stand up paddleboading

stand up paddleboadingStandup pad­dle board­ing (SUP­ing) has tak­en off, but there is a lot more to know than most peo­ple think. Here is a quick guide to some of the basics you’ll need to get into the sport.

Standup Paddle Board Styles

Stan­dard boards pro­vide a bal­ance or sta­bil­i­ty and speed. They are per­fect for begin­ners and casu­al pad­dle board­ers and have the ver­sa­til­i­ty to ride on flat water or catch waves. You won’t be rac­ing on one of these, but if you are look­ing for a good all-around ride, this is a great place to start.

Yoga boards focus on sta­bil­i­ty. They are large and flat with thick rails to help you remain steady with less effort. How­ev­er, this does not mean they will pro­vide com­plete sta­bil­i­ty. You must still engage your core mus­cles to keep your­self upright while prac­tic­ing your pos­es. What you gain in sta­bil­i­ty, you lose in speed. These boards are not intend­ed to cov­er long dis­tances with ease. They are more for pad­dling your way onto the water and engag­ing in yoga prac­tice near shore.

Tour­ing boards are longer and more sleek than your tra­di­tion­al SUP. They are point­ed on both ends and have more of a keel in order to help with track­ing. How­ev­er, tour­ing boards are also much less wide than oth­er pad­dle boards. They sac­ri­fice sta­bil­i­ty for speed, allow­ing you to cov­er more area quick­er and with less effort, as long as you have good balance.

Just as there are with surf­boards, there are a wide vari­ety of options when it comes to pad­dle boards you can use for surf­ing. If you plan on catch­ing waves while stand­ing erect, you get to decide whether you want a more sta­ble board or a short­er per­for­mance board, a board with a point­ed tip and/or tail for bet­ter maneuverability.

yoga paddleboard


Foam boards can be the cheap­est and often don’t need a grip pad, as the foam can be mold­ed to have more trac­tion. They take up as much space as a sol­id board but don’t track as well, and you won’t be able to find these in the tour­ing or rac­ing style. You will also look like a bit of a kook out on the water if you buy one of the cheap­est versions.

Anoth­er option is an inflat­able board, which pro­vides a more sol­id foot­ing than you would expect. Inflat­able boards can be very com­pact when deflat­ed, and con­sid­er­ing the lofty size of most pad­dle boards, this can over­come many obsta­cles involved in stor­age and trans­porta­tion, but you will require extra equip­ment to inflate your board, and this adds prep time to your ride. They are also often cheap­er than sol­id boards.

Sol­id boards are fiberglass/resin coat­ed and are more like your stan­dard surf­board, with an inner foam blank, and may include wood com­po­nents. They will also have a trac­tion pad on top so you don’t slide off. Sol­id boards are ready to go as soon as you are, with no prep time needed—and they pro­vide bet­ter track­ing and con­trol, par­tic­u­lar­ly in windy or chop­py con­di­tions. With a sol­id board, you will get over­all bet­ter per­for­mance, but they are the most expen­sive type you can buy.



Also essen­tial to SUP­ing is the pad­dle. There is not too much vari­a­tion in pad­dles, as they all have a han­dle, shaft, and blade. There are sev­er­al dif­fer­ent mate­ri­als to choose from, from alu­minum and fiber glass to car­bon and Kevlar, if you real­ly want to spend the big bucks. The size of the blade can also vary, with larg­er blades pro­vid­ing more thrust, but also more resis­tance. You will want to use a short­er pad­dle for chop­pi­er con­di­tions and a longer pad­dle for speed.

Life Vest
Whether you are in a lake or in the ocean, per­son­al floata­tion devices (PFDs) are high­ly rec­om­mend­ed, and they may even be required depend­ing on where you are pad­dling. These can range from your cheap stan­dard foam life vests to more dis­creet, but expen­sive, self-inflat­ing vests.

Less essen­tial is the leash, which you will real­ly only need if you are pad­dle board­ing in the surf, so your board doesn’t get away from you. If you are riv­er pad­dling, do keep in mind that a leash can present more of a dan­ger than a help, as it can result in your get­ting snagged and stuck under­wa­ter. Whether pad­dling in a riv­er or ocean, nev­er use a leash in mov­ing water if there are rocks, logs, or reef in the water.

©istockphoto/GibsonPicturesPad­dling in win­ter isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re ready to brave the cold there are some pret­ty spec­tac­u­lar spots to SUP amongst the ice. Check out these win­ter won­der­lands that can only be found on the water.

Vladi­vos­tok, Russia
The smooth waters of Vladi­vos­tok are extreme­ly invit­ing to pad­dle­board­ers all year long. When win­ter rolls around sheets of ice can be found float­ing all around the bay. If you’re lucky, you might even find a seal or two loung­ing on top of them. The area is brim­ming with sea­side caves and lagoons to explore along with plen­ty of waves along Sable Bay. Be sure to go through the waters of Shkot Island for some pret­ty impres­sive views, or hang around Labor Bay to explore the sunken shipwrecks.

Lake Michi­gan
Lake Michi­gan might not have the tow­er­ing glac­i­ers of the oth­er mem­bers of this list, but the seem­ing­ly end­less sheets of ice that dis­ap­pear into the dis­tance have a beau­ty all their own. Dur­ing the right time you can find plen­ty of paths to trav­el across the water and, if you’re lucky, even some ice caves to explore along the shores. The Great Lakes are home to some of the country’s most scenic spots that are only enhanced when the snow falls.

Glac­i­er Grey Tor­res del Paine, Chile
Unsur­pris­ing­ly, Patag­o­nia har­bors one of the most breath­tak­ing places on Earth for stand up pad­dle­board­ing. The mam­moth-sized glac­i­ers in Glac­i­er Grey Tor­res del Paine in Chile are strik­ing­ly tall and some of the deep­est blue you’ll ever set eyes upon. The waters here reach sub­ze­ro temps in the win­ter, so do your best not to fall in. The ice tends to shift at times mak­ing a vis­it poten­tial­ly treach­er­ous, but you’ll be fine if you keep your wits about you. Many of the glac­i­ers here sit right up against the moun­tains along the shore­line, mak­ing for an awe­some juxtaposition.

Seward, Alas­ka
Alas­ka is a dream­scape of out­door adven­ture with more moun­tains, trails, lakes, rivers, and waves than you could ever explore in a life­time. Seward is often at the cen­ter of the great­est Alaskan adven­tures thanks to its rugged land­scape and trea­sure trove of out­door pur­suits with­in a short dis­tance. It’s also hard to get to, mak­ing it the per­fect place for pad­dle­board­ers who want a lit­tle peace and qui­et. Bear Glac­i­er in Kenai Fjords Nation­al Park is one of the state’s largest ice for­ma­tions with a twelve-mile ice tongue sur­round­ed by epic salt­wa­ter lagoons. The sur­face is teem­ing with ice­bergs to oar through and requires a good deal of experience.

Glac­i­er Lagoon, Iceland
Glac­i­er Lagoon off the south­ern coast of Ice­land is one of the world’s most stun­ning nat­ur­al won­ders. Glac­i­ers, ice­bergs, and water­falls dot the shore­line for miles mak­ing it a spec­ta­cle for any­one look­ing for a unique place for SUP. You can take a tour or set out on your own and push your oar through sheets of icy water around float­ing bergs and water­falls with 60-meter drops. There are even some great views of the Eyjaf­jal­la­jökull volcano.

British Virgin Islands Surf Sup

British Virgin Islands Surf SupSome of the best beach­es of the Caribbean can be found in the British Vir­gin Islands, which means there are also some pret­ty gnarly places to surf and SUP. Here are a few of the best swells along the BVI’s shores.

Josiah’s Bay, Tortola
Josiah’s Bay is the only beach break in the British Vir­gin Islands, loaded with both rights and lefts, but it’s also not so chal­leng­ing that it won’t appeal to every­one. It’s great for long board­ers in par­tic­u­lar, along with those look­ing for a place to SUP. The waves rarely reach high­er than your head, with most being just a cou­ple of feet and dur­ing a lot of time it gets pret­ty flat out there. Be warned, how­ev­er, that Josiah’s Bay is also pret­ty infa­mous for its rough rip­tide with a nefar­i­ous back­wash and under­tow work­ing to pull you down. You’ll get lost out there if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Apple Bay, Tortola
Apple Bay is a pop­u­lar reef break that tends to send surfers for a ride when they attempt to tack­le its inside shelf. The waves here break most­ly to the right and are per­fect dur­ing an Atlantic North­ern swell. It’s notable most­ly for its appeal to pro­fes­sion­al surfers from around the globe, so don’t attempt to tack­le it with­out plen­ty of expe­ri­ence under your belt. The bot­tom here is coral, not sand, so if you hit the water and get rag-dolled under­neath a strong wave you’re going to be feel­ing it for days.

Well Bay, Beef Island
You won’t find any great, or even good, surf­ing along Well Bay, but it’s a fan­tas­tic place for a SUP adven­ture. The waters here are con­sis­tent­ly calm and pro­vide great views of the sur­round­ing island, which con­tains numer­ous man­groves and vari­eties of marine life. It’s also a hop away from the air­port so you can make it your first trip as soon as you get off the plane if you’re feel­ing frisky.

Cane Bay, Tortola
Tor­to­la is home to the best waves in the BVI, with the biggest resid­ing along the shores of Cane Bay. This right point break only arrives a hand­ful of times a year so locals can be a lit­tle greedy about let­ting tourists in, but if you’re an expe­ri­enced surfer they’ll open up once you show you can hang with the best of them. The waves reach upward of fif­teen feet high dur­ing the biggest breaks and Can­non Point is for experts only, so aim for that area if you want to test your met­tle. Oth­er­wise, the sur­round­ing bay is great for skilled surfers look­ing for places to duck and dive. Long and short boards wel­come here.

Ane­ga­da is the north­ern­most of the British Vir­gin Islands and arguably the most beau­ti­ful. It’s small so you can cir­cle the entire thing over the course of a day. The island is extreme­ly pop­u­lar among pro­fes­sion­al kite board­ers thanks to the calm waves and excel­lent winds, but it’s also a good spot to get your SUP on. The waters are crys­tal clear and the views go on for miles. There isn’t much in the way of onshore enter­tain­ment, but that’s okay, because there’s plen­ty to see swim­ming under the water here. The coral reef below is home to dozens of species of fish run­ning through the mazes and tun­nels. It’s breath­tak­ing and per­fect for SUP.

standup paddle exercises

standup paddle exercisesLike every sport, if you want to max­i­mize your abil­i­ties in standup pad­dle board­ing, it helps to per­form the right exer­cis­es and con­di­tion your body to suc­ceed. Good core strength is a neces­si­ty to become a com­peti­tor in the sport, along with some pret­ty buff arms and back mus­cles. Here are a few exer­cis­es to try if you want to up your game on your next outing.

Bal­ance Pushups
Much like in surf­ing, to SUP you have to be able to bal­ance your­self on the board whether you’re stand­ing, get­ting ready to pop up or try­ing to pull your­self back on after a spill. Bal­ance pushups are a great way to learn how to steady your­self effectively.

Begin by plac­ing a weight­ed bar across a bal­ance board or bosu ball then get your body down in the pushup posi­tion. With your hands grip­ping the bar just past where the ball or board ends, push your­self up and low­er back down in slow, con­trolled motions. Always remem­ber to keep your arms at a nat­ur­al 90-degree angle.

The Pad­dle Squat
The pad­dle squat is a vari­a­tion of the nor­mal squat but with a pad­dle instead of a bar­bell and weights. It’s allows you to use the same amount of weight you’ll need to be accus­tomed to out on the water, though you can also do this in the gym with weights if you pre­fer to make more gains. Stand with your legs slight­ly wider than shoul­der width with the pad­dle held above your head with both hands. Per­form a squat, count­ing to three on the way down and the way back up.

As you per­form your sets, slow­ly move your legs apart and push your arms clos­er togeth­er to increase the dif­fi­cul­ty. If you’re real­ly feel­ing bold, you can try this one while stand­ing atop a bosu ball to increase the difficulty.

The Plank
The plank is one of the great­est exer­cis­es for devel­op­ing core strength no mat­ter what sport you’re train­ing for, but it’s espe­cial­ly great for SUP. Start in the nor­mal plank posi­tion with your fore­arms and elbows on the floor, palms fac­ing each oth­er and your thumbs up. Engage your core by keep­ing your body as flat and par­al­lel to the ground as pos­si­ble, bal­anc­ing on your fore­arms and toes. Try to hold this posi­tion for at least two minutes.

For a lit­tle vari­a­tion, go up and down from your under­arms to your hands, one at a time, and keep this up for anoth­er two min­utes. You can also brink the plank up onto your side if you feel up to it.

Swiss ISO Twist
While pad­dling, your body will rotate as you change your pad­dle from side to side, so mim­ic­k­ing this move­ment in the gym is a great way to increase strength and endurance while on the board. You’ll need resis­tance cables and a Swiss ball to per­form this exercise.

Strad­dle the ball while fac­ing per­pen­dic­u­lar to the resis­tance cables. Grab the cables with both hands and pull them to the oth­er side of your body, while try­ing not to rotate your hips. After your set, switch sides on the ball and pull in the oppo­site direction.


Nobody is get­ting younger. Unfor­tu­nate­ly for you and I, that includes us. For every friend who is pad­dling well past retire­ment age—and I even have a friend who’s pad­dled water­falls in his 80s—and I have anoth­er who is com­plain­ing about how pad­dling is now tough on his back, shoul­ders, or some oth­er joint. How can we set our­selves up for long and endur­ing careers on the water?

Pro­tect Your Back
Pad­dling is hard on the back. As we age and become less flex­i­ble, sit­ting for long hours in the kayak­ing posi­tion gets hard­er, and we have less flex­i­bil­i­ty to rotate. That means mak­ing sure you’re doing a good job warm­ing up, stretch­ing, and head­ing to the gym to restore lost flex­i­bil­i­ty ear­ly and often. As I’ve aged, I’ve become a lot more picky about my kayak out­fit­ting and seat posi­tion. When we can’t rotate far enough on our strokes, we tend to com­pen­sate by reach­ing with our arms, and that will not help you.

Pro­tect Your Shoulders
Shoul­ders, along with backs, are the main area for pad­dling injuries. Instruc­tors use a vari­ety of tech­niques to get pad­dlers to keep their shoul­ders intact, rang­ing from the “paddler’s box” to teach­ing stu­dents to roll hold­ing a sponge between the elbow and the torso.

The main thing to focus on is to avoid reach­ing, and instead focus on mov­ing the legs, hips and tor­so to keep your shoul­ders in a pro­tect­ed posi­tion. Phys­i­cal ther­a­pists and med­ical pro­fes­sion­als can help you devel­op strength in the small mus­cles that sta­bi­lize the shoul­ders. Over my pad­dling career, my pad­dles seem to get short­er with each one that I buy. A short­er pad­dle reduces the lever­age on your soft tis­sues, espe­cial­ly if you’re using a large blade with a stiff mate­r­i­al like car­bon fiber.

Don’t Squeeze The Paddle
Now that we’re talk­ing pad­dles, grip it light­ly. A clenched grip will only result in arm fatigue, and even­tu­al­ly, elbow tendonitis.


Free Your Hips and Your Mind Will Follow
Sit­ting in a kayak for long hours will stretch the ham­strings and com­press the hip flex­ors. Work hard to off­set that effect by stretch­ing the front of your core. Find com­pli­men­ta­ry stretch­es and work­outs that off­set the mus­cle imbal­ances that can come from too much time in that position.

Warm Up and Stretch
As we age, we lose flex­i­bil­i­ty and resilien­cy— I have to stretch much more reli­gious­ly and slow­ly than I did when I was younger. Remem­ber: don’t stretch while you’re cold: a fac­tor to keep in mind when you’re pad­dling in the win­ter, and when you have a bunch of boats to get down to the water after you’ve been sit­ting stiffly in a car for an hour.

Be Care­ful on Land
Most pad­dling acci­dents don’t hap­pen on the water—they hap­pen on land. Hoist­ing kayaks off trucks, car­ry­ing boats or gear over slip­pery rocks and load­ing cool­ers on and off rafts are the places you’re most like­ly to hurt your­self far more than a big surf zone. Take your time and watch your step.

Train for the Long Trip
As a 20-some­thing, I could dive into a big trip with lit­tle train­ing or prepa­ra­tion. As I’ve got­ten old­er, I’ve learned that I need to train, ramp up and build my endurance more. Give your­self a reg­i­men. If you haven’t spent much time in your boat, give your body time to adjust, and then start to build up the miles. As rac­ers do, let your­self taper off a bit just before the trip.

Don’t Be Macho
“It’s just a flesh wound” brushoff of a lit­tle pain didn’t work for The Black Knight in Mon­ty Python and the Holy Grail. It won’t work for us as we age either. We need more time to heal from “minor” tweaks. Don’t push your return to the water too fast.

SUP Newbie Chronicles- 5 Ways to Store Your BoardYour stand-up pad­dle board is built to with­stand the rig­ors of pad­dling in the heat of a bright sum­mer day and in the midst of rough waters. What it’s not made for is being stored dur­ing the off sea­son in any­thing even close­ly resem­bling those con­di­tions. Whether you live in a tem­per­ate, trop­i­cal or polar cli­mate, you’ve got to store your board prop­er­ly to ensure that it stays in tip-top con­di­tion. In order to do so, you’ll want to keep your board out of direct sun­light, away from water and out of the way. Here are some tips and rec­om­men­da­tions for stor­ing your board so it’s good to go for years to come.

If you have a garage or stor­age unit
If you’ve already got a roof under which your stand-up pad­dle board can rest, use it! Sim­ply invest in an insu­lat­ed board bag, remove the fin from your ful­ly-dried board and ensure that it’s secured in such a way that it won’t fall down and get dinged. The most impor­tant rule for stor­ing your SUP is to keep it away from heat, wind and water.

If you love the way your board looks
So you think your board’s the pret­ti­est thing on the block; store it in your home. Real­ly, if you’ve got the space in your house or apart­ment, this is the ide­al spot to store it because the tem­per­a­ture is reg­u­lat­ed. Some com­pa­nies make dis­play racks for SUP boards, many of which are beau­ti­ful in their own right. Invest in a wood or met­al dis­play rack and place your SUP in a loca­tion that makes sense, like an already-ocean-themed guest room.

If you want easy stor­age and accessibility
If you want easy storage and accessibilityWhether you’re stor­ing one or mul­ti­ple boards, a ceil­ing rack will pro­vide good cov­er. It’ll also get your board up and out of the way, with easy access if you’ll be stor­ing it there full time. A ceil­ing-mount­ed rack can be placed out­side if you’ve got your board cov­ered with a bag or sock, to keep it out of the ele­ments. I use a ceil­ing rack attached to the car­port next to my house. This makes it excep­tion­al­ly easy to move the SUP from its ceil­ing rack to the rack of my car when I want to take it out.

If you pre­fer to strap your SUP up
If you don’t like the look or idea of mount­ing a rack, you might pre­fer the strap stor­age method for keep­ing your SUP safe and sound. This is a less com­mon method of stor­age, so options are more lim­it­ed. How­ev­er, if you type “SUP strap stor­age” into Google, you’ll find a few good options for pur­chas­ing this method of stor­age for your beloved SUP. Most straps will be mount­ed to a wall or ceil­ing, and will hold your board out of the ele­ments as well as any oth­er method, with a dis­tinct look.

If you do any­thing, don’t do this
You may feel tempt­ed to store your board in the plas­tic bub­ble wrap it came in since it’s there, it’s pro­tec­tive and it’s free. Don’t do it! Bub­ble wrap is often made of polyurethane resin and has a ten­den­cy to stick to sur­faces (like an epoxy board) if stuck for a long time. Maybe you don’t use your board for a sum­mer or you get injured — who knows. Espe­cial­ly if your board will see sun­light. Per­haps the most well-stat­ed rea­son is this: “The bub­bles are like minia­ture mag­ni­fy­ing glass­es, focus­ing the heat on your board.”

One of the joys of stand-up pad­dle­board­ing is ver­sa­til­i­ty: You can choose whether you’d like to make a work­out out of the day by going on a down­winder, or you can recruit a friend for a med­i­ta­tive pad­dle ses­sion. Even bet­ter, you can pad­dle­board year-round in many tem­per­ate cli­mates as long as you’re out­fit­ted prop­er­ly. Here are some tips on how to dress the part, depend­ing on the temperature.

Year-round, wear or car­ry a per­son­al Flota­tion Device (PFD)
The Unit­ed States Coast Guard rec­og­nizes stand-up pad­dle­boards as ves­sels, which means you are required to car­ry a life­jack­et or PFD and a whis­tle when out­side of surf or swim zones. This is to “give fair warn­ing to oth­er boaters when they’re in the area.” To be on the safe side, it’s always a good idea to car­ry a PFD on a SUP.

Board shorts and a rash guard
If you’re a recre­ation­al stand-up pad­dle­board­er head­ing out in warmer months or cli­mates, you’ll want to wear water­proof cloth­ing that dries quick­ly. For most peo­ple, that means board­shorts and a rash guard - both of which will keep you pro­tect­ed from sun­burn while also dry­ing and wick­ing quick­er than a stan­dard pair of shorts and T‑shirt.

Swim suit or swim trunks
If you’re going to SUP in the ocean or on an excep­tion­al­ly hot day, you can lath­er up the water­proof sun­screen and go out in just a swim­suit or swim trunks. You’ll be bet­ter able to dive into the water on a whim and swim around with­out extra lay­ers in your way. It’s not uncom­mon to see peo­ple on boards in this attire in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia and Hawaii, or even parts of Ore­gon on 90-degree sum­mer days.

Wet­suit, booties, a hood and gloves
For some peo­ple, the pad­dle­board sea­son nev­er ends. If you’re one of those peo­ple, then get ready for some cold days. In some extreme­ly cold cli­mates, wet­suits are a must. A great rule of thumb is to pick up a win­ter suit that is 5/4/3mm or even 6/5/4mm, for the cold­est months. That said, a 6mm cold water suit can be pret­ty restric­tive on your move­ments in which case, a dry­suit might be more comfortable.

In cold con­di­tions, lay­er and be sure to cov­er your extrem­i­ties
When it comes to pad­dling when the water is less than 50 degrees Fahren­heit, the most impor­tant thing you can do is pro­tect your­self against both the cold out­side and the cold of the water. You should cre­ate a warm, water-resis­tant base lay­er such as an insu­lat­ed rash guard, and cov­er it with a wind-resis­tant, cozy fleece hoody that you can keep on if your pad­dle doesn’t heat you up at all, or that you can take off and wrap around your waist if you do. If you’re an expert pad­dler uncon­cerned with falling in the water, you may feel warm in thick run­ning tights on your bot­tom lay­er. And no mat­ter what, be sure to cov­er your extrem­i­ties with gloves, booties and a hat.

Picking a SUP Per­haps you’ve tak­en a few rental SUPs out for a spin and you’re ready to invest in a board of your own. Maybe you’re not quite ready to com­mit to just one board, but want to know which type might best suit your needs in the future. Either way, if you’re get­ting into pad­dle­board­ing (or are already into it and ready to make the next move), it’s ben­e­fi­cial to under­stand the dif­fer­ent types of stand-up pad­dle­boards. In order to find your per­fect match, you need to know what board suits you best. While there are many dif­fer­ent styles of SUP out there, here are the five most common:

Size range: 9’-12’ long, 29”-32” wide
These boards are char­ac­ter­ized by a plan­ing hull, which means that the board’s front end rides on top of the water and is slight­ly round­ed. All-around SUP boards look a lot like surf­boards, though they are craft­ed to have much more sta­bil­i­ty and buoy­an­cy than a tra­di­tion­al long­board. As the name sug­gests, these boards are for the pad­dler who wants a board that can do a bit of everything. 

Size range: 12’6” ‑14’ long, 26”-30” wide
Designed to trav­el long dis­tances quick­ly, tour and race boards have a  dis­place­ment hull, which enables the board to slice through the water. As Tahoe SUP puts it, these hulls are “designed to effi­cient­ly part the water as you pad­dle,” much like a kayak does. Tour and race SUPs are typ­i­cal­ly lighter and a bit nar­row­er than oth­er boards. Many tour boards also have the capac­i­ty to car­ry gear for SUP camp­ing or the space to bring your dog to rest on top of the board at the front or back end. 

Surf or Open Ocean
Size range: 12’6” — 17” long, 27”-30” wide
The shape of these boards often mim­ics the shape of a surf­board, though the surf SUP is designed with less vol­ume in order to have more maneu­ver­abil­i­ty in the ocean. These SUPs can have plan­ing or dis­place­ment hulls, but always have added sta­bil­i­ty in order to keep the pad­dler on the board in rough water or while catch­ing small waves.

Size Range: Varies
These boards are designed with the trav­el­ing pad­dle­board­er in mind, as they pack down for easy mov­ing and stor­age. Most inflat­able SUPs are made of durable, mil­i­tary grade PVC, which allows them to be extreme­ly rigid when inflat­ed while also enabling them the flex­i­bil­i­ty to fold down. These boards are extreme­ly ver­sa­tile, as they’re designed to be used on every­thing from white­wa­ter to flat­wa­ter, and any­thing in between.

Women’s Spe­cif­ic
supMany SUP com­pa­nies have women’s spe­cif­ic boards, which are slim­mer than a stan­dard SUP in order to accom­mo­date for less reach when pad­dling. Women’s spe­cif­ic boards also tend to be slight­ly lighter, thus eas­i­er to car­ry. The Tahoe SUP Bliss is a great exam­ple of a fine­ly designed women’s spe­cif­ic board (it’s the one pic­tured in the post).

Con­sid­er Your Objec­tive
Now that you know what kinds of boards are out there, the next step is to fig­ure out what you’ll be using it for. Ask your­self these two ques­tions: What kind of water will I be pad­dling in (flat, ocean or riv­er)? And how will I store and trans­port my board? Answer­ing them hon­est­ly will help you decide what kind of board you want, lead­ing you to the board you need to hit the water happily!

sup1Sure, steer­ing your stand-up pad­dle­board around obsta­cles sounds easy enough — and in the­o­ry, it is — but doing it effec­tive­ly is anoth­er sto­ry. Anoth­er chap­ter alto­geth­er is the sim­ple yet impor­tant tech­nique of turn­ing your board effec­tive­ly. Yes! There’s a dif­fer­ence between steer­ing and turn­ing an SUP. And you’ll want to mas­ter both of these pad­dle­board­ing ele­ments ear­ly on so you don’t get left behind when friends turn back to shore. Take a look at the fol­low­ing four tips for effec­tive­ly turn­ing and steer­ing your SUP.

1. Steer Clear
Think of it this way: steer­ing is for all tech­ni­cal pur­pos­es, the same as turn­ing (just doing so ever so slight­ly). There­fore, learn­ing how to steer your board will help you turn it more effec­tive­ly. To steer your­self clear of a water-logged obsta­cle on your right, you’ll want to move slight­ly to the left. Do this by pad­dling on the right side of your board so that it moves in the oppo­site direc­tion. The next tip will help you remem­ber the equa­tion, but before too long it should become sec­ond nature.

2. Side­stroke
Side­stroke is the most basic way to turn your board, and you can mas­ter it quick­ly by fol­low­ing a few gen­er­al rules. Slide your pad­dle into the water with strokes that are much short­er and much quick­er than those you’d use to pro­pel your­self straight for­ward. To make this easy turn­ing tech­nique even eas­i­er, try look­ing over your shoul­der in the direc­tion you’re try­ing to turn instead of gaz­ing down at the water. 

3. Back­pad­dle
We’re will­ing to bet that back­pad­dle will become your favorite method of turn­ing once you’ve mas­tered it because it’s the quick­est way to turn around. While you may nat­u­ral­ly dis­cov­er it once you’re more com­fort­able on the board with the mechan­ics of basic side­stroke, you can also learn it ear­ly on and imple­ment it when you’re ready. To back­pad­dle, put the pad­dle into the water on the same side of the board as the direc­tion of your desired turn and pull the blade of the pad­dle back­wards. You’ll want to grip the pad­dle tight­ly and you’ll need to use the strength in your tor­so to make this back­ward pad­dle stroke. You may gain a bit of momen­tum as you turn, so once you’re head­ing in the right direc­tion, dive the pad­dle into the water and pad­dle nor­mal­ly to set your­self straight. This is the only turn­ing stroke in which you pad­dle on the same side as the direc­tion you’d like to turn. 

4. Sea (or C) Stroke
To make one big turn (or to turn your board around entire­ly), plant your pad­dle blade in the water toward the top, front end of your board, and make one long stroke toward the very end of your board. Just as in steer­ing and in side stroke, this C‑shaped stroke will turn you in the oppo­site direc­tion of the side your pad­dle is in the water on. The motion of mak­ing a giant C with your pad­dle will cause your board to make a more seri­ous turn, so this stroke is use­ful if you’re aim­ing to go in the entire­ly oppo­site direction. 


Warn­ing: You may nev­er go in the ocean again.

Most folks who see this great white cir­cling a surfer would not. Surfers, how­ev­er, are a strange breed.

When pro surfer Chuck Pat­ter­son saw a pair of great white’s one day, you know what he did?

He went out the next day with a Go Pro mount­ed to the end of a 10-foot pole. The result is some of the spook­i­est under­wa­ter great white footage around. You don’t see the dor­sal fin cut­ting through the water. Nor do you see an open mouth.

 All this haunt­ing video con­firms is that great white sharks are out there, and they might be lurk­ing some­where beneath. 

C4 SUP Paddles

C4 SUP Paddles

The Bam­boo Pad­dle from C4 Water­man com­bines bam­boo with fiber­glass to cre­ate a light­weight, yet strong pad­dle. The 86-inch shaft is made of fiber­glass. The 8‑inch blade is made of bam­boo, and it has a unique, patent-pend­ing dihe­dral keel face that allows for smooth, effi­cient strokes through the water.

This com­bi­na­tion of weight and pow­er makes it a great pad­dle for Stand-up pad­dle­board­ers. It’s stur­dy enough to get pur­chase in pow­er­ful waves, but light enough to race into them. And all these fea­tures add up to a pad­dle that has an intu­itive sense for the surf, which is no sur­prise: C4 Water­man is an authen­tic Hawai­ian brand that builds prod­ucts that are born from a pas­sion for the sport.

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Ocean Mind­ed

Mem­bers, click through for insid­er pric­ing on dai­ly deals!

Fresh on the menu today:

DAKINE Surf: Now based in Ore­gon, DAKINE was found­ed in Hawaii back in 1979. Its first prod­uct was a surf leash the com­pa­ny billed as so strong you could pull a car with it. The icon­ic brand has dom­i­nat­ed the surf bags and acces­sories mar­ket ever since. Click through now to shop our col­lec­tion of DAKINE surf and SUP accessories.

Great Lakes Pad­dle­boards: An ancient form of surf­ing that orig­i­nat­ed in Hawaii, stand-up pad­dle­board­ing is often thought of as an ocean activ­i­ty. But walk­ing on fresh­wa­ter is just as fun, which is why Great Lakes Pad­dle­boards designs SUPs specif­i­cal­ly for use on rivers and lakes. Click through right now for mem­ber-exclu­sive pric­ing on SUPs. They come with pad­dles! These always sell out fast. Don’t hes­i­tate on this one or you will most cer­tain­ly miss out.

Ocean Mind­ed: Ocean Mind­ed prod­ucts are as fresh as a breeze off the Pacif­ic and man­u­fac­tured not to harm the tide you ride. The com­pa­ny’s footwear and appar­el is made using water-based glue and nat­ur­al and sus­tain­able mate­ri­als such as recy­cled wool, hemp, and organ­ic cot­ton. Sum­mer’s almost here. The time has come to pick up some footwear that has as inter­est­ing a sto­ry as you do. Click through now for mem­ber-exclu­sive pric­ing on Men’s and Wom­en’s Ocean Mind­ed flip-flops.

Men’s Shorts and Tees: Who likes short shorts? Not us. Which is why this col­lec­tion fea­tures a huge assort­ment of reg­u­lar-length shorts and pre­mi­um-fit tees for you to sport this sum­mer. Do the right thing.

Wom­en’s Shorts and Tees: Your arms and legs work hard for you. Give ’em a lit­tle extra taste of the sun in a new tee or pair of shorts from this sum­mer col­lec­tion of Hur­ley, Moun­tain Khakis, and DC Appar­el. Click through now! 

Free­wa­ters: Free­wa­ters is on a mis­sion to improve the qual­i­ty of life on this plan­et one pair of san­dals at a time. Their footwear is engi­neered with per­for­mance ergonom­ic sup­port so that you can wear it all day long. And for every pair sold, the com­pa­ny pro­vides clean drink­ing water for an indi­vid­ual in a devel­op­ing nation for a year. Click through now to check out our huge col­lec­tion of san­dals from the pro­gres­sive brand.


Birth­day Badge: Did you know? If you earned an Eagle Scout badge then you may already know that today is Boy Scouts of Amer­i­ca (BSA) pio­neer Daniel Carter “Uncle Dan” Beard’s birth­day. Born in Ohio on June 21, 1850, Beard worked as edi­tor of a chil­dren’s out­door pub­li­ca­tion before found­ing the Sons of Daniel Boone, a youth out­door and social wel­fare group that would in 1910 com­bine with a sim­i­lar orga­ni­za­tion to become the BSA. Beard was also a pro­lif­ic illus­tra­tor of mag­a­zines and books. His work includ­ed the first edi­tion of Mark Twain’s A Con­necti­cut Yan­kee in King Arthur’s Court.