One of the world’s best stand up paddleboarders, Jamie Mitchell, enjoys a session a Tallebudgera.
One of the world’s best stand up paddleboarders, Jamie Mitchell, enjoys a session a Tallebudgera. Blainey Woodham

SUPs ready to make a splash

IN Hawaii they’re known as “bicycles of the ocean”, but there is no denying the increasing popularity of stand up paddle boards, especially since their inclusion in the Kingscliff Malfunction Surf Festival.

The popular sport and lifestyle activity, where the rider uses a surfboard and paddle, was introduced alongside malibus and longboards into the Malfunction competition line-up in 2007, with only a couple of heats and divisions on offer.

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Now the 2011 stand up paddle board, or SUP, line-up includes men’s and women’s heats with age and board-size divisions with entry numbers increasing each year.

Sean McKeown, of Island Style Promotions, said the growing popularity for SUPs stemmed from two different interests in the sport.

“There are surfers and lifeguards who want to try something different and those who like the fitness and peaceful side of it,” he said.

“And a lot of these people might never have surfed at all.

“Even Mark Occhilupo is a fan.”

The sport’s origins lie in Hawaii’s tourism industry, where tour guides paddled holiday-makers through the surf.

It is now an internationally-recognised sport, with locals like Noosa’s Josh Constable and Currumbin’s two-time Malfunction champion Jackson Close representing Australia.

Malfunction’s SUP competition includes surfing and racing heats and McKeown hopes people will come along to have a go themselves.

“People can come along to the festival for a bit of fun and they can try out the boards and get a free lesson on how to ride it,” he said.

The Malfunction Surf Festival is on at Kingscliff from March 23-27.



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