The latest craze in water sports is paddle boarding and it can across the country and globe. You might think it is a new sport but it actually originated back in the 16th century and was used by Hawaiian surfers. On a second thought, it might be that paddling on a small boat or wooden board has existed for centuries before that. Anyway, this article is not about the history of this activity but rather a glimpse into the modern day technology, surf boards, practices and benefits of this popular sport.
The Allure of Paddleboarding
Paddle boarding combines exercise benefits of sports kayaking with the fun of surfboarding. And in recent years, it has gained attractiveness across the country. Part of the allure is the ease of starting. Unlike surfing with a steep learning curve, almost anyone can learn to paddle board and you can paddle board on a wide variety of rivers, lake and oceans.
Beginners start by sitting on boards and rowing like on a boat. As long as the water is calm, even first time boarders can go out on the water after a few minutes orientation. As they gain confidence and balance, boarders start to paddle from a kneeing position before transitioning to a full standing position. As boarders gain in experience, they move from calmer waters into waves and the open ocean.
There are also a large variety of stand up paddle boards (or SUPs). Beginner boards are wider and offer excellent stability. Experienced boarders may opt for either shorter, narrower boards. Larger boards can easily accommodate kids and others guests while you row. Other boards are designed for distance rowing, fishing or even yoga!
The Fitness benefit
Beyond the stunning views from exercising on the water, paddle boarding offers a total body workout. Strength comes from the core and the need to constantly balance while using the paddle for propulsion offers an excellent total workout.
Constant balancing exercises legs, abdominal and back muscles while paddle exercises arms and shoulders.
At the same time, paddle board exercising is low impact and open to any age from children to senior citizens. It does not place pressure on any particular joints and muscles and so the risk of injury is much lower than other forms of exercise. And yet since the workout is continuous, people new to boarder are often impressed by the increases in strength and fitness they get from the sport.
Interested in trying it out
Chances are there are several firms that teach paddle boarding nearby (either dedicated paddle boarding firms or companies that also support kayaking and other watersports). Sign up for an introductory 90 minute or 2 hour class to learn the basics. Once you are comfortable on a board, you can look to rent for occasional jaunts on the water. Many firms also lead small tours out on the water.