Do you enjoy wet and wild fun at the beach? Of course you do! Who doesn't? Whether it's surfing the waves or paddling a canoe, the open water is a great place for family fun.

Did you know that there's a sport that combines surfboards and paddles? It's true! It's called stand up paddle surfing, and it's becoming more popular every year.

You might hear it called other things from time to time. Some people shorten stand up paddle surfing to SUP surfing. Others simply call it paddle surfing, stand up paddle boarding, beach boy surfing, or even Hoe he'e nalu in the Hawaiian language!

Speaking of the Hawaiian Islands, that's where paddle surfing got its start back in the early 1960s. Surfers looking for the biggest and best waves to surf needed to get a long ways out into the water. So what did they do?

Instead of paddling all that way while lying flat on their long boards, they instead used long outrigger paddles and stood on their long boards to paddle out past the reefs in search of those monster waves. Even though it got its start with surfers, paddle surfing has become a popular pastime all over the country, even in calm lakes and smaller rivers.

Compared to regular surfing, paddle surfing is much easier to learn. Using paddles gives beginners a better sense of balance and more control over their movement in the water. Many beginners feel comfortable on their board in the water in as little as one hour.

Paddle surfing also gives you a good workout, as your core abdominal and back muscles get tested as you paddle and try to keep your balance! Surfers enjoy paddle surfing because they usually find they can catch more and bigger waves.

If you don't live near the ocean, you can still try paddle surfing on a lake or a river. Many boating enthusiasts have taken up paddle surfing because of the challenge it provides when you paddle surf through an area with rapids or other obstacles.

If you want to give paddle surfing a try, you can use a regular surfboard and any type of paddle. However, the sport has gained popularity to the point where custom paddle surfing equipment is available. Special stand up paddles should usually be five to seven inches longer than a rider's height.

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