Stand up Paddle Surfing Edited on 06/17/2008
Stand up paddle surfing is an aspect of surfing that has seen a recent resurgence in the Hawaiian Islands. For those that are not familiar with the sport, it entails standing on a large longboard and propelling yourself with essentially a canoe paddle. It is a sport practiced at one time by the beach boys of Waikiki with roots that likely trace back even further. Recently, it has been picked up by watermen as an alternative way to ride surf and as a means of staying in shape. The level of surfing on stand up paddle boards has sky rocketed in the last few years with feats such as Archie Kalepa’s crossing between Molokai and Oahu and Laird Hamilton’s recent foray out at Jaws on a stand up paddle board. At the bottom end of the performance spectrum, the Jalbert brothers have recently joined the ranks of stand up paddle surfers. We may be among the least distinguished watermen to have ever tried the sport, but we have been having a lot of fun giving it a try.
The learning curve for stand up paddle surfing can be steep. It can be particularly difficult when you are learning in choppy surf. I had a string of surfs where each one resulted in a new bruise golf ball sized or larger. Billy and I recently purchased new boards from local shaper Sean Ordonez and the streak of bruises has stopped. Perhaps it has more to do with the mellower swell conditions associated with spring on Maui. It might also be a reflection of the great boards that Sean made for us.
Smaller waves has also meant an opportunity to get out and do “down winders”. This entails paddling down the coast with the prevailing trade winds. The strategy and the effort is similar to paddle boarding. This has been a great break for us when we are not working with clients. Gliding with the open ocean swells with the beauty of the water, the West Maui mountains and Haleakala surrounding us can make for some of those true Maui No Ka Oi moments.
When I check the logs of this site, I am always surprised by the number of people that visit this page. This post was even picked up and published in the Australian Paddle Publication Kanu Kulture. With the popularity of this page, I thought readers would appreciate links to other stand up paddle related sites on the web.
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