What Is Paddle boarding?
Paddleboarding is an activity with a long history in coastal and island cultures such as Polynesia. A rider lies or kneels on the board and paddles with his or her hands to move through the water. This is opposed to Stand Up Paddle Boarding that uses a paddle much like a canoe paddle.
In the 1930s, Thomas Edward Blake revolutionized the construction of paddleboards. Blake, a museum employee restoring traditional Hawaiian surfboards, built a redwood replica of a surfboard and then drilled it full of holes, which he covered. The hollowed out construction created a much lighter board and became the first paddleboard. Blake mostly thought of his creation as a tool for lifeguard rescues.
In the 1980s, Craig Lockwood created a high-quality stock paddleboard for competition. His board, “The Waterman,” was shown to be very effective and remains a popular choice for this day. The sport remained popular mostly for lifeguards, watermen, and dedicated big wave surfers. However, in the mid-1990s, the sport began to surge and become more popular with the general public.
As the sport has grown considerably since its origin as simply a means of moving from coast to coast, paddle board rentals are on the rise among beginners and vacationers looking for a fun new exercise.
What Are They?
Paddleboards come in three varieties: stock, fourteen foot, and unlimited. Stock boards are twelve feet (3.7m) long and designed for riders one hundred eighty (82kg) or less. They are best used for moving quickly through water, especially choppy water. They are not the fastest in calm water, though.
Fourteen-foot boards are, as the name implies, fourteen feet (4.3m) long. Due to their longer waterline, they are faster through the water than stock boards. Also, their heavier, larger construction makes them better suited for heavier riders.
The fastest boards in the water are unlimited boards. They have longer waterlines giving them longer glides per stroke. Typically, these devices are seventeen to eighteen feet (5.2 to 5.5m) long. However, as the class is “unlimited,” they can be any length. Some boards longer than twenty feet (6.1m) have been constructed.
Paddleboards, typically made of fiberglass or the much lighter epoxy resin, can be prohibitively expensive. New, custom products can range from $1500 to $3500. For this reason, used and well-maintained boards are in high demand. Even with a vigorous used product market, the price can be restrictive to some.
Beginners, for example, might not be sure which type of board is right for them or whether they even like the sport. Also, vacationers might only need a board for one or a few days. For these reasons, paddle board rentals are very popular.
Paddle board rentals in Maui, for example, can be as low as $45 for one day or $180 for a week.
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