The sport of Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or in the Hawaiian language Hoe he’e nalu, is exploding worldwide! People of all ages are drawn to the sport for its ease of access, simple equipment, excellent core exercise potential and endless learning curve. From paddling the flat water of lakes and rivers to surfing the beach breaks and point breaks of the world. SUP is a sport that almost anyone can enjoy. The sport is an ancient form of surfing, and reemerged as a way for surfing instructors to manage their large groups of learner surfers, as standing on the board gave them a higher viewpoint, increasing visibility of what was going on around them - such as incoming swell. In the early 1960's, 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", another name for SUP, originates.
The warm shallow waters of the Pamlico Sound are a perfect location for beginners to learn SUP and get a workout while hanging with friends and family. With SUP's Hawaiian heritage, SUP benefits the body's "core" and tests balance and endurance. The best part about SUP is it takes very little prep time. Just throw on your swimsuit and hit the shore. Beginners start on their knees to get the feel of the board and learn to balance. Once comfortable, you are able to stand on the board, using your core center to maintain balance. Take a leisurely paddle down the shore of the Pamlico and take in the scenery. This is a great way to enjoy the sites, get familiar with nature and at the same time get a great workout.
New custom SUP board prices range from $600 to $1500, and most use glass-reinforced plastic construction using epoxy resin that is compatible with the expanded polystyrene foam used in the core. The boards are generally longer than 9 feet (3 m), and up to 12 feet (4 m) or more in length, with features such as padded decks and concave hulls; they generally have one or three surfboard-style fins in the stern for tracking.
If you want to try your hand at SUP without a lesson or if you have already taken a lesson and want to work on your skills, check out a local rental shop. You can rent boards and other water equipment daily or weekly and they have boards to fit a variety of experience levels. For a wonderful combination of fun, exercise and enriching experience take a lesson with Spa Koru in Avon. Classes are $40 or 3 for $90 and are held every morning at 10am. For rental information or other location lessons visit Kitty Hawk Kites. They have a very knowledgeable staff that can assist with tips, rentals, lessons, and great spots up and down the Island. Either way, this is such a beneficial sport and can be shared with the whole family. It is definitely something to check out! Aloha!