Paddle boarding, also called Hoe' he'e nalu, is a unique form of surfing perfect for Hawai'i's warm waters. Directly translated from Hawaiian to English, hoe means paddle, he'e means to surf or slide, and nalu means wave. Paddle boarding and surfing share the same objective, but differ in equipment—paddle boarding requires a paddle and a longer, wider board. The paddle allows surfers to propel themselves and catch waves a bit more easily. When a wave is approaching, the paddle is used to get to the crest of the wave and is then lifted from the water when the surfer actually catches it.
Paddle boarding began as an efficient way for surf instructors to manage their students. Many instructors used stand up boarding in order to better navigate the unruly waters and view the swell, tides, and their students. From there, locals began adopting paddle boarding to take pictures of tourists learning how to surf. Today, the sport has gained popularity partly because it is especially good for developing an athlete's core abdominal muscles. It's also been popularized because the paddle makes catching waves easier, making the sport attractive to novice surfers. Its unique appeal also entices experienced surfers who wish to experiment a little more with the sport.
Although prevalent in many areas around the world, Hawai'i's warm waters and views of the infinite Pacific Ocean and green, misty hillcrests make it one of the most popular places to paddle board, leading more companies to provide paddle boarding lessons and gear. Prices range anywhere from $600 to $1500, and the durable boards are made with a dynamic combination of plastic, epoxy resin, and foam. Boards can be as long as 12 feet, and the fins range in styles. Stand up paddle boarding has made its way into many surfing tournaments, including the Surfing World Cup, adding competition to the sport. If you're looking to get a good workout and try something new, dive into Hawai'i's warm waters with a paddle board.
Top Stand up Paddle Boarding Spots
Waikiki - A great place with calm, safe waters to begin stand up paddle boarding. There are also gorgeous views of both Waikiki and Honolulu.
North Shore - Experience a less congested, calm area to stand up paddle board.
Haleiwa Beach A beautiful beach on Oahu's north shore, ideal for surfing and diving. Rainbow Watersports Adventures also gives lessons here. Boarders should take note that the waves tend to be bigger on the North Shore.
Paddle Boarding Resources
- Paddle Boarding Events:
- • Moloka'i to O'ahu Paddleboard Race: www.standuppaddlesurf.net/2010/03/18/molokai-2-oahu-group-brings-new-life-to-world-renowned-race/
- • Duke Kahanamoku OceanFest Stand-Up Paddle Surfing: www.surfclinics.com/stand-up-paddle-article.asp
- • Calendar of Events: www.supsurfmag.com/option,com_events/Itemid,247/
- Paddle Boarding Rentals:
- • www.oahufun.org
- • www.hawaiisurfboardrentals.com
- Paddle Boarding Shops:
- • www.c4waterman.com
- • www.realwatersports.com/standup
- • www.supsurfmag.com/equipment-stand-up-paddle/gear-talk/
- Paddle Boarding Tours:
- • www.watermensretreat.com