
3) You can see better from a SUP than from a kayak or canoe, both above the water and below the water."

You forgot about canoe poling.

  Not paddling
  Posted by: jbernard on Jul-20-13 7:10 AM (EST)
Come on Steve, I didn't forget that but it's not paddling.
  Posted by: steve_in_idaho on Jul-22-13 1:15 PM (EST)
  yup. and the market described
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Jul-22-13 2:51 PM (EST)
sounds like a group of kayakers.
  Posted by: mwhussin on Jul-22-13 3:06 PM (EST)
I want to second the thoughtful reply on this discussion about SUP's. Brilliant, and anyone quoting 'Wind in the Willows" wins major points!
I was recently out paddling with my wife and went past a family, parents and several kids, having a grand old time playing on SUPS. I commented ,like others on this forum, that "I didn't get the appeal", thought it was odd and silly, what can you really do with these things after all, etc. etc. dripping paddler condescension. My wife , a very experienced paddler, white water, sea kayaking,etc. said ,as a pediatric occupational therapist, that she was just glad to see these kids out here playing on the water, learning how to balance, falling down,getting up, laughing, being goofy, and NOT being inside stuck to a computer, getting some exercise, learning to love the water. whatever it took to get kids ,and others, out on the water and using their bodies on a HUMAN powered craft was OK with her! Lesson learned for me. Will it "stick", be just a fad? Who knows ,who really cares.As Spadefish suggests let's just acknowledge them as fellow "watermen" (people!), give them a thumbs up ,and smile as we paddle by. We are all in this together!
  Bottom Line
  Posted by: CEWilson on Jul-22-13 9:07 PM (EST)
SUP Boards are just like abortions. If you don't want one, don't get one!

The SUP forward stroke is an interesting combination of he WW and Marathon forward strokes, except one torso rotates from the toenails up.

We don't weight forward to turn like in most paddlecraft. The skeg requires we weight aft and skid the bow/tip like a Harold deal whitewater hull.

Whatever, it's fun and enough different to be interesting.
  Posted by: Cliffjrs on Jul-27-13 8:49 AM (EST)
remind me when that short lived fad snowboards, first hit the ski slopes back in the '80's. Anyone remember those ridiculous things ?
  I just won a 3day rental
  Posted by: dc9mm on Jul-28-13 9:47 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-28-13 9:50 AM EST --

I just won a 3 day two stand up paddle boards rental. Like some here I think paddle Boards are just a fad that will be gone in a few years.I have ZERO interest in paddle boards. As they were drawing the ticket for the prize I looked over to a friend and said I hope I dont win that, LOL.Funny part I never win anything now I win somthing I dont want.

Ps:I dont like snowboards BUT they do pretty much the same thing as skis were paddle boards dont realy do the same as a kayak or canoe.



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