Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a relatively new activity that is growing in popularity. It involves standing on what looks like an oversized surfboard while rowing with an elongated paddle. The board, which is highly buoyant and 10-12 feet long, is designed for stability and straight tracking. The lightweight paddle is typically made of aluminum or carbon fiber, and has a single blade on the end for propulsion and steering. The cost of a board and paddle starts at around $300, and can increase to well over $1000 depending on the materials used in construction of the equipment. Many local surf shops and marinas are renting equipment for around $50 per day.
So maybe you are thinking there is no possibility you could stand up on a surfboard. The platform, although not as easy as standing on the ground, is surprisingly stable because of the increased width. This allows the user to stand with the feet in the same plane, shoulder width apart rather than one forward and the other back. The board is propelled by alternating strokes from one side to the other, and steering is assisted by using the paddle blade as a rudder. The board can be used in water less than one foot deep, or out in the ocean on a calm day.
Because you are the engine for this mode of transportation, SUP provides a great full body workout. Paddling is an excellent exercise for strengthening the often neglected core muscles, and the lateral stabilizers involved with balance. Faster paddling will also benefit the cardiorespiratory system, and burn plenty of calories. Be adventurous and try a new activity. You may be surprised at how much fun this healthy activity can be.
By: Steve Bernstein PT, OMT
Preferred Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches