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While Hawaii stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is all the rage these days, its roots trace back more than 50 years.
In the 1960s, Waikiki’s famed beach boys stood up on their surfboards and propelled themselves with long outrigger canoeing paddles so they could keep a better eye on visitors in the ocean and take pictures of tourists. The pastime soon turned into a sport and, eventually, it was added to surfing contests.
Today, SUP is making a splash among visitors seeking an accessible new aquatic experience. Known for giving participants a great core workout, it has a broad appeal because it’s relatively easy for all ages to learn. Around the islands, ocean activity companies in nearly every visitor hub have added it to their list of options, making it hard to resist.
Following are just a few of the Hawaii firms that help clients try SUP, a fast-growing sport at once old and new.
Haleiwa Surf n’ SeaLocated on Oahu’s North Shore, this company helps clients paddle in easy-to-navigate flat waters as well as ride the ocean waves. www.surfnsea.com
Nancy Emerson School of SurfingEmerson, an international surfing pro, takes people on SUP adventures, complete with sea life explorations and lunch. www.surfclinics.com
Rainbow Watersports AdventuresA four-hour tour along the north and windward coasts includes breaks for swimming, snorkeling and lunch. www.rainbowwatersports.com
Maria Souza's Stand-Up Paddle Boarding SchoolExtreme water woman Souza shares her SUP expertise on Maui’s southern shorewww.standuppaddlesurfschool.com
Maui Sports UnlimitedBeginners practice in Kihei’s calm waters, with advanced classes on the North Shore, conditions permittingwww.mauisportsunlimited.com
Kayak KauaiThe Hanalei River is the perfect starting point for North Shore SUP, after which the lesson moves to the more challenging Hanalei Bay www.kayakkauai.com
Try KauaiThe half-day tour starts with SUP paddling two miles downstream followed by a hike, swim, water zipline and canoe ride back to the startwww.trykauai.com
Hawaii Island (Big Island)
Big Island SUP AdventuresThis Hilo-based firm offers introductory SUP lessons on the Wailoa River and runs experienced tours in the open oceanwww.bigislandsup.com
Kona BoysLaid-back Kona watermen and women offer SUP lessons in calm Kamakahonu Bay and more challenging spots as skills progress.www.konaboys.com