Far from a passing fad, stand-up paddling is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. SUP has quickly emerged as mainstream, with inflatable paddleboards fully stocked at Costco and ALDI, and even being included in the conversation as a possible full-fledged Olympic sport. However, as surfing and paddling have gained popularity, their origins are in danger of being overlooked and forgotten.
It’s popular knowledge that wave riding was first documented by westerners in 1778 when Captain Cook sailed to Hawaii. He wrote that Hawaiians seemed almost amphibious thanks to their comfort in the ocean. While among scholars of Thor Heyerdahl there may be some debate on surfing’s roots, there is no doubt Polynesians had the greatest impact on the art form that surfing is today.