Paddle Boarding 101
Have you ever wondered what those people are doing standing on giant surfboards with a kayak paddle out in the middle of the ocean at Jericho, English Bay, False Creek, and even Deep Cove? In Vancouver, Standup Paddle Boarding is one of our favorite summertime water activities, and it’s easier than you think!
Is Standup Paddle Boarding (aka SUP) for YOU?
-The fantastic thing about paddle boarding is that within an hour, you can feel comfortable, balanced and experience the element of mastery. The activity doesn’t require much skill, it’s tons of fun, you’ll see everyone from kids to older adults out on the water.
-Paddle boarding requires a lot less safety concerns than kayaking. This is mainly because there is no way for you to tip. The first step to becoming a better paddle boarder is accepting that you will most likely fall. Balance will come with a dedicated mindset and enough time set aside to practice.
-This sport is great for beginners because it offers the opportunity to test out a new activity without sinking a sizeable chunk of change into it. Most of the shops where paddle boards are sold also rent out the equipment, so getting started can come at a reasonable cost.
-First things first, make sure to attach the leash around your foot so you are always connected with your board – the great thing about paddle boards is they will not sink no matter what you do!
-Wearing a lifejacket is required. An option that may work better than a traditional life jacket is an inflatable personal flotation device (PFD) that is belted around the waist. This allows you to have less constricted movement, which is especially important during your first experience paddle boarding and it can be instantly inflated by simply pulling one string. Plus why not show off that hot bod you’ve been working on for the summer?
– When choosing a paddle, make sure it is approximately 6-10 inches taller than your height, but choose specifically in that range based on what is most comfortable for you. The carbon fiber option is a lot less heavy and tiring on the arms!
The Science of Paddle Boarding
-Expect to get a fantastic workout in your lats, legs and hips (from meaning balanced – think of standing on a water bed for over an hour), triceps, and core!
-With paddle boarding, you have to consciously be paddling on both your left and right sides, so shoulder mobility is important.
-To get started place your board in a relatively shallow area of the water, but just enough so that the fins aren’t touching the ground.
-While maintaining balance on the board on all fours with your paddle out in front horizontally, slowly stand up on to your feet with them on either side of the handle – make sure feet are both facing forward – NO SURFER STANCE!
-With your hand on the top of the paddle, dip it into the water at the front of your board, pull back with the scoop facing down, and repeat. Don’t forget you’ll be steering left and right by placing the paddle on either side of the board when need be.
-Can’t store a 14ft paddle board? Neither can I!!! The new craze is inflatable paddle boards for us apartment lovers, or those who just want to pack it into a backpack and store it over the winter months!
-Ready to get downward dog on a paddle board? Doing yoga on paddle boards is becoming more and more popular, because really just the size of a mat, and it’s that much more fun and challenging! Give some warrior poses, planks, pushups, and sit-ups a try!
-Feeling competitive? On Sunday, September 15th Board the Fjordtakes place! It will be a full day of racing and festivities in beautiful Deep Cove and Indian Arm. The scenic racecourse takes paddlers around 7 different islands in North America’s southern most fjord
-Thank goodness for $10 sunglasses! Unless you want to invest in one of those super cool rubber band sport straps, I suggest leaving your nice glasses at home and rocking the cheapies!