Stand up paddle boarding or stand up paddle surfing, known as SUP, has the rider standing up on a board and using a paddle to propel themselves through the water. Usually used when conditions on the water are flat with no wind or waves and can be used on any body of water, even a pool! This sport is known not only for its intense workout, but also as a fun way to be on the water if surfing is not an option. The boards are usually large in size, reaching 10 feet or more and can float a person easily. Paddle boarding comes with a paddle you use to propel yourself through the water, much like you would use for a canoe. Most recently SUP has been used for fitness as well as practicing yoga, and even fishing.
This is a great way to help with being prepared for surfing as well! Surfing, like SUP, is a very physical sport which requires a good sense of balance and core strength. Similar to riding a wave where the rider has to “pop up” and balance themselves on the board while riding down the wave, a person on a SUP board has to use their core strength and balance to keep themselves centered and from falling off the board. Sounds easy right? Well, you’d be surprised how much work it actually takes! Your leg muscles are engaged to keep you upright and balanced, your core is engaged as you use the paddle to move across the surface of the water.
All these muscle movements are similar to those used with regular surfing and the muscle memory you gain will help ease the transition from standing up on a board to laying down and paddling for a wave.
As you progress with SUP and feel more confident you may start using the paddle push yourself into a wave. Getting the speed you need to catch a wave with a paddle board takes a lot of effort and energy, but once you can catch that wave, it’s the same surf-stoke you would experience with a surfboard. You can use the paddle to catch the wave the same as you would use your hands then cruise the wave all the way down the line.
So jump on a SUP board and get stoked on the water!