Stand-up paddle boarding, also know as SUP or SUPing, has become increasingly popular in recent years and more people can be found out on the waters enjoying this upward trending sport. Whether its at the beach, on a lake, or up a river, stand-up paddle boards are showing up almost any place that has water and the types of people that are taking up the sport are just as varied. So what’s behind the allure of this old-made-new sport?
For surfers, where paddle boarding first got its toehold in the modern age, the benefit of a paddle allows them to catch more waves within a set and also gives them a better vantage point for spotting them. It also gives them better control and maneuverability for catching those coveted waves. Fishermen have also benefited from the SUP movement with better visibility and an ultralight vessel that puts them in those hard to reach places where fish like to hole up.
The recreational paddler also enjoys SUP for all day fun on the water and ease of transport; SUP boards are considerably lighter than kayaks and canoes and their adaptability make them perfect for most water conditions from flat to surf. Most paddle boards are also stable enough to allow for additional equipment such as coolers to be brought along or for a child or pet to ride along in comfort.
Health Benefits of Stand-up Paddle Boarding
For the beginner, SUP is much harder than it looks and the pros make it look simple. The first time out on a paddle board may leave paddlers with aching legs and core muscles from the workout, but it gets easier the more often it’s done. Paddle boarding requires balance and focus, which at times is an effort in itself, especially in choppy conditions.
Maneuvering a SUP incorporates the use of a long paddle which allows paddlers to fully engage the core muscles of the torso. Learning how to make turns and move fast across the water also builds upper body strength. Competitive paddle boarders easily log ten or more miles per day in preparation for paddle board races and competition is fierce. Any way you look at it, paddle boarding is a great exercise for beginners to experts.
Getting Started with Standup Paddle Boarding
Most people just getting into standup paddle boarding probably won’t want to rush right out and purchase a board due to the start-up cost of the sport. A good entry-level board runs between $700 and $1000 dollars making it a pricey option for the average buyer. Instead, before deciding if SUP is a compatible sport, why not rent a board or attend a local demo where boards are available for a test paddle? This is an inexpensive option that will give the paddler a better idea of what to expect before shelling out the big bucks.
Once the decision to purchase a standup paddle board has been made, beginners may want to start with a long, wide board for better stability. These don’t have to be new, but can be found for sale by other paddlers looking to upgrade to faster and more expensive boards. As proficiency increases, paddlers might then start thinking about specialized boards for racing or catching waves. Shop around and read the reviews before making a final decision. Ultimately, it’s all about having fun on the water.
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