By: Airhead SUP Ambassador, Kimberly Ciesla
It’s that time of year again. It’s that time of year when you’ve decided that you’ve had enough of the cold wintry weather and you find yourself constantly daydreaming of warmer summer days spent at the beach and on the water. But as you look out your window at the constantly changing, unpredictable weather of early spring, you think to yourself “How can I prepare myself for the Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Season when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating?”
While the weather isn’t quite warm enough to hit the water, it is the perfect time to take an assessment of your gear as well as your overall health and well being. An avid kayaker, born and raised in the Great Lakes State of Michigan, I know all too well how the promise of warming temperatures outdoors does not always resonate to water temps below the surface. Water temps typically can range anywhere from the mid to high 30’s in early spring. These low temps pose a serious and dangerous hazard which can potentially be life threatening. This risk is even greater for the beginner SUP boarder where the chance of falling off of the paddleboard increases exponentially. Preparing for the season may require some extra gear and clothing to ensure that you are safe and protected from the elements of early spring. Consider investing in a wetsuit; a one piece or a jacket and pants combo as well as insulated paddle water shoes.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a water sport that requires a bit more core strength and balance than that of kayaking. This is a great time to work on your core strength, balance and endurance. Consider using a “Slackline” stretched out between two solid trees, at a reasonable height, to work on balance skills and to help strengthen your core muscles.
To ensure that you will be able to handle paddling long distances at a steady pace, strengthen arm muscles through aerobic exercise and using small weights such as kettelbells. An indoor spin bike is also another great option to help increase cardio endurance as well as to strengthen leg muscles.
Once the warm weather arrives you won’t want to waste any time getting yourself out on the water. Lay out and familiarize yourself with all of your SUP gear now. If using an inflatable iSUP for the first time practice inflating and deflating your iSUP board using the hand pump or optional high pressure air pump. Practice rolling up and packing your iSUP back into the backpack.
Preparing for SUP season now, will have you transitioning from Winter into the Summer SUP season with greater confidence and also ensure that you will have more time for having FUN and making memories with family and friends living the SUP life this Summer.