SUP is for Stand Up Paddle…Board?

I am a self-professed grammar and spelling nerd and it irks me that I do not know the correct term for stand-up paddle(boarding). There is absolutely no consistent approach out there – sometimes ‘board’ is included, sometimes it’s not; sometimes standup is one word, sometimes it’s not. Even on this very blog, I’m guilty of throwing around different terms. I decided to do some research.

Photo by: Shannon at PaddleWagon – Humber Bay, Toronto

I decided to check out some of the industry association websites to see what they were using. Surely, they would know what to call the sport. However, to my surprise, there was NO consistency among them…NONE!

  • Stand Up Paddle Industry Association – The 3-word, no board: Stand Up Paddle
  • Paddle Canada – The 3-word, board included: Stand Up Paddleboard
  • Stand Up Paddle Athletes Association – The 4-word, board included: Stand Up Paddle Board
  • International Surfing Association – The two-word, no board: StandUp Paddle

So, I decided that because I couldn’t rely on the industry associations for guidance, I would determine which version to use purely on what is used most often.

I typed “SUP” into my browser and looked at the first 25 websites. Those 25 websites showed NINE different ways…NINE! Who knew?!


I logically assumed that the abbreviation “SUP” was used so often because it was shorter, however, now I’m convinced it’s used so often because no one knows what the heck to call it!

So, based on my findings, “stand up paddleboard” was the winner, not a winner by a longshot but the winner nonetheless. So, from this point forward, when “SUP” just isn’t enough, I will defer to the majority and use “stand up paddleboard”.

Do other sports have this kind of issue?

2 thoughts on “SUP is for Stand Up Paddle…Board?

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