Stand-up paddle surfing is a traditional Hawaiian sport that promotes balance, strength and general fitness. It began in the 1950s when tourists in Hawaii wanted pictures of their surfing lessons. A local put a camera around his neck, grabbed a longboard and paddle for balance, and stand-up paddle caught its first wave.
It is excellent for surfers and non-surfers as it gives an isometric workout, which strengthens the core muscle groups, and is great fun.
Stand Up Paddle Surfing in Noosa has lessons in the sport, and supplies paddles and specialised stand-up paddle boards for all skill levels.
While it looks simple, it's much easier to learn in still water before taking on the ocean, so Getaway went to the Noosa River with former tandem world champion, Chris de Abolitz for some tutoring.
The Stand Up Paddle Surfing course teaches you advanced strokes for turning and catching waves, safety on the water, safe methods of carrying your gear, basic strokes and turns, correct stances and how to use the paddle for stability. Chris also recommends that the first lessons be in virtually windless conditions, so that means early morning. It's the most beautiful part of the day and the water, where lessons are undertaken, is usually like glass.
Carrying the equipment correctly is crucial. The paddle boards are quite heavy and can cause injury if lifted incorrectly. Beginner boards have carry handles, but as with all boards, the safest carry is on the shoulder. Simply pick it up by the nose end and walk with outstretched hands down the deck until the weight feels balanced. Ease the board onto your shoulder and place the other hand on the top.
Once the basics are under control, you go on an excursion around the estuaries. From Noosa Spit Park there are more than 40km of estuaries to explore.
Every year the town hosts the Noosa Festival of Surfing. It was established in 1992 by members of the Noosa Malibu Club as an amateur surfing competition. It provided the perfect excuse for members to invite friends to surf Noosa's pristine right-hand point breaks at their best. The event's popularity among longboarders far exceeded expectations and encouraged the club to take the classic competition to the next level.
While tandem surfing and nose-riding have always been popular at the festival, this year stand-up paddle surfing has hit the popularity stakes.
Noosa, 2.5 hours north of Brisbane.
Stand Up Paddle Surfing Australia holds monthly demonstration days at Noosa Lions Park, followed by a barbecue. Contact them for dates. Ninety-minute lessons cost $50 per person. All equipment and a Noosa River tour are included.
Virgin Blue has flights to the Sunshine Coast.
One-way fares from:
- Sydney $92
- Melbourne $115
- Adelaide $165
- Perth $320
There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at July 3, 2008 and are subject to change.
Prices correct at July 3, 2008.
For further information
Stand Up Paddle Surfing
PO Box 1773
Noosa Heads 4566
Ph: 0412 175 217
Noosa Festival of Surfing
Ph: 13 6789
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