Stand up paddle surfing is often abbreviated to “SUP”, and is called Hoe he’e nalu in the Hawaiian language. SUP is an emerging global sport with a Hawaiian heritage. It is an ancient form of surfing that allows for a good view on the incoming sets of waves and makes catching a wave easy.
A SUP board generally measures between 9 and 12 feet or more in length. It has features such as a padded deck and a concave hull. The “rider” stands on top of the board and moves him/herself through the water with one paddle.
Stand-Up Paddling is a great way to leisurely explore the coastal waters around the Big Island. Look down at the colorful fish and corals, or look back at the tropical shoreline. Finding and keeping your balance on a Stand-Up Paddling board is not trivial, but once you reach that point, the rewards are great.
Renting a SUP board on the Big Island
If you want to rent a SUP board on the Big Island, your choices are still somewhat limited. There are a few surf shops on the island that also rent SUP boards, and that can provide you with lessons and instruction.
Hilo SUP rentals
In Hilo, Hulakai (website) is a local company owned by Jun and Sarah. They offer SUP rentals on a daily basis and SUP lessons on an hourly basis. You can find them at 284 Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo, or reach them by phone at (808) 933-4852. Note that the lessons need to be reserved ahead of time.
Kamuela SUP rentals
In Kamuela you can find another shop of Hulakai (website). This one is located in the Mauna Lani shops, at 68 1330 Mauna Lani Dr. Suite 124. Their phone number is (808) 887-1091. SUP lessons here don’t need to be arranged ahead of time. Morning lessons are recommended as there often are breezy conditions in the afternoon.
Kona SUP rentals
In Kona (at the pier) KonaBoys are a good choice for SUP rentals.
If you are staying south of Kona you can also have a look at Kahalu’u Bay Surf and Sea, 5 miles south of Kona.
SUP Instruction Video
If you have never stood on a SUP board before but want to try, out best advice to you is to pick a day with calm water! Have a look at the following video to understand the basics of Stand-Up Paddling.