Standup paddleboarding is a fun and challenging full body workout
Standup paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing sports today
Though the ancient Hawaiians invented it, uber-surfer Laird Hamilton popularized the sport in the last decade, and a growing number of people are taking it up each year.
I caught the bug about four years ago when I tried standup paddleboarding (SUP) during a trip to Maui. I instantly fell in love with it and now regularly head out on our local waters, especially during the summer months.
SUP provides a great full-body workout that builds strength, core stability, balance and endurance all at the same time. But the best part is you're having so much fun you don't even know you're getting a workout. And as I've blogged before, I'm a big fan of exercising outdoors.
Standup Paddleboarding Technique Tips
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of standup paddleboarding:
- Try a wider, thicker board when starting out to give you more stability. When you get more experience you can try the more tapered racing boards.
- Get out in the early morning when there are few boats out and the water is generally calmer.
- Take a wide stance on the board for more stability.
- Find the balance point where you're not too far forward or too far back on the board.
- Keep your knees slightly bent and try to stay relaxed on the board.
- Hold the paddle with one hand on the "T" handle and the other hand on the shaft. Use a shoulder width grip but experiment with a narrower and wider grip to see what feels good for you.
- SUP paddles have the blade set at an angle. Set the paddle into the water with the blade angling forward (away from you).
- Reach forward as far as you can without losing balance to set the blade into the water. Keep your arms relatively straight as you drive the blade into the water.
- Your body and the paddle should form an "A" shape (see the photo at the top).
- Use your top arm to push the paddle down and use the rest of your body to pull the paddle back. Don't simply rely on the arms and shoulders to do the work. Engage your back, torso and legs. Use a slight rotation with the body to pull the paddle back.
- To move in a straight line you'll need to alternate paddling on either side.
- To turn, paddle more on the opposite side that you want to turn to (i.e. paddling on the left will turn your board to the right).
- Have fun!!!!!
If you want some personal or group instruction, Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak can help you out. Deep Cove is an excellent place for beginners to try out SUP as the early morning water is usually glassy and the bay is sheltered so you can practice safely.
Paddlesurf Canada also has some great information on standup paddleboarding around Vancouver and B.C.