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Tom Blake and Duke Kahanamoku vintage photo with paddleboard

Prone Paddleboard Background

Paddlers that have been around the paddling and surfing sports for any length of time likely know prone paddleboard background and also know the basics of how various sports relate. Prone paddleboards are the very most basic paddle craft on the water. The element of simplicity, versatility and cross-training possibilities for prone surfers, plus the pure fun of paddling, bind prone paddling to all the other paddling sports.

Tom Blake and Duke Kahanamoku vintage photo with paddleboard

Tom Blake (Tom Blake, left and Duke Kahanamoku, right) is recognized as one of the first watermen to enhance the development of paddleboards in the modern era. His timing was quite good! About the same time Tom Blake came onto the scene in the early 1920’s, paddle boarding was ripe for development. Blake saw opportunities for enhancing the performance of the boards using the current technology of the time and he developed new generations of hollow wooden boards that were state-of-art for that era. During the 1920’s, beach culture in Southern California was coming into its early heyday with the need for lifeguards and lifesaving equipment. The paddleboards that Blake developed eventually evolved into the “rescue” boards seen at nearly every lifeguard tower in Southern California through the 1950’s and early 1960’s.

drawing of early seafarers paddling canoes

It would be difficult if not impossible to say where the first “paddleboard” was used, but I would suspect that the early nomadic seafaring cultures living in warm climates likely were in the water paddling whatever was available and “paddleboards” likely evolved with the societies that used them. Eventually, surfing became part of the Polynesian culture throughout the Pacific, and the ocean paddling sports as we now know them evolved and have become part of our current ocean sports culture.

paddling a reed watercraft

Today’s paddlers paddle every conceivable type of craft, but the most basic form of it all still comes down to the board and a human paddler; the prone paddleboard. The paddler and the water are connected directly….no interface. Please don’t get me wrong here, I enjoy paddling and surfing many different types of craft but I also appreciate the simplicity that is just me and a board…and that is why we developed the CLEARWOOD “P14” prone paddleboard……for the fun of it all!

Randy riding Clearwood ocean SUP at dramatic Oregon coast Randy riding Clearwood ocean SUP at dramatic Oregon coast

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