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SUP 101

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So you’ve finally decided to throw caution to the wind and get on board (literally!) with the SUP movement? Awesome – SUP offers a total body workout, improves your balance, and is also totally fun! Depending on where you SUP, you may view a city from a new perspective, get closer to nature, or watch wildlife below and around you. Along with the excitement that comes with starting a new sport, however, may be some anxiety. Don’t worry though – the SUP world is a happy, easygoing place and it’s simple enough to get started. Read on for beginner info on getting the right gear, where to start out, and how to get in the water and on your board!

Gear: Fortunately SUP doesn’t require a whole lot of gear in order to get started, but for the few things you do need, it’s imperative to pick quality items that match your intentions for the sport. Obviously, you'll need a SUP board: especially for beginners, we recommend the larger SUP boards as they offer more stability. Larger boards are also great if your eventual goal is to do SUP yoga. The next item to consider is your paddle. Paddles should ideally be about 8-10” taller than you are. You can purchase a fixed or adjustable paddle: we like the adjustable SUP paddles, especially those that break down into pieces for easy storage. Finally, you might want to consider a leash that attaches the board to your ankle so that if you fall off, you won’t have to swim after it. Particularly when starting out…you may be falling off a lot.

Where to SUP: Eventually, the answer will be “anywhere there’s water!” but for the first-timer, definitely stick to calm bodies of water, such as lakes or harbors.

Getting in the water: Use the board’s built in handle or carry it overhead with both hands to the shore. If there isn’t a shore, gently lower the board to the water nose first.

Getting on the board: Make sure the water you’re in is deep enough so the fin doesn’t touch the ground. Lay your paddle across the deck of the board keeping one hand is on the paddle, then pop yourself up into a kneeling position. Try to get just behind the center of the board. Stand up slowly, and one leg at a time, as you feel secure enough to do so. If you just want to hang out and get your balance in a kneeling position at first, by all means, take some time. Keep feet shoulder width apart, and stay in the center of the board once you do stand up.

Paddling: The angle of the paddle blade should be pointing away from your body. As you paddle, think about twisting your torso to change sides rather than moving your arms so much: arms should be kept relatively straight. Do a few paddles, then switch sides to maintain a relatively straight path.

Many places will let you rent boards to test out the sport to see if it’s for you – so there’s no excuse not to give SUP a try!