It looks easy and fun, so more and more people are getting up on those big, sturdy boards.
Find a spot where it is flat and get out there. Stand up and paddle. Stand-up paddleboarding is common in Huntington Harbour and other local harbors, and also at beaches where the surf is calmer, like Bolsa Chica.
There are similar spots down in South County, like Dana Point, and there will be an event down there to get the stand-up paddleboard season started.
The third annual Mickey Munoz Mongoose Cup will be held at Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor on Saturday. The event is open to the public and will include a Waterman Expo, stand-up clinics and a barbecue.
But it's also about safety, and teaching those newbies climbing onto paddleboards for the first time what to watch for, especially in the busy harbors.
"With the continued growth of stand-up paddleboarding, there are a lot more people paddling in the harbors and waterways," Munoz said. "Safety and etiquette have become much more critical. Since Dana Point is a Mecca for paddle sports, we wanted to have an event that's message is about the importance of safety and paddling etiquette, especially in regards to local boat traffic."
Munoz, now in his 70s, is a surfing legend, having started surfing in the 1950s. He was featured in many surfing films, was the stunt double for actress Sandra Dee in the 1959 movie "Gidget" and was a pioneer in big wave surfing at Waimea Bay in Hawaii.
He'll be at Saturday's event and will sign copies of his book, "No Bad Waves: Talking Story with Mickey Munoz."
The day will begin at 9 a.m. with a Fun Paddle around Dana Point Harbor Island.
The Waterman Expo and SUP clinics will have exhibitors from the SUP and surf industry, clinics on paddling and training techniques, board repair, adventure travel, racing skills and SUP yoga and fitness. SUP pros will give instruction throughout the day giving pointers to anyone willing to listen.
The Mongoose Cup is part of the Dana Point Festival of Whales and will feature the "Luck of the Draw," the day's main event at 12:30 p.m., in which teams will be organized and will participate in a relay race for the Mongoose Cup trophy.
Each team will be captained by a member of the Mongoose Cup Safety Paddlers — an elite waterman team — who will randomly draw names from a bucket to complete the four-person teams.
Cost to participate is $40, which includes a long-sleeve T-shirt, the barbecue lunch and entry into both the Fun Paddle and Luck of the Draw relay race.
Proceeds from the event to benefit the Terry Martin Medical Fund and the Doheny Longboard Surfing Assn. To register online, go to mongoosecup2012.eventbrite.com.
Update from Down Under...
Australians swept the men's and women's Assn. of Surfing Professionals' season-opening contest last week in the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.
Taj Burrow won the men's final, edgingBrazil'sAdriano De Souza, 15.86-15.60.
Stephanie Gilmore, already a four-time ASP World Champion, won the women's final over fellow Aussie Laure Enever, 16.37-14.20.
San Clemente's Kolohe Andino, who turns 18 later this month and is the youngest on the World Tour, finished in 13th place at Gold Coast.
The oldest, 40-year-old Kelly Slater, finished in fifth place after being eliminated in the quarterfinals by Aussie Josh Kerr.
Slater remained coy about his intentions to continue on the World Tour in a potential run at a 12th world title. The second tour contest is in April at Bells Beach in Australia.
"I'm not sure if I'm going to Bells," Slater said on aspworldtour.com. "I'm just going to go find some good waves in the next few weeks. Then I'll figure out what I'm going to do for the year."
JOE HAAKENSON is an Orange County-based sports writer and editor. He may be reached at email@example.com.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times