A relatively new form of recreation that originated in Hawaii is now spreading to the lakes of mid-America. At ocean beaches, the stand-up position offers the participant a better view of incoming swells, and on lakes and rivers it allows a modified surfboard to be propelled across relatively calm water.
Equipment-wise, the paddle is similar to those used for a canoe but much longer, about the length of a person's height plus a fully extended arm. The specially designed boards are wide, very stable and equipped with a rear fin. The trick is finding the sweet spot in the middle where one can stand comfortably, with weight evenly distributed on both feet. [SUP board] prices range from $800 to $1,500 with styles varying by materials and weight. Paddles cost from $100 to $400.
The SUP joins a long line of inflated shoes, modified bicycles, and other devices designed to allow a person to "walk on water." Local regulations may require a personal flotation device to be worn or carried on the board.
http://host.madison.com/entertainment/city_life/article_4aaa01c6-8aa5-11df-b092-001cc4c002e0.html. Image: Bill Ebbesen.