Roll Call: Doesn't "get" paddleboarding

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.

i’ll bite
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’

couple of friends
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.


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!”

Another invention
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?

agree, dont dig the wall

They aren’t my cup of tea

– 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.

I tried it, and dont get it. at all.

– 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?? =)

not a snob
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.

I have a couple

– 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
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
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 is what I think.

– 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

this guy can
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.

So, what advice, suggestions, or
general help are you offering? Pnet has a swell discussion forum when you lose track of your purpose

Not my cuppa
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
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?
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.”

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 :slight_smile:

aaaand…cue self-appointed forum cop