Story and photos by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
“Get up, stand up” is the motto for stand-up paddle boarders.
As Adam Price of Alki Kayak Tours demonstrated Tuesday night, paddle boards are similar to surf boards but designed for flat water touring rather than catching waves, propelled by paddles rather than wave action. Unlike surfing, where you stand sideways on the board, for paddle-boarding, you stand with your feet squared facing the front of the board.
Stand-up Paddle Boarding, or SUP Boarding, originated in Hawaii in the 1960s — surfing instructors would stand on the boards to look for waves and increase their visibility while teaching. Realizing this was actually pretty fun, more people started standing on the boards to tour on the water, not just surf.
This activity has been making its way north up the west coast over the years, and Greg Whittaker, owner of Alki Kayak Tours, says they are taking this warm-water sport, adding wetsuits, and making it a cold-water sport.
Adam Price says they are “trying to build a paddling community,” so, to help promote the sport, Alki Kayak Tours host free SUP Boarding demonstrations and races every Tuesday evening. Demonstrations start at 5 pm and all ages are welcome, though boarders under 18 need to be accompanied by an adult or have a signed release form. Races start at 7 pm and go from Seacrest to Duwamish Head, around the channel marker and back to Seacrest — a distance of approximately 1.5 miles. Alki Kayak will provide all the equipment, including wetsuits, free of charge for the events.
Tuesday evenings aren’t the only time you can participate in SUP Boarding, Alki Kayak will rent boards and paddles for $15/hour and provide private classes for those who want to “stand up.” Adam Price adds: “This is a sport for all ages; it’s great exercise and a lot of fun.”