SUP is short from Stand Up Paddling. You stand on a over-dimensional surfboard and move along the water using a long paddle. It is an emerging global sport with a Hawaiian heritage. There are hints that the ancient pacific islanders already used large boards to ride waves and move on the water. The sport is an ancient form of surfing, and reemerged as a way for surfing instructors to manage their large groups of students, as standing on a bigger board gave them a higher viewpoint.

Since Paddleboards are bigger then surfboards you can also catch much smaller waves (as they are predominant in most of the Carribean) with them. In recent years it was become very popular to also paddle on flat water, lakes, rivers and on the Ocean without waves.


People of every age and ability can learn to Stand-Up Paddle on any kind of water surface. Everybody can do it, from 5 year old kids to 70 year old seniors, only condition: Being a good swimmer, in case you fall in. The eco-friendly new popular sport offers a perfect, holistic workout which is easy on the joints. In order to move the board, the whole body has to be under tension so it is a strong ‘core’ workout. But it’s not just the core, the legs are needed to balance the board and the arms do the paddling. It is a great way to work out on St. John and get to those secluded, quiet beaches that cannot be reached by car.


Paddleboarding is a great sport for the whole family.

Women love the magical transformation that paddling does to their bodies and many who practice Yoga start doing that on Paddleboards now. Men like the physical aspects of the sport, competing in races or doing downwinders and crossings. Kids that are good swimmer can start paddling themselves at about 5 years, smaller kids (with life vest) can just sit on the front and back of your board.


 The sky is the limit

While the first Steps are easy, you can safely paddle after a few hours when someone shows you the right technique. But from there you can constantly increase. Friends of mine have paddled from Ibiza to the Spanish mainland (96.5km) and from Spain to Africa and back. Another friend has paddled from the UK to Netherlands. In the Virgin Islands you can cross over from one island to another or attempt a circumnavigation. A great adventure is also the Painkiller Cup, a 15 mile downwind race from Beef Island, Tortola, to Soggy Dollar Bar, Jost van Dyke.

Paddleboard Downwinder Virgin Islands

First Steps

You will need a board, a paddle, bikini/boardshorts/Lycra. Start in a calm bay with little waves and winds. The basic technique (paddle stroke and turns) can be learned in 1-2hours. . You can give it a try yourself with information you find in this video or on this website, but we would always recommend to take a lesson from a certified SUP instructor, to ensure you hold the paddle correctly, learn the right stroke technique and are safe even when it gets windy and choppy.