Stand Up Paddleboarding
Stand up paddleboarding is similar to surfing, but usually a lot easier to master. It involves standing on something similar to a surfboard and propelling yourself through the water with a paddle, similar to the ones used in canoeing or kayaking. Unlike surfing, you don't need to be in the ocean for paddle boarding, as it can be done in just about any body of water.
The Outdoor Foundation's 2015 Special Report into Paddlesports found that 2,800,000 people tried stand up paddleboarding in 2014, making the sport one of the most popular new sports around! It's also a relatively inexpensive sport since all you need is a paddleboard and a paddle (and a personal flotation device depending on the body of water you choose to paddleboard in). Many areas now also have rental boards and paddles available for those wishing to try out the sport without committing to it.
Besides being fun, and a great way to explore the water, stand up paddleboarding is an amazing workout! Depending on your speed and body type you can burn anywhere between 400-1200 calories per hour. Paddleboarding also provides a full-body workout, helps with balance and stamina, and is low impact.
Apart from being a great workout, Paddleboarding is also a pretty easy way to explore the water. The learning curve on paddleboarding tends to be much shorter than you might think (Most people are up and moving after a brief lesson). Unlike surfing, you will probably get the hang of it your first time out, leaving you plenty of time to concentrate on fun!
While you can stand up paddleboard pretty much anywhere there is a body of water, some places should definitely be on your paddling bucket list. Hawaii, where the sport originated, has become a mecca for paddleboard enthusiasts due to crystal clear water and calm beaches. Costa Rica, Belize, and even Canada have all become hot spots for paddleboarding in recent years as well. Some places, such as Houston, TX and Galveston, TX have even created special paddling trails for stand up paddleboarding right in the city.
If you are ready to dive into this fun and exciting sport, a great place to start is your local park or waterway. Many places offer classes, rental equipment, and clubs and enthusiast groups so you don't have to go it alone. If you have tried it before, I would love to hear about your experience! Leave a comment below and let me know how it went.
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