Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Stand Up Paddle Surfing remain all the rage in Hawaii. And recently we’ve started seeing a new craze, often referred to as jet surfboards. Your editors Rob and Jeff are both avid long-distance swimmers and regularly swim 3500+ meters at Hanalei.
Motorized surfboards, sometimes called jet surfboards, are the latest disruptors in the personal watercraft area.
We saw two at Hanalei this past weekend. It’s summer here and no waves are needed! Surfing of course has ancient roots. What we’re seeing now, however, adds a high tech twist. If this is the first time you’ve heard about it, you aren’t much behind us. We just started seeing these appear in the past few months.
Re-enter electric surfboards.
Electric surfboards are not new. These are battery-powered and date back to about 1930 in Australia, when they were first referred to as surf scooters. They had a resurgence about forty years ago. But it is in the past 20 years, and now just this year, that they have regained traction and we are seeing them regularly here in Hawaii.
These puppies come in three basic forms, electric SUP’s, hydrofoil surfboards (what we’ve been seeing lately), which has a hydrofoil elevating rear, and lastly electric surfboards, which look like regular surfboards and are the fastest of the lot. There are also hand-held wing foils that help propel surfers even faster
Below is a video of Kauai’s Laird Hamilton foil boarding here.
Stand up surfing, also known as supping, became extremely popular among both locals and visitors.
Visitors can take the opportunity to try it during ideal calm conditions. It is highlighted again this week at the Annual Duke’s Oceanfest, a weeklong surfing celebration which takes place at Waikiki Beach, and is sponsored by the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation. The event, which takes place in August each year, has been canceled for 2020.
Supping consists of standing on a modified long (9-11 foot) surfboard and using a canoe paddle as an oar. Boards with a soft surface are easier for learning. But while it may look easy, in reality, it is not, requiring good coordination. Therefore, it is most easily learned in calm, wind-free conditions. It is essential that you have appropriate swimming capabilities for supping.
Surfing has long played a role in Hawaiian culture. Once reserved exclusively for royalty, surfers would often travel from North to South shores to find the best year-round conditions. For more information, check out Stand Up Zone, a blog and forum dedicated to the sport.
The featured image in our post is of Duke Kahanamoku, which Google used to honor the 125th anniversary of his birth just five years ago. Surfing was immortalized by Olympic swimmer Duke in the 1920s. An iconic statue in his memory is found on Waikiki Beach.