Stand Up Paddle Surfing – A History

Stand Up Paddle Surfing – A History

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Stand Up Paddle Surfing – A History

Unless you live in Hawaii, the image of people standing up on surfboards and paddling is perhaps foreign to you. But Paddle Surfing has a long rich history that has just recently made an exciting resurgence on the surfing scene. You don’t have to live in Hawaii to learn the wonderful story behind this great sport and the shapers who design the famous boards, but you’re going to want to live in Hawaii when the story is done! Aloha*

In the local waters of Hawaii today, so many people are talking about those paddle surfers out on the water. What is Stand up Paddle Surfing? They ask. Well, Ku Hoe He’e Nalu means basically “stand to paddle to surf wave”. A couple years ago, Stand up Paddle Surfing was still just a fluke and a relic of the past, but these days it’s all the rage. Everyone in the surfing scene is talking about it, and surfers who before were ignorant of the Stand Up tradition have become practitioners and believers.

Stand Up Paddle Surfing was thought to have its origins in the 1960’s with the popular Waikiki Beach Boys. That’s why it was originally known as Beach Boy surfing; when the Waikiki Boys would stand up on their classic longboards and paddle along the water with outrigger paddles. They’d take pictures of tourists surfing on vacation during these paddle rides, and no doubt that was probably quite a scene to behold!

But there’s a root to Stand Up Paddle Surfing that dates even farther back to the 1940’s with Duke Kahanamoku and his Beach Boys. And just when you think that is the origin of it all, we see that even farther back we find ancient Polynesian paddlers who were probably the creators of Hoe He’e Nalu. But it was perhaps the famous Duke that made it a viable sport. He is, after all, the father of modern surfing, ambassador of Aloha, and the one who made the Waikiki Beach Boys so famous. It seems like he could make anything famous on the shores of Waikiki, and Stand Up Paddle Boarding was probably just another of the things he brought to popularity.

Today, all the islands of Hawaii are resurging with a fresh revival of Stand Up Paddle Borders. In fact, major watermen like Brian Keaulana and Dave Kalama are making it a viable sport by promoting channel crossings and Stand Up Paddling Surfing to be added to Makaha’s Big Board Surfing Classic. Laird Hamilton has famously Paddle Surfed from O’ahu to Kaua’I, through the English Channel, and even the Grand Canyon…just to name a few.

It is a unique and beautiful Pacific Islander tradition that will continue to grow and garner more attention and praise in the years to come. As the surfboard Shapers continue to be inspired by the revival, as well as inspire the revival with their craftsmanship, their innovations and artistry are what we’ll focus on here.

The nexus of the revival is taking place on the North Shore of Maui and Oahu, and this is precisely where the premier shapers hold office. A shaper designs and builds surfboards by hand, and often surfs the waters themselves to test their innovations….

The Shapers:

Ed Angulo

The moment that Ed Angulo rode his first wave, he knew he would be hooked to surfing for the rest of his life. Today he is a prominent shaper, having created his first board in 1968. He landed in Huntington Beach, and the rich and vibrant surf scene has been his way of life ever since.

Landing in Huntington Beach at the right time meant that he easily landed a job in the local surf shop. The shop offered Ed a position as a shaper, and the rest is history. It seemed like Ed had all the right skills to be a superior shaper and board designer. His love and skill in surfing, his adept hands, and eye for design and aesthetics made him the premier shaper in the area in no time. In fact, his stylishly airbrushed Angulo surfboards caught some real attention for their artistry and quality, and eventually all the biggest names in surfing wanted a board from Ed Angulo.

When things started to really get good, Ed and his family packed up and moved to Hawaii, the greatest surfing Mecca that the world has known. It seemed like a smart move to go where his skills would be most utilized, and it ended up being a very smart move indeed. His kids had the opportunity to grow up surfing Rocky Point, Sunset, and Pipeline alongside Fred Van Dyke and Gerry Lopez. After Ed and the family moved to Maui, he became inspired by the wind surfers in the area, and riding the popularity of this form of surfing in the 80’s, Ed Angulo quickly became one of the leading names in the sport.

These days, Ed is still one of the premier shapers in the world, and is using his skills to shape the highest quality Stand Up Paddle Boards that you can find. His boards go through a tremendous amount of testing and designing to make them the very best, and that’s why they’re considered THE boards of the SUP market. Everyone knows that if they want the highest quality stand up board, Ed Angulo is the person to turn to.

There’s a reason why Ed is able to shape the most durable and highest quality Stand Up boards in the world. His combined resources of talent, experience, craftsmanship, innovation, and love of the sport are what make him the master of shaping that he is today. Especially when it comes to performance surfing, the Angulo boards are renowned for being the luxury boards to have. And it isn’t just luxury, it is about performance. It’s the amazing blend of performance and aesthetics that make the boards so unique and in such high demand.

Ed Angulo is a shaping legend, and his innovations and creations continue to inspire the industry, and 40 years later, people can’t seem to get enough of his amazing Stand Up Paddle Boards, and so much more.

Mark Rapphorst

Mark Rapphorst has a lot to say about Downwinder Stand Up Paddling, and that’s because he’s one of the best shapers and surfers in Maui today. In fact, his F14’s and F16’s for downwinder stand up paddling are known throughout the industry. His expertise and experience with shaping and riding these boards is amazing, and his knowledge and insight is something that all surfers try to tap each time they see him.

In fact, Mark Rapphorst is constantly unleashing new innovations into the Stand Up Paddling world, including the new F14. The F14 comes in at around 20lbs and can be ordered with or without steering. Mark’s boards are custom, and that’s the beauty of what he does. When you go in and talk to him, you both come up with ideas for a board that suit you, and then Mark makes it happen with his own two hands. If you’re riding the wave of the recent Stand Up Paddling revival, then Mark is an amazing person to talk to in general, let alone ordering an extraordinary board to be custom made.

When asked about the difference between a 14 and 16 board, Mark had to say that: “14 is 14’, 16 is for the 16′ in length and the 16′ has a different bottom contour. The 14 is gonna have a single concave versus the 16 has a bit of double concave with some V in there. The 14′ is gonna have a drop deck of about 2 inches deep, quite a different board, it’s got a lower rocker for the 14′.”

Perhaps one of Mark’s greatest talents is knowing which kind of board is right for you. He has a keen eye and intuition for gauging your level of skill and finding the board that suits your needs. There is a conversation that happens on the water between rider and board, and when the correct pairing is made, this “conversation” can be like a song. Mark is always trying to find the perfect connection between rider and board. When you’re going longer distances, you need a longer board, and etc.

When it comes to a drop deck or no drop deck, Mark says that “If people are willing to take a bit of a new approach, yes, but it makes the board a lot more stable with the drop deck. “ What about your board filling with water? He says, “Well you might have been lucky with three compartments inside the board it might have been stuck in the center part, a lot of it. But if you have it on the side it makes the board tippier. It has three strong decks, one center and two where you’re standing and maybe the water is stuck in that middle compartment.”

No one knows better than Mark that with waves, you need a short board, and for longer runs, you need a longer board. “Get a light board, because you’re sprinting so much and then relaxing afterwards, that inertia helps you get on a glide but once you get on the glide, I think the lightweight and stiff board is a helping hand. Have fun.”

Even though Mark would agree that a 14’ board is best because it is a manageable weight for most people and types of water, he simply doesn’t have enough of them. The list of surfers waiting for Mark’s boards is an indication of his popularity and skill in Maui.

“The 14′ is more manageable, I’d say it’s more fun. The 16′ is more serious and it will probably save more time of your run- the 16 footer. But it’s also more cumbersome on your car and in your garage and the weight too, I mean it’s a lighter board for the 14 footer.”

So, take it from Mark, the 14 is much more fun and fast if you’re a fan of Stand Up Paddling, but you’re going to have to wait in line like everyone else to buy one of these quality boards that are hand-shaped by Mark.

Jimmy Lewis

For over 35 years now, Jimmy Lewis has been a master board shaper, garnering huge amounts of respect in the industry. He has shaped boards for a number of different industries including Windsurf, Kite, Tow, Foil, and Surfboards. The top pro riders of all these sports come to Jimmy for boards that they can trust to be the highest in quality and innovation. He also adds that extra touch of artistry and respect to each board that is priceless.

Jimmy’s boards are unique because they’re specifically shaped to make for an easy and pleasurable ride. Every level of rider can enjoy a Jimmy Lewis board, and that’s what makes his works so accessible and loved. This allows the rider to concentrate on riding and ripping rather than managing their squirrelly, cumbersome board.

Since the very beginning of the sport, Jimmy Lewis has helped to shape some of the greatest Kiteboards that money can buy. In fact, the first custom kiteboard shaped for Lou Wainman in 1997 was done by Jimmy Lewis with much pride. He was the pioneer in concave bottom shapes for boards, as well as flexibility in boards, round rails, and other kiteboarding revolutions that today are design staples in the industry. It’s only when you ride a Jimmy Lewis kiteboard that you realize this sport surpasses kiting and enters the world that is truly boarding. He has elevated the sport, and that’s not the half of what he’s done…

With Jimmy Lewis Production Boards, you get the hand shaped custom board quality across a number of different boarding mediums, and that includes Stand Up Paddling. Every board is made with incredible care and enthusiasm, using all the most original materials, accessories and shapes that are used for the custom boards. There are no plastic parts or cutting corners in the shaping of a Jimmy board. Production boards are highly praised for their images and graphics.

It is said that once you ride a JL board that you’re sort of ruined when it comes to ever buying another kind of board. That’s because many people praise the Jimmy Lewis boards as being the very best in the water. “They plane faster, edge harder, turn deeper and jump higher than any other board available, anywhere. If you doubt this, then you haven’t tried one yet…..”

The reason why Jimmy Lewis garners so much praise is due to his love for the sport, his interest in the current revival of Stand Up Paddling, and his dire commitment to continuous innovations while still preserving the classic sanctity of his boards. He is a quality waterman that everyone in the industry respects, and will continue to make innovations that everyone wants to get their hands on.

Sean Ordonez

Let’s be honest; if anyone is at the forefront of Paddle Board innovation, than it is Sean Ordonez. In fact, he is so committed to developing and testing boards that for the past couple of years he has been pushing his limits and experiencing the sport firsthand. In reality, his work and enthusiasm in the sport have made him one of the most graceful paddle boarders on the water today. He mostly paddles on the North Shore, if you’re interested in spotting him one day. Thanks to his enthusiasm and expertise, his performance boards known as “The Big Red” and “The Big Blue” are sweeping the industry.

Like a great blend between a surf board, canoe, and windsurfing board, his SUPs are built from Epoxy Styro Vacuum sandwich technology. That sounds like a mouthful, but the “Big Red” is great for long distances and downwind racing. With glassy conditions, these boards are wonderful to catch a light breeze and even convert into a light SUP windsurfer. This board seems to do it all, so it’s no surprise that it comes from a man that likes to do it all himself.

With the launch of Sean’s new brand of board known as SOS, he’s really turning heads in the industry and getting people excited. “My goal with SOS is to heighten my passion and affinity with waves and wind and I am grateful to have the opportunity to handcraft innovative board designs for many of the world’s best watermen and women”, says the 37-year old renowned shaper, surfer and waverider.

In North Shore, Sean is well known as being one of the most innovative and creative shapers, and his genius has helped to create some of the very best custom technologies for the water. What makes Sean so unique is how he researches and develops each kind of board. Sean believes that he needs to test things himself, tirelessly, before he can even begin to share his innovations with the surfing community. It’s that kind of enthusiasm and creativity that makes him one of the greatest and most unique shapers in the industry today. With buzz spreading about Sean’s boards, their artistry is described as “just damn good & sexy boards”.

Sean Ordonez was born in Columbia, and later came to prominence as a US waverider and surfer that turns heads. Since 1986 he has been an innovative shaper, starting as an apprentice to the renowned shaper Ricky Carrol. He was working at the famous Natural Arts Surfboards in Florida at the time, and then in 1990 he moved to Maui to start down his own career path as a shaper. He was immediately hooked into the windsurfing industry that was having a surge at the time, and became the professional waverider and shaper that we know today as being one of the best.

He worked for “Sailboards Maui” when he first came to Hawaii, and then in 1993 he founded “Quarto” that went on to become one of the most famous custom and production board brands in windsurfing. He successfully launched his SOS brand in 2006, and has been going strong every since, continuing with his amazing innovations in the industry that so many people respect, admire, and praise.

Ron House

For over 4 decades now, Ron House has been an innovator and powerhouse in the shaping business. He has worked with some of the greatest names in the surfing industry, and his effect on the sport as a whole is never contested. Many of the top surfers of the world claim that Ron House is their favorite shaper. Gerry Lopez, Mike and Derek Ho, and Laird Hamilton are just some of the icons in the industry who adore Ron’s boards and the great expertise and artistry that he has shown as a shaper.

It was recently, at the turn of this century that Ron took up the task of shaping Stand Up Paddle Boards, riding the crest of popularity that had brought a recent resurgence in the sport. He is now considered one of the greatest shaping pioneers in Stand Up boards, even before the revival reached its zenith of popularity. With his great wealth of experience as a shaper and lover of surfing, Ron is able to shape the highest quality Stand Up boards and long distance and flat water paddling boards. It’s within this niche that he so phenomenally excels and continues to make innovations as the sport progresses.

Some of the greatest shapers in the world are also surfers, and Ron is no exception. He could never be content to shape some boards and then call it a day! Ron House needs to test his boards, and enjoy the sport that he shapes for. That’s why you can always find him in San Clemente, surfing the waters on one of his boards, filled to the brim with the spirit of Aloha. He is a great proponent of passing the spirit and etiquette of Stand Up boarding on to the next generation. That means preserving the treasured spirit and history of Stand Up Paddling, surfing, facing, and recreational paddling. They’re all one in Ron’s eyes.

“I began shaping in Encinitas, Ca in 1968 at Surfboards Hawaii. Soon I moved to the Islands where my shaping career got serious, making boards for some of the top guys at the time. The Pipeline became my favorite spot and I made some friendships on the North Shore that last until the present. As sailboarding was gaining popularity I became very involved in their design and use as we took the sport from flat water into the waves of Hawaii. I even got to spend a summer in Biarritz, shaping for a company there.

After moving to California in the mid 80’s I owned and operated Surfglas, one of the most professional and productive factories at the time, for 15 years. During that period I did shaping work for some of the big labels in SoCal as well as for my friends.

After nearly 40 years of shaping in California, Hawaii and France I have made most kinds of surfboards, sailboards and now standup boards. The development of standup paddling has given us a new look at using our ocean and lake resources for surfing, distance paddling and fitness training, opening up surf spots previously overlooked and providing a vehicle to experience new places.

Of course I still make shortboards, longboards and guns. My boards are shaped from polyurethane foam or EPS and glassed with polyester resin or epoxy, a truly custom handcrafted product. The standup boards are EPS cores with epoxy. I take particular interest in shaping custom boards to meet my client needs and preferences and enjoy working one-on-one with my friends.”

Steve Boehne

Steve Boehne is one of the most extraordinary shapers in all of California, and the industry as a whole. With his Infinity Surfboards in Orange County’s incredibly competitive market, he has managed to become infamous for the past 40 years of his experience in the industry. His operation in the OC is a family operation, with Steve at the creative helm. As the founder of Infinity, Steve says that he was “blessed to both know and have learned from shaping luminaries like Gordon Duane, Bruce Jones, Ben Aipa, and Dale Velzy.”

In the early pro surfing days, Steve was building boards for upcoming stars like Shaun Tomson, Kevin Billy, Mike Crukshank, and other luminaries in the 1970’s. He even shaped for Pat O’Connell in the 80’s, a childhood friend of Steve’s sons. These days, Steve seems to have taken over the realm of performance shortboards. He is supplying the greatest of this generation’s new surfers like Justin Quirk, Geoff Brack, and his brother David Boehne, just to name a few.

However, despite the popularity of his shortboards, Steve prefers to keep his hand in every trade so that he remains a diverse and educated shaper. He specializes as well in everything from longboards to paddle crafts and tandem boards.

But it is just in the recent years that Steve has become part of the amazing revival of Stand Up Paddle Surfing. In fact, his stamp on this revival has been huge, and continues to grow as enthusiasm for the sport and recreation grows. His Infinity brand was the first on the West Coast to offer an amazing selection of boards and paddles to suit the budding industry. He sponsored California’s first ever SUP contest in 2007 in the famous San Onofre region on the West Coast.

With amazing innovation in both shortboards and Stand Up boards, it seems like Steve has a unique foothold on the past and the wave of the future. His shortboard known as “Bigote” is shaking up the industry as we speak. “Bigote is Spanish for mustache,” says Dave Boehne, the brother who handles marketing. “And that’s how it feels: smooth, quick, and pleasing every time.” When describing the 5F fish, Dave also went on to say “It feels like you’re riding a bar of soap around the bathtub! Brack surfs like a flying squirrel on acid on it.”

When it comes to innovative SUPs, Infinity has been focusing on smaller versions. The high performance 8’6” Carver uses Suftech technology and Aviso on their staple boards, such as the Rad Noserider, and the Secret Weapon board.

“I would say the open mindedness in young surfers today has opened up the possibilities and creativity,” says Dave Boehne. “Old is new again and it’s been fun incorporating old theories and modernizing them for today’s style of shredding.”

Bill Foote

It was 1962 that Bill Foote first began surfing. But it wasn’t until he started to repair boards that he realized he was going to be in the surfboard design industry for the rest of his days. Like many other important shapers, he had an early premonition, or “calling” to the art and craft of shaping. And his enthusiasm and love for the industry has not flagged ever since.

Bill started shaping in Puerto Rico in 1971, and was immediately struck by the unique blend of craft, artistry, and sport. This is a powerful combination for anyone, but for Bill it meant a lifestyle that utilized all of his great talents and loves in one form. He knew it was time to move somewhere that allowed him to take hold in the industry.

Bill packed his bags and moved to Sunset Beach Hawaii, and put a brief hold on his shaping to test his skills in the water riding boards and learning from the greatest shapers in the world. It was then in Hawaii that he was able to study the talents of Reno Abilera, Tom Parrish, and Dick Brewer, some of the greatest shapers in Hawaii at the time.

He began to take up shaping again in 1976, and this time his surfing experiences and observations of the best shapers come together to make him into the amazing shaper that he always dreamed of becoming. When Bill got into windsurfing in the great 1980s resurgence of the sport, he started to shape boards immediately. This was the pattern that Bill followed creatively; he’d be inspired by the sport firsthand in the water, and this enthusiasm then went into his shaping on land.

He quickly became one of the most innovative board designers in the industry. Throughout his long and lustrous career, he has shaped boards for some of the greatest surfers in the industry. This includes windsurfers and Stand Up Paddle surfers as well. He has built boards for some of the most famous riders in the industry such as the Silver Brothers, The Stone Brothers, Pritchard Brothers, and so many others.

Perhaps the greatest question you can ask about Bill Foote is whether he’s a shaper that surfs or a surfer that shapes. It seems that the answer is that he has discovered the ultimate way to blend the two together, so that his interest and mastery in each infuses the other. His shop today is in Haiku, Maui, where he designs and shapes for Maui riders, AHD, and shapes for some of the greatest names in Japan. He’s a world class shaper and waterman, and his star will always shine bright in the industry.

Blane Chambers

What is Paddle Surf Hawaii? Simply put, PSH is Blane Chambers’ company that is solely devoted to building first class quality SUP boards. That says a lot that Blane is so devoted to the sport that he chooses to specialize in Stand Up boards exclusively. “No regular surfboards…. just SUP boards. Our main goal is to build boards that blow minds and stoke people out whether they are beginners or are pro level surfers. “

Blane grew up body surfing in the ocean, then moved onto boogie boarding, and eventually reached his peak with surfing. It’s a natural progression for budding surfers, as well as shapers who are raised with a solid love and appreciation for the sport and the ocean. “I was also racing motocross a lot when I was younger. I took a break from surfing around 10 years or so, and was just surfing off and on, but mostly spent that time riding trails on a motorcycle pretty hard core. “

Blane came back to surfing and dived into shaping longboards at his home in Wahiawa, and moved onto shaping Stand Up boards after trying it for himself a couple years back on the North Shore. He began on a 12’ Mickey Munoz board. “So [at the time], I was body surfing, regular lay down surfing, as well as stand up and knee paddle surfing with my one man canoe paddle. I really liked surfing with the canoe paddle, and eventually gave up arm paddle surfing all together by Sept 2005 totally hooked on SUP surfing. “

Blane shaped his very first SUP board with a big 12-8 blank. “I remember feeling like I walked for miles around and around that thing, which barely fit in my shaping room. I shaped a 12’ x 28” x 5” thick monster.” After Blane had Otis Shaper glass the board for him, he immediately recognized how beautiful his creation was. But, it was incredibly heavy and not nearly as easy as the Munoz board was. After surfing it a couple of times, Blane finally sold the board, and went to work making prototypes. There were the good ones, the bad ones, and the ugly ones, but this was an exciting time of creativity for Blane.

“In Feb, 2006 I ordered 2 custom 10’-6” boards from Dave Parmenter. I thought that once I got a couple of his boards I wouldn’t need to shape anymore of my own. It was such a pain to shape them. I just wanted to surf them. At the time, Dave’s glassing situation was known to be backed up so I figured in the meantime I’d keep shaping my own ’till I got his customs so that I could at least surf something. “

Working at a breakneck speed, Blane started to shape roughly 1 new board each week. That was a lot of work for a budding shaper. He started to glass his own boards, then he’d surf them, and would get back into the shaping room to make another. He kept notes while he did all of this so that he could learn what was working and what wasn’t. He was becoming a bit of a renaissance man in his industry. For months he kept up this pace. Finally, people started to really take interest in his designs. “I was surprised. Some of them looked so bad! They did work though. “

In the summer of 2006, Blane was making enough boards that he decided to open his Paddle Surf Hawaii shop, simply as a hobby. It was intended to feed his addiction to making innovations in SUP boards. “By the time I got my 2 custom Parmenters, the Paddle Surf Hawaii label was already an established company in the market place, and Parmenter was shaping under our label.”

Blane never imagined that PSH would take off to its popularity of today. It’s the very first company to focus exclusively on SUP boards right in Wahiawa. Little did Blane know that his enthusiasm and rigorous innovations were going to make him into a great success, especially as the budding revival of Stand Up Paddle Boarding was making an enormous comeback.

Blane put it candidly when he said, “I guess anyone can offer what we do if they spent the amount of time we do focused on SUP board design. I think we (PSH) are different because we like to push the limits daily; and I’m not willing to settle on any design.

Better is always better in my opinion and I know I can make things better. Being conservative is way too easy; so, we are into going for it. PSH offers designs based on state of the art SUP surfing. “

With their complete and undivided attention on SUP boards, everyone in the Stand Up boarding industry knows where to turn when they want the most innovative and performance enhanced board they can find. The expert surfers who are riding their boards are a testament to that. Customer feedback goes right back into making more innovations on the boards.

Blane says, “The bottom line is this; SUP surfing and board building is all we do. 100% focus on SUP surfing and paddling.”

Blane has something in common with the most popular shapers of SUP boards today, or any kind of board for that matter. Not only are they all expert craftsman and innovators, but they’re surfers whose original experience in the sport was one of enthusiasm, excitement, and love. They shape their boards to suit the greatest professionals and enthusiasts in the world. With the recent revival of Stand Up Paddle Surfing, these are the people who are literally shaping the industry with their respect, enthusiasm, and professionalism. They are well respected watermen and craftsmen.

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