What SUP, Emerald Coast?

A few months ago, we started a contest – in conjunction with BOTE Board, a Destin, FL based paddle board company – for a chance to win a custom, VPS themed paddle board. On Friday, May 25th, after amazing fan participation, we announced the winner of the board. That afternoon, Ken Whidden, also of Destin, picked up his board at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport. We also made an announcement about a special surprise for all who entered and were not chosen to win the board. A second custom, VPS themed BOTE Board will be given away on July 3rd. We thought now would be a good time to explain a little about stand up paddle boarding, and also to remind you about the second board.
Ken Whidden and his BOTE board
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP), also known as stand up paddle surfing or Hoe he’e nalu, in Hawaiian, is a burgeoning sport that has recently begun to draw worldwide attention. The sport began to gain traction in the 1960s when surfers would stand on their surf boards and paddle out with outrigger paddles in order to get a better view of tourists who were learning to surf. Interest in doing so fizzled out, but in recent years, surf instructors have begun stand up paddle boarding; it allows for a better view of surf students and the surf conditions in surrounding waters.
Surfers Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama are credited with SUP’s resurgence, but it was a Vietnam War veteran, Rick Thomas, who brought the sport from Hawaii to mainland USA. Jimmy Lewis, the custom surf board shaper, created one of the first modern SUP designs, the All Around.
The sport is easy to learn, unlike traditional surfing, and a beginner can become quite comfortable standing and paddling within an hour or so on the water. It is popular among both men and women, but women, with a lower center of gravity, are taking to the sport more quickly than their top-heavy male friends.
Stand up paddle boarding isn’t limited to the surf. People are using the boards on calmer waters as an alternative to kayaks and canoes. The board’s stability lends itself to being used for river and bay tours, fishing, and even exercise groups.
Board selection depends greatly on intended use and the height and weight of the user. Construction, however, is largely the same. Most boards are made from glass-reinforced plastic and epoxy resins around an expanded polystyrene foam core. Other, less widely used, methods of construction include hollow wood instead of a foam core. Inflatable models are even available. Boards are generally longer than 9 feet, going to more than 12 feet in some cases. Features vary from board to board, but padded decks, concave hulls, tie down points, and 1 – 3 surfboard style fins at the stern of the board are common.
Florida’s Emerald Coast is a prime example of an area with potential to become a stand up paddle board hot-spot. The warm water of the Gulf of Mexico, bays, inlets, rivers, lakes, and other waterways provide opportunities for all manner of SUP activities.
Are you excited about stand up paddle boarding yet? We hope so. Now, if you haven’t already, head over to our Facebook page and click the “WIN a BOTE Paddle Board” icon, just beneath the image of the airport at the top of the page. We will announce the next winner on July 3rd, just in time for Independence Day celebrations and a weekend on the water.
If interested in getting in to the sport, give Magda at BOTE Boards a call at (850) 424-5010.