How Stand Up Paddling Became a Global Phenomenon

Stand Up Paddling pic

Stand Up Paddling
Image: rei.com

Before co-founding Blue Crest Capital Management in 2000, Bill Reeves served as the head of macro strategy and trading at JP Morgan & Chase in New York City. As a resident of Hawaii, Bill Reeves engages in several sports that are closely connected to Hawaii including stand up paddling (SUP).

SUP is a variation of the popular sport surfing, and involves participants using a paddle to propel themselves across the water while standing on a board. In recent years, SUP has grown in popularity with nearly three million Americans participating in 2014.

The origins of SUP can be traced back to many ancient civilizations in Africa and South America, where long sticks or paddles have been used to propel boards, canoes, and other forms of watercraft. However, the modern SUP tradition has its roots in Polynesia and was first observed by Captain James Cook. In 1778, Cook found Hawaiian natives using paddles to propel specially carved ritual boards made from the Koa tree. SUP was a strictly Hawaiian activity until 2004 when Rick Thomas brought the sport to California. Stand up paddling immediately caught on and quickly spread throughout the globe. SUP’s sudden surge in popularity was seen as a much-needed addition to the sport of surfing.