Stand Up Paddleboard: The World’s Fastest Growing Water Sport
Rowing on a SUP is a water sport that in recent years has become increasingly popular and familiar on almost any beach or lake, for several reasons: One reason this marine sport—rowing a SUP—has captured the hearts of so many, both young and older, is the simplicity of the experience and the relatively quick success in propelling the board and moving forward with it at one’s own pace and style of rowing.
Rowing on a board is not new; rather, it has been known for hundreds of years. Rowing standing up on a modern board as we know it burst onto the world stage only in 2010, and since then is considered the fastest-growing marine sport.
One of SUP rowing’s main characteristics is the use of one paddle, the spoon on one end and the handle on the other, unlike a canoe or kayak in which there is a spoon on either side, and the paddle is held in the middle.
There is a variety of styles and uses of SUP rowing, which may be divided into two main categories: A recreational and hobby sport, and a professional competitive sport. One of the main characteristics of marine sports is the option, within a relatively short period of time, to advance from the recreational to the professional level.
Types of paddleboards and rowing styles
Paddleboard types are divided into three main groups: Fast rowing for long distances, wave surfing, and general rowing. Each category includes a wide range of boards, suited to the rower’s weight.
Among the various types can be found paddleboards made from rigid yet lightweight materials such as carbon, as well as inflatable paddleboards. Each type has it own advantages and characteristics, and that is the beauty of it – each may choose the one that suits him. In general, it may be said that inflatable paddleboards are easily transported from place to place in a car or backpack; thus, the hobby may be enjoyed anywhere there is water and the possibility to row and do this with a familiar, personal board. Rigid paddleboards have the distinct advantage of low friction with the water, and are therefore faster, enable smoother, more precise maneuvering, which is very important and relevant to whoever wants to catch waves or participate in long-distance rowing competitions.
Now, anyone interested in SUP rowing has a wide range of options to pursue it near his place of residence. Almost every marine sport club offers the option of renting a stand-up paddleboard by the hour, and whoever wants to buy one can find them at the major sporting goods chains, and at a variety of other stores easily found online.
In the paddleboard market there are many different manufacturers, including old well-known companies such as: Red Paddle Co, BIC, iRocker, Starboard, Fanatic, Mistral, Focus, Shark, NSP, and more – all with a presence in many countries around the world, with thousands of sales points through regional and local distributors. In recent years, and in wake of the sport’s rapid development, the manufacturing industry currently, as of 2022, includes hundreds of manufacturers such as California Board Co (USA) or Bluefin SUP (UK) that specialize in the manufacture of inflatable paddleboards.
Prices of SUPs vary from several hundreds of dollars for recreational inflatable models to thousands of dollars for SUPs considered professional, designed for competitive athletes.
SUP competitions are held by the International Surfing Association (ISA). In 2012 the first SUP competition was held, in which representatives from many different countries competed for a Gold Medal. Since then, each year, the event is held in a different country. Alongside the main event, sponsored by the ISA, hundreds of local events are held, for both amateurs and professionals, citizens of the host country, some of which are considered international events for representatives from a variety of countries. One example of such an event is the SUP 11-City Tour – considered a significant SUP rowing event, held each year in the Netherlands, covering a 500 km route, for five consecutive days.
This is the place to say that G-float was made for the rowing sport. Since part of the rowing experience, especially at the initial learning stages, involves falling into water, protection of glasses is essential in order not to lose them. Indeed, over the years, SUP rowers as well as other sea goers avoided going out to the water with glasses due to lack of convenient, effective protection. G-float give SUP rowers the freedom to enjoy the rowing sport without giving up their glasses, which means they can continue to protect their eyes from the sun or use prescription glasses with complete confidence that if they fall off their face into the water, they will not sink but rather stay afloat. G-float is considered by many to be a real game changer!