Making waves with stand up paddle boarding

Stand up paddle boarding’s popularity continues to build as people are discovering this new way to get fit and enjoy the outdoors. Considered one of the fastest growing sports in the world, stand-up paddle boarding, a.k.a. SUP, is a type of surfing where the rider uses a paddle to move through the water while standing on a surfboard.

Although SUP originated in the Hawaiian islands, the great thing about this sport is you don’t have to be near the ocean to do it. Stand up paddle boarding can be enjoyed on wave-less bodies of water, like lakes and ponds and still offer a great workout. More adventurous athletes can develop skills to ride down raging river rapids, take on ocean waves and participate in races around the world.

image credit: Mike Baird, Flickr

The fitness benefits from stand up paddling are tremendous. Great for cardio strengthening, SUP offers a full body workout, with concentration in the arms, legs and the rear. The mere act of balancing on the board in a moving environment forces the body to stabilize the core just to stay on. Because of its amazing benefits, it has become a favorite cross-training activity for skiers, snowboarders and other athletes.

Another benefit of SUP is that it is mentally de-toxifying. Being amid a natural outdoor environment on top of the water, and doing a form of low-impact sport, either solitary or with a group, allows you to leave all your cares at the shore.

A small learning curve, enables just about anybody to enjoy the basics of SUP-ing within minutes. A great way to start is to check around to see if anyone in your area offers SUP instruction and rentals.

Amid the arid desert of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas is home to one growing SUP outfit called Paddle to the Core. Located at Loews Lake Las Vegas resort, just 30 minutes east of the Las Vegas Strip, you can take a lesson and/or rent a board and paddle and set off on a sparkling lake for a great workout. Kathy Holesapple, owner of Paddle to the Core, is determined to get more people hooked on this sport. Her board shop offers board/paddle rentals, board storage, and basic SUP lessons. Family, social, team-building gatherings can all be arranged through her shop. She also provides weekly themed outings for couples, CrossFit trainers, even dog lovers, on designated doggie paddle days, and yoga classes.

If you are already enjoying the benefits of yoga, SUP adds a new element to fitness and balance. According to Holesapple, the paddle board serves as a fine yoga mat, and the extra balance required by being on the water intensifies the yoga routine. The peacefulness of floating on the water creates a meditative nature to the yoga workout.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, there’s almost no limit to the watery worlds you can explore on your stand up paddleboard. Play in the waves and ocean surf, explore ecosystems, enter tours and challenges, all while getting fit to the core.

Marisa Finetti

Social media-driven, passionate about living healthy, and writing about both. Marisa Finetti has been published in a number of magazines on topics of spa and wellness, and has her own blogs on social media and health: Best Be Well,Spa Pixie and Social Media Siren.

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