This year I got to try out stand up paddle boarding aka SUP, for the very first time! Seems almost crazy that I hadn’t given this trendy water sport a go. Now I’ve done it a few times I thought it might be good to feedback on what I’ve learned and what I’d do differently. I was apprehensive beforehand because I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, so hopefully, this will help guide you.
Stand up paddle boards
You can do stand up paddle boarding on flat water or in the ocean should you wish. For me, I’ve only tried in lakes where you’re not having to deal with the tide. With that in mind, I’ve only ever used an allround sup board. As far as I’m aware, these are the most common in stand up paddleboarding. Personally, I loved them being big and wide to give your optimal stability when you’re out on the water. Many will have an attachment for an ankle leash, which is there so should you fall off, you’re not going to lose your board. You may spot a traction or grip pad on your board which is simply to stop your feet from slipping, with all that water splashing about, you can probably imagine how easy it might be to slip over on your stand up paddleboard.
Do you need to buy a stand-up paddleboard before you try it? No. Many watersports centres and open water swimming places often have sup board available for higher. The sport is becoming more and more popular, so the demand for trial sessions is increasing.
What to wear when you SUP
You can wear anything really for stand up paddle boarding, as long as you don’t mind whatever it is getting wet. Many females wear leggings and gym attire, whereas some men prefer shorts and t-shirts. For me? I like to wear a swimsuit, one very much like the one I’ve worn snorkelling and kayaking which I got from Protest clothing. This sup specific designed swimsuit is ideal! It covers your arms so you won’t get burnt from the sun, the fabric is made in a way that allows you to freely paddle without irritation and it’s comfortable!
My SUP suit is from Protest: Mojito Surf Suit (which is now in the sale)
Where to try stand up paddle boarding?
I don’t live near the sea, in fact, I couldn’t get more mainland if I tried! You’d think I’d just need to visit the seaside to go, but you can do stand up paddle boarding at local lakes if you have one nearby. Keep a lookout for man-made lakes and obviously, any watersports centres. We went to Club Nautique De Doussard in Annecy and it was simply incredible!
How fit do you need to be?
Having strong legs and a good core is important, as you might find balance and stability quite tricky, to begin with. I discovered my legs wouldn’t stop shaking to start off with, but the more I did, the more stable and confident I got. Initially, I paddled whilst kneeling on the board just whilst I got a feel for what I was doing, I then began standing up. I constantly stood p then returned to kneeling until I felt comfortable. Actually knowing I could easily come back down to kneeling and vice versa has seriously helped me to sup well.
How can I become good at stand up paddleboarding?
Practice! I found the more I took the board out, the easier and the more logical it all seemed. After I made my peace with the fact that I could fall in and that was the worst case scenario, I started to relax and just enjoy it. I’d certainly say working on balance techniques and building up a strong core foundation is key to getting good at this sport.
Keep your distance and watch where you paddle
Quite an obvious last point to be made, don’t paddle into people in the water and if you are where boats are and other watersport equipment is, just be careful! If you can see someone going quicker than you across your path, simply stop and float if it is safe to do so. Take note of how windy it is because if it is windy you often find paddleboarding will be significantly harder! If you find you’re really struggling with too many people or too much wind, simply pop down to kneeling until you feel safe and secure enough to continue. So have fun but be careful and enjoy the amazing experience of stand up paddleboarding!