A Beginner’s Guide to Paddleboarding
If you’ve always thought paddleboarding looked like a fun activity (but never had the chance to try it) this is your sign to go for it! While balancing on a board may seem tricky, using a standup paddle board is easier than you think. It’s a great activity that can help get experienced and newer board users out onto the water.
For those who are new to the paddleboarding world or who just want to learn more, keep reading to find answers about what paddleboarding is and how a standup paddle board works.
What is Paddleboarding?
Paddleboarding, more technically referred to as Standup Paddleboarding or SUP, is a type of water sport. If you’re not already familiar with SUP, think of it as a cross between kayaking and surfing; you stand on a board with a paddle and use them in tandem to navigate through lakes, rivers, and even the ocean.
SUP is an activity that has been around for centuries, showing up in countries all over the world, but the more popular version you know and see today can be tied back to Hawaii. In the early 1900s, surfers realized the many advantages to using paddles and standing on their boards and then started popularizing this method as a new way to navigate waves. Today, SUP is an official sport, and people are now using standup paddle boards to surf, tour waterways, and even do yoga out on the water!
Benefits of Paddleboarding
Whether you are using a hard or inflatable SUP board, a standup paddle board can provide you with a variety of benefits to your daily life. Not only are standup paddle boards versatile – SUP is an activity that has been around for thousands of years that can be fun and enjoyable for all kinds of people.
When you choose to step onto a standup paddle board, you can expect to:
- Enjoy being outside as you explore beautiful terrain
- Work on your core and balance with a low-impact exercise
- Have fun with friends and family of all ages
Tips for Paddleboarding
If you’ve never used a crossboard or an inflatable SUP board before, you may be a little intimidated trying standup paddleboarding for the first time. If you’ve never used a standup paddle board before, here are some tips to keep in mind before you go out onto the water.
Tips For Safety:
- Try paddleboarding in calm waters where you can practice the movement for the first time without having to navigate strong wind and waves
- Wear some kind of personal flotation device, like a life jacket
- Wear waterproof sunscreen to protect your skin
Tips for Navigating your Standup Paddle Board:
- Start by trying to kneel on your standup paddle board before trying to stand
- Regardless of if you are kneeling or standing, be sure to position your body at the center of your standup paddle board and point the angled side of your paddles towards the front end of your board
- When you use the paddles, try to move from your core rather than with your arms, and be sure to keep your eyes up and forward while keeping a slight bend in your knees
If it seems challenging the first time, that’s okay! Just remember, the more you get out on the water, the easier using your standup paddle board will be.
How is a Standup Paddle Board Different Than a Surfboard?
To those unfamiliar with SUP, a standup paddle board may seem very similar to a surfboard, however they are actually quite different. While both boards do require you to stand, using a surfboard requires you to start on your stomach, paddling with your arms, and maneuvering laying down until the right moment where you jump up to catch a wave.
When you use a standup paddle board, you can expect to be standing (or sometimes kneeling) the entire time you are on it. While using a paddle to move through the water may seem like more work, the paddle actually makes getting around even easier. While every standup paddle board is essentially the same, the construction and materials used can have a major impact on how you’ll feel maneuvering your SUP board.
Epoxy SUP Board
The type of materials your standup paddle board is made of can have a huge impact on how you feel using it and what your board is capable of. Epoxy SUP boards, also known as hard paddle boards, are known as the most durable and high-performance SUP boards around. These boards tend to be rigid with a foam core, which allow for maximum speed and agility on the water.
If you are looking to surf, maneuver in windy conditions, or use your board for a specific sport, an epoxy standup paddle board may be right for you. However, these boards tend to be on the more expensive side and, depending on the size you get, can be difficult to transport when it comes time to use them.
Inflatable SUP Board
You may not think of an inflatable SUP board as being particularly strong, however inflatable standup paddle boards have become increasingly popular in recent years. While an inflatable SUP board has the potential to be made cheaply, getting the right board from a brand you can trust will deliver exactly what you want in a standup paddle board.
When well constructed, an inflatable SUP board offers you a board designed to handle any type of terrain an epoxy board does while being lightweight and easy to transport. That’s because, when you’re done using your inflatable SUP board, you can simply deflate, roll, and pack it up until the next time you're ready to get out on the water. These types of boards are specifically beneficial for those looking to travel with their boards and maximize their storage space while still enjoying peak capabilities.
As you can see, there’s a lot to learn about SUP, but there’s nothing like going out on the water for the first time. With the summer season finally here, if you’ve ever thought about trying SUP, there’s no better time to find yourself a standup paddle board and see for yourself.