Stand Up Paddling (or SUP) is one of the fastest growing water sports in these years. Let’s find out how to turn it into an excellent training tool.
More and more often, nowadays, we observe a new toy on the deck of many boats, a sort of big surfboard. To be exact its name is SUP, or Stand Up Paddle board, a board designed to be used with a paddle, to be able to move on the water and possibly catch some wave.
The origin of the SUP is, in truth, lost in history with attributes dating back to the 18th century – thanks to James Cook’s explorers’ diaries – and to the 1950s in the Hawaiian archipelago.
Regardless of origin, however, the SUP is well suited to boat life and, as anticipated, can easily become an interesting tool to keep ourselves fit.
Paddling on these boards involves the use of the muscles of most of our body and, accordingly, makes it easy to turn some tour on SUP into a real workout.
The SUP is, actually, a great way to work on strength, endurance and balance while exploring a bay or track a watercourse once moored.
But let’s start from the beginning, that is, how to figure out which equipment does our case.
The world of SUP is growing fast as well as technology and materials used. On the market, in fact, we can find different shapes and sizes, from the free ride boards to the racing boards and so on. But, even more interesting, we can find an inflatable version of SUP, a very smart solution that is well suited to the tight spaces above deck.
New construction ways, actually, let this kind of board to be a good substitute of the “rigid” one. High pressure pumps make us able to get this board out of the bag and ready on the water in few minutes.
Dimensions? Well, let’s say that the width of the board has a lot of weight on its stability. A wider board usually is even more stable and a few inches in this respect can be well perceived. The standard sizes of all-round (or freeride) inflatable boards usually offer good stability even for beginners.
Moving to paddle speech, the market offers different solutions from the materials used (carbon, glass fiber, bamboo, aluminum) to the shape of the “spoon” (size, curvature, etc …), to the “stick”(Oval, progressive, etc.). Usually the paddle coming with an inflatable SUP is removable in 2 or 3 sections and has the ability to be adjusted in length. An appropriate paddle measurement is essential for the right trim and proper paddling technique. We consider, as beginners, a length of about 15-20 cm above our height.
Last but nevertheless fundamental part of the equipment is the leash, a true link between the board and our body. Secure to the board stern, it is attached to the ankle or knee through an adjustable velcro strap. The obvious function is to keep the table always bound to us, which, on a calm day with on wind inside a bay may seem to be hoped for but that, in the event of current, flickering or “traffic”, is really indispensable.
We are finally ready to jump on the board and explore seas, rivers and lakes!
Now, however, it is time to understand how to paddle, since, although it may seem a fairly straightforward move, it hides the fundamental details to ensure that our SUP experience does not create problems in the back, shoulder or knee.
We will address the correct payback technique in the next post, so stay tuned!