STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING (SUP) IN TARIFA
'Stand up Paddleboarding', popularly called SUP, or surf a remo in Spanish, is an alternative to surfing which sees users stand on their board and propel themselves through the water using a paddle. The sport is usually performed in the calm sea or a lake as larger waves or strong winds make it challenging. It reached Tarifa in 2011 and became popular in other parts of Andalucía by 2015.
The core concept of SUP is simple enough for multiple cultural origins to have been identified; Arab-Israeli hasake paddlers have been traced to 800AD, but by some accounts Peruvians were standing up on bundled reed watercraft as early as 3000BC.
Either way, SUP´s consolidation as a sport is very recent; in the 1990s Stand up Paddleboarding was taught at Hawaiian surf schools as an alternative way to surf when there was little swell. This practice became increasingly popular and by the early noughties competitions were held. Eventually the sport arrived to join Tarifa´s many other watersports in 2011.
Stand up paddlers wear wetsuits or neoprene suits depending on water and air temperature. These can be thinner than those used for surfing since most of the time is spent out of the water. Life jackets are recommended though not yet mandated in Spain, as for some other water sports. An ankle-tied leash is also recommended to link the rider to the board, which becomes the flotation device in the event of difficulty.
New SUP board prices range from 300 euro upwards. They can be purchased from water sports centres on the coast or sports chains such as Decathlon in Málaga or Algeciras.
Most SUP boards are constructed from a glass reinforced plastic exterior with an expanded polyurethane interior. Inflatable boards have also been introduced.
The boards are generally longer than 2.7 metres with features such as padded decks and concave hulls; they generally have one or three surfboard-style fins in the stern for tracking.
Shorter boards, which are more manoeuvrable and made out of high-performance carbon fibre, are used in Stand Up Paddle Surf competitions. Race boards can be longer, sometimes reaching 14ft.
SCHOOLS AND COURSES
Many of the kitesurf and windsurf centres in Tarifa also offer SUP courses and equipment rental. It´s a great opportunity to be on the water when the wind is low and the sea is calm, and is considered a solid workout, testing most muscles in the body. The schools listed below offer a variety of courses, from group to private. Sessions range from 1 – 10hrs, and prices from 50€ - 375€ reflecting this. Equipment hire is usually available for more experienced paddlers, and group excursions along the beaches are a more adventurous option:
Paddle Fun Tarifa
Tarifa Kite School