If you are passionate about getting outdoors and more specifically on the water but surfing feels like a stretch then Stand Up Paddleboarding might be your cup of tea.
What is SUP?
Although SUP seems to be the latest craze it’s been around for a long time. No one really knows who invented stand-up paddle boarding but history shows roots in Hawaii.
Why is it so popular?
The Covid Pandemic made us all re-evaluate life. We started to connect again with the outdoors and the activities we can do.
So Paddleboarding became a popular option for most.
Because paddle boards are reasonably priced and most boards come in a bag with a paddle and pump included.
No heavy lifting of a kayak on top of your car so if you’re a small female, like me, it means getting out on the water alone is now doable.
I’m glad to say it’s more popular than ever and continues to grow.
- Movement – It gets you on your feet and being active which is always a good thing. And if you can’t stand you can still use a board by kneeling or sitting.
- Stress – It can help reduce stress. For me, I love the calming effect of being on the water. The waves gently hitting the board, the smell of the water, the wind in my hair, and the scenery you get to see.
- Workout – They’re a fabulous workout whatever your age, shape, or size. And the accessibility in the UK to being close to lakes (llyn) and the sea. You can paddle along, with your family (some boards are huge) and with your doggies.
How to get started
Paddleboards are available from specialist retailers and even supermarkets but ‘Try before you buy’. Find somewhere local you can hire one and have a go.
Standing up on your board is not as easy as it looks. It takes practice, and also a belief in yourself. But ‘practice makes perfect’. Well, I’m not sure I will ever make a perfect stand BUT I keep practicing.
I’d encourage anyone to take a lesson as not only will you learn about the board, where to stand, and how to paddle. you will learn about how to get back in if you fall off.
Steve and Julie are fabulous in building your confidence and giving you tips and feedback in a friendly, supportive way.
If you’ve always wanted to have a go, in the words of Nike ‘ JUST DO IT’. You won’t be disappointed.
Read …Important bits
That leads me on to mention what else you need to know.
This checklist is spot on but I’ll go into a little more detail
- Personal Flotation Devices – PFDs are not life jackets as some people call them. They are there to keep you afloat in water. PFDs are meant for longer wear so tend to be more comfortable than a life jacket. NOTE. they need to fit properly though. If you are unsure, find a retailer that can help.
- Weather – here in the UK we have unpredictable weather so please, check the wind. When standing on a board, you’re like a sail so if the wind is strong this can get you into all sorts of trouble. If in doubt don’t go out.
- Sea and Tide times – again I cannot stress this enough, if you don’t know the sea, then you need to learn. If the tide is going out, then so are you, unless you know how to paddle. Here is a link to view the tides. Tide Times
- Lakes/Llyns – if you are using a lake, you still need to find a little out about the lake, how exposed it is, and the facilities close by.
Note.. not all lakes allow watercraft so check. And, I prefer to stay away from the crowds but in North Wales, Llyn Tegid (Bala) and Llyn Padarn (Llanberis) are very popular if you want to be around other paddlers and check out other boards.
- Carry a means of communication – Carrying your mobile to take photos is a good idea but it may be vital if you get into difficulty. Protect your phone in a dry bag or waterproof pouch.
“In a nutshell, there’s very little reason not to get your feet wet and give SUP a try. With the right gear and support you can get started with very little upfront cost and zero to little experience. And what’s more, you’ll probably have a fantastic time.
Now, I’d love to hear from you! Have you tried SUP before? Are you a beginner or a veteran paddler? And is there anything I’ve missed that you’d like to share? I’d love to know. Share your thoughts, questions, and ideas with me in the comments below.
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Disclaimer – Please note this blog is from a fellow paddleboarder and not an experienced coach