If you are heading to the beach or the lake this summer, then skip the kayak, jet ski or other water sport activity and set your sights on stand up paddle boarding or SUP.
The cool thing about SUP is that pretty much anyone can do it – even kids! It usually only takes an hour or two to master the board and then you can paddle away all on your own.
If you are completely new to SUP, then at first glance you might think that it is surfing. While this water sport got it’s popularity in the U.S. from well known surfers, it is actually not as difficult as surfing. Sure, you can try riding some waves on your paddle board, but that’s not what it’s about for most people.
With this fun watersport, you remain standing and use a long paddle to get around the lake, river or ocean. Most SUPers stick with calmer waters, but you can certain tackle some waves for added fun. Spending time on a SUP is all about balance. In fact, this is why many people do SUP yoga, which is quite impressive when you see someone doing it from the beach.
Like any new sport, getting all the right gear can be pricey, but if you are just testing out SUP then there is no real need to go out and buy the necessary items. Instead, look for rentals at the beach or lake. In all the popular tourist areas, you will find places renting out SUP gear. Often, surf shops and scuba shops rent them out as well. Prices to rent all the needed gear varies by location, but on average you’re looking at around $90 for two hours of use with the gear. For those completely new to it, this really only gives you enough time to get the hang of things, so plan on paying for at least four hours.
If you decide that you want to purchase some beginner stand up paddle board gear, then your cheapest option is to go with an inflatable SUP. Not only do they offer the lowest price, but they are also ultra portable, which means that you can easily taken it with you on a plane or a road trip, as well as easily store it out of the way at home.
In addition to the board, you will definitely need to get a paddle and maybe a paddle leash. Other items that you may want to consider getting include surf booties (very helpful if the shore is rocky or if you are going out over a coral reef), personal flotation device (for safety), and board bag (for carrying and storage). There are other accessories available as well, but you’ll likely only need them if you get serious about paddle boarding.
Some of the best places to find bodies of water to SUP in North America include Southern California (like San Diego Bay and La Jolla), Lake Tahoe, the Florida Panhandle, Hawaii, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Once you try stand up paddle boarding, you will find that not only is it a lot of fun, but it is also a great workout. To learn more about how SUP can get you in great shape while you’re having fun out in the water, check out the YouTube video below.