If you’ve spent any time at the beach in the last few years, or near any body of water, you have probably seen people using stand up paddleboards and asking yourself a few questions about this new trend in water sports.
We spoke to a Sport Chalet in-store expert about the many questions people have about stand up paddleboarding and how beginners can get started once they have the equipment they need to get out on the water.
Seeing a paddleboard in action is not the same as seeing them tower above you when they’re on display. Many people are intimidated by the size of the boards, but they’re not as heavy as they appear. They do tend to be awkward and oversized so a carrying rack for your car is highly recommended. Stand up paddleboards are between 10 – 12’ on average and weigh about 24 lbs.
Does Size Really Matter?
Racing boards, which are thinner, shorter and have pointier edges are meant for a single rider. Larger, thicker boards with rounded edges that can carry up to 260 lbs. are perfect for parents who want to paddle while their toddler sits or kneels in front. Some people even bring their water dogs along for a paddleboard adventure. There are many different types of paddleboards available, even some that are inflatable for easier transport.
As with any sport or activity, safety is important so you’ll need to get familiar with the personal flotation device (PFD) guidelines that the Coast Guard will expect you to adhere to when out on the water. You can learn more from our friends at the World Paddle Association (WPA). They also offer etiquette tips which can be helpful to those not currently familiar with the protocol for sharing the waves.
What Not to Wear
The question of what to wear comes up often from those who are used to putting on a wetsuit when grabbing their surfboards but for many people, the standard wetsuit can be bulky and too restrictive.
The great thing about stand up paddleboarding is that it can be done in the ocean, on a calm lake or in a swimming pool so there are many who go barefoot and wear swim trunks or a bikini.
Paddleboarding is definitely a full body workout so plan on breaking a sweat if you really want to spend some time working your arms and staying balanced in what could be not so calm water if you’re out on the ocean.
Who is SUP Really For?
Stand up paddleboarding was first seen among surfers and the photographers who wanted a way to capture the best angle when shooting from the water. Recently, those who practice yoga have taken to paddling out in the water while practicing their poses but these activities require much more skill than simply using the stand up paddleboard by itself.
People of all ages and with different skill levels are picking up a paddle and enjoying this new extracurricular water sport. Children can participate by either sitting on the front of the board while mom or dad paddle or by picking up a grom size board for themselves.
Add SUP to Your Bucket List
Even if you’re not a swimmer or don’t feel comfortable out in the ocean where the water can be unpredictable, stand up paddleboarding is a fun activity that can be done anywhere, even in a swimming pool where a lot of people get started before venturing out on river rapids or across the deep lake.
Stand up paddleboarding is a sport that’s becoming more popular in every region and Sport Chalet experts have the answers to questions many people have before getting started.