Standup paddleboarding -or SUP- is becoming more popular among water sports enthusiasts thanks to its versatility. If you are afraid of practicing surfing or windsurfing, or you simply do not have the necessary skills to tame the waves, don’t worry. You do not have to surrender before the possibility of sailing on top of a board.
Standup paddleboarding is a variant which in recent years has been gaining more fans, to become a kind of threat to other water sports with boards. It attracts the old and young, and it can be practiced in the open sea but also in lakes, rivers and bays, and you can enjoy it even with inflatable boards that are easily portable.
Originating in Polynesia, where the inhabitants used this system to move around, the Hawaiians were the ones who made this sport evolve, which involves simple navigation on top of a board -slightly wider than a surfboard- with the help of a row that can be adjusted to each person’s height.
In the 1960s, the surf instructors at Waikiki Beach began using these boards to better monitor their students. Hawaiian surfers also resorted to standup paddleboarding to train and stay fit without having to rely on the waves or wind. And it is true that while surfing requires waves and certain meteorological conditions, the SUP can be practiced in different situations, it is very versatile.
Exercise and fun, combined
Is standup paddleboarding a fun way to exercise or a sportive way to have fun? In any case, to get started all you need is a minimum balance and strength to stand on the board and propel yourself on the water.
The intensity of the exercise depends on the effort that each person wants to put into it, and also on the wind and water’s status while navigating: more or less agitated, with a stronger or softer current. In the open sea, with waves and ocean currents, the exercise will be intense.
Muscles and balance
The main benefits of this sport are the improvements on balance and strengthening of the muscles, especially the torso, abdomen and legs. Those who practice standup paddleboarding use virtually every muscle in their bodies at any given moment, the legs are exercised to maintain balance; the arms, back and shoulders, to push the board on top of the water.
Reflexes are enhanced almost unconsciously and the benefits are later noticed in firm land, where many activities and sports require a good balance. Certainly there will be falls, especially at first, but with the sun's heat and the effort you’ll be making, why would you be upset about cooling down a little bit?
In addition, standup paddleboarding is a low-impact sport for the body. It is unlikely that the tendons and ligaments of the joints will be damaged, and it is especially recommended for runners who are injured on the shins, or have pain on their knees or hips. It is also a great way to deal with stress.
One of the most recent developments is the combination of standup paddleboarding with yoga. Yoga requires concentration, endurance and patience, and the board brings an extra dimension of balance.
The environment and placidity of the water help achieve the perfect mood for meditating and practicing this discipline. The ancient Indian technique of body postures becomes an advanced activity to be performed in a board on top of the water. This activity, in addition to the known benefits of Yoga, helps us gain the strength and flexibility needed to maintain an adequate balance and posture on the water of a lake or the sea, while being a superb training for our body as a whole.
The SUP Yoga originated in the state of Florida, it is practiced mainly in coastal and hot weather zones and it is gaining great popularity thanks to the fact that it has quite a lot of celebrities that are avid practitioners. It is also practiced assiduously and in the most exclusive locations in Abu Dhabi, such as the Yacht and Sailing Club.
The sessions are usually 90 minutes long, and the paddle is almost two meters long. And here comes the big question: Is it difficult to practice SUP yoga? Is it an activity for everybody?
By adding water to the activity of Yoga, your core stability increases tremendously in order to achieve each pose properly. We can say that this discipline will certainly be a challenging one. Maintaining balance is quite difficult at first but is also definitely a great and fun way to transform your usual practice of Yoga!