As the hot days of summer are upon us, it's the perfect time to try Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) - an activity that has swept the nation over the past few years. Standing on what can be best described as an elongated surfboard, participants use a paddle to propel themselves across the water. The activity is inclusive, easy for anyone to try, master quickly, and have a blast while doing it. Not to mention, paddleboarding is good for your mind and body in so many ways. If you are looking for an activity that is not only fun but also has a variety of health benefits, paddleboarding is for you!
Before hitting the water, there are a few things to note about the equipment:
There are two pieces of equipment needed to perform SUP: the board and the paddle.
Your board should be approximately six to ten inches taller than your height. For example, if you are 57 inches tall, your board should be about 63-67 inches in length.
It is equally important to choose the appropriate paddle size as well. If the paddle is too short, it will be difficult to reach the water and maintain your balance, whereas if the paddle is too long it will be difficult to maneuver. Thankfully, many SUP paddles are adjustable, so you can keep adjusting until you find the length that works best for you, but in general, you want your paddle to be six to ten inches taller than your height.
There are various types of paddleboards used to perform different activities. A wide, flat hull (referred to as a planing hull) provides maximum stability and is perfect for activities such as leisure paddling, surfing, stand up paddleboard yoga, and whitewater. If you're looking to go fast and far, a board that’s a bit narrower with a pointed nose or bow (referred to as a displacement hull) is a bit less stable, but is ideal for fitness and race paddleboarding.
Essential safety gear: Two other essential pieces of gear you'll need to have when you're out on the water are a personal flotation device (PFD) and a leash. There are several types of PFDs explicitly designed for paddling a SUP. Similarly, there are different types of leashes that work best in different paddling conditions.
Here are five great reasons to try stand up paddleboarding:
: While buying your paddleboarding equipment can cost more than a few hundred dollars, there are cheaper variants, and there are many places that allow you to rent the equipment for an affordable hourly or daily rate. If you are a beginner looking to try-out the sport, renting a paddleboard may be the best option for you, as it can allow you to figure out the style of equipment that works best for you before you break open the piggy bank.
2) Overall fitness: SUP uses various parts of the body such as the legs for stability, the arms, back, and shoulder muscles to propel the board through the water, and the abdominal muscles to maintain balance on the board. Moreover, paddleboarding is excellent for cardiovascular health as it aids in strengthening your heart. If you are a fan of yoga, SUP yoga is great for your mind and body. It also challenges your core strength and balance in a whole new way. Not to mention, being out in the sun is a fantastic source of vitamin D! What is better than working out and having fun at the same time?
3) Mental Health Benefits: Thanks to an abundance of fresh air and cooling water sloshing beneath you, coupled with the exhilarating feeling of freedom while riding upon the board, SUP helps to reduce stress. Even better, when you exercise, endorphins are released in your brain, helping to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which makes you feel fantastic!
4) Inclusivity: SUP is not only an activity for adults but children as well. Not to mention, the low impact nature of the sport is easy on the joints making it perfect for those recovering from injury.
5) Fun: At first glance, you may think SUP is difficult. As with anything, paddleboarding does take a little practice. For beginners, going out when conditions are calm is often the best thing to do. This allows you to practice and get a feel for the board without having to deal with turbulent waters that make it tricky to stay afloat on the board.
It never hurts to try anything new. SUP gives you a chance to get an excellent full-body workout, and the ability to soothe your mind. All of this while having loads of fun! Why not give it a try this summer?