Whether you’re stuck in quarantine looking for some social distancing activities or on vacation exploring some relaxing excursions, don’t count out Stand-Up Paddleboarding, or SUP. For those who don’t know what it is, think of it as surfing with a paddle. One stands upon a surfboard-esque board and uses a very long one-sided oar to move and turn. Sounds interesting? Join me and I’ll tell you everything you need to know in this first-timer’s guide to stand-up paddleboarding, including the type, lessons, pricing, and more!
- Fun activity
- Adheres to social distancing rules
- Relaxing activity
- Good exercise
- Great opportunity for sightseeing
- Socialize while enjoying activity
You hooked? Time to get all the info!
A Foreword On The Type of Stand-Up Paddleboarding
You have the option to try this activity in 2 locations: in the bay/still body of water or out in the open ocean. In the bay or harbor, the water is calmer and you will have only minor tides. Better yet, places like lakes have virtually no current and have fresh water. As for out on the ocean, you’re really going to have to ride the waves like a surfer.
I would highly recommend newbies or beginners to take their first stand-up paddleboarding excursion on calm waters. I actually went paddleboarding through a harbor full of recreational ships. Riding the waves is out of the ballpark at this point of time.
Verdict: Start with calm-water paddlboarding, and try it out in the ocean when you’re ready.
Should I take SUP lessons?
This is an interesting question, and it really depends on your personal preference. The learning curve for Stand-Up Paddleboarding isn’t incredibly steep, unlike some other water sports. You can brush yourself up on some tutorials before you go for a trip afloat, or instead pay for some private or group lessons.
The only significant difference will be how quickly you become proficient in SUP-ing, and how many times you fall off! It really only takes one class to get the hang of paddle boarding; you can then go out without any help, but again, this is only if you are going to so SUP in gentle water. For your first time on rough tides, I would recommend getting yourself a teacher.
Verdict: Take some lessons for the best possible experience.
Your trip afloat can be seriously affected by the weather conditions at your site. Stay up to date with the weather a few days ahead in case you need to cancel your excursion. Wind and rain are what you should be looking out for; they can ruin your experience, and makes aquatic activities significantly more dangerous. In case you do end up getting caught up in a storm, brush up on your emergency prep skills with “How to Get Emergency Assistance at Home, the Outdoors, and on Water“.
Another great reason to try out SUP is its affordablility. A full set of equipment, including life vest, paddle, board, and more costs ~30 dollars per hour for a rental. But if you want to get the best experience possible and go with lessons, those run for a little more money, setting you back maybe $50-60 an hour. If you ask me, if you think you will enjoy stand-up paddleboarding and are willing to come back for more, I would consider it a fair investment, seeing you likely won’t have to take a lesson again.
Verdict: I would go with private lessons if you can afford it.
What should I bring?
Water Bottle: You probably won’t be able to bring a bottle out with you, but you should definitely keep some in your car. Ironically, it gets really dry out on the water, so stay hydrated!
Swimsuit: Whether you think you will fall into the water or not, grab a pair. Alternatively, you could get a wetsuit, which would keep you warm while wet, but you might need to rent one. If you do fall in or get splashed, you will dry out quick. You could purposely jump off instead. :
Sunscreen: This is a MUST. UV rays reflect on water, so even on a cloudy day you can get a sunburn.
Glasses Harness: (Optional) Aspiring paddleboarders with glasses should pick up a strap that goes around the back of your head so you don’t lose your glasses if you or the glasses fall off. Note that you may not need to wear glasses at all if you have a low prescription.
Overall: Stand-Up Paddleboarding is a great activity for anyone, offering a variety of opportunities to exercise, socialize, and enjoy. Don’t miss out on this niche pastime during the pandemic!