The last few times I've visited Hawaii, I saw more and more people on paddle boards. No I'm not a paddle boarding type person. I prefer swimming and just lazing in the water but I have friends who love to do anything with a paddle board or a surf board.
It appears that paddle boarding has been around in one form or another for a very long time. They've found records of this type of thing in Africa, Peru but the modern version has its roots in Hawaii.
Back in the 1940's several of the well known surfers would stand on their boards with paddles so they could check out waves and other surfers. Sometimes, they might steer their board with the paddles. In the early 1900's the life guards in Israel have used a version of the board with a double paddle to go out to rescue people.
If you go a bit further back, you'll find a photographic record from 1886 of a man standing on a board paddling through the marshes in the United Kingdom. This is the first photographic record of paddle boarding.
In 2003, a standup division was added to one of the surfing contests in Hawaii. Over 50 participants registered and competed. In 2004, this sport migrated to California where it took off like wild fire. It wasn't until 2008 when the Coast Guard classified the boards as vessels just like kayaks and canoes, that the paddle board became fully accepted.
In 2009, paddle boarding was the fastest growing sport in North America. The 35 to 44 age group has the most people who enjoy paddle boarding of all age groups. Brazil had one year where the number of paddle boarders increased by over 500%
Paddle boards provide some very specific health benefits while providing the user with a fun time.
1. Paddle boards improve balance because you are standing up on the board. It requires you to make constant corrections so are working on using your core muscles to provide stability.
2. This activity requires the use of almost every muscle in your body so you get a full body workout while on the board.
3. It is low impact so it will not cause damage in the same way as other forms of exercise.
4. It helps reduce stress due to the soothing sounds and rocking of water be it the ocean or a lake.
5. Paddle boarding builds strength due to paddling and standing.
6. This activity provides you with a great cardio workout.
7. It can be used to help people build strength and cardio as they recover from certain injuries.
8. Paddle boarding can increase your endurance so you can go farther as time passes.
9. Due to the nature of this activity, you improve your cardiovascular health.
10. Finally, it allows you to enjoy time in nature.
Will I ever learn to paddle board? I doubt it. I spent time trying to learn to stand on a surfboard growing up and I never managed to get the hang of standing on one. I spent more time off the board than on.