What’s SUP?It’s stand up paddle boarding, one of the world’s fastest-growing water sports. stand up paddle boarding is a cross between kayaking and surfing. It’s suitable for virtually any water environment, from open ocean, to quiet lakes and estuaries. Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) offers a fun way to play on the water, with the added benefit of a full-body workout. And, since you stand at full height on your board, it gives you a unique vantage point for viewing what’s down under the water and out on the horizon.
Before you head out on the water for the first time, it’s helpful to know a little bit about SUP gear and basic technique. To get started paddle boarding, you’ll want to learn:
How to get geared up to SUP; you’ll need your board, of course, plus just a couple other essentials.
Basic SUP paddling techniques; just a few skills will ensure you don’t end up paddling in circles.
A few helpful tips for your first SUP outing.
Good News:You need just a few key pieces of equipment to enjoy stand up paddle boarding.
Stand up paddle board: Your first time or two out, you may want to rent gear or borrow from a friend. After that, if you decide you love to SUP and want to do more of it, consider buying your own. Paddle boards come in all shapes and sizes. The most common construction method is epoxy and fiberglass wrapped around an EPS foam core, with one or several fins to help the board track in the water. A stand up paddle board is much thicker than your average surfboard. Paddle boards typically range from 8 to 12 feet in length, 28 to 32 inches wide, and 4 to 5 inches thick. If you’re just starting out, the best thing to do is select a wider, longer and thicker board. This will offer the greatest stability to learn the paddle board basics on a flat body of water. As you gain experience, you can progress to a smaller board.
Paddle: Stand Up Paddles come in a variety of constructions including: plastic, aluminum, wood and carbon fiber. A SUP paddle looks a bit like a stretched-out canoe paddle with a tear-drop-shaped blade that angles forward for maximum paddling efficiency. The correct length paddle will reach up to your wrist when you stand the paddle up in front of you and raise your arm above your head.
PFD (personal floatation device) :If you use your stand up paddle board beyond the limits of a paddling , surfing, or recreational use, the U.S. Coast Guard requires you to have a USCG-approved life vest.
Safety whistle and light: The Coast Guard also requires that you carry a safety whistle to warn other boaters. If you expect to be out after sunset, be sure to have a light on board.
Proper clothing: During the summer months on a warm body of water, most people choose to wear some combination of a swimsuit, board shorts, and a short- or long-sleeved rash guard for sun protection. For cool conditions where hypothermia is a concern, wear a wetsuit or dry suit.
Leash :A SUP leash keeps your paddle board attached to you with a Velcro strap around your ankle (or calf). Leashes come in a variety of sizes, and the general rule is to use a leash around the same size or slightly smaller than your board. In the event of a fall, currents and winds can quickly sweep your paddle board away from you – and in the ocean, your board becomes a lethal weapon when carried with the force of an ocean wave. Always remember to use your leash!
Sun protection: Wear sunscreen, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing.
With only a little instruction, most beginners are able to stand up and start paddling shortly after taking a SUP out for the very first time. To get you started, here are some tips on:
Always start out in calm, flat water and keep in mind you could be falling! So unless you’re in the tropics, a wetsuit may be a good idea.
Once you’re standing, there are a handful of things you can do to maintain your balance on the board:
Despite your best efforts to stay balanced on your board, you’re going to fall in the water at some point. Even experienced paddlers take the plunge from time to time, so if you’re feeling a little wobbly, don’t worry about it and remember that SUP is a watersport, so it’s okay to get wet.
For those inevitable times when you lose your balance:
There are a few basic philosophies on paddle technique, but all revolve around using your paddle as a lever. Your top hand will be driving the lever and the bottom hand will act as the fulcrum point. So with that in mind, we provide the following strokes and tips:
Before you grab your board and head to the water for the first time, here are some simple tips for planning your SUP outing:
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