Stand Up Paddle Boarding or SUP has developped into a proper trend sport on the water during the last years. Why is that? Paddling with a SUP board is easy to learn for everyone, plus the board is light and can be set up very quickly. For that reason SUP boards are being taken on charter trips more and more often now. Here are some useful hints on to what to bear in mind.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding or SUP
has developped into a proper trend sport on the water during the last years. Why is that? Paddling with a SUP board is easy to learn for everyone, plus the board is light and can be set up very quickly. For that reason SUP boards are being taken on charter trips more and more often now.
It`s a beautiful afternoon in the “Calanques”, located at the Mediterranean
coast of France
and Cassis. The narrow coves of the Calanques are carved into the impressive rocky coastline like sleek fingers and those beautiful anchorages are very popular among yachties. Swimmers jump into the water, kayaks are being put in the water, and divers and snorkelers discover the beauty of the underwater scenery. Between all these water sports activities, Stand up Paddlers are laying their boards on the calm water.
The Calanques provide perfect conditions for this trend sport, worldwide known as SUP. There are several reasons for the popularity of SUP, but most importantly, the sport is pretty easy to learn and requires little equipment. All you need is a board and a paddle – and that´s what makes SUP so popular among sailors: The equipment can easily be transported on a yacht. With around 500 Euros, the costs for a good board are reasonable. SUP is also an excellent opportunity to train all relevant muscles from core to arms and forms a beautiful, sleek silhouette!
Like in surfing, in SUP, different boards serve different purposes. Beginners start with a rather broad and voluminous board as these are most stable in the water and can be handled easily. On the other hand, you need more paddle power because the resistance of the water on these boards is higher.
In SUP, you differentiate between hard Boards and inflatable boards (iSUP). iSUPs have a limited size and weight when deflated so that you can easily transport them by car or by aircraft. With an air pump, you can easily inflate the board until it is as stiff and solid as a hard board. iSUP are a good option for beginners who want to stay flexible.
Compared to a hard board, the iSUP has a less agile handling; it doesn´t accelerate as quickly as a hard board; bigger damages are not as easy to repair.
SUP was invented in the surfer´s Mekka of Hawaii in the Fifties. Have a try – it´s fun and very easy to learn. There are just some things to consider before your first SUP experience. First of all, some safety advice:
- Check the weather and wind forecast before you leave the shore. If the wind blows offshore or there is a thunderstorm approaching, don’t go out with your SUP.
- Only go out when you are in good health conditions – SUP can become physically demanding after some time. If you are not an excellent swimmer, better wear a life jacket, e.g. a regatta vest for dinghy sailors.
- Remember that the sun burns more intensely on the water, so put sunscreen on or think about a UV protection shirt. Especially your back and your shoulders are exposed to the sun.
- If you do longer trips, your waterproof rucksack should be packed with a cell phone (also in a waterproof case), a whistle, water and some snacks and a warp line with approximately 20 metres of rope.
- Like a diver, avoid solo trips – and if you do, inform your friends or family before you leave.
- Check your gear before you embark: are the board, the paddle, the fins and the safety line (called leash) in a good state?
- If you rent out a SUP, check if the board fits your weight and if the paddle fits your size.
- To enjoy the fun of SUP, a good physical state and fitness level are crucial – a well-trained and strong body can stand difficult situations more easily .
The best way to see if SUP suits your expectation is a 3-hours-starter training (which is offered in almost every bigger city next to a lake, a river or the sea).
Felix Wolf is co-founder and owner of YachtBooker. He is a charter skipper himself and enjoys discovering new sailing areas.