Imagine carving across a surface of glassy water, moving smoother than walking on water and with a feeling much more powerful. You can glide, travelling faster than swimming and go much farther out onto lakes, rivers, and open ocean beaches with our intro to SUP.

SUP, or stand up paddle boarding is a seemingly calm and relaxing sport, that, despite the strength and balance it takes to perfect it, can be for everyone. Most recently, SUP has been a rising popular attraction for beachgoers, tourists, and those wanting to get out on the water, even with the smallest amount to no experience. Here’s our advice to ride the paddle board.

During the 1940s, stand up paddle boarding originated in Hawaii from a couple surf instructors as an easier way to surf and get up on the wave. The Waikiki instructors, Duke Kahanamoku and brothers Leroy and Bobby AhChoy paved the way in SUP, teaching it as an alternative way to surf and using it to actually stand up above the waves to watch their students better.

From the beginning until now, the simple paddle boarding has evolved into not only a sport, but a lifestyle. Those asking for more, have advanced to even practicing yoga on paddle boards, to group tours through the area.

What is Standup Paddle Boarding?

A cross between kayaking and surfing, SUP uses a surfboard, a little larger than the normal size, and a one-edged paddle long enough to reach from your hands when standing up to dip below the surface of the water. The size of the paddle will vary with your height or the height of those paddle boarding. The paddle length will be longer if you are touring than surfing. For safety of the board getting away from you if you fall off, paddle boards also come with ankle leashes.

paddle board guide
Paddle Boards are Fun!

Paddle boarding can be practiced in a multitude of bodies of water, such as enclosed lakes, rivers, or on open water. Not only can it be used to paddle calmly through waters, you can even surf waves with your paddle board. Bare in mind that you should be wearing a PDF: there is some great PDF for SUP that do not restrain your motion.

Physical Benefits of Paddle Boarding

Not only is it a fun, calming way of getting exercise in and to explore the area, there are actually a lot of health and physical benefits relating to the sport.

Here are a few benefits of paddle boarding, and possibly the reasons why it was reported as one of the top outdoor sports attracting first-time participants across the country.

1. It’s a Workout

The sport can get your heart rate up, which makes it a good cardio workout. Depending of on course on how slow or fast you go, SUP can be a good source of cardio and will burn a multitude of calories, whether you are a beginner or highly advanced.

Paddle board exercise with water
Paddle board exercise with water

2. Increases Your Strength

Not only does it make you stronger in your core because of the muscles you need to use to stay balanced, it also works on your strength overall, from your arms to your legs.

3. It is a Low Impact Sport

All ages can participate in this sport because it is low impact. This means that there isn’t pounding on your joints that comes with sports such as running. Stand up paddle boarding is also low impact for your ligaments and tendons as well. That is why it is also a useful sport to have when you are an injured athlete and still need to stay in shape.

4. Increases Your Endurance

Not only do you need strength for paddle boarding, you must have endurance as well. The bottom line is this: if you don’t paddle, you don’t move. Constant paddling will increase your endurance.

5. Diminishes Stress

A combination of SUP can work synchronically to help decrease and reduce your stress levels. Not only does the rhythm of the constant stroke of your paddle soothe you, the sounds of you cutting across the surface and the small ripples of the water lapping up on your board can help you relieve stress.

SUP Levels of Difficulty

Standup paddle boarding is really easy when comparing it to most, if not all water-based sports. Depending on the roughness of the water, it can be easier or harder.

From the beginning to even more advanced paddle boarding, you can start from sitting or kneeling on the board to even performing a yoga pose upside down.

If you are just getting started, here are some tips to help you in a paddle board how to, to get the most out of your experience and make it an easy, smooth ride:

1. Prepare Beforehand

Look ahead at weather forecasts to make sure that a storm isn’t rolling in. If its possible to look at wave cameras, you can check the conditions of the water if you are going out on a beach. The flatter the water is (no waves), the easier it will be for you, especially if you’re a beginner. Once you are more advanced, checking the forecast will be extremely essential because it is most likely that you’re out there for a long time.

Also, if you cannot swim, it is suggested to wear a vest, especially when going out into open water.

2. Stay Vigilant

It’s easy to get enveloped into the experience, but its important to be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for those around you, swimmers that just dove underwater, other paddle boarders, or approaching boats. Be prepared to fall a lot, and when you do, try your best to fall into the water as far away from the board as possible. Since you’re attached with the leash, the board will follow you as you go under. So when you’re coming back up, watch out for your board above your head!

Paddle board is easy to use
Paddle boards are good for exercise

3. Board and Paddle Positioning

Though it may seem simply obvious, check out the position of your board. The fins of the board (they are underneath) should be in the back and the smaller tip (the nose) should be in front of you.

When paddling, don’t scoop the water, it is ineffective and also even more exhausting. Keep the paddle vertical and keep a slightly loose grip on the handle. It should be easy if it’s the proper length and then glide the paddle briefly into the water and backwards. The rule of thumb for paddle length is usually about ten inches taller than you.

4. Stand Up TALL

Once you get up on your board, it’s easy when you do it one foot at a time, to stay as horizontal as possible. Keep your core tight and your feet positioned at a normal, hip-width stance. Don’t let your knees go past your toes and even out the weight of your body. Don’t look down at your feet while you’re in motion, they’re not going anywhere and it will also make your body rock back and forth. That, of course, is one of the last things that you want.

5. Keep Your Core Braced and Don’t Push It

If you are first beginning, it’s usually not recommended to start doing yoga on your board. Just like walking, you should crawl first. Don’t be embarrassed to take it slow, you can sit on the board and paddle or kneel.

In whichever position you choose, however, don’t forget to brace your core, as it is the center of your balance.

Paddle Board Tricks

 

The more comfortable you feel on the board, the more advanced you can get. There is actually a branch of paddle boarding called Freestyle, which include paddle boarding tricks. There are a multitude of paddle boarding tricks such as the “In-n-Out”, “Ally Oop 180”, a 360, “the roundup”, “Ghost Paddle Transfer”, and so much more.

Paddle boards can also be used for surfing, which can break out a whole other list of tricks participants can do while riding the wave, like walking on their board.

The most important thing to remember when heading into the world of SUP is to have fun. Even if you are the most competitive person you know, participating or trying stand up paddle boarding shouldn’t be the most frustrating experience. Of course, it probably will fall a lot and won’t be a professional at first, but if you embrace it with a good attitude, then it should be a fun experience! Whether you are doing it locally and exploring a new outlook in a familiar place, or you are trying it out on to put in a bit of exercise into your vacation, make sure you listen and pay attention to your instructor, they want the best for you and they want to make the experience the best for you, as well.

SUP can be for beginners and will never get boring, no matter how advanced you get. From young to old, dogs to humankind, SUP is for everyone, everywhere, and at any time. No matter how rough the waves are, stay surfing, SUPing and standing, my friends.

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