Sup i Stockholm – what is Stand Up Paddling?
everything you need to know about SUP in Stockholm
Stand Up Paddling is a reasonable new way of practising a fun way of watersport, and excersize your core muscles at the same time by balancing on a surf-board.
On this page we will explain a little bit of the history of SUP boarding. Then, we explain what kind of types of SUP boarding we have. Of course you want to know if it’s hard to learn and what this sport has to do with core muscles? We will all about that too in this page. We finish this page by explaining if this sport is suitable for you, if it’s dangerous and how long it takes to do it yourself. At last we like to explain to you why the conditions of Stockholm are so good for this type of sport. Enjoy!
It’s hard to know when modern stand up paddling really began. To do so, you’d have to define exactly what it is. Stand up has become such a diverse and vibrant sport it defies strict definition, leaving its early roots as mysterious as its modern reasons of its popularity. Two things are sure: we stand while paddling a surﬁng style craft and we use a long paddle to propel the craft forwards.
It seems that stand up paddling in some form or another has been around for thousands of years. Ancient cultures from Africa to South America used boards, canoes, and other watercraft propelled with a long stick to fish, travel, make war, and even ride waves. For 3,000 years, Peruvian ﬁsherman used a craft called a “Caballitos de Totora”, a small craft made of reeds that is so called because its instability made it like riding a horse. They used a long bamboo shaft somewhat like an elongated kayak paddle, and after a day’s fishing they would surf the waves in just for fun. In fact, its quite possible that this is the true roots of all surfing, let alone stand up surfing.
While stand up paddling may have developed in various places around the world, the modern surfing tradition has Polynesian ancestry. In 1778, Captain James Cook sailed into the Hawaiian Islands and became the first European to witness the Hawaiian people surfing. He’e nalu, as they call it in the native Hawaiian tongue, was done either in canoes or on special, carved boards from the Koa tree. The village chief got the biggest board, sometimes as big as 5m long, while lesser village personages had smaller 2 or 3-meter boards. Because of the sheer size of the boards, a paddle was often used to power out and onto the waves.
Modern stand up paddle surfing has its own Hawaiian roots as well. In the 1940s, surf instructors in Waikiki like Duke Kahanamoku and Leroy and Bobby AhChoy would take paddles and stand on their boards to get a better view of the surfers in the water and incoming swells, and from time to time they would surf the waves in themselves using the paddle to steer the board. Injured in a car accident that restricted him from swimming or kneeling, Bobby would stand up with a camera about his neck, and paddle into the surf zone shouting hints to others. His brother Leroy and father John would also stand up from time to time. And so Beach Boy Surfing was born.
Another modern root of stand up paddling date back before these inventive and playful surfers from Hawaii. In Tel Aviv, lifeguards have been using a stand up board called a Hassakeh since the first decades of the 20th century, an idea they borrowed from fishermen that dates back hundreds of years. With a board almost 5 feet wide and using a double bladed paddle, the lifeguard can paddle quickly out to a distressed person and haul them on board, while the standing position gives them full view the entire time. While the boards were not designed for it, the lifeguards did sometimes surf the waves in while practicing rescue techniques.
A more recent situation occurred when Dave Kalama decided to grab a paddle to play with while shooting for Oxbow on huge longboards just a decade ago, One of the events that sparked the rapid rise in exposure and popularity of modern stand up.
Surfing boomed in the 1960s and then again in the 1980s, but surfing with a paddle was all but ignored and unknown.
Paddling with a board was picked up by Brian Keaulana, Rick Thomas, Archie Kalepa and Laird Hamilton who started SUP as an alternative way to train while the surf was down. As the years went on they found themselves entering events such as the Moloka’i to O’ahu Paddleboard Race, inspired by the 1st solo crossing by Waterman Archie Kalepa and Makaha’s Big Board Surﬁng Classic. A photo of Laird Hamilton was snatched up by the surfing media and in a matter of months the first stand up boom had begun.
Paddling onto waves back in the early 1990s, with his kayak paddle seated on the wave ski, he would jump up to his feet once on the wave, and surf the wave the way advanced stand up surfers do today. However, the negative stigma attached to seated surfers meant that no surfer was likely to take note of his style and ability to ride different kinds of waves once up and going. Had he been taken seriously, stand up surfing might well be 10 years ahead of where it is now.
Stand up paddling was a much needed breath of fresh air into an industry that was stuck in its glory days of the 1960s. In contrast, stand up surfing offered instant appeal and accessibility to all kinds of surfers. It allowed them to paddle to far away and little known breaks that were uncrowded, and it increased the number of waves a surfer could have in a session. In fact, very quickly stand up paddlers realized that the “surf” could be taken out of it, and recreational and racing SUP were discovered as sports unto themselves. All across the USA, and now in Europe and Australia, people have started using stand up boards as a replacement option to the canoe or kayak. Drawing on roots that are thousands of years old, stand up seems here to stay in the world of modern paddle sports.
In SUP we can distinguish roughly 6 types. Even though in Stockholm most of these forms are not possible, we will outline these types to get a better understanding of this sport. It should be clear that Stockholm SUP dedicates themselves to SUP paddling and SUP yoga.
It’s clear that the main origin from SUP boarding started with surfing waves. It’s not difficult to see how stand up paddle boarding has its roots in regular surfing. The allure of SUP to surfers is twofold. The first reason is that with a paddle, surfers are able to get to waves quicker as well as catch them easier. Secondly, SUP gives surfers the ability to see approaching swells due to their higher vantage point. This is why SUP to surfers is generally known as stand up paddle surfing or just paddle surfing for short.
This is one of the types of SUP we practice most. Actually, SUP is nowadays mostly practiced as a paddling discipline. Droves of people are getting into SUP for the sole purpose of paddling around. Just as with kayaking, anywhere water is found, people can be found paddle boarding.
Many people are getting into SUP for the fitness aspect of it. When the forward stroke is properly executed, paddle boarding is a great workout. A trend that is picking up steam with respect to SUP and health is SUP Yoga. That’s right, stand up paddleboarding yoga. It sounds wild, we know 🙂 After getting comfortable on a board, you will soon find out it’s a surprisingly “normal” yoga class. You’ll experience breathing, sun salutations, back bending and even an inversion.
Just as other paddle sports have racing, standup paddle boarding has its competitive side also. SUP races occur all over the world. These SUP boards are specially designed for speed and tracking.
Just as in standup paddle surfing, the high vantage point that a SUP offers over a kayak makes SUP fishing a great benefit to the traditional kayak fisherman. Being able to see down into the water from a steeper angle makes spotting fish and underwater structure very convenient.
Another surprise: they even make standup paddleboards for whitewater rivers . This one is a little hard to believe. But again, wherever they kayak, people will paddleboard. Whitewater standup paddleboards are often inflatable boards made out of the same material as whitewater rafts. If you thought staying upright in a whitewater kayak seems tough, try keeping your feet on a SUP while going through white water 🙂
Stand Up Paddling can be hard to learn, depending on the size of your board and on the location you practice.
At Stockholm SUP , we always start our paddle session in calm waters. This also applies for yoga. For our lessons we always use big boards, so that our clients will not suffer having an advanced board. Of course, if you’re more experienced, you might want to try a smaller board size.
Then, if our clients start to feel more comfortable, we might take it a step further by going out on water with some waves. Compared to many other locations, this is still fairly easy.
In conclusion we think that Stockholm is a great place to practice your SUP skills due to the flat waters without too much traffic from boats.
SUP is about balance, and balance has everything to do with your core muscles. While paddling, all muscles are employed from the legs in maintaining the proper stance and form to the paddler’s abdominals, back, shoulders and arms. When paddling longer distances, SUP provides all the cardio vascular benefits or jogging without the wear and tear on the paddler’s joints as there is no impact or pounding on pavement.
One of the things we like most of paddling is that this sport attracts all ages. We regularly see youngsters signing up for our lessons, but on the other hand we have had 60+ aged clients. Of course we respect any age and our instructors will adapt to anyone’s level. The same applies for SUP Yoga, as this has a lot of similarities with the normal yoga. We think that if you practice normal yoga, you are also able to try SUP yoga. Our location in the water is a very quiet place where you don’t have to worry about waves or boats.
Just like excersizing any sport, while paddling you could get injured as well. Although we have never experienced heavy injuries whatsoever, there is always a small risk. For example: you drop off your board and the leash on your ankle hurts after falling in the water. Another example might be that you hit your self with your paddle. Normally these are common situations, things that will not hurt a lifetime 😉 Risks do not come with age. If you’re fit for your age, there is a very small chance you will get hurt.
It takes normally one or two lessons to get confident with SUP. As we mentioned before, we will make sure that you will get a stable board in order to have maximum stability in the beginning of your training. With bigger boards you will be able to feel quite confident after only one or two times.
Next to that, there are a few trick we will tell you in order to have a fast learning curve. Also we explain how to avoid a small chance of getting little injuries or pains.
Once you live up to our explainations, there is a risk you might want to buy a board your self after only one course.
If you read this page, you know that we recommend Stockholm as a place to learn SUP. If you plan on going on a holiday abroad and you would like to do some paddling there, we advice you to have one or two lessons here. Stockholm is great because of the quiet water at the places where we instruct. Once you are able to ride these kinds of waters, you will more easily pick up the more difficult conditions like wind and waves abroad.
In this article, we hope you found enough prove on our statement that SUP is an excellent workout for young and old. We also hope you got a better understanding of this ancient sport which is executed for centuries. Surrounded by the beauty of Stockholm you get the chance to practice this classic type of sport, to enjoy the views and to work out in the middle of nature. I hope we gave you enough reason to try this yourself.