When you truly become one with your board, you’ll move like a Legend.
(Assuming you’re on a Vanhunks solid SUP or inflatable SUP, of course.)
Before you hit the water and assume the stance, take a minute to consider that streamlined beauty beneath your feet…
To make sure our Stand-Up Paddleboards live up to the Vanhunks reputation, we design and craft each one with more than a dash of attention to detail. We’re mindful of ensuring performance, strength, balance and longevity, and to do so we combine old-school craftsmanship with some really high spec composites and epoxies.
To build the Carbon and Premium ranges, for instance, we scoured the globe for the best and most advanced materials and technologies. We tested shapes and sizes proposed by the world’s most advanced SUP board shapers, before deciding on the ones that would bear our name.…
Our Soft SUP boards are made with EVA. EVA is a polymer. It’s magic. It gives our Soft SUPs the feel and flex of rubber, but the toughness, stress-crack resistance and superior UV protection they need to perform year in and year out. And deep down to the lightweight EPS core, each one of our boards is long-life Legendat heart.
Our Inflatable SUPs (or iSUPs) too, are created using only the very best materials and technologies. These include military-grade PVC, high-density polyester drop-stitch to ensure superior air holding, and advanced German glue to seal the seams for life.
So go on, Live Your Legend – Read more about how our Stand-Up Paddleboards and Inflatable SUPs (or iSUPs) are designed to help you and your board perform as one.
You can find the full fleet of Vanhunks SUP boards for sale right here in our online store, or find a Vanhunks Boarding outlet near you.
From Our Legendary SUP Shop: A Beginner’s Guide to Solid Stand Up Paddle Boards, Inflatable SUPs, and SUP Accessories.
Ready to try the worlds fastest growing watersport? Ready to buy epoxy or inflatable SUP or even SUP accessories as you progress? It’s something delightfully slow and serene, and it’s called a Stand Up Paddle Board or SUP. According to a 2013 report, SUP was listed as the most popular outdoor activity among first-time participants. The report stated that the average age of a stand up paddle boarder was 28-years-old, with only one percent of all Americans stepping on a paddle board in 2014. Let’s take a look into its history, various styles and opportunities for getting started, with our beginners’ Buy-SUP-Guide to solid and inflatable SUPs.
What Is a SUP or stand up paddle board? (A Brief History)
Stand up paddle boarding is an offshoot of surfing, which supposedly originated in Africa centuries ago, and is also attributed to the Mayans and American Indians. These cultures used a more primitive paddle board than we use today. It’s generally not thought that our early ancestors had access to carbon fiber and plastic!
The sport was supposedly documented in 2013, but like many modern ‘discoveries’, our ancestors seemed to have beaten us to it. It appears that it was in 1939 that SUP became a proper sport, attributed to surfing legend, Duke Kahanamoku, a guy famous for tweaking his board. He then encouraged his injured photographer/surfer friend, Bobby AhChoy, to join in. Sat on a chair on the SUP, Bobby was able to get closer to the action to take photographs and shout tips to other surfers. The paddle board traces back thousands of years across many continents, but its modern form may have originated in none other than Hawaii in the 1900s. However, it’s recorded usage dates as early as 1,000 BC.
After Hawaii, the paddle board gained its stylish popularity in California (where else?). This popularity catalyzed global accessibility, as Stand Up Paddle Boarding was mostly a surfing discipline that re-emerged in the 1960s when Duke gave Bobby a tip-off to try SUPing out, and then other photographers followed suit, using the technique to stay close to the action when out on the waves. One of these surfers was John Zapotocky, an athlete who fell in love with SUP after he moved to Hawaii in 1940. He paddled every day until his death in 2013, at the age of 95, and is widely considered the father of SUP.
Over time people got creative, and stand up paddle boarding has diversified into racing, touring, river use, ocean use, yoga, fishing and even more, some of which we’ll look at in this article. Surfers also realized that paddling was a way to discover new bays, waves and spots, and also to get time on the water if the surf was flat. SUP boomed in 2009 and was the year of advancement in the sport. Business boomed to create new, lighter, and better-looking boards.
As a beginner stand up paddle boarder, don’t be daunted, follow in the ancestors’ footsteps, and see the sport as something extremely simple, and enjoyable to get started with. It has a very flat learning curve and plenty of reward and variety.
So who adapted paddle boarding?
I know we discussed the history of stand up paddle boarding, but people are picky! SUPing can also be attributed to the Waikiki beach boys of Oahu during the 1960s, with its main link being from outrigger canoeing, and the natural progression to a flat, portable and fun surfboard style of transport. For many locals in tribes, indigenous cultures, and cocktail laden beaches in Marbella in Spain, paddle boarding is a way of life – standing up, sitting down and even dancing around, paddle boards have played an integral part of lives for generations. Not just a great way to relax, it’s a way to get around!
What types of inflatable SUPs and Stand Up Paddle Board styles are there? And which one is right for me?
With a SUP, the ocean is your oyster. With stand up paddle boarding, the options are endless, not just a sport like surfing, the paddle board can be used in a variety of ways, as both a sport and a tool, which perhaps explains why it’s the fastest growing watersport in the world, It’s incredibly versatile, and fun. To begin, flat water paddling purely for outdoor recreation would be a great start. It’s a fantastic way to get out and experience the calm of the water, and it’s the closest one can get to walking on it.
Just being on your solid or inflatable SUP is excellent for fitness and coordination, but serves as a useful tool for sightseeing coastlines, exploring large rivers and meandering down canals. As you progress, you may want to partake in the more sportlike SUP options, including racing on lakes, paddling on river rapids, and even fishing, or paddleboard yoga!
Inflatable SUP or solid stand up paddle board?
You may have seen people pumping up their SUPs and wondered what the difference is between an inflatable and solid SUP. For starters, they are made of different materials. Solid boards are made from foam, fiberglass, epoxy, kevlar, plastics, and wood. Epoxy boards are extremely popular and are made from a foam core laminated with layers of fiberglass for strength and rigidity. Solid boards also have an air vent installed on the deck to prevent delamination of the epoxy resin from the EPS foam core.
The advantages of a solid SUP are:
1. You don’t need to inflate them, which will leave you with more energy and muscle power for your paddling while you’re on the water.
2. They’re super stable and deal well with strong wind and choppier water.
3. you’re racing or doing tricks, they have great speed and agility.
Advantages of inflatable SUP are:
1. Primarily inflatable SUPs don’t need as much storage space in your home. Easily deflate your inflatable SUP and pop it back in the backpack it came in.
2. It’s easier to get away with taking an inflatable SUP on an airplane when you’re traveling. They’re lighter than solid boards, and the packed dimensions are much smaller than a solid board. You can take them on your island vacation easily these days!
3. You can carry the inflatable SUP in its backpack on your shoulders and walk/hike through to where you want to launch. A much better option for when you want to ride somewhere you can’t reach by car!
4 Also, an inflatable SUP price point is often more affordable than a solid SUP. They’re also less delicate than the solid boards.
5. Inflatable SUPs are manufactured using layers of military-grade PVC plastic with woven fibers connecting the top and bottom of the board on the inside. Inflatable SUPs, once pumped up, are surprisingly rigid and durable.
6.inflatable SUP handle dings much better
7.. Inflatable SUPs are easy to chuck in the trunk if you’re heading on a road trip. You don’t need to have roof racks to transport them, which is a big plus if you’re on a budget.
What SUP? Too cool for school or too school for cool?
So who’s Paddleboarding? In a UK interview with Jason, an ex-surfer and stand up paddle boarder, he says “People who look down on SUP are daft, what does it matter what kind of watercraft you use? Whether it’s a kiteboard, windsurf, canoe or waveski – or yes, a surfboard – anything that gets people in the water is good.” And SUP is an awesome intro to all these. Many surfers feel that paddle boards are as cool as bird spotting; however, it’s enough for some celebrities. You may or may not be Jennifer Aniston or James Bond’s Pierce Brosnan on the water – famous SUP sightings – but you can join in the fun, and If all else fails, you can always get down and do an Orlando Bloom, by getting your kit off and baring all for the cameras. Oh, and don’t forget to call it ‘SUP’, when out on the water, all the pro’s are doing it.
Reasons to try paddle boarding, especially with Inflatable SUPs:
According to the book, ‘Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do’ by Wallace J. Nichols, play on the water affects our minds and bodies to a remarkable level. Playing with water is incredibly soothing, it reduces stress and calms the spirit, and stroking with the paddle increases muscle endurance much like a workout.
Some great reasons to take up the sport include: SUPing is a lot like surfing, so if you’ve had any interest in surfing, being on your solid or inflatable SUP is a great way to expand your horizons. It’s not even remotely difficult, anyone can do it (there are no hours of learning, torcher or pain involved) and it’s a relaxing segway into surfing, or racing, if that’s your thing. But fear not, as a hobby you can make of it what you will, and it can be adapted to your heart’s content. If you’re into canoeing, surfing, racing, white water rafting, all these can be supplemented with stand up paddle boarding. Also, it’s got heritage, so when on the water, you can imagine yourself as an indigenous tribesman, or surfer in the ’60s, or Orlando Bloom.
What in the world is SUP yoga, will work on an inflatable SUP?
Have you ever tried yoga? If you have, you’ll know that there’s probably only one way you could add to the serenity and the balancing act of stand up paddle boarding. Exactly, you know where we’re heading, it’s by moving your yoga practice to a 9ft inflatable SUP and sticking it in the middle of an ocean or lake. What better way is there to wind down on the water? Just don’t fall in!
The inflatable SUP conveniently fits into a rucksack, the pump included. Take your yoga glass anywhere with your inflatable SUP!
How to choose a paddle board, and things to know before investing in an inflatable SUP
A stand up paddle board is generally longer than 9 feet (except for the wave riding SUPs with the high-performance boards coming in as short as 7’7), and can be longer than 12 feet. Paddle boards and inflatable SUPs are longer than the average surfboard, all to ensure a finer balance – you won’t be falling as much as a SUPer – stand up paddle boards have padded decks, and concave hulls, and are basically oversized surfboards made of carbon fiber, epoxy or foam. If you’re feeling brave, you can still catch a wave like a surfer, and you can mostly expect the same surf-stoke as a standard surfboard too.
You should probably invest in a quality paddle at an affordable price; that is lightweight and made from carbon fiber. It assists with paddling and is much stronger than the fiberglass options. If you’re not at a point where you’re sure you want to invest, you can certainly rent a paddle wherever you are. If you’re in Florida, get in touch with Vanhunks Boarding, and we’ll recommend the best option for where you’re gat. Inflatable SUPs are also hugely beneficial, especially for travel. They can be deflated and inflated whenever required. But a full-size paddle board is what the Pro’s would use.
Let’s go through some different applications of solid stand up paddle boards and inflatable SUPs:
-There is the all-rounder, great for first-timers and beginners, it’s versatile and can work in all conditions, most common being on lakes and in the flat ocean.
-You may opt for the surf style, this would be for intermediate to advanced, and perhaps someone that can already surf, and would like more action from their Stand Up Paddle Board. These are less stable on water, but maneuverable and have more shredding capability.
-There’s also the touring option. Hands up serious paddlers with interest in high-intensity workouts, long distances on flat water, maximum glide and efficiency. These boards have a wide and stable base, and are great for exploring and moving about on flat water.
-The race option is great for flat water or ocean competitions. These boards possess extra length and extra width, and can give a fast speed, long glide, but may be challenging for beginners.
-If you’re the more angling inclined water sportsman, you may opt for the fishing stand up paddle boarding variety. This board would serve more as a tool, than a sport or practice. These paddle boards have the most volume so you can stay dry and out of the water. Pre-installed mounts let the user personalize their experience and have the option to add rod holders, fish finders and anything they need for expedition or day out.
-And finally, the yoga paddle board, these paddle boards are designed specifically for yoga, paddling, and fitness. They would be great for a beginner, as they are constructed for stability, with a large deck pad for yoga, but all the functions of an all-rounder and touring style stand up paddle board.
What size stand up paddle board or inflatable SUP do I need?
The broader and longer boards will be more stable, and perhaps better for a beginner unless you’re feeling daring! Asses what you’re after too (visit the Vanhunks paddle boarding size & weight guide), where you can check out what board length is right for you. Beginners will most likely want a paddle board with more volume because it provides additional stability and can support more weight – you also won’t fall in – so can enjoy the experience to it’s full.
Difference between inflatable SUPs and epoxy stand up paddle boards:
Epoxy paddle boards generally surpass inflatable SUPs (iSUPs), for now, but are better for more advanced, and more serious riders. First-time riders could probably use an inflatable SUP as it is ideal for all conditions; it’s portable and can be used in a variety of environments.
Inflatable SUP Accessories Safety: What to wear?
If you’ve seen the celebrities getting involved with stand up paddle boarding, you’ll see a variety of styles, from wetsuit-clad Catwomen and Batmen braving the colder waters, to the ‘bare all’ freedom of Orlando Bloom taking a short paddle with Katy Perry. Many recommend wetsuits and other UV-protective clothing, but depending on the weather the options are all yours.
What About SUP Accessories?
All stand up paddle boards come with SUP accessories such as paddles, transport or carry bags but inflatable SUPs come with a rucksack to carry the folded inflatable SUP, a pump the neatly first in the rucksack and obviously your paddle.
I paddled there! Best places in the world to paddle board with your inflatable SUPs:
Key West, Florida: With warm weather, clear waters, and a laid back atmosphere, what better place is there to paddle. Paddlers can use the trade winds to cover long distances, or mangrove forests and spot interesting marine life. Florida paddleboarding is great for beginners and advanced riders alike. Get in touch with Vanhunks Boarding for more info.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Regularly referred to as “Venice of the East’, Fort Lauderdale has dozens of winding waterways with reduced speed limits, great for a relaxing paddle. Many of the beautiful mansions are all coastal, so you may make some friends along your journey. In the winter the waters are home to the Florida manatee, so keep an eye out for the gentle giant.
Sunset Beach, Hawaii: The surfing and SUP mecca. In the summer you can paddle the four miles to Waimea Bay. Sunset beach is great for beginners and advanced paddle boarders alike.
Santa Cruz, California: One of the best places in Northern California, but the water can be a bit cold, so you may need a wetsuit at any time of year. Beginners should check out the wharf, the harbor, and Steamer Lane.
Lake Tahoe, California: Tranquil and with glassy waters with a 72-mile border. Winds are usually light and would be an excellent place for beginner paddle boarders.
So hop on board your inflatable SUP or solid SUP and get exploring in the Florida region!
Golden rules of stand up paddle boarding and your inflatable SUP
Despite the sport being very accessible and relatively simple, developing technique is still important. The four golden rules of the inflatable SUP are as follows:
1. Plant your blade fully in the water before you start to pull. It stabilizes you and gives you the most power.
2. Always assume the ready position when paddling. Feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and back straight. Think of yourself and just having landed a jump. Your bent knees will act as shock absorbers and will keep you balanced, and your straight back will allow you to activate your core.
3. Use your core muscles whenever you’re paddling. Most beginner paddlers use only their arms and they tire quickly. You should feel it in your abs and your lats. Think of your body as three primary power sources, your arms, your core, and your legs.
4. Keep your board as still as possible. You will be more balanced and your board will be most efficient on the water if you think about engaging the muscles in your feet and lower legs.
Why kids and toddlers should start with an inflatable SUP:
These days, many pro watersports men and women get riding before they can even walk. Why not give your kid a fun intro to surfing and watersports with SUP, you never know, they may grow up with gratitude for the early opportunity. SUP is also great fun to bring all the family together, as an explorative and healthy way to get out on the water and promote the whole fam’s health and wellbeing. Also, who doesn’t want to be free on the water to explore caves, bays and marine wildlife? It will improve their balance, strength, build their confidence, and will connect them with nature.
For when you’re not on the water on a solid or inflatable SUP.
There is historically a popular culture surrounding surfing, but did you know there is a burgeoning scene for SUP? Some great films to watch would be ‘Destination 3 Degree’s’, ‘Given’, and of course, ‘The SUP Movie’. If you’re getting interested in the explorative side of the sport, books like ‘Barbarian Days’, ‘A Surfing Life’, and ‘Captain Zero’ will make great reading for a keen sea, surf, paddle board explorer. Websites and magazines to read when you’re not gliding across the water include supthemag.com, supworldmag.com, and standuppaddlemagazine.com. Also, check out Vanhunks’ Blog for all your boarding needs.
ISUP (Inflatable SUP)