Stand up paddleboards (SUPs) joined boaters Saturday night at the 22nd annual King Harbor Holiday Boat Parade. Taking part in the event for the first time, the initiative to include SUPs was jointly organized by Tarsan Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Olympus SUP Fit and the Nikau Kai Waterman Shop. “As the sport has grown in popularity, it just seemed right to expand the parade to include this fast growing segment of the boating community”, said parade committee chairman Joan Smith.
Heeding the call, over 50 paddlers of all ages took to the water in a colorful array of costumes and lights. The SUPs paddled one lap through the parade circuit before congregating en masse in front of the King Harbor Yacht Club gazebo. They entertained onlookers in a festive display evoking the sights and sounds of Mardi Gras as SUP yoga aficionados showed off their abilities for the excited crowd by performing handstands in full costume on their boards.
The theme of this year’s parade was “Dive into the Season” in a tribute to Body Glove founder Bob Meistrell. The Meistrell family served as the parade Grand Marshalls and the family’s yacht The Disappearance led the procession of boats decked out in full holiday regalia. Spectators appeared to be genuinely both intrigued and amused by the costumed paddlers and as The Disappearance pulled away from the yacht club to join the procession the skipper called out, “See you next year S.U.P.s”, – indeed you will.