SUP is one of the fastest growing watersports in the world with participate numbers and interest in the sport rising rapidly. It continues to gain increased media attention and top celebrities are readily getting involved. It’s easy to see why SUP is capturing so much interest as it is proving to be highly accessible for all ages and fitness levels and offers a wide range of benefits.
SUP is a brilliant workout; great for both cardiovascular health and toning. It’s recently been calculated to burn an average of 800 calories an hour and unlike many other sports SUP uses every muscle in the body; so it’s a fantastic all over workout toning the arms, abs, back and thighs all at the same time.
Without doubt a main physical benefit of SUP is toning; SUP requires the body to be constantly stabilizing and balancing, and it engages and strengthens the core. Therefore it’s great for targeting and getting those abdominal muscles in shape.
Stand up paddle boarding is also a fantastic cardiovascular workout as well as a low impact exercise which means it is widely recommended by physios as a good sport for rehabilitation of backs, shoulders, knees and ankles injuries.
Way more fun than situps, and a great alternative to legs, bums and tums!!
Stand up paddleboarding is enjoyed by people of a range of ages and with a variety of previous watersport experience. It’s pretty quick and easy to learn the basic skills needed for paddle boarding meaning that people can be up and paddling in no time.
Inflatable boards make it realistic to transport boards to new locations easily, even in your car and there are SUP packages in bags designed so that they can be checked onto flights like Ryanair and Easyjet!
Stand up paddle boarding can be done on the sea, rivers, lagoons, estuaries, lakes or canal and there are now 75 BSUPA approved schools across the UK which makes it pretty easy to get into and regularly practise SUP wherever you are.
SUP is a great group activity; it is a perfect activity to do with friends or family, and is becoming an increasingly popular hen do and corporate activity. You can enjoy encouraging each other along, catching up on gossip as you paddle, having picnics on route or pushing each other in! Joining a SUP club or SUP events brings you together to meet with like minded people, and can often end with a drink in a pub and with new friends.
Legendary big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, a proponent of SUP, tells of how he rode tandem with his daughter at the age of 5 to teach her and get her acquainted with SUP and Surfing. It is also increasingly common to take dogs out for a paddle by putting them on the front of the board!
Stand up paddling is widely acknowledged to restore balance, relieve stress and calm the mind. SUP requires focus and being on the water naturally brings cognitive benefits associated with positive mood and restorativeness. It is therefore no surprise that SUP yoga is increasingly recognised as a discipline
Paddle boarding offers a different kind of freedom. Standing on the board in the middle of the ocean, you’ll see everything from sea life to the coastline and across the channel making it a fantastic way to observe the marine environment. There are so many beautiful places to stand up paddle and many unexplored spots waiting to be discovered. SUP can take you to stunning locations, allow you to explore new and less exploited areas and and see places from a different perspective. Plus it’s an eco friendly sport requiring paddle power only meaning you don’t have any negative environmental impact.
Stand up paddle boarding offers opportunities to learn a wide range of skills, build your knowledge in a variety of areas, increase your confidence in different ways and have a whole host of new experiences. It could be learning about tides and the weather, understanding local waterways or feeling comfortable in the water, SUP has a lot to offer in terms of self development both in and out of the water.
Also, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced there’s always room for improvement with SUP! You can decide the level you want to take your stand up paddling to; you can simply enjoy leisurely recreational paddling at the weekends, have a social group paddle, go on expeditions/tours, take part in charity events or join a fitness group or paddle boarding club. On the other hand if competitions are more your thing there are plenty of flat water races or wave competitions to take part in especially as the sport develops and disciplines like racing and distance paddles continue to grow.
If you’re already a surfer SUP is a great way of surfing, you can catch waves much earlier than you would on a surfboard and rides are longer. It’s also a great sport for surfers who might have health issues that prevent them from traditional surfing. Laird Hamilton reports how practising SUP he found himself tackling new maneuvers, exploring different bodies of water and learning tricks in both big and small surf that he’d never done in his years surfing.
From a physical point of view progression is at all levels. After just 30mins people typically find they are more relaxed and have a better stance on the board. After a few sessions you can expect to have improved your balance and paddle technique. After a couple of weeks strength and coordination tend to develop resulting in smoother and more efficient stand up paddling. Then after a season stand up paddling stamina and recovery are enhanced and balance more instinctive. From a year onwards mobility and versatility of SUP capabilities continue to improve meaning that individuals capabilities become more efficient in a range of conditions. Check out a more detailed review of How long it takes to stand up paddle with power and efficiency, and what happens to your body along the way.