They say it’s the fastest growing sport in the world – and it may well be. Certainly it has come a very very long way in the last five years. Rewind to the middle of last decade and it wasn’t even on the map, but now there are millions of participants worldwide, international competition circuits, hundreds of different brands, and discussion regarding Olympic recognition. And this growth is still accelerating, as the sport finds ever more niches and areas to colonise. This sheer versatility is the fundamental reason why the sport is not just some passing fad – it works for so many different reasons, and on so many levels.
Not only can you lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol and feel more energized after a [paddleboarding] session, but the overall experience of being on the water is often touted as “aqua therapy.” The benefits of having a sport you enjoy and can do on a regular basis can alter many of the morbidity factors that decrease our health and plague our society. Suzie Cooney: Naish Team rider and USA SUP fitness guru
Although it originated (in its modern form) from the surfing community, it is absolutely not just about waves. Its true potential is more akin to canoeing or kayaking. Yes, some people take their kayaks out into the surf – but a huge proportion of kayak owners don’t. Some race, some go exploring, some fish from them, others just use them for fitness. Some do long distance, or ride white water, some like to do tricks. Some use them for just getting away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, while for others it’s more of a social thing; a means to meet up with other like-minded people. And for many, it’s simply a bach beach toy for the family in the summer…
Well, paddle-boarding can do all those things – yet it offers an extra dimension too. No disrespect to our canoeing brethren, but actually, for a lot of people, sitting down and paddling around is actually quite boring. You get a wet bum, and if your technique isn’t good, often end up with a bad back. (And how heavy are those kayaks???). Whereas stand-up paddleboarding, even if you’re going slowly, delivers a much more extensive workout with much less risk of injury – and there’s something hypnotically pleasant about it too. You’re higher off the water because you’re standing, so you have a much better view all round. And you can look down into it more, getting a better view of the bottom if you’re in clear shallow water, or just gazing at the patterns and sparkles of the ripples. Just enjoying the sensation of gliding over the water, and the hypnotic, mesmeric effect of watching the water passing under the nose of the board.