It cannot be said that there is a recognized pioneer of paddle boarding. However, Duke Kahamanoku had a great influence. He is the legendary Olympic swimming champion and founder of ancestral Polynesian modern surf, at the beginning of last century. He was already very old when the instructors at the famous Waikiki Beach used paddles to move and stood up on the board to have a better view of the waves. Some of them continued to do it as a routine and others as a training exercise especially the days without waves. In addition to Kahamanoku, it is necessary to mention the man who can be awarded as the first to build and improve boards, Thomas Edward Blake.
However, if you keep looking through history, you could also find in reed horses the precursors of paddle boarding. These boats are typical of the Peruvian coast and also Bolivian lakes like the Titicaca. They are made of reeds and have been used by Indians for 3,000 years. You can see them paddling on their knees or sitting, but rarely standing as the rafters in the Navarre Rivers did since the thirteenth to the twentieth century. They would use rudders as oars which is a great effort between rapids and rocks. And, in Polynesia in the Pyrenees, people would stand up with great effort on the rafts formed with the very logs they were transporting downstream to the saw mills. This was a convenient choice to take the logs to the places they were required at. However, dam construction prevented it from continuing and then, logs started to be transported by road. In any case, rafts, nabatas or rais -it means rays and the name was given because of the speed they could reach- were the old boards of what we know now as paddle boarding. You can also see it as rafting but the great difference is that you will be standing up.
The great success of paddle boarding is its simplicity. It is almost a way for you to walk on water by standing up, with a long paddle, on a board somewhat bigger than the one for surfing. Now, it will be easier to understand why it is referred to as SUP, Stand Up Paddle Boarding. If you choose this sport, you will be exercising your upper body as well as the lower muscles in on-going exercise. Your challenge will be not to end up sitting or lying down to rest as well as to find the right days regarding tide and wind, to avoid turning pleasure into horror, as it has often happened in many water sports. You will always be advised to go with at least another person; avoid doing it alone if you want to prevent any mishap.
It was not so long time ago when paddle boarding raged against squash and tennis, since both involve the use of a paddle or racquet. Now the paddle is used in the water and it is a great global trend, although in Hawaii and the rest of America has been up for many years. In North Polynesia it began to break off the surf. However, in recent summers celebrities have managed to make it more popular. Among them, you can find the actor Leonardo diCaprio, and his girlfriend at that time, the model Bar Refaeli; the beautiful actress Eva Longoria and the renowned actor Ben Stiller; also the country and pop music singer Taylor Swift.