Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) has become one of the most popular marine sports in recent history. In fact, in 2013, the sport reportedly attracted more first time participants than any other outdoor sport in the USA.
SUP is an offshoot of traditional surfing and may have been invented in the early 1900’s in Australia as an effective means of gliding over Australian sandbar waves. Surfers initially tried canoes but the canoes filled with water, so a “surf ski” was invented and navigation was done with a twin blade paddle.
Today SUP appeals to many water sport enthusiasts because of the relative ease of learning how to paddleboard, the affordability of the equipment and the tremendous core work-out it delivers. Boards typically range in price from $500 to $1500. Solid boards are made of glass reinforced plastic construction, although inflatable models are also available. Most boards are between nine and 12 feet in length.
Here are some handy tips for buying or renting a paddleboard:
- Select a board that suits your interests. There are two main categories of boards – all-rounders (recreational use) and racing/touring boards. All- rounders are suited for calm water conditions, staying close to shore, and for fishing. Racing and touring boards require less effort to paddle long distances.
- Select a paddle that is appropriate for your SUP goals. Consider the type of water (river, lake, ocean) and type of performance (casual versus racing) when choosing your paddle.
- Board width is the most important aspect to consider for stability. In general, the taller and heavier you are, the wider the board should be.
- Make sure the paddle is the right length. To do so, measure a “shaka” length, which is six to eight inches above the rider’s height.
- When you get a paddleboard, get a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) too, since paddleboards are classified as vessels and most jurisdictions require vessel operators to wear a PFD.
SUP provides a great way to get exercise and enjoy life on the water. The clear, calm waters of Grace Bay provide ideal SUP conditions. When you stay at the Alexandra Resort, you can enjoy complimentary use of the resort’s stand up paddleboards. Come visit us and try Turks and Caicos stand up paddle boarding!