My friend Bart de Zwart of Maui is an inspiration - he's also a bit of a badass in the SUP world. Originally from the Netherlands, he and his family now live in Maui. Bart has been one of the biggest proponents of Stand Up Paddle boarding. Yes, it is different from Venetian rowing, although I know many gondoliers who enjoy the sport.
I first discovered Bart when I heard that there was a guy out there doing expeditions on an SUP board.
Bart was the first to paddle the entire chain of Hawaiian islands, unsupported.
Last year he paddled between icebergs in Greenland!
He's done several other expeditions, regularly competes in international SUP events, and somehow Bart manages to also run a successful surf shop in Haiku.
As I write this, Bart is paddling in the South Pacific on an unsupported solo journey from Tahiti to Bora Bora. This transit is approximately 180 miles and will take 3-4 days. Bart will eat, sleep, and navigate on the board which he's paddling - no outside support.
You can follow Bart and read updates on the blog http://sup-crossing.blogspot.com/