Stand Up Paddle Boards: Is it Hype?
The best analogy I’ve heard
is that stand up paddle boards are like bicycles,
but for the water… and they just arrived late
to the party… like after the unicycle, the
penny-farthing, those goofy sit/lay down bicycles,
tandem bikes, etc. And plain old bicycles are pretty
popular last I heard. More importantly, they’re
multi-purpose (exercising, commuting, beach cruising,
road racing, trail riding, BMX, distance trekking,
etc.). But the idea of that is pretty hard to wrap
your head around that they didn’t take off
first, so I think it’s natural that a lot
of water sports are trying to define it as an extension
of their sport, not out of a centric viewpoint,
but rather it just sort of fits.
Humor me for a moment. Consider kayaks
are like those rather rare and seemingly uncomfortable
goofy sit/lay down bicycles that dodge in and out
of traffic with flags on them. And surfboards are
like those daring and impossibly difficult unicycles…
yet unicycling is widely accepted as the definition
of cool in this “regular bicycles invented
last world”. Canoes are like the tandem bikes.
Knee on top paddle boards would of course be the
penny-farthings… close, but something is off.
Pure exercising sans accompanying vehicle (i.e.
swimming) is like running.
Then suddenly some of the “hippest
and coolest” unicyclists have the epiphany
to add a second wheel to their regular old bikes
and whammo the regular old bicycle gets invented
seemingly out of the blue. Everyone that sees it
does a double-take. Everyone that jumps on one looks
around at the poor substitutes all around them and
thinks, duhh, “winning!”
The regular bicycle craze begins and
rapidly evolves in many directions simultaneously.
Some are for beach cruising (read flat water SUPing).
Some are extreme BMX and tricks (read paddle surfing).
Some are for road racing (read SUP racing). Some
are for all-terrain mountain biking (read all purpose
SUPs). Some are for insane downhill terrain (read
inflatable river SUPs). Some, or all really, can
also be used for exercise and biking is definitely
cooler than walking (read swimming). People start
throwing them on the back of their car (read boat)
for playing on wherever they drive to. Kids love
them and pick it up really easy. Families can do
it together. You can even throw a small child on
the back of one.
It’s a phenomenon. Someone just
invented a bicycle for the water. Welcome to SUP!
Tower Paddle Boards