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Stand Up Paddle Boarding - Hottest Board Sport
What Is Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Stand up paddle boarding is a fascinating and easy looking sport that requires about 30 seconds to learn!
Quite simply you take a board, similar to a surf board, and a paddle, you stand on the board and you literally paddle yourself about.
You will need fairly flat water, or open sea, to get the hang of stand up paddle boarding, but once you've got the hang of stand up paddle boarding, you can move onto more complex moves such as riding small waves on your paddle board.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding has been around for quite a number of years, even though I've only recently discovered it. In the UK, there's even a British Stand Up Paddleboard Association (BSUPA). It's very popular in Cornwall in the United Kingdom, which already has a strong history of surfing.
As a sport it's certainly a lot easier than surfing would be, meaning it is accessible to more people who just want a bit of fun - although if you're fiercely competitive then there is a whole raft of SUP contests you can enter.
The History of SUP
Stand up paddleboarding has its roots and history in Polynesian culture, but it really started being seen and used in the UK in the 1940s when surf instructors wanted to find a way to more easily teach people to surf - they wanted a way to be able to move around and between their students more easily, in order to instruct them. A stand up paddleboard enabled them to do this.
SUPing is currently the fastest growing sport in the UK, popular most in Wales and Cornwall.
Stand up paddleboarding is popular around the world - wherever there's water people are taking their SUPs out and just having fun with them.
Where to Learn to SUP
There are a growing number of places where you can have a go at stand up paddleboarding, from Llandudno in Wales, through to Newquay in Cornwall.
The boards are a massive 11' long - so certainly more in line with the size of a kiteboarding board than a surfboard or longboard. If you're interested in SUPing then you need to think about the size of these boards, one issue being where you'll store it between SUP sessions, but also, how you're going to transport it to and from the beach!
Balance is key when riding a stand up paddleboard. If you've got good balance, if you're already a surfer, skater or skiier, then you've got a head start.
After the first few minutes, you'll quickly find that you're finding it really easy to use the board and paddle - at first the best position is to kneel just behind the middle of the board, then move on to standing up - it really is something you'll find you're doing very quickly.
In fact, what IS there to learn at all? Just grab yourself a board and paddle, done your wetsuit for safety, find some safe water and get going. I bet you'll be powering along within just 10 minutes, being quite a pro within an hour.
Benefits of Choosing SUPing
Well, the biggest benefit is that it's quite easy to get started and to do. Apart from that, the other benefits are:
- You don't need to be a pro to enjoy it
- You're able to enjoy SUPing without needing to learn special techniques ot tricks
- It works out your stomach, abs and arms easily making you stronger and leaner with what seems like little effort
- It's just great fun
- SUPing is a great calm sport, it's not aggressive or testosterone-based, so it's fun and suitable for people of all ages
- You can even take your pet or small children stand up paddleboarding with you, simply sit them on the board! Obviously lifejackets and wetsuits should be used for optimum safety
- You don't have to stand up, you can enjoy this sport even sitting down on the board if you want! It's just as much fun!
While I was really interested in checking out stand up paddleboarding, the size of the board was an issue for me. I am small and have a very small car, so how could I actually ever hope to get the board to/from a lake or a beach to be able to use the SUP? At first it seemed that I might need to buy a roof rack, then to become adept at actually fixing the board safely to the roof rack - and then I discovered what I can only describe as "pure genius" ... there is actually a really rigid looking inflatable SUP!
And I looked at some videos and fully grown macho men were demonstrating how easily and automatically they could be inflated and deflated - and weren't at all unsafe, but could easily bear the weight of a fully grown man.
So, that seems the answer!
With an inflatable SUP you don't need the storage space for a large board, you don't need to get the board onto and off a roof rack, or secure it. An inflatable paddleboard literally deflates and packs away in its own medium sized shoulder bag in just a few minutes. As I said, pure genius.
Why not check out stand up paddleboarding for yourself - as far as lazy man's sports go it's high on enjoyment and fun, yet low on barriers to entry.
The Best Places for Stand Up Paddleboarding
Of course, you can use a stand up paddleboard on most beaches, while it is most often seen on beaches that are currently popular for surfing, the beauty of it is that it is even better done on estuaries, lakes and beaches that are flat and don't have any surf.
Below is a list of some beaches where people have definitely been seen stand up paddleboarding - if you've seen anybody on a SUP, why not leave the details in the comments box below and I can add it to the list!
- Cornwall, Newquay, Fistral beach and Porth Beach
- Wales, Llandudno
- Morro Bay, California
Add your own in the comments box! Help spread the word :)