You’ve seen it on Instagram and sporting goods catalogs. You’ve seen pictures of celebrities, yogis, and dogs doing it. You’ve wanted to try it but perhaps you’ve felt a little intimidated, or unsure if your local waterway is a fit. If you haven’t tried stand-up paddle boarding yet, whatever the reason, this summer is the perfect time to give it a whirl… er, float. Here are 5 reasons why:
Stand-up paddle boarding can be as athletic as you want it to be, whether you’re looking for increased flexibility, strength, toning, or perhaps just the mental workout of enjoying a nice view. Even the most leisurely paddle will provide a stabilizing core workout to maintain your balance and some upper body action as you work your paddle. If you want to take it up a notch, you can work on your racing form by sitting into a squat position, keeping arms mostly straight, and propelling the motion of your paddle from a twisting motion in your core rather than just pulling with your arms. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can play around with your favorite yoga postures atop your board in calm waters. Even down dogs like to go for an occasional swim!
Think you know your favorite spots around town? Think again. Seeing the shore from out on the water will give you a new appreciation for what the beach looks like when you’re not fighting off seagulls and and eaves dropping on tourists. Traveling by paddle board lets you see things you can’t see any other way (unless you’re an Olympic swimmer, maybe), and you don’t ever have to worry about traffic or crowds.
Okay, maybe not a tropical island like Leonardo DiCaprio stumbled upon in The Beach, but you can certainly access secluded beaches and small islands that you’d otherwise need a boat to get to. With the right paddle board, you can easily bring a a compact folding chair, a blue tooth speaker, and a small cooler well stocked with Perfect Bars and libations — everything you need for an all-day island party where no shoes and no shirts are the preferred attire.
We’ve all heard about the myriad benefits of meditation and mindfulness by now, yet for many us, sitting quietly hardly feels calming. Out on your paddle board, though, you may just find that the sound of the water lapping against your board, the gracefulness of the birds in flight, and the way the clouds float by overhead is just what the doctor ordered. With everything around you moving peacefully along, the way you glide over the water on your board can unite you with nature in a more palpable way than you might experience simply by sitting on a park bench somewhere.
We could go on and on about why we love to SUP, but at the end of the day, we actually love almost anything that get us outside, gets our bodies moving a bit, and offers up a new experience. So if you’re looking for a bit of adventure this summer, or if you’re looking to get outside your comfort zone and expand your horizons, renting a stand-up paddle board and hitting up your nearest beach — whether you’re on the coast, near a lake, or have a winding river running through your town — should do the trick.
What are you waiting for? Pack that cooler. Rent that board. Get out there.