How to Get Started with Stand Up Paddleboard
Fun, easy, and a great way to get outdoors and get fit, stand up paddleboard (also known as SUP) requires only a few pieces of equipment and is suitable for every age and fitness level. Whether you are an avid water lover or just need a new and interesting way to enjoy Mother Nature, paddle boarding may be just the ticket.
Not only is stand up paddle boarding peaceful, it is also a great exercise – as it exercises the entire body. Many skiers, snowboarders, bikers, and other athletes use paddle boarding during their off season to stay in shape. So, here’s how to get started.
To start with paddle boarding, you need just a few things: a stand up paddleboard (based on your weight and experience level), a paddle (size is according to your height), a life jacket or personal floatation device, wetsuit or dry suit (and appropriate footwear) for colder weather, shorts and a t-shirt or bathing suit for warmer weather. Finally, don’t forget your sunscreen! Purchasing a stand up paddleboard and paddle can be pretty expensive, so first you want to find a good rental store to test the waters. Renting a few times will give you a feel for how strenuous paddle boarding is for you and whether it is something you’ll enjoy doing over the long term.
First you’ll need to get your board to the water. Some of them have a handle on the side for easy carrying; others may need to be carried above your head. Once in the water you can get on your board, but it may be easier to start by kneeling before you stand. Ensure you are just behind the center part of the board; this will give you the best balance. When you feel ready, start by putting one foot on the board where your knee was, then follow with the other. It may help to have someone hold the board for you.
Once you’re standing comfortably, you can start paddling. Ensure your feet are about hip width apart with your feet parallel, pointing towards the front of the board. Keep your eyes on the horizon. Start by holding your paddle to the right with your left hand on top and your right on the bottom. You want to keep your arms straight while paddling and turn your torso to move the paddle (a great core workout!) from in front back towards your ankles. You want to keep your strokes relatively short in order to maintain balance until you are accustomed to using the paddleboard. You should switch sides about every five strokes to maintain a straight course, switching your hands as you go.
If you happen to fall, try to avoid falling on your board as this could cause injury. Get back on your board first by pulling yourself on and then retrieve your paddle. Finally, ensure you have a good posture while stand up paddle boarding – if you stoop or hunch or lock your knees you’ll find it uncomfortable. Enjoy it, relax, and breathe, stand up paddle boarding is great exercise! Tell us, have you tried stand up paddle boarding? Do you like it?