The latest and greatest sensation among expert watermen and women, as well as
curious novices, is actually an ancient Hawaiian sport developed first for function (a
method of covering miles of ocean efficiently, sometimes fishing along the way) and then
evolved to a favored sport among early Hawaiians. Today, hoe he‘e nalu (stand up board
paddling) has exploded in popularity worldwide, and its momentum continues to grow.
Stand up paddling (SUP) combines the exhilaration of surfing with the power of outrigger
canoe paddling to deliver a core-strengthening workout and mind-focusing exercise.
Balance is key, as well as, at the very least, one introductory lesson from a qualified
professional. Invaluable tips from the pros: First time out, choose a location with flat, calm
waters; get your balance on the board by starting out on your hands and knees. Once
balanced and comfortable, take your time; stand up slowly and begin paddling with short,
smooth strokes. Get out there and give it a try—before you know it, you’ll be experiencing
the thrill of open-water, “downwind” runs (riding currents and catching waves) skimming
the ocean for hours along the spectacular coastline. Hanalei River and Hanalei Bay (when
conditions are calm) are great for beginners. Surfing and SUP lessons are available in
private or for groups. Rentals are also available. Contact Hawaiian Surfing Adventures
(808) 482-0749 or Kayak Kaua‘i (808) 826-9844.