A paddle, a board, and the open water. These are the main ingredients required for the fast-growing sport of stand-up paddleboarding—often shortened to SUP.
Tracing its origins to Hawaii, SUP has hit a critical mass in the United States. Its upright adherents can be seen on ocean breaks, rivers, lakes, and even at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.
Don’t let the steep price tag of a SUP board deter your troop or crew from renting equipment for an afternoon on the water. If you decide to opt for something more permanent than rentals, the largest investment—the board and paddle—can be used by Scouts and adults of many sizes and skill levels.
Two experts, pro Girard Middleton—founder of Florida’s SoBe Surf resort and school—and athlete Candice Appleby helped us assemble this list of top-notch (yet attainable) equipment for beginners. Consult this guide before you jump on a board to paddle away. —STEPHEN REGENOLD is the founder of GearJunkie.com.