You gaze out on the beauty of a lake or river and think about exploring the shoreline or just relaxing on its calming waters. But you don't have a kayak, canoe or boat. At this point you should be thinking about stand-up paddle boarding, often referred to as SUP.
Getting up close to nature is one of the main advantages of this sport, whether it's watching seabirds or shorebirds, dolphins, manatees, pelicans or other wildlife along the water’s edge. One thing is for sure, you will definitely have front row seats to the most jaw dropping shows on Earth!
There are certain things that you should be aware of once you have rented or bought a stand-up paddle board. Even though it is not a boat, a paddle board is considered a vessel and may require you to learn about certain laws regarding it.
Before you go out onto the water, it is smart to be prepared.
The accessories that you will absolutely need include the following:
- Life Vest
If you are going out in cooler waters or are paddling in the winter, you need to know that waterproof protection is essential. Anything that is carried on your board needs to stay dry. During the summer months or in tropical waters, you will want to wear sunscreen and or sunblock. Since water is very reflective, being out on a paddle board increases your risk of sunburn. A hat is also a good idea. A wet suit will keep you comfy in case of a fall in cooler water.
A life vest is required at many lakes as well as other open waters. With a range of different styles, you don’t need to buy the bulky kind from years back. PFDs, or Personal Flotation Devices come in myriad shapes, including those you wear on your waist. Sometimes a whistle is required, if you are paddling in busy waters or those with currents.
In any case, a leash will prevent the board from floating away; it is your ride home, so you don't want to lose it. During the hot summer months, it is wise to carry water with you to avoid dehydration while paddling.
For the absolute beginner, calmer waters is advised. Choose a calm lake with a sandy shore, if possible. Do some warmup exercises before beginning.
- 1. Attach the lease before entering the water
- 2. Carry the board and paddle to the water and put the board in where it can float
- 3. Stand beside it and, in a kneeling position, climb on
- 4, You will still have the paddle in hand
- 5. Remain kneeling and begin to paddle - one hand should be near the top of the paddle and the other mid way
- 6. When you are balanced and ready, maybe after quite a while, begin to stand, one leg at a time
- 7. You will be centered on the board with legs apart
- 8. Knees should have a slight bend
If you are able to take lessons locally, that is the best way to learn. They provide a board and all that you will need to do, is to begin. The rental company will also be aware of great places to start as well as local laws.
Enjoying the Waters
Paddle boards come in a variety of shapes, materials, weights and sizes. You want to find one that is suitable to your needs. Are you taking Rover or a child with you? Do you need something that can travel, or are you looking for a board that is lightweight?
There are many considerations when beginning to buy a board. Other equipment and accessories make using the board safer and more fun.
If you are planning on paddling in the ocean later, you can find more information on the World Paddle Association website. There are listings and articles about racing, if that is a direction you want your SUP to go.
Meanwhile, you can enjoy being on the water and possibly taking amazing pictures of the beauty around you. Capturing the shoreline from the water is always a great photo op. SUP is a great workout for both the mind and body. Being out in nature is always refreshing and being around water is even more so. You can advance quickly in this sport if you want to race, or you can just do SUP for relaxation and being outdoors. With the chance of viewing wildlife up-close, you'll be in for fun and adventure once you begin to do stand-up paddle boarding.
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