It’s hard to pinpoint the exact history of paddle boarding—its rich history is said to have possibly come from Polynesians needing a way to navigate across waterways, to surfers wanting a way to survey the waves and surf break in the 1960’s. Whatever the exact history is, we’re thankful it became so popular, leading to a lifetime of adventure on the water, for all people, everywhere.
What Is Paddle Boarding And How Do You Do It?
Paddle boarding, also referred to as stand up paddle boarding, is a water sport activity in which an individual stands on a board, centers their feet, and propels themselves through the water with a paddle. Unlike a surfboard, paddle boards are typically longer and wider to provide additional stability while paddling.
The cool thing about having a SUP is that it’s super versatile for a range of paddle boarding activities. You can go out for a casual paddle, go SUP surfing, SUP fishing, and even practice your favorite yoga poses for a SUP yoga session on the water. And if you’re wondering if paddle boarding is an easy and accessible sport, we’re here to assure you that paddle boarding is an activity that anyone, no matter their skill level can enjoy.
To start out paddle boarding, you’ll want to follow these easy steps, and if it feels hard to find your balance at first, no worries, it’s all a part of the process of becoming a pro paddler!
1: Find a calm body of water, preferably with no waves.
2: Place your board in the water without letting the fin hit the bottom.
3: Start out in a kneeling position in the center of your board and take a few strokes on each side of your board with your paddle.
4: Then, place your paddle right in front of you, and slowly start to stand up, starting with one foot and then the other. The key is making sure your feet are shoulder-width apart above the board’s center grip handle, and making sure your feet are pointed toward the nose of your board.
5: Keep a slight bend in your knees and have your core and weight centered on the board as you continue to paddle. The more momentum you get as you paddle, the easier it will be to hold your balance.
In no time, you too can become an expert paddle boarder with the right SUP (stand up paddle board), equipment, clothing, and instruction. From learning how to paddle board in under 5 minutes, to learning how to hold your paddle correct, check out our expert Tips and Tricks video series on YouTube for more advice on how to paddle board.
The Benefits Of Paddle Boarding
Stand up paddle boarding brings a myriad of benefits to the table for paddle boarders of all skill levels! It is a great low-impact workout for those wanting to increase their mobility and flexibility, while also being a great high-impact workout for those wanting something a little more vigorous. Overall, it is one of the best total-body workouts you can take part in as you use your core, arms, and legs to propel yourself forward, while maintaining balance at the same time.
Paddle boarding is also a great outlet for stress-relief and is highly-beneficial for mental health. Whether you paddle alone to refresh your mind, or go out with friends to spend some quality time in community, you’ll also be spending time in nature, receiving a good dose of fresh air and beautiful surroundings.
Are There Different Kinds Of Paddle Boards?
Yes, there are different kinds of paddle boards and boards specifically geared for different types of paddling too! The two main categories are inflatable paddle boards vs hard boards, also known as epoxy stand-up paddle boards. The main difference between inflatable paddle boards and hard paddle boards comes down to usage, transportation, and storage.
Inflatable paddle boards are a perfect choice for all skill levels, especially beginners looking for a board that can work well in all conditions. The main benefit of an inflatable paddle board is that it is easily repackble as it can inflate and deflate in only minutes, and fits within a carry backpack for easy transportation and minimal storage space.
In contrast, hard boards are also great for all skill levels, but are a better choice for those looking for a more performance-oriented board. If you’re looking for a paddle board that delivers maximum speed, glide, and added durability, then an epoxy board will most likely be a better fit for you. They are also more rigid and durable, able to withstand any adventure on the water. However, hard boards require a little more effort for transportation, such as a larger vehicle or a car roof rack and straps.
From there, you can also narrow down the choice by boards that perform best for certain activities, such as an inflatable paddle board for fishing, or a hard board that can also perform well for SUP surfing.
For a guide on the top things to know before buying a paddle board, click here. If you’re wondering how to choose the right paddle board, check out our guide on how to choose a SUP, or take our board finder quiz to pair you with the perfect match.