What is whitewater SUP?
Whitewater stand-up paddle boarding is relatively new, smashing together elements of surfing, kayaking and rafting into one extreme sport.
Whitewater SUP is growing, and it’s a great way to get out on the water if you are bored of flat water SUP. Keep in mind it is also very dangerous and must be done right or you risk getting hurt. Here are some great tips for getting out on the river the first time!
You will want to start small! Nearly every different part of the country has moving or whitewater easily accessible. You will be surprised at how much fun just moving water is on a SUP board. Find a river with class I whitewater or class II if you are comfortable. Most problems come from getting in above your head or not knowing what to expect on the river.
One of the first things you may ask yourself when you jump on a stand uppaddle board for the first time is “where do I put my feet?” As a beginner you’ll be most comfortable starting with your feet about hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly out, standing in the center of the deck (straddle the handle that’s often times in the center). This stance will make it easier for you to react to anything that may throw you off balance. Once you master this stance you can begin to move your feet apart and change where you are standing on the board.
If you’re interested in paddling whitewater on your stand up paddle board there are a few important skills to focus on to set yourself up for success. You need to build a solid foundation of skills to maximize your fun and safety when approaching whitewater SUPing.Including:
- Proper gear to bring.*
- Footwork, body placement, and balance.
- How to swim and control you gear in whitewater.
- Being able to remain calm while on the water.
- A good grasp on how to stand up paddle board on flat water and moving water.
- River etiquette is a must.
- Board: The most necessary piece of gear. Smaller the better. Inflatables are preferred for durability.
- Leashes: Both a paddle leash and a board leash are necessary for whitewater SUP.
- Helmet: It is always a good idea to wear a helmet when doing extreme sports.
- Paddle: A paddle that is strong and stiff.
- Shoes: If you fall off in the river you are going to want shoes for protection. Shoes that are supportive and made for use in water.
- Pads: If you are going to be in more extreme water, you might want to bring pads for your arms and legs.