Stand-Up Paddleboarding: Why You Should Try It On Your Maui Vacation

One morning while on the Hawai‘ian island of Maui, I found myself balanced on a paddleboard over the pristine Wailea coastline off Polo Beach. Started off in a kneeling position, I positioned myself in the center of the board and rhythmically paddled forward. The water was calm and astoundingly clear that I could see vibrantly colorful coral lay just below the surface!

After gaining some momentum and getting comfortable, I gathered up my courage and rose to my feet. The board wobbled a little bit as I regained my balance, but I managed to keep my legs steady. Right then, the sun slowly rose over Haleakalā Crater and painted the sky in pink and purple hues. I paused to savor this zen moment before continuing on paddling in search of the Hawai`ian green sea turtles.

In just 2 hours of gliding across the waters, I have already mastered the basic strokes. Stand-up paddleboarding is so easy that it has become my new favorite water activity! Below are the reasons why I love stand-up paddleboarding and you should too!

Stand Up Paddle Boarding Maui Hawaii

1| It’s easy to learn and a whole lot of fun!

If you love outdoor adventure and love being in, on, or around water, stand-up paddleboarding (a.k.a. SUP) is for you!

SUP is the calm, or some may have argued the “lazy,” version of surfing. Unlike surfing, you don’t need to have any paddling experience to enjoy SUP. All you need is a board and a paddle, and off you go! A good sense of balance will certainly help, but it is something you can improve on. With only 10 or 15 minutes of practice, you’ll completely master your stand-up paddle skills!

For those of you who are a scaredy-cat, I strongly recommend booking a private guided SUP tour, which would typically cover the basics (standing up and steering your board) and water safety. My guide, Brittany from Paddle On! Maui was extremely helpful and encouraged me every step of the way. With her guidance, I managed to stay dry the entire time! #SUPLikeAPro

stand up paddle boarding maui hawaii

2| It’s a great workout!

I’m not gonna lie, SUP is a total body workout. It puts almost every muscle in your body to work to keep you balanced. Your legs are hard at work to keep you upright on the unstable board. Your core is needed to help stabilize your body. Your arms, back, and shoulder are used to propel the paddleboard in the water. The best part? You won’t even realize you’re working out until you attempt to get out of bed the next morning 😉

Take your #hawaii adventure to the next level with stand-up #paddleboarding! #maui #travel Click To Tweet

3| It is meant for everyone

SUP is a water sport that anyone – of any age and fitness level – can enjoy. You can take it easy and go for a scenic paddle, race against your friends, or do yoga exercises on a SUP board!

If you’re a yogi, there’s no better way to engage your core than SUP yoga! All your senses will be stimulated while enjoying the natural splendor of floating on water. This will no doubt bring a whole new level of fun and challenge to your regular yoga practice!

stand up paddle boarding maui hawaii yoga

4| It brings you closer to nature

How does paddleboarding with turtles sound to you? In Maui, this is not a dream. On my tour with Brittany, we paddled amongst some beautiful marine life and coral reefs. As we got close to the lava rocks off the shore, we spotted a few Hawai‘ian green sea turtles peeking out of the water. During whale-watching season, it’s not uncommon for humpback whales to make an appearance!

5| It offers a sense of tranquility

Gliding across the water, you will get a chance to fully immerse yourself in nature. No thoughts, no distractions, only presence. A sense of serenity and freedom takes over your mind and body. For once, you can get in touch with your inner zen and it is liberating!

stand up paddle boarding maui hawaii


There are so many good reasons to try paddleboarding – it is fun, easy, scenic and a great way to work the muscles! When you plan your next Maui vacation, give SUP a shot. Who knows, you might find a new passion in life!

Stand up paddleboarding is a relaxing way to explore Maui, Hawaii. It's loads of fun, a great workout, and most importantly, anyone can do it because it’s easy to learn.

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34 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. I have never been to Maui and I have never done stand-up paddling. Both are things I would love to do. Looks like a lot of fun and good to hear it is easy to learn 🙂

  2. It wouldn’t have been high on my list before, but it does look like such a chill way to spend a few hours. I’d love to just hang out on the ocean with some turtles like that! Definitely will have to give it a go. Hopefully it’s not too much of a work-out though cos I’m a terrible swimmer. If I collapsed I’d be relying on a shelled friend to rescue me!

  3. I have seen paddleboarding lessons offered at resorts I have stayed at before, but never thought it was for me. I think your post just changed my mind on that. 😉

  4. “Stand Up” is an AC/DC song. Would you believe I spent a whole week in Hawaii back in 2009 and never went into the water. Still had a great time though!

  5. I’m so eager to try SUP!!! Maui seems like the ideal place for it too since it’s one of my favorite vacay spots 😀

  6. Wow Maui will be my new item on the bucket list. I love stand up surf. All this makes me want to travel there so bad

  7. Beautiful photos! I keep meaning to try SUP, and have been putting it off too long.

  8. Oh stand up paddle boarding looks like a whole lot of fun. I love the photo with the turtle. Was it expensive to do in Mauii?

  9. I love SUP!  It’s very common here in SoCal.  And I really love the photo with the turtle!

  10. I like the idea of this being a secret workout! I could imagine paddle boarding whilst stood up all day without feeling like I’m exercising, then the next day having a stiff body! Often whilst on vacation I put on so much weight so this would help.

  11. Wow.Maui is amazing. I have try stand up paddle before but this by doing this activity in a place like Maui is definitely awesome. I would make Maui my bucketlist.

  12. Wow. Sup’ing in Maui looks amazing. I would love to have a turtle in front of my board. What a beautiful way to see the islands.

  13. I don’t know why I never considered stand up paddleboarding ever before reading this article. It definitely sounds much easier than surfing. You sold paddleboarding to me when you mentioned how does paddleboarding with turtles sound to you! 😉 Well, it sounds like all I want to have!

  14. Since I broke my back I have had a lot of issues with balance including bike riding and SUP. I’m sad I can’t do this anymore because it looks so awesome especially in Maui!

  15. OMG I love the picture of the paddleboarder with the turtle popping up to say hi! So cool!
    I’ve always wanted to give SUP paddleboarding a go, it looks like so much fun! I’m hoping they offer it on the Island when I’m staying in the Maldives next week, although with my lack of upper body strength it may take me a few days to recover!

  16. What a beautiful part of the world to go paddleboarding! I’d love to do this with my kids. Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂 Happy travels!

  17. You mastered it like a champ! I’m waiting for summer to arrive in BC so we can give this a shot. I’ve never tried before but it looks like a ton of fun, you have me convinced! Too bad we don’t have cute turtles here 😛

  18. I have always wanted to try this! It does sound like a great workout – a great way to work on your core and balance. And I can’t imagine a better place to do it than in Hawaii. The way you describe seeing the coral just below you sounds amazing!

  19. This looks like so much fun! It definitely looks like something I would definitely try. I have terrible balance though!

  20. I’d love to try paddle boarding too although I’d probably needing a life jacket because I can’t swim in open water 😀 Great tips you have here!

  21. Hehe this post reminds me of that time I got a job as a SUP guide having never been on one before. All things said I did alright on the board and could fool most of the customers into thinking I knew what I was doing. But then there was that time when quite a bit of swell was pushing into our normally protected bay. I fell off a few times and then I blew my cover. Fortunately nobody could really stay so we hopped out before I looked like too much of fool. Looks like you had a good day out there so maybe I’ll give it a go on Maui.

  22. Anything that involves balancing is not going to be my natural sport, but on the other hand falling into the water isn’t as bad as falling on, I dunno, ice when ice skating (she says, not entirely at random). And for the chance to see turtles! Love that picture of the one poking her head out.

  23. Paddleboarding looks like so much fun! I heard it’s such a great workout, I’m sure your entire body is super sore afterwards!

  24. Sure looks like a lot of fun and you did a great job of describing all the reasons paddle boarding would be great to try. It is very popular here in Michigan as we have all the great lakes. Nice positive upbeat post.

  25. Great pictures! We love SUPing and that you can get out on the water. It’s a great work out and relaxing!

  26. It sure sounds like a lot of fun! Have to say that I was hooked because it does seem like a good work out. 🙂 Have to try that some time, thanks!

  27. I love to paddleboard, even though I fall off every single time!

  28. This looks amazing! I don’t know why I haven’t tried paddle boarding before, I keep meaning to but reading about how awesome it is makes me want to go and grab a paddle now 😀

  29. Stand up paddleboarding looks so cool! I want to try this for sure, and also do some Yoga. Great to know that it’s for everyone.

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  33. I’ve always wanted to try SUP! I don’t think I’ve ever heard a negative thing about it. I don’t know if I would be balanced enough to try yoga, but I think this would be a favorite workout of mine. It’ll be a must for Maui. I’m heading to Bali soon, I may see if it’s available there!

  34. I have always wanted to try standup paddleboard, as it sounds and looks like so much fun to do with those views in Maui. On top of that you get to work out and it healthy for you. As Maui is on my bucketlist this is definitely something I will add and but the sounds of it you really like SUP, so will give them a shot.

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