SUP is officially dead… (the end)

What happened ???

When done right SUP surfing is one of the most pure/ beautiful ways to enjoy the ocean. When SUP really took off the market was mostly focused on a few key elements. The first was charging waves and using the paddle/board to create a unique dance with the wave…It had its own special style that wasn’t Long boarding but wasn’t Short boarding. It was something so pure and fun. Some of the best waterman really paved the way and gave WAVE RIDING NEW LIFE! Folks like Dave Kalama- Chuck Patterson – Robby Naish were leading the way and creating the competitive culture in those early days.


The second element was the life style. You could pick out a SUP and literally do everything with it. The equipment was made so that you could go surf head high waves and then still go cruise for a paddle workout. From what I saw as young man drooling at the pages of SUP the MAG and StandUPJournal it looked like SUP was the ultimate tool in the water. People like Brian Keaulana and Archie Kalepa  really showed me that SUP was a tool not a toy and could be something for SURF\- Fitness- Life saving- Fishing-and Fun.

The perfect SUP scenario to me would be shoulder high waves and a few guys out. But because you are on a SUP you can travel between 2-3 peaks and no matter what the tide did you could ebb and flow with the changes.


Now days SUP has become so gimmicky and lost its soul. SUP media has all but been dead for awhile because they cant quite seem to stay on top of what people want to see. What was once a crazy niche part of paddling is now all you see when you think of SUP and that is SUP yoga… We went from pages and photos of people charging¬† waves and doing workouts to dudes and hot chicks posing on boards or people in exotic destinations… Downward Dog on a SUP isnt technically SUP if you think about it ¬†because you arent paddling or standing…( YOGA on water is still bad ass lol)


This past year has also seen a lot of contests shutting down like Pacific PaddleGames in CA and a couple races in Hawaii. Times are changing and the performance side of SUP i think has gone so far that we are just imitating WSL shortboard guys but with paddles in hand. Boards are smaller than ever and most companies only offer really small or really big for experts or newbies who want to just be on the water. With the changing times it seems we have also lost most of our stars or pioneers to other sports. Kalama – Kai Lenny- etc have moved on to foiling or reverted back to prone surfing.


So when I say SUP is dead…I mean SUP as I knew it…Balance -Endurance-Strength and traditon have all been kind of pushed away for instagram photos and yoga sunsets…You can find me at Cardiff Beach CA -almost everyday with my 10 foot board riding every wave from 1foot to 10 foot keeping faith alive that SUP as a whole will one day refocus on hui o he’e nalu-wave sliding!

Author: Kalikookamalu

Waterman - Hawaiian- basketball junkie

6 thoughts on “SUP is officially dead… (the end)”

  1. I am with you and against you at the same time. Is that possible? Only because I enjoy riding a small SUP. But by small it still isn’t submerged underwater and I can paddle from peak to peak if I choose to. I miss the good’ol days of Jim Brewer traveling around the world with their 9′ Paddle Surf Hawaii boards filming great surf, lifestyle and travel films. That Columbia one was awesome and the pictures of them in Sumatra were too. I wish we could go back to those days. I love my 7’7″ shred stick but would trade that in for a 9′-10′ longboard SUP and good vibes anytime. Maybe we can get someone to sponsor a trip with a photographer for us to try and bring back the good’ol days. An Endless Summer style video of soul sup surfing…


  2. I don’t buy a sup so I can pay to use it (sup yoga classes) I surfed for a lot of years but in my mid sixties, I have replaced knees, arthritis and back surgeries. My activities have been limited Sup surfing, mild (class 2-3) whitewater and a few “old guy” races. My knees could not handle sup yoga. SUP surfing is still hard for a lot of surfers to accept. We are still the minority in the ocean, and I doubt will ever be accepted at any surfing area where “locals” congregate.


  3. What a show off. SUP is a great sport for everyone and not just for dudes who can ride big waves. It is the versatility of the sport which makes it so great. It caters for all fitness levels, all water locations and all weathers. It can be enjoyed solo or with others. You SUP your way and as a pensioner, I’ll SUP my way. That is the beauty of SUP.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Come north my friend.. SUP is just dead in So Cal and all those ‘trendy places’ the Cold Water still has its soul…. you just have to go find it.


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