standup paddleboarding

The Beginner’s Guide to Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

You may have heard the term “SUP” being thrown around recently. What does it mean? It stands for Stand-Up Paddleboarding, and it’s the full-body benefits workout you should be trying. Paddle Boarding activates your mid back muscles (latissimus dorsi), Shoulders (deltoids), Arms (triceps and biceps) and abs. It is an all-body workout meaning it offers more than just the physical rewards; It can also restore your balance and calm your spirit.

The water sport is a great alternative to the gym. Before you hop on the board, here are some beginner tricks and tips that will help you on your ride. The most important thing about SUP is balance. Core strength is the best way to improve your balance. In the weeks leading up to your first ride, practice yoga or barre and do lots of planks to build up your core.

If you are purchasing or renting a board make sure you ask the right questions about the length of the board. If you go on a board that is too long or too short it will certainly tip over (even after all those planks you’ve done!). For beginners an “all-around” board is suggested—it’s a fatter, shorter board that is easier to ride. Experienced paddlers can also use that board in surf with bigger waves. If you are planning to paddle on calm, flat water, go for a longer, thinner board. Our go-to shop for all things surfing, including paddle boards and gear is Air + Speed in Montauk, NY. If you are in the market to purchase a board, paddle or lessons these guys will get you set up perfectly.

When you set out on your first ride make sure you are holding the paddle correctly. Holding the paddle backwards is a common beginner’s mistake. Remember to hold the paddle so the blade slopes away from you. Paddleboarding expert Sami Ewers explains: “When beginners pick up a paddle, it’s common for them to hold the paddle so that the angle of the blade is sloping toward them. This seems to be human nature; the paddle simply looks like it should scoop the water, right? Wrong, thanks to physics. Holding the paddle this way pulls up on the water, creates drag and slows you down. Holding the paddle with the blade sloping away from you pushes down on the water, creates lift, and allows you to glide smoothly along the water.”

Now that you are set up with the correct size board, paddle technique, and great core strength, it’s time to get out on the water. If you live in a coastal town, there will be many rental options and surf shops to buy boards from. If you don’t have access to the water as easily plan a SUP excursion. They are a lot of fun, really Zen, and a great wellness retreat. If you don’t want to dedicate your entire vacation to time on the water book a trip to an amazing place like Hawaii, Florida, or California, where paddleboards are readily accessible.

Have you paddleboarded before? Where? Share your experiences and tips in the comments.