Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is one of the best low-impact, full body workouts you can choose to stay healthy and fit for the rest of your life.
It’s great for all ages ranging from kids to seniors and is not only FUN to do but also gets you moving, breathing fresh air and reconnecting with the great outdoors. Not to mention, the view from atop your board is unique and amazing! With these basic ideas and techniques laid out in this useful FAQ, getting started on your SUP adventure is made easier than ever.
You will feel the fear and doubt melt away while a new spark ignites within you to just go for it and give it a try! A few common questions of those curious about trying SUP for the first time are typically:
Yes, for most people it’s quite easy and very common to get standing and paddling within 20 minutes. There are some useful tips and techniques we will go over in more detail further along in this FAQ.
SUP Board: Of course, a no brainer, right? We do recommend renting (or borrowing) before buying for your first few times out to make sure you love it and so that you can get a feel for what type of SUP conditions you prefer riding in, be it surfing, cruising or touring on flat calm waters, racing, YOGA or a combo of these choices. Rental places can usually guide you on what board to try out, but once you’re ready to buy, do a little research based on your body weight and the style of SUP you choose and then speak with a knowledgeable sales person.
Don’t Forget the LEASH! It’s usually sold separately (renting, usually included) but necessary none-the-less. If you fall off (and everyone does, eventually) you want to be attached to your SUP board.
Paddle:The SUP paddle is similar to a canoe paddle. It’s longer, with an angled blade for optimal paddling efficiency. When choosing the correct paddle length, stand with your hand stretched up above your head, then stand the paddle (blade down) in front of you, making sure the top of the handle is at your up-stretched wrist.
PFD (Personal Floatation Device):The U.S. Coast Guard classifies all SUP boards as VESSELS, so if you’re paddling outside of a surf or swimming area, you are REQUIRED to have a PFD. It is also much safer to always wear a PFD, in general, but there are experienced riders who do opt out in the non-required areas.
Children MUST wear PFDs at all times in/ on vessels in the water.Check your state’s regulations for age requirements. Remember, it’s always better safe than sorry, especially for children, even older ones.
Safety Whistle and Light:The Coast Guard also REQUIRES that you carry a safety whistle to warn other boaters. Another smart thing to think of, if you expect to be out after sunset, be sure to have a light on board (waterproof is best), attached to your belt, leash or in a waterproof bag/ fanny pack.
Proper Clothing/ Shoes:In the summer months, most people choose to wear anything from a swimsuit, board shorts, tanks, tees or long/ short sleeved rash guard for sun protection. In the cooler months/ days, a wetsuit or dry suit is more appropriate, especially if hypothermia is a possibility. You don’t need footwear, although some like to wear open style, thick bottomed, velcro strap sandals or water shoes. Barefoot is great too, though. A hat or visor and some sunglasses are usually smart, as well.
Don’t forget the Sunscreen.
In general, the cost of a SUP board varies depending on type and size. An inflatable SUP (iSUP) is usually cheaper than a hard board and shorter boards are typically cheaper than longer boards. ISUP boards are great for SUP YOGA or a leisurely ride on smoother water conditions whereas SUP hardboards are more suited for surfing and racing.
Inflatable SUP (iSUP):Depending on length, most iSUP boards average in price anywhere from $200 - $1300. You can even find iSUP packages that can include the iSUP board, a carrying bag, a hand air pump, a fin/ fins and a leash all for a mid-range price of about $500 - $700. That’s a great way to get started!
All Around SUP(Hardboards):Depending on length, design, construction materials and more, most All Around SUP hardboards range in price from $700 - $2000 and beyond, especially if custom made. Hardboards are typically sold individually, without paddles, leashes, extra fins or carrying cases.
Racing SUP (Hardboards):Again, depending on length, design, construction materials and more, most Racing SUP hardboards range in price from $900 - $3500 easily.
Well, practically any body of water that is deeper than the longest fin on your SUP board is fair game! Rivers, lakes, oceans, creeks and ponds are all very typical choices. For a more relaxing and easy-going ride, small rivers and lakes are very popular locations while the ocean and larger rivers bring a more adventurous experience to the SUP rider.
As a beginner on your first one or two outings, keep these few things in mind:
-Choose a sunny day and an easy-going location such as a small lake with sandy shores for your first try. This will make it easier to get into the water and on your board.
-Plan to be on the water for an hour or so at a time in case you get fatigued. You can always take a break on land for a while and then go back in for another paddle.
-Bring snacks and water, just as you would if you were going hiking or to hang out on the beach.
-Bring a friend, even if they choose not to paddle. Having a buddy system for your first few times is a great idea. The company is always enjoyable and having a lookout in case anyone gets in some unexpected trouble is a good way to go.
-In knee deep water, take hold of both sides of the board in the center area (at the carrying handle) and ease yourself onto the board in a kneeling position (both knees on the board).
-Next, keeping your hands stable on top of the board near the side edge, take one foot and place it where your knee was. Repeat with other foot.
-Stand up slowly, keeping knees bent, while raising your chest up to a standing position. Slowly straighten legs to a full standing position.
-Keep your balance by slightly bending the knees and keeping your feet centered on the board at a hips distance apart. Keep your back straight (with slightly bent knees) and use your hips to adjust your balance as the board moves on the water.
-Make sure the blade of the paddle angles towards the nose of the board (thus, away from you).
-When paddling on your right side, your LEFT hand should be on TOP of the T-Grip while your RIGHT hand is gripping the shaft a few feet below the T-Grip. For left side paddling, use the reverse hand position (RIGHT hand on TOP, with LEFT hand on SHAFT).
-Keep arms straight when paddling and your core engaged (stomach tightened and strong).
-Rotate your torso while paddling rather than pulling the paddle, keeping your hips square with the board as much as possible.
-To keep straight while paddling, alternate your strokes on the right and left sides with 2-4 strokes on each side before switching to the other side.
-To ROTATE your board LEFT, sweep the paddle on the RIGHT SIDE of the board from FRONT to BACK in an ARC motion. Reverse this motion to rotate your board to the right.
-When you fall, do your best to NOT fall onto the board as it is likely to cause bodily injury. Fall to the side of your board into the water, whenever possible.
-When falling into the water, try your best to hold onto your paddle but don’t worry if you do let go... get your board FIRST, then you can retrieve your paddle once you are back on your board.
-When getting back ONTO the board, start from one side at the center, grab the center handle with one hand while floating your legs to the surface behind you.
-Then kick your legs while pulling/ sliding your torso onto the board (one hand on center handle, other hand reaching to the opposite side of the board).
Our goal at Focus SUP is to inspire health and wellness of the mind, body and soul to all communities through our love of life, the outdoors and fitness through SUP.