A History of Stand Up Paddle Surfing

Fourtwentysix Inc. recently added Boardworks Canada – C4 Waterman and Pohaku Paddles – to the agency for the summer season.  While slowing making its rise in Canada –  stand up paddle surfing, or SUP, is a surface water sport. A variation 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: “Ku Hoe He’e Nalu” meaning to stand, to paddle, to surf, a wave.

The  modern sport of SUP originated in the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1960s when 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, aka Stand Up Paddle Surfing.

Above is a popular photo of SUP surfer John Zapotocky, the oldest SUP’er, by Waikiki Beach Boy, Bobby Ah Choy. He is one of the pioneers of the sport and a living SUP legend at the age of 91 and still surfing!!!


Why the rage in Canada?? – SUP does not need a wave!! In SUP, one can paddle on the open ocean, in harbours, on lakes, rivers or any large body of water. One of the advantages of Stand Up Paddle Surfing is the angle of visibility. Because of the standing height over the water one can see both deeper into the water and further across the surface of the water, allowing better visualization of features others lower above the water may not be able to see.

More recently, Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama picked up the sport as a method to train in the off season. These big wave surfers took the sport to another level- in both surfing, and open ocean arenas.

C4′s goal is the promote the sport of stand up paddling and share the core values of true watermen: balance, endurance, strength, and tradition.

Visit your local surf shop to pick up a C4 Waterman board and join the league of Watermen!!

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