Stand-Up Paddling in Kauai
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Unlike kiteboarding, this is a new sport that even a novice can pick up—and have fun doing. Technically, it's not really a new sport but a reinvigorated one from the 1950s. Beginners start with a heftier surfboard and a longer-than-normal canoe paddle. And, just as the name implies, stand-up paddlers stand on their surfboards and paddle out from the beach—no timing a wave and doing a push-up to stand. The perfect place to learn is a river (think Hanalei or Wailua) or a calm lagoon (try Anini or Kalapaki). But this sport isn't just for beginners. Tried-and-true surfers turn to it when the waves are not quite right for their preferred sport, because it gives them another reason to be on the water. Stand-up paddlers catch waves earlier and ride them longer than long-board surfers. In the past couple of years, professional stand-up paddling competitions have popped up, and surf shops and instructors have adapted to its quick rise in popularity.
Equipment and Lessons
Not all surf instructors teach stand-up paddling, but more and more are, like Blue Seas Surf School and Titus Kinimaka Hawaiian School of Surfing.
Back Door Surf Co.. Along with its sister store across the street–Hanalei Surf Shop–Back Door Surf Co. provides just about all the rentals necessary for a fun day at Hanalei Bay and houses the company's full inventory of stand-up paddleboards, available for single-day or longer rental periods. Ching Young Village, 5-5190 Kuhio Hwy., Hanalei, HI, 96714. 808/826–1900. www.hanaleisurf.com.
Hawaiian Surfing Adventures. This Hanalei location has a wide variety of stand-up boards and paddles for rent, with a few options depending on your schedule. A 2.5-hour rental is $30, 4.5 hours goes for $40, and $50 gets you a full day's use. Check in at the storefront and then head down to the beach, where your gear will be waiting. Lessons are also available on the scenic Hanalei River or in Hanalei Bay, and include one hour of instruction and two hours to practice with the board (lessons range from $55 to $75, depending on group size). The company also offers surfboard rentals and surfing lessons. 5134 Kuhio Hwy., Hanalei, HI, 96714. 808/482–0749. www.hawaiiansurfingadventures.com.
Kauai Beach Boys. This outfitter is located right on the beach at Kalapaki, so there's no hauling your gear on your car. The rates are reasonable ($25 an hour, $65 for the day), and the convenience is essential. 3610 Rice St., Lihue, HI, 96766. 808/246–6333. kauaibeachboys.com.
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