Well, SUP is short for Stand Up Paddleboard and is the newest of the Surf Sports. It involves standing on a large Surfboard and using a long single sided paddle to propel yourself. A lot of people enjoy SUPing as an extension of Surfing, taking the SUP out in waves and enjoying the extra propulsion and balance provided by the paddle to ride any size of wave.
Many more people are enjoying SUPing as an extension of Kayaking. Pack your belongings/picnic in a Waterproof bag and take off along the coast, across a lake or down a river and enjoy the same experiences normally only available to Kayakers. On a SUP you have that added advantage of standing up allowing a fantastic perspective on everything above and below the water.
Stand Up Paddleboarding was introduced to the mainstream round about 2005 and has grown immeasurably since. There are numerous manufacturers making a huge range of SUPs for every different occasion such as ‘Bic SUP’. Some people only want to go out in the Surf and those boards are usually shorter 8 to 10 feet and a bit wider, the Race boards are sometimes 15 feet long to increase speed and there are many recreational boards in between.
With the Paddle in your hand and the right technique, which is easy to adopt, you will be motoring through the water on your very first day. After that the sky’s the limit. In the waves you are already standing up so you can see ‘the sets’ long before your surfing buddies. When you turn to catch your fist wave you realise what an advantage the extra length and volume is, on top of that the added power of the paddle makes easy work of catching waves.
You can even use your SUP for doing Yoga or Pilates on the water with the added complication of balance making the workout that little bit more challenging. One thing all SUPers agree is the effect the sport has on your Core strength. Every time you stroke the paddle you work your core muscles and before long your core stability has increased, all the while you’re having fun, beats the Gym any day.
With modern production techniques and materials it’s not unusual to have a large SUP measuring 10 feet or more weighing in at a very manageable 15kg or less. Boards are available in Foam, Plastic, Epoxy and Polyester and with a variety of finishes such as laminated wood and more. Almost all boards are built with a handle/hole to make the walk to the water that bit more comfortable. And most importantly a SUP will have a large deck pad making it so much more comfortable to stand on them for long periods.
There are nearly as many variations of paddles as there are boards. They all follow the same basic format of large blade at one end and T handle at the other. You can have any combination of blade in Plastic, Fibreglass or Carbon with an Aluminium, Fibreglass or Carbon shaft. The length of the paddle varies depending on your size and what discipline you plan to use it for. Racing paddle sare the longest and wave paddles are usually the shortest with recreation paddles sitting anywhere in between. The adjustable paddles are great if there will be a variety of people using the SUP or if you will use it for different disciplines.
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