If you love paddle boarding, you might experience soreness and pain in your shoulder area, lower back, as well as your wrists after stand up paddle boarding. One of the most important things that we neglect to do before any paddle boarding session is to warm up. The importance of stretching before any type of exercise, even ones that are seemingly low impact, cannot be stressed enough.
Stretching your muscles before and after you hit the water can prepare your muscles for the task ahead by warming them up which ultimately allows your level of flexibility to improve. It reduces the chances of sustaining injuries, as well as improve your recovery time after a hard day out in the water.
SUPing is a great way to spend time out in the water but most of all; you enjoy the added benefit of a full body workout. As paddleboarding works your entire body, it is vital that you warm up the whole body before you head out into the water. Additionally, you should also keep mobile during the process and take time to cool down after.
Also, be sure to take two to five minutes performing active stretches that mimic some of the movements and patterns you would make while paddle boarding. It will ensure that you’re ready to perform the intense activity to come. To sort you out, here are some paddle boarding warm-up tips:
The obliques, allow you to bend sideways and rotate your trunk. When these muscles are tight, it can inhibit your performance. Begin by standing with your legs shoulder width apart. Intertwine your fingers and extend your arms overhead, turning your palms up toward the ceiling. Inhale and contract your abs and glutes. Exhale while bending to one side, keeping your hips still throughout the exercise. Hold the peak position for 20 to 30 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat the movement to the opposite side of your body.
Upper Back Twist
Place your paddle behind your neck and over the length of your shoulders and arms. Your arms should rest comfortably on your paddle’s shaft. Keep your feet a little wider than shoulder width. While standing straight and keeping your core tight, rotate the upper back and forth while still keeping your arms on the paddle. Repeat this 7 to 10 times to warm up your upper back, as well as your thoracic spine. The movement will prepare you for standing up for extended periods.
Lie down on your back with your shoulders, buttocks and heels all touching the ground. Your entire body weight should be supported by the ground. Lift your head so that your shoulders only come off the ground but don’t lift your head too high such that your back loses engagement with the floor. Then, lift the right leg to about a 90-degree angle and pause for about 3 seconds. Lower it and repeat that movement using the left. Repeat this movement engaging the lower abdominals 5 to 15 times.
Now that you’re warmed up, strap on your leash, grab your board and paddle and head out for a great time!
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.
Over the years, I have taught hundreds of women to stand up paddle board, and I have often been asked by my students if there is a specific brand, or SUP that would be the best paddle board for women? I will tell you, what I tell my students. No.
Have I seen brands market their product specifically towards women? Yes. However, that doesn’t make the board specifically created for women. Rather, the brand is simply trying to position itself for the female market. Even my company Wappa Paddle Boards has models aimed towards women. Other than styling, this board really isn’t any different than any of our others, and after studying brands that claim to have built paddleboards specifically for women, I suggest to all the ladies shopping for a SUP that they take this marketing hype with a grain of salt.
Different women have different needs. The idea that there is a specific paddle board to meet every woman’s needs is absurd. However, when shopping for a SUP there are a few things every woman should keep in mind while making her purchase decision.
How much do you Weigh?
You need to know your weight prior to purchasing your first SUP. Paddle boards stability is largely based on the displacement of a board. The simple rule is the more displacement a board has, the more stable it is. Paddle board displacement is measured in liters.
Beginners up to 200 lbs will find paddle boards with 190L of displacement quite stable. Other beginner Weight/Displacement Ratios includes 225lbs/215L, 250lbs/235L. While a woman who weighs 110 lbs will find a SUP with a displacement of 235L very stable, she may have difficulty turning it, or maintaining speed because of its size.
What is your Experience Level?
If you have years of experience paddle boarding, you will not need to stick to the above weight/displacement ratios, because your skill set and balance has improved. However, if this is your first board, stick to those ratios. It will not steer you wrong.
How Strong Are You?
In all likelihood, you will probable purchase a SUP that is 10’ - 10’6” long. That is two feet longer than a sheet of plywood, and a SUP can be unwieldy to carry when you are not used to it. That’s why I encourage women to get a board that is strong and light. You may have to carry your SUP hundreds of feet before you get to the water. Better make sure it’s light enough for you to carry. From witnessing hundreds of female students carry boards over the years, I’ve realized that a board 25 lbs or less is very easy for any woman to carry. Even my weakest students have carried 25 lb. paddle boards with ease. Find out how much the SUP you love weighs before you buy it. You don’t want it to heavy for you.
What is the Paddle Boards Width?
The width of paddle boards varies depending on its displacement and function. You can get paddle boards as narrow as 24” wide, but most average 32” wide. One of my personal boards is 36” wide. My 5’7” wife loves this board because of its stability, but she sometimes has trouble carrying it because of its width. Friends smaller than her, have even had trouble reaching the hand hold. If you are a smaller person, don’t get a 34” or wider board, even though it’s more stable. Stick with a board you can easily carry. Get something 30” - 32” wide.
When shopping for their first paddle board, women need to look past the hype that a specific SUP is designed specifically for them. Because that’s what it is, hype. Instead, women need to find a paddle board that best meets their needs. By considering the four questions discussed above, women will make a much better purchase decision compared to relying on the so called paddle board designed for them.
If you have any questions about purchasing a paddle board, feel free to give me a call at 844-Go-Wappa (469-2772). I am always glad to help.
You’ve purchased your first stand up paddle board, and you want to keep it looking as beautiful as it did when it came out of the box. While it’s impossible to keep any board pristine, follow these best practices to keep your SUP looking great and undamaged.
Here is what NOT TO DO:
Enjoy your next paddle!
Purchasing a stand up paddle board for your family can be a daunting experience. Paddle boards are expensive, and many people are afraid to make the wrong decision when buying a SUP. Keep these five tips in mind during your shopping process to help you make the right purchase decision.
Consider the Size and Age of Your Family
Who is going to be riding your new SUP? Are your children still growing rapidly, or are they pretty much done? By asking yourself these questions, you are gathering baseline information that will guide you to the right size of paddle board you should be considering.
Obtain the weights of each rider. If you have growing children, predict their approximate weights five years from now. Now that you know how much each family member weighs, it’s time to look for a good, stable SUP. Remember this rule; the more displacement a paddle board has, the more stable it will be. Also, lighter weight riders will find any SUP more stable than heavier riders of the same ability.
Look for boards that have a stable displacement for the heaviest rider of your family. Lighter riders will find the board to be very stable, and the heaviest rider won’t become frustrated by having to ride a board that is less stable than his or her abilities would prefer.
Paddle board displacement is measured in Liters. Beginners up to 200 lbs will find paddle boards with 190L of displacement quite stable. Other beginner Weight/Displacement Ratios includes 225lbs/215L, 250lbs/235L.
Get a Durable Board
Stand up paddle boards are expensive and children don’t always take care of things the way they should. Polyurethane shelled paddleboards are strong, tough and take a beating, but they are heavy. Weights of 40 lbs+ are common for polyurethane SUPs. Fiberglass boards which make up the bulk of the market are much lighter then polyurethane ones, but they aren’t as durable. Better yet are bamboo stand up paddle boards. These boards utilize the strengths of fiberglass with the added advantages of bamboo.
Get a Board That is Easy to Carry
I can speak from personal experience that having to carry the board to the water and out every time a family member wants to go for a paddle quickly becomes tiresome. When shopping for a SUP, you need to consider its weight. The 42 lb polyurethane unit seems like a good idea, but if your teenage daughter can’t carry it, you’re in trouble. Look for boards that weigh 25 lbs or less for easy carrying by the whole family.
Another factor in easy carrying is the type of sup handle the board has. Inflatable paddle boards have a strap attached to the deck to help you grab hold. Traditional hard paddle boards will have either an embedded hand grip, or a SUP handle that extends out from the board to provide a 1-2” extended handle. Having used both, I highly recommend the embedded handle. It’s a natural fit that makes carrying a SUP very easy. I find the extended handle makes my fingers sore when I carry a board.
Consider Your Activity Location
Where do you plan on doing most of your paddling? Are you mainly going to be on lakes, or do you want to take up surfing on the ocean as well? If the majority of your paddling are going to be on inland lakes, get a nice all around board with a bit of a square tail. This will keep the board nice and stable on the flat water. If you plan on doing some surfing, look at getting a pin tail. It will help you with your carving.
Feel Secure in Your Purchase
As you already know, stand up paddle boards are expensive. Even the cheapest inflatable boards are several hundred dollars. Most paddle boards are $1000+, so you should feel secure with your purchase. While security means different things to different people, there are two factors that should help all people feel secure; warranty and quality of construction.
What sort of warranty is provided by the manufacturer or seller? Many paddle board brands only offer a thirty day warranty while some offer 1 year. What does each warranty include and exclude? Look for brands that offer as long a warranty as possible. I know I would be pissed if the SUP I spent $1500 on had an issue two months after I bought it and I had no warranty coverage. (Not saying that will happen).
How was the board made? Does the manufacturer show pride in the technology and materials that go into their product, or do they just sell based on price. As with anything, better quality materials and a better construction method leads to a better made product. Ask questions to determine what went into the making of the SUP you are considering.
By keeping these five tips in mind during your shopping process, I’m confident that you’ll buy the right stand up paddle board for your family. Take your time, shop around, and examine each brand through the lenses of these tips. If you have any questions regarding a prospective purchase, give me a call at 1-844- Go-Wappa (469-2772) and I will be glad to help.
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.
Wappa vs. competition
board performance explained
SUP for women
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