SUP Boarding, or Stand Up Paddle Boarding, is gaining popularity in the US and all over the world with participation rising each year. In fact, SUP Boarding is currently the fastest growing water sport in the world. While certain groups of people have used similar forms of stand up paddle boards for centuries to travel between villages, fish and simply have fun, it’s only been since the early 2000’s that SUP boarding has entered American consciousness.
This sport has such a wide appeal because it is accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. Even better, small passengers such as children and dogs can come along to ride tandem!
Easy to Learn
The most appealing aspect of this sport is that with the right attitude and a healthy dose of enthusiasm, people can get paddling with very little instruction, making this great for solo participants or groups of people. This sport is easy to get into once you have a paddle board of your own; the hardest part is simply getting onto your board for the first time.
Beyond its appeal for being quick to master, SUP boarding is a great way to spend time outdoors while getting a full body core workout—and SUP boarders will definitely tell you that you’ll feel the burn the day after! The bulk of the workout comes from balancing your body while on the water, using core and foot muscles to keep your body upright.
SUP Basics: Getting Started
Make sure your board is facing the right way.
I know, this sounds incredibly basic, but if you’ve never surfed before, you might not know that the fins are supposed to be behind you and placed within the water. Make sure that your board is properly situated before embarking on your first journey.
Take your maiden voyage in calm water.
While SUP boards can be taken into the ocean, rivers, lakes, bays and other bodies of water, it’s best to stand up on your board for the first time in calm water. Once you get a feel for standing up, balancing and paddling while standing, you can take your board to less serene water.
Hold your paddle correctly.
Generally, good paddling technique comes from holding the paddle correctly to achieve the best stroke. Place one hand on the top of the paddle with the other hand in the middle of the shaft. To make your first stroke, hold the paddle in front of you with your elbows slightly bent. Most importantly: be sure that the blade’s angle is facing away from you.
Stand up on the board one foot (or knee) at a time.
As mentioned above, it’s best to begin in calm water when you’re standing up for the first time. Start by placing your board in the water so the fins aren’t touching the bottom. One way to stand up is to, very slowly, place one foot at a time in the middle of your board about shoulder width apart. The second way is to kneel on the board initially, placing one knee at a time, then stand one foot at a time. Be sure that your knees aren’t locked out and that your weight is centered within your core and the center of the board.
Think of your paddle as a lever.
While it’s an odd thought at first, consider your top hand as the force that drives the lever, and your bottom hand as the fulcrum. Be sure to keep your bottom arm relatively straight, while your top arm extends and pulls toward your body to propel you forward. It’s best to place the paddle as far forward as you can to get the best thrust.
Paddle on both sides to go straight.
Take a few strokes on one side, then a few on the other. This ensures that you ride in a straight line. Be sure to switch the position of your hands each time the paddle changes sides. This process may sound difficult, but after just an hour of practice, it should start to become second nature.
SUP Board with Mountain Design for $399
This 10-foot board is great for beginners and advanced SUP boarders alike, as it includes everything you need to get started! Additionally, this kit includes a bag designed especially to transport your SUP board to all your adventure destinations!
Designed in-house, ALEKO’s exclusive SUP board features a mountain and ocean design inspired by the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest.