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SUP, or stand up paddling for those not in the know, is the latest water sport activity to hit Samui’s shores. Unlike surfing, what’s great about this pastime is that no waves are required – and let’s face it, for beach bums in search of a wave, Samui features low on the list of where to go in Southeast Asia — Phuket is a better choice in Thailand as far as wave action is concerned.
SUP involves standing atop an oversized surfboard that resembles the long boards of yesteryear, and paddling gondola-style. It is an easy sport to learn, as the large boards are stable, and with little wave action, it’s hard to capsize. Those that have gained a little experience can move on to a smaller and faster board. Some boards can be converted to windsurfers, with a clip-in sail, making them very versatile.
Located at the top end of Chaweng beach, where the sand is powdery and the water shallow, Naish SUP offers boards for rent as well as for sale. They offer a free beginner paddling lesson; thereafter, lessons are 300 baht per hour for a full SUP lesson, or 600 baht per hour for a surfing lesson. Believe it or not, Samui does get its meagre share of waves during the monsoon or after a storm and this is a great time to try out the faster boards for a new take on surfing.
Ko Matlang is a small island a few hundred metres offshore and makes for a great picnic spot to paddle out to. A reef a little further out creates a small wave for those who have mastered the flat, shallow water. To re-energise after a couple of hours of paddling, try the restaurant at OP bungalows, which offers street cafe prices on the beach — a rare find on busy Chaweng. They do great Chinese food as well as Thai and Western.
Naish SUP rental prices:
200 baht per hour
500 baht per half day
800 baht per full day
4,500 baht per week
*Photos copyright to Cherree Ward, Samui local and SUP enthusiast
By Rosanne Turner
Last updated on 4th June, 2015.