Ready for a new challenge? Try stand-up paddle boarding, a water activity that is exciting, stimulating, and entirely unique.
You can paddle board on the ocean, on a river, on a lake, or even on a pool! No waves are required, as you propel your own movement. Because you stand upright, you have a unique view of the landscape, including wildlife and breathtaking natural sights.
Paddle boarding offers your body a complete work out, which has allowed the activity to become a favorite for cross-training athletes.
If SUP seems like the right challenge for you, read on to learn the essentials.
What will I need?
A stand-up paddle board is a unique piece of equipment. Each paddler will require a different board size based on weight and experience level. Boards that are flat and wide offer the best opportunity for first-timers to stabilize themselves.
Paddle boards are classified as vessels by the US Coast Guard. Use a personal flotation device when you are operating a paddle board in open waters.
Wear a wetsuit if cold water could be a serious concern. Shorts or a bathing suit are appropriate for warmer waters. Choose clothing that allows for a good range of motion and can get wet.
Always wear sun protection, including sunscreen and sunglasses.
How do I get up there?
Start out with your paddle board in calm water with no obstacles. Lay your paddle across your board. Use the edges of the board and the paddle grip to hoist yourself onto the board just below the center. Kneel to start out, and begin to catch your balance.
Stand one foot at a time, placing your feet directly where your knees were. A companion paddler can help to keep the board still as you stand.
Keep your back straight, and look to the horizon. Bend your knees slightly to keep your balance. Your feet should be about hip-width distance apart.
Once you have your balance, it’s time to get paddling! Keep your arms straight, using your core to paddle rather than the strength of your arms alone. Use short strokes and keep the movements close to the side of the paddle board. Paddle four to five strokes on one side before you switch.
As you gain momentum, you will find it easier to keep your balance.
Remember to relax, and take time to observe the horizon, the environment, and the marine life!
If you begin to lose your balance, aim for the water. If you fall onto the board, you will be more likely to get hurt.
In rougher conditions, after a fall, always retrieve your board first. Use the board to help you retrieve your paddle.
Your adventure awaits!
SUP is an exciting opportunity to challenge your body, engage your senses, and observe the natural world from a unique perspective. Give this dynamic activity a try!