So often when someone mentions surfing it conjures up nostalgic images of the 1940-50’s with woody lined beaches and young people surfing all day into the night ending with parties around a campfire on the beach. Surfing has become an American staple as a sport and coastal recreation. It isn’t just something someone does, but it can often mean a way of life, or a particular perspective of zen and ease that people live with. There has been such an attraction to the sport that over the years it has spawned off into skateboarding, and a sport gaining in popularity called paddle boarding. Both of these sports have their origins in surfing, and share some similarities as well as more independent features too.
Skateboarding was one of the first spin off sports inspired by surfing. In the 1950’s California suffers had the idea to surf the streets using various boards or boxes with roller skating wheels. By 1963 skateboarding was at a high, and then just as quickly as it rose, a couple of years later it crashed and died out. It wasn’t until the invention of the urethane wheels in 1972 that skateboarding came back on the scene, and this time for good. Over the decades it has grown into an international and professional sport that is still evolving in board technology and rider abilities.
Just like surfing, stand up paddle boarding has its origins in Hawaii. Originally, standing on a surfboard and using a paddle was a way for beginning surfers to get used to being on the boards and it didn’t become its own sport until around the 1960’s. And although it has been around for a little while, stand up paddle boarding is quickly becoming the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. A report from Outdoor Industry Association claimed that 1.24 million people were avid paddle boarders in 2010 alone.
Both of these sports find their geneses in surfing, and are great additions or even substitutions for the sport. In both you have to balance yourself on a board, with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Each of these sports are not only fun, but a tremendously great workout too because they really use the whole body and especially the core region strengthening abs and stomach muscles. The two main differences are that skating is done in the streets as opposed to paddle boarding still taking place in the water. And they are propelled differently with paddle boarding using paddles, and skateboarding having wheels and using the riders foot to push off and maintain movement.
Surfing has knowingly been around since 1779 when Captain James Cook and his crew happened upon the Hawaiian Islands and discovered what was called the Sport of Kings. As it transitioned to the coastal regions of the U.S. it spawned sports like paddle boarding and skateboarding which allows riders who may not live near the coast to have some of the same fun on a board as suffers do. No matter which sport you participate in, all are great ways to get outdoors and have some fun on a board!