More and more people are starting to realize the benefits of paddle boarding. Not only is paddle boarding a lot easier to learn unlike other water sports such as surfing or sailing, but it is also extremely beneficial to your health. It is for this reason that paddle boating has become the number one outdoor activity for first-time participants.
Here are some of the health benefits of paddle boarding:
It is a Mood-Boosting Activity
Water and most water-related activities for that matter are some of the best activities for stress relief. Water has a natural calming and soothing effect that can reduce stress easily. Hanging out in nature has been known to have therapeutic advantages, which can have a positive effect on your overall attitude and mental health. In addition to this, you also stand to get a dose of vitamin D, which is recommended in good amounts.
Anyone Can Do It
Everyone can take part in paddle boarding regardless of how inactive they are or how old they are. The appeal of SUP is that it offers a changeable level of intensity so the activity level can easily be adjusted to suit the participant. Cruising on a paddleboard can mean drifting on a lake or engaging in a heart-pounding cardio workout or even paddle surfing in the waves.
It Helps to Improve Balance
Standup paddleboarding, as the name suggests must be done standing upright, which requires a lot of core strength and stability to maintain balance. Additionally, almost every muscle in your body is utilized including muscles on your arms, shoulders and back when paddle boarding so partakers enjoy the benefit of a full body work out whenever they take part.
It is a Low Impact Activity
An additional benefit of SUP is that it provides immense benefits at a low impact. Therefore, if you suffer from any debilitating issues such as back pain, it is unlikely that you will cause any damage to your tendons. SUP is especially advantageous to anyone that that lifts weights and wants to take a break or for any runner that is recovering from knee or hip pain.
It is Easy to Learn
Another handy quality of stand up paddle boarding is that it is very easy to learn and pick up once you get the handle of it. The paddleboarding kit can be rented inexpensively and it does not take much to master the various basic techniques fully. The only thing you need to do is get a grip on how you should stand, turn the board and fall.
Paddleboarding can help to improve your endurance once you learn how to stand up and control the board. Once you master the various techniques and you notice that your muscles are not as sore afterward, and you can paddle much further than when you first started you will have improved your endurance considerably. Like running, you can get a whole lot of cardio exercise when you paddle.
Those of you who already paddle won’t be surprised by these benefits. You’ve already experienced them. If you haven’t taken up paddle boarding yet, what’s stopping you. As you just read, there are many benefits to this great water sport. Come on! Give it a try. You’ll love it!!
During my years teaching paddling boarding in Canada and Mexico, I have taught many first-time paddle boarders. One thing I’ve learned is that there are as many questions as there are people. This isn’t an article about paddle board technique. I have written about that subject elsewhere on my blog. Rather, these tips are things new paddle boarders should know, but is rarely taught during a SUP lesson.
Use Your Core Rather Than Your Arms
Ok, this tip is probably taught during a lesson (at least it should be), but it is definitely worth repeating. When you get on the paddleboard for the first time, your first instinct when paddling will be to use your arms in an effort to move further ahead. What many beginners do not realize is that the power to move ahead comes from your core, which is a bigger and stronger muscle group compared to the arms. Using your arms will only work against you as it will tire you before you can begin to fully enjoy the paddle boarding experience.
Ensure the Board is Facing in the Right Direction
This tip may sound obvious but I’ve seen it enough times that it’s worth mentioning. Inexperienced people don’t always position the board in the correct direction. Before you jump on the board and into the water, check where the fins are located and ensure that they are facing the back of the SUP when paddling. The fins help to keep the paddleboard going in a straight line, which is called tracking. When your fins are facing the front, you will find it difficult trying to control the board because it will not move in a straight line regardless of how hard you try.
Invest in a Leash
Leashes are critical because they ensure that your safety is maintained at all times. A leash that is attached to your ankle keeps you connected to the board should you fall. No matter how strong the swell or current. You are no more than 10 or 12 feet from your board. There are different types of leashes for paddle boarding and the type that you pick is based on your preference. There are mainly two types of leashes on the market, straight and coiled leashes.
Be Mindful of Other Paddleboarders
If you are paddling around other people, be sure to be mindful of the space. Paddleboards are big and they can hurt someone seriously. When you are learning how to SUP, try and find an isolated spot where you will not disturb others. Once you gain confidence and the ability to control the board’s direction, you’re ready for more crowded waters.
Learn How to Fall
When falling, you want to fall away from the board in a manner that will not hurt you. Ideally, you want to fall backwards landing on your butt. This position helps to prevent injuries, especially head injuries. Don't be afraid to practice your falls. It helps develop muscle memory. Although to be honest, as a new paddler, you’ve probably had enough of that practice already.
As a new paddle boarder, incorporate these newbie tips to help you get into the sport safely while being mindful of other water users. However, if you want to have an even better paddle boarding experience, I suggest getting a lesson from a qualified instructor. While these tips are helpful, there is nothing like learning the proper stroke technique and turns to get the most out of this great sport.
The Wappa Blog
Written by Wappa's founder Layne Pennell, the blog's aim is to educate and share his love of stand up paddle boarding with anyone interested in SUP.