Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) has become a popular water sport in recent years, and it’s no surprise why. Not only is it a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors, but it’s also relatively easy to learn and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. If you’re new to the world of SUP, you might be wondering how to get started and where to go. In this beginner’s guide to stand up paddle board touring, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started and make the most of your paddling adventures.
First things first, let’s define what stand up paddle boarding is. Stand up paddle boarding involves standing on a wide, stable board and using a long paddle to navigate through the water. The sport originated in Hawaii as a way for surfers to paddle out to catch waves, but it has since evolved into a recreational activity that can be enjoyed in a variety of settings, from calm lakes and rivers to choppy oceans.
Now that you know the basics of stand up paddle boarding, let’s talk about the gear you’ll need to get started. The most important piece of equipment is, of course, the paddle board itself. There are 2 types of paddle board. There are hard, or composite, paddle boards made of glass, foam or carbon fibre. Then we have inflatable stand up paddle boards. These are blow up boards that are extremely portable, durable and offer almost the same level of performance of hard boards. Finally, there are several different styles of paddle boards to choose from, each designed for specific purposes. For example, there are boards designed for surfing waves, racing, yoga, and touring. If you’re just starting out and are interested in touring, a board that is long, wide, and stable is your best bet. These boards are designed to be easy to maneuver and offer plenty of space for gear.
In addition to a paddle board, you’ll also need a paddle. Paddles are typically made of aluminum, fiberglass or carbon, and come in various lengths to accommodate paddlers of different heights. It’s important to choose a paddle that is the right length for your height – a paddle that is too long or too short will be difficult to use and may result in muscle strain.
Other gear you may want to consider purchasing includes a personal flotation device (PFD), a leash to attach to your board in case you fall off, a dry bag to keep your belongings safe and dry, and a wetsuit or rash guard to protect against the sun and/or cold water.
Once you have all of your gear, it’s time to hit the water! Before you head out on your first tour, it’s important to practice your paddling technique on calm water. Stand up paddle boarding is a full-body workout that involves using your core muscles to balance on the board, as well as your arms and upper body to paddle. To get started, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart on the board, facing forward. Hold the paddle with one hand on the top of the handle and the other hand at the base of the shaft. To paddle, alternate dipping the blade of the paddle into the water on either side of the board, pulling it back towards you. As you paddle, keep your core tight and your shoulders relaxed to avoid straining your muscles.
Once you feel comfortable with your paddling technique, you can start planning your first tour. When planning a stand up paddle board tour, there are a few things to consider. First, think about the length of the tour. Stand up paddle boarding can be a great low-impact workout, but it’s important to start small and work your way up to longer distances. Beginner paddlers may want to start with a tour that is only a few miles long, gradually increasing the distance as they build up their stamina and skills.
Next, consider the location of your tour. Stand up paddle boarding is a great way to explore new areas and see the world from a different perspective, but it’s important to choose a location that is suitable for your skill level. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to stick to calm, flat water rather than tackling choppy waves or strong currents. Some good options for beginner paddlers include calm lakes, rivers, and bays.
As you start to plan your tour, it’s also important to think about safety. Stand up paddle boarding can be a very safe activity, but it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and the potential dangers. Always wear a personal flotation device, and consider attaching a leash to your board in case you fall off. Make sure you have a way to communicate with others – a cell phone or a whistle – in case of an emergency. And be aware of your surroundings – watch out for boats, other paddlers, and any obstacles in the water.
Once you’ve chosen your location and planned your route, it’s time to hit the water! When you’re out on the water, it’s important to pay attention to your body and listen to your limits. Stand up paddle boarding can be a great workout, but it’s important to take breaks and rest when you need to. And remember to stay hydrated – bring plenty of water with you, or consider packing a filter bottle if you’ll be paddling in a lake or river.
As you get more comfortable with stand up paddle boarding and start to explore more challenging locations, you may want to consider investing in some additional gear. For example, if you’re planning a longer tour, you may want to invest in a backpack or dry bag to carry your gear. And if you’re planning to paddle in colder waters, a wetsuit or drysuit can help keep you warm and comfortable.
Overall, stand up paddle boarding is a fun, low-impact way to explore the outdoors and get some exercise. Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an experienced paddler looking to try something new, there’s something for everyone in the world of stand up paddle boarding. With the right gear, a little bit of practice, and a focus on safety, you can make the most of your paddling adventures and create memories that will last a lifetime.