By: Airhead SUP Ambassador, Kimberly Ciesla
Well if you know me or have been following along for a while you may already be aware that I am a girl who loves the water. You pretty much can be guaranteed that if there is any water nearby, the shoes will fly and I will be in that water at some point. Whether it be “Chasing Waves” with my camera or paddling around on my stand up paddleboard (SUP) with my husband and family. However, one thing that you may not know is that I have not always been a stand up paddle boarder. As a matter of fact, my family and I have always been avid kayakers for many years until recently after discovering Stand Up Paddleboarding and the unique differences and benefits that caused me to ditch my kayak for my SUP this summer.
This thought occurred to me the other day while my husband and I were taking a break at our favorite local beach soaking up the rays and listening to the waves while we gazed out over the water. It was a random tourist who just happened to be walking by admiring our SUP’s lined up out in front of us who then stopped to ask “Have you ever tried kayaking?” Quickly we replied “Why yes! We have been avid kayakers for many years actually!” Laughing a bit we went on to explain “We have always been an avid kayaking family, however, it wasn’t until now that we actually realized that we have been choosing our SUP’s over our kayaks all season”. That being said, this lead to further discussion with my husband later that evening. What was it about our SUP’s that we loved so much that we opted for them over our kayaks this summer?
Don’t get me wrong, we still love our kayaks and will always be a family of avid kayakers, however we did come to realize that there were quite a few good reasons why we chose to paddle our SUP’s over our kayaks this summer.
Full Body Workout
Stand Up Paddleboarding is definitely more of a full body workout over a kayak. Let’s face it, kayaking is pretty much sitting down on your rear all day while overworking your arms and unless you have a premium seat cushion you will surely be feeling it in your bottom and lower back! Sure, it is possible to work your core muscles if you really focus and practice extremely good posture. However, we have found that the core workout you gain via a kayak does not even compare to that of a stand up paddleboard. Honestly, after every single SUP session we were very keenly aware of every muscle in our body knowing that they had been used. Additionally, some muscles that we were surprised to be feeling were our foot and leg muscles. Yes, balancing a SUP takes a bit of finesse and plenty of practice to make perfect. Oh, the leg cramps we experienced some evenings after a good workout! But not to worry, once we mastered the balancing the foot and leg cramp issues did seem to subside. The changes in my overall physical shape, health and fitness was not only noticed by my husband but others as well. It was even more evident in my closet due to the the two pants sizes I dropped down over my two seasons as an Airhead SUP Ambassador! BONUS! :-)
Stand up Paddleboards are typically much lighter in weight than kayaks allowing them to be easily grabbed by the conveniently located center handle and carried easily by a single person versus kayaks which require a handle plus a person on each end due to the extra weight and length.
Now sightseeing is something that never occurred to us before venturing out in SUP’s. One day while paddling one of our favorite spots we noticed a school of large fish swimming alongside of us. They didn’t even seem to be bothered by our presence. Perhaps they thought we were one of them with our very large fin attached to the bottom of our SUP? Who knows, but we did notice that we were able to see farther ahead and better down into the water much clearly by standing on top of our SUP’s than we could sitting down low inside our kayaks. The viewing was so much better from up above!
Paddling a kayak gives you pretty much one option, sitting down. I would also like to add that you must keep both cheeks in the seat or you will very likely experience a roll over. (learned from experience, yes ;-) That being said, we have found that we enjoy the versatility that a SUP has to offer us. We love stand up paddling around and if we feel like taking a break it is easy and quite enjoyable to just sit down and relax with our feet dangling in the cool water to refresh, cooling us down especially on a hot summer's day. Some days when it is very hot out we enjoy anchoring our SUP’s or tethering them to a buoy to lay out in the sun, soaking up the rays and listening to our favorite tunes via our portable, waterproof Bluetooth speaker safely tucked away in our dry bag. So much versatility, stand up, sit down, or lay down, not to mention much easier to get on and off whenever you would like. Getting into a kayak is easy if you are on shore, but ever try to get back into a kayak while out paddling? It’s nearly impossible! But not a problem on a SUP!
Travel, Paddle and Store!
Many seasons have come and gone and being avid kayakers we have had much experience in taking our kayaks out on adventures both locally and Upnorth on road trips. We have also had much experience in dealing with the transportation and storage issues of our kayaks. The greatest thing about taking our SUP’s along on our adventures is the fact that we can deflate and pack our SUP’s so easily in our specially designed AirheadSUP backpacks allowing for greater ease to transport, and store our SUP’s taking up so much less space than that of our heavy and large kayaks. Our iSUP’s are so much easier to TRAVEL, PADDLE and STORE. We can take them anywhere our adventures take us whether it be via our JEEP or even on a plane!