Standup paddle (SUP) or paddle board or paddle surf is an emerging global sport with a Hawaiian heritage. The sport is an ancient form of surfing. It reemerged as a way for surfing instructors to manage their large groups of students, as standing on the board gave them a higher viewpoint. This increased visibility of what was going on around them, including incoming swell.
The popularity of the modern sport of Standup Paddle has its origin in the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1960s. The Beach Boys of Waikiki would stand on their long boards, and paddle out with outrigger paddles to take pictures of the tourists learning to surf. This is where the term "Beach Boy Surfing", another name for Stand Up Paddle Surfing, originated.
Standup Paddle is popular in warm coastal climates, and is gaining in popularity as celebrities are sampling the sport. Use of standup paddle boards have been spotted around the globe anywhere where there is easy access to safe salt waters, as well as in lake and rivers. Supporters cite its ease of use as a key to its popularity. Beginners can be totally comfortable in as little as an hour of training. Standup paddleboarding is also popular with women.
Caribbean Paddling first introduced Standup Paddle to St Maarten in 2009. Early on we felt this easy-to-learn new board sport would be a crowd pleaser. One of the real advantages to Standup Paddle is the angle of visibility. Unlike sitting in a kayak or canoe, SUP (another name for Stand Up Paddle) allows a paddler to see everything beneath him/her, from dolphins, to fish, to sea turtles, to stingrays and even beautiful starfish. There is a whole world of life below you that you just can’t see from a seated position. Success was immediate, and we quickly ran out of boards. We first made a deal with Roberto Ricci Designs, then SUP ATX and finally with the famous french brand Bic.
Pinel Island contributed to our success. Pinel Island and Cul-de-Sac bay are the perfect places for Standup Paddle beginners. This flat and quiet area, far from Orient Bay and its dozen of jet-skis, parasails, and catamarans provides a great experience for people who want to try this water sport in a serene environment. There are two major rules to respect when you learn Standup Paddle: avoid windy days (not much we can do about this) and choose a flat water place. Cul-de-Sac bay abides by these two rules. Plus, from Cul-de-Sac you can paddle out to 2 nearby islands. These three factors make it an ideal spot for Standup Paddle boarding in St Maarten.