The fast-growing sport of stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun, easy way to go play on the water. With a minimum of equipment, you can paddle anything from ocean surf to lakes and rivers—no waves required.Paddleboarding offers an amazing full body workout and is becoming a favorite cross-training activity for skiers, snowboarders and other athletes. And since you’re standing at your full height, you’ll enjoy excellent views of everything from sea creatures to what’s on the horizon. It’s almost like walking on water!
You need just a few key pieces of equipment to enjoy this sport:
- Stand up paddleboard: This is by far your most significant gear investment. Sizes are based on the paddler’s weight and experience. More experienced and lighter paddlers can choose narrower boards. Novice paddlers should choose wider, flatter boards, which offer more stability.
- Paddle: Stand up paddles have an angle or “elbow” in the shaft for maximum efficiency. Choose a paddle that’s roughly 6” to 8” taller than you are (though some manufacturers recommend an 8” to 10” differential).
- PFD (Personal Flotation Device): The U.S. Coast Guard classifies stand up paddleboards as vessels, so always wear a PFD whenever you’re paddling navigable water.
- Proper clothing: For cold conditions where hypothermia is a concern, wear a wetsuit or dry suit. In milder conditions, wear shorts and a T-shirt or bathing suit—something that moves with you and can get wet.
- Sun protection: Wear sunscreen and sunglasses.
Techniques: Getting Started
Carrying Your Board to the Water
If your stand up paddleboard has been designed with a built-in handle, carrying it is a breeze. Just lean the board on its rail (edge), reach for the handle and tuck the board under one arm. Carry your paddle with the other hand.
For longer distances, or if your board has no handle, you can more easily carry your paddleboard on your head. Here’s how:
- Stand the board on its tail (end) with the deck (top of the board) facing you.
- Lay your paddle on the ground within easy reach.
- Grasp the rails (the edges of the board) with both hands.
- Walk yourself under the board so that your head is about midway between the nose (front) and the tail.
- Stand upright with the board overhead, still holding it by its rails.
- Now bend down and pick up your paddle and carry it alongside the board.
- Head for the water.
Shop REI’s selection of paddleboarding gear .
|How to Get Started Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)|
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