If you’ve noticed heavier crowds through Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore it’s more than likely due to the 2017 World Tour Opener, Sunset Beach Pro, for Stand Up Paddle Surfing. The APP (Association of PaddleSurf Professionals) World Tour delivers live and post-produced coverage from the very best in the world battling it out year-round for Professional Paddle Surfing & Racing World Championship Titles across premier networks worldwide.
The Sunset Beach Pro opened February 11th and ended on February 24th. The contest featured Men, Women and Youth divisions. Consisting of both trials (open entry) and main event, with the top four trialists advancing to the main even in both Men and Women divisions.
Although SUP has more recently become an organized sport, stand up paddling in some form or another, has been around for thousands of years. Ancient cultures from South America to Africa used boards, canoes, and other watercraft propelled with a long stick to travel, fish and even ride waves. And while stand up paddling may have developed in various places around the world, the modern surfing tradition has undeniable Hawaiian ancestry. In the 1940s surf instructors in Waikiki, like Duke Kahanamoku, Leroy and Bobby AhChoy, would take paddles and stand on their boards to get a better view of the surfers in the water and incoming swells. From time to time they would surf the waves themselves using the paddle to steer the board.
Overtime the respect and popularity for SUP has grown tremendously. The sport has been found to provide a great core workout, as well as increased visibility both above and into the water, making it 2009’s single fastest growing part of paddle sports in North America.
The slower traffic through Sunset Beach may be less than desirable in these next few weeks, but take some time to appreciate the fast-growing sport for what it is. Park on the side of the road to watch a heat or two, you’ll be amazed at what the professionals do. If their skill sparks a SUP interest in you, be sure to stop by one of our three North Shore Explorers locations to get your hands (and feet) on one today.
North Shore Explorers