New Craze called Paddle Boarding

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 12:45pm
Dawn Scothern

Paddle boarding has made a large impact in the United States as the fastest growing water sport in the world. Paddleboards are being sold in specialty sport stores or Walmart. You can use it in oceans, lakes, rivers, and bays – even a swimming pool if you so desire. It’s a great full-body core workout, and it’s a whole new way to experience the water in the outdoors. People of all ages, body types, and skill levels can be up and riding in no time. There is even room to throw a small child or dog on board!

Stand up paddle surfing and stand up paddle boarding (SUP) are sports originating in Hawaii as an offshoot of surfing. Unlike traditional surfing where the rider is sitting until a wave comes, stand up paddle boarders maintain an upright stance on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water. Maui surf legend, Laird Hamilton, was looking for a way to cross train for big waves in the early 90’s. He grabbed a canoe paddle, his longest surfboard and found paddling while upright to be a fantastic workout. Many mistakenly believe he invented the sport of paddle boarding. However, its original roots date back over thousands of years ago to ancient Hawaiian, Peruvian, and African culture. All three cultures had some form of paddle boarding. However, the Hawaiians are given the credit as first ones to actually surf waves with a paddle. They had a word to describe surfing with a paddle – Hoe He’e Nalu.

It is a relaxing way to spend time on the water. People of all ages stand on the board and paddle around the lake. This is a great stress reducer. According to the American Psychological Association, in 2015 a greater percentage of adults reported feeling extreme levels of stress in 2014. Many paddle boarding participants say there are soothing qualities to the sport, and in the 2016 study published in the academic journal Health & Place found that increased views of the blue space, including oceans, can be linked to lower levels of psychological distress. In a nut shell, it reduces stress.

Paddle boarding is not a high-intensity exercise, but it provides a way for men, women and children to begin increasing their levels of exercise. The muscles in the legs get a workout when you are paddle boarding, these muscles are being used to hold the body steady. The core the abdominal muscles also get a big workout as they maintain the body balancing. And the arm, shoulders, and back are in for a big workout. Paddle boarding provides a low-impact way for people to work out all muscle groups.

Those that seem to be the most relaxed while paddle boarding, are those with great balance. This sport can help men, women and children to improve their balance, it requires a stable core and strong legs. Beginners might struggle to stay upright at first, but with time they will notice their balance and strength improving.

There is the benefit of Vitamin D from being out in the sunlight. Vitamin D services a host of functions in the body that promote short and long term benefits. Vitamin D facilitates normal immune system function, which help you fight off disease and infection. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to diabetes and a host of many aliments. A 2014 researchers at the University of Georgia, the University of Pittsburg and the Queensland University of Technology in Australia uncovered a link between vitamin D deficiencies, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD affects millions of people across the world.

A few other benefits are no two sunrises or sunsets are the same. Being on a SUP allows you to be so close to the water, you can feel the sun energizing you as it rises! Even if you’re not a morning person, enjoy the experience of at least one sunrise SUP session. Paddling out from Cherry Beach to watch the sun set behind the mountains is equally breathtaking. The cloak of night changes the way you experience the water. Where you paddle during the day, will be totally different at night. Special lights under the board (or sometimes built into a paddle), or the natural light from a full moon (or even a super moon), help to illuminate the way.

For those of you who like whitewater rafting, you can put your SUP skills (particularly your balance, of course) to the test! When you first try river SUP, remember that falling is not a bad thing—it means you’re learning something new and building your skills. Look for courses to get that whitewater SUP adrenaline fix!