Intro to SUP for the Adventurer at Heart
Are you about to give SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) a try? It is an outdoor activity that is growing by leaps and bounds around the world. SUP is an amazing and inspiring way to get out onto a body of water and have the time of your life. Plus, it is a powerful workout for people of all ages. To help you gain a greater understanding of the sport and get you ready for action, we hope the following information will be of value:
First and foremost, it must be noted that SUP challenges nearly every muscle in your body. Thus, it is important that you warm up and stretch before you jump on a board. Warm-ups can include an easy jog on the beach, leisurely swim, and /or a plank in the sand to get the abs ignited. Secondly, a variety of stretches that loosen up your major muscle groups is an excellent idea.
Heading Out on the SUP
Start on your Knees
Learning to power your SUP board from your knees is an excellent way to get comfortable with the art of paddling. Knee paddling allows for you to create a solid base, find stability, and discover the board's sweet spot. You know when you have found the sweet spot when the board is stabilized and both the tail and nose aren't sinking beneath the water's surface. Once you have shifted onto your knees, choke up on the paddle (this means hold lower than normal on the paddle's shaft) and sit back on your feet to start. As you become more and more comfortable, you can sit up straight on your knees and begin paddling. You'll quickly notice that you are getting an amazing hip flexor and quad workout.
As a beginner, you could also start on your stomach on the SUP, place the SUP paddle blade flat underneath your chest, and paddle out with your hands as you would on a traditional surf board. It is very important to keep the paddle blade between your chest and the board to keep it secure as you come in contact with waves or water choppiness. Once you have made it out into the open and begin standing up, always remember that you can lie back down on your stomach when things get too tough on your feet. The easiest way to navigate around is on your stomach. While on your stomach try arching your back for more leverage.
Now Stand Up!
By now you will have found the sweet spot and may be ready to try standing up. As you stand, develop a stable base with your feet parallel and shoulder length apart. This stance will keep the board from wobbling. As you get moving, you can either keep your feet completely parallel or put one foot a tiny bit forward. The key is to feel as stable as possible, so definitely make the needed adjustments.
The paddle acts as a lever as it propels you through the water. Your top hand works as a driving lever and your bottom hand the fulcrum point. While paddling, keep you bottom arm straight and as still as possible, send your top shoulder forward to extend your reach, insert the paddle into the water as far forward as possible, bury the paddle deep into the water, and then pull the paddle through the water. As you pull, think of pulling your body past the paddle. This will help you stroke most effectively. After the paddle has passed your body, lift the paddle out of the water by dropping your top hand to lift it. You can then get your paddle back into the starting position and stroke again.
If you want to switch your paddle from one side to the other, it is best practice to do so at the end of your stroke. Release your top hand from the t-grip, raise the paddle up with your bottom hand, remove your top hand, and then bring your bottom hand (as it continues to hold the paddle) up to meet your free hand at eye level. The hands then reverse roles and you continue to paddle.
I hope this will help you better enjoy your SUP adventure! Stay tuned for more tips coming soon!!