Have you had a chance to try stand up paddleboarding? It is at the same time as easy as it looks and harder than it looks. But it is both enjoyable and good exercise, making it worth a try for sure!
I own a SUP, and trust me the first day I tried it, I spent more time in the water than on the board. Determined I loaded the board up the following morning and headed to the beach. I was prepared to spend the next few hours falling off the board and climbing back up. What surprised me was as soon I stood up, Bam! I made it halfway down the beach without falling. I love this activity.
Paddleboarding is an offshoot of surfing which originated in Hawaii. The act of propelling oneself on a floating platform with the help of a paddle or pole goes back thousands of years and in countries as disparate as Peru, Israel, Italy, and China. But the modern form of stand up paddle boarding was first practiced in Hawaii and entered the world’s vision during the mid-1900s. From there it headed east across the ocean to arrive in California in the early 2000s. California served as the catalyst for worldwide adoption. By 2005 there were paddleboard races, tours, yoga, and fishing from a paddle board. This is a sport that literally anyone of any age can do, making it a popular activity anywhere there is a body of water.
Stand up paddleboards (SUPs) are longer than surfboards, generally 8 to 12 feet long. Though thicker than surfboards, they are made of lighter materials like epoxy and fiberglass wrapped around a foam core, and in the last few years, inflatable boards have been introduced. These are durable yet light making them easy to transport.
You should start with a board that is 30 inches wide and 11 feet long. Always start in calm, flat water. You can go to a bigger board if you still feel unstable after several tries. Get the board out into water deep enough so that the fin doesn’t hit the bottom. Start out on your knees, and take a few strokes on each side with your paddle. Grip the paddle with one hand on the top of the paddle and the other on the center of the shaft. Hold the paddle in front of you, with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Slowly, stand up with one foot at a time and stay in the middle of the board with your feet straddling the stringer hole about shoulder-width apart. Keep a slight bend in the knees and your core centered over the board. Bury your paddle in the water and pull past your paddle. Do a few strokes on one side and then switch to the other. Tah-Dah!! You are a paddleboarder!
Paddleboarding is an all-body workout that also improves your balance and is very calming. Plus, it’s a low impact activity, so you don’t have to worry about damaging the muscles and joints you’re trying to exercise. You can burn 300-400 calories an hour at even a casual pace—twice what you would on a moderate-paced walk. On the other hand, a SUP is great for relaxing. Just lie down on your back, look at the sky, and chill. You may even unwind so completely that you fall asleep, so it’s a good idea to wear a personal flotation device.
SUP is most enjoyable when practiced in calm water. Waves are not your friend when you are first learning to balance on a bobbing object. Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste is the perfect place where you can practice and hone the sport, with very calm waters, the morning is the best time before the afternoon breezes pick up. See you at the beach.