Standup paddling can happen anywhere there's a body of water. That's the beauty of the sport we love so much. But what really makes it take root in any particular spot? Is it the location? The people? The culture? The weather? We'd say it's all of the above, plus a little something that we can't quite put our finger on. In this weekly series originally from our 2017 Gear Guide, we explore eight SUP communities that have turned into internationally renowned strongholds for the sport, from Europe, to South America, to Australia, and many in between. We hope they inspire you to get out there and do the same.
SPOTLIGHT: CANARY ISLANDS
Spain's Canary Islands rise abruptly from the depths of the Atlantic, dark and brooding like the volcanoes they are. Their steep and rugged coastlines are open to the full brunt of the Atlantic's fury, making hazardous seas for sailors--and one of the world's best paddling destinations. Surfers and windsurfers have flocked here for decades chasing the weather, wind and waves. When standup paddling re-emerged, it didn't take long to bloom there. There's a reason athletes such as Sonni Hönscheid, David Rodal Santiago a.k.a. 'Vilayta' and the Moreno sisters all call the archipelago home. If you like it windy, raw and untamed, you'll find more than you bargained for in the Canary Islands.