From the start we knew we would be interested in Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) as a primary way to get on the water together and have some fun.
The sport has evolved very fast in the past five years with a plethora of board makers, brands, and styles. We are not surfers, and there is a branch of SUP that is surfing with stand up boards designed for that (so no rad surf GoPro videos here…).
Now we have a collection of three, having recently acquired a speedy 12’6″ narrow model made at a local shop here in Hilo called Hulakai (Kai means ocean and you know what hula is; the brand translated as ‘water-dancer’). We are still beginners but our paddle skills are much improved with getting out 3-4 times a week (at least for Ed). It is great exercise for balance, motion, strength, and endurance. The new board is fast and tippy!
We started with beginner boards of course, finding the used ‘Big Blue’ or the ‘Big Easy’ version at rental shop in Kona. Made in Honolulu by Blue Planet Surf, it is a long (11’4″) and wide (36″) board and very stable, but light for its size due the use of bamboo and some carbon fiber.
I learned to repair ‘dings’ with marine epoxy and Krylon paint from the hardware store to take care of some minor nose injuries from its rental days. Our visitor guests have had fun trying SUP out for the first time on it. We took to calling it the ‘Lunch Plate’ as we could get on it for snack break or use it for a snorkeling home base while out on the far side of Kealakekua Bay.
The 10’10” yellow Naish Nalu board (nalu means wave in Hawai`ian) is a very nice board designed in Hawai`i, that will be good back in Oregon as well. Most SUP boards are hollow with interior air spaces to make them lighter and have plugs that equalize the pressure as the board sits in the sun or to altitude (on the plane) or in our case as we drive from one side of the Big Island to the other we go up to 3,500 feet or so.
Mostly we paddle on Hilo Bay which has calm and glassy water in the early mornings thanks to the big breakwater. But we have also gone in the open ocean at Puhi Bay which feels more adventurous as you can get out near turtles and humpback whales and ride the big Pacific swells.
One of the fun places we use to launch are the racing canoe club beaches on Hilo Bay. Below is a recent outing at the Kamehameha Canoe Club site. The clubs are nice as they have outdoor freshwater showers to rinse your gear and yourself afterwards (the county pays the water bill!). And parking on the grass is cool on the feet!
SUP is great fun, but now we have other toys to transport back to Oregon when we return, only bringing two of these boards though, Aloha to the ‘big blue’.