Getting the Most Out of Your Stand Up Paddle Boarding
As outdoor activities go, water sports are not traditionally the most accessible to beginners. Take surfing, for example; in order to get any practice surfing, you need all the requisite equipment plus easy access to a beach with naturally occurring waves, as well as someone to teach you the finer points of the sport. Many people spend their entire surfing lives simply trying to master standing up and never really get to experience riding a wave like the pros.
This is part of what makes stand up paddle boards so appealing. One of the fastest growing water sports in the world, stand up paddle boarding is accessible in ways that other water sports simply aren’t, not least of which because it can be done on almost any body of water. While ocean waves might make paddle boarding more exciting, you can use a stand up paddleboard on still lakes and rivers, as well as white water; anywhere with enough room to move around.
In addition to the fun and social aspects of stand up paddle boarding, it provides a great full-body workout as you constantly engage your core, legs, and arms to maintain balance and propel yourself forward through the water on your board.
What Are SUPS, and Why Are They So Popular?
Before you decide to take the plunge and buy a paddle board, it’s important to understand how they work and how to care for your investment. Stand up paddle boards are generally built with extremely lightweight expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) cores wrapped in layers of plastic, carbon fiber, or fiberglass and epoxy to keep the board light and watertight. They come in a variety of lengths, ranging anywhere from eight to fourteen feet long, and are usually around thirty inches wide.
Stand up paddle boarding is an ideal introductory water sport—one that is simple in the basics but difficult as any other to master. All you need is a board, a paddle, and access to a body of water; with these basics, almost anyone can begin enjoying their time on the paddleboard right away.
Simply practice standing up on the board—and get paddling! The very act of doing so provides a great, low-impact workout for the whole body, as well as the potential for hours of fun for the whole family.
Unlike surfboards, stand up paddleboards are generally built for solidity and ease of balance, and they are designed to support one’s weight while standing, even without a constant onslaught of waves. Because of this, SUPS are ideal for lake days and other still water leisure outings, as they can be utilized and enjoyed to their fullest extent even without the motion of the ocean.
Wetsuits may be necessary for colder environments, but the equipment threshold for stand up paddle boarding is generally low; all you really need is a board, a paddle, and a place to practice, as well as a personal flotation device for safety.
Care And Maintenance of Stand Up Paddle Boards
When properly cared for and maintained, paddle boards can offer many years of fun and sporting entertainment. There are a few simple steps you can take to help extend the life of your board and to help make sure you get the most fun and use out of your investment.
- Always rinse your board after use. This is especially important if you’re using your paddle board in the ocean, as salty sea water can be powerfully corrosive to your board’s delicate construction. Rinsing your board helps keep salt and other corrosive elements from warping and damaging your board over time, and it will keep rust from developing along the metal fins on your board’s underside. Salt water doesn’t evaporate as quickly as fresh water, so a fresh water rinse will help dry your board and prevent buildup of salty residue. It will also discourage mildew and other unwelcome bacterial guests from setting up shop on your board’s deck pad.
- Dry your board before putting it away. Never seal your SUP in a bag while wet, even if it’s a special reflective bag designed specifically for your board. The combined factors of heat and moisture together inside a board bag can create tiny bubbles in the epoxy below the surface of your board, which will lead to problems with water-tightness, down the road, as well as damaging the overall aesthetics.
- Keep it out of the sun. While SUPS are designed for use during the day, prolonged exposure to hot sunlight can quicken the process of delamination; this is when the board’s outer materials begin to separate from its lightweight foam core, causing warping and generally undercutting your board’s efficiency and ease of use in the water. Never store your paddle board in the sun or in an overly warm environment for this reason, and, if you’re planning a day at the beach, make sure to bring a board bag or cover to keep your SUP out of the sun.
- A clean board is a fast board. As with any sporting gear, it’s important to keep your stand up paddle board clean and give it a good going over after each and every outing on the water. If you’re using your SUP on waterways that are also frequented by boats or jet skis, it’s a good idea to use dish soap or specialized board cleaner on your SUP in order to remove any slickness or oil buildup which can be corrosive to your board’s finish and, ultimately, render it unusable. Dirty boards, even ones with a thin layer of buildup or grime on the finish, will suffer from lessened performance, compared to clean, well-sealed SUPS.
- Reseal your board from time to time. Even a lovingly cared for SUP will begin to suffer from surface breakdown over time. If left unchecked, a weakened finish will allow for water migration, adding unwanted water weight to your board and upsetting its finely tuned balance. Regular cleaning and the occasional use of specialized resealing products will greatly prolong the life and performance of your board, not to mention keeping up the resale value should you ever decide to upgrade.
- Protect the weak spots. Just like any other piece of specialized sporting equipment, stand up paddle boards have certain spots that are more susceptible to damage than others. Keep your SUP in showroom shape by cutting lengths of pool noodles to size and using them to protect your board’s nose, rails, and tail during storage and transport, especially if you’re keeping your SUP in a garage or storage unit with concrete floors. Novice paddle boarders may also consider using rail guard tape or nose and tail guards for their SUPS in order to minimize rough and tumble damage.
What Are You Waiting For?
With the rapid proliferation of stand up paddle boarding in the modern world of water sports, it’s easier than ever for the uninitiated to get involved and learn the basics. BruSurf stand up paddle boards come in a variety of designs for a variety of interests.
Maybe speed is the name of your game, and a longer, narrower paddle board is calling out to you; maybe you’ve got kids and are looking for a shorter board to provide general fun and education for the whole family. No matter what, stand up paddle boarding is a great way to get outside with friends and loved ones for an exciting, accessible, and entertaining full-body workout.
No matter your needs or experience level, the BruSurf catalogue has stand up paddle boards to fit your budget and athletic aspirations. There’s no need to avoid the water; when it comes to stand up paddle boarding, the only thing limiting the good times is your willingness to jump in and give it a try. There’s a reason stand up paddle boarding is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing water sports worldwide; why wait and see what all the hype is about when it’s so easy and intuitive to get started on your own?