With the scorching summer sun beating down on you, you probably can’t wait to throw on your swimsuit and jump into the nearest body of water.
Summer is the season of water sports, after all. So it would be a shame to let the upcoming weeks and months go by without trying stand-up paddleboarding, one of the most popular water sports of our times.
Stand-up paddleboarding (also known as SUP) offers the perfect opportunity to get some excellent low-impact exercise, while having fun in the water with your family and friends. It targets all the major muscle groups in your body, ensuring that you get a full-body workout with just a few hours of paddling.
One hour of casual paddling can help you burn 430 calories. On the other hand, you’ll burn more than 750 calories per hour if you choose the more strenuous sport of SUP racing.
The Importance of Paddleboarding Gear
To make your paddleboarding experience as safe and comfortable as it can be, you will need to invest in some high-quality SUP gear.
Now, it is easy to get carried away when shopping for a new sport that you are eager to try out. But you must remember that a major reason for the popularity of SUP is that it is simple and accessible. As such, it doesn’t require a ton of equipment or super-specialized gear. In fact, too much gear will only get in the way of an otherwise enjoyable paddleboarding session.
The gear you need during any particular SUP session depends on a number of factors. For instance, you’d need more safety gear for whitewater SUP than for flatwater paddleboarding. Similarly, you’d need to invest in an insulating wetsuit if the weather is cold, but a normal swimsuit and sunhat would suffice during the summer.
Too much gear can be counterproductive, as you will waste a lot of time trying to carry all that unnecessary SUP paraphernalia to and fro. Hence, you’d be less likely to go paddleboarding on a regular basis. On the other hand, with insufficient gear, you risk getting stuck out in the water, without the equipment you need to get yourself to safety.
Essential Paddleboarding Gear
As you get more familiar with the sport of stand-up paddleboarding, you must develop an understanding of what type of SUP gear is right for you. In this article, we will discuss some of the essential SUP equipment you will need, if you want to go paddleboarding this summer.
When purchasing a paddleboard, size, capacity, and portability are the three most important factors you will have to keep in mind. Inflatable and solid paddleboards are the two main varieties available in the market. The most popular paddleboards are usually around 11-12 inches in length and 6 inches in thickness.
High-quality inflatable boards are made from military-grade PVC, while solid boards are usually made from fiberglass. While inflatable boards are known for their portability and maneuverability, solid boards are preferred for their robust durability.
Beginners should stick to larger and broader paddleboards, as they offer greater stability in the water. However, smaller and narrower boards have their uses, especially when it comes to SUP racing and surfing. This is because they’re more agile than their bulkier counterparts.
- Adjustable Paddle
Paddles of many different shapes and sizes can be used during an SUP session. That said, adjustable paddles are preferred by beginners because they can provide greater comfort and safety in the water.
You can change the length of an adjustable paddle in accordance with your needs, until you’ve worked out the length that is ideal for you. Adjustable paddles can also be folded into a compact shape for easier transportation.
The highest quality SUP paddles have a nylon blade and a carbon-fiber shaft. This makes them lightweight, ergonomic, and easy-to-handle. Paddles made from aluminum and fiberglass are also quite popular, offering greater durability and sturdiness.
- Ankle Leash
A coiled SUP ankle leash is an essential piece of safety equipment that you will have to use, if you plan to do any SUP touring or racing. One end of the leash is attached to the paddleboard and the other end is attached to your ankle.
Thus, if a large wave suddenly knocks you off your board, you’ll be able to get back on it with minimal hassle. The ankle leash will prevent the currents from carrying the paddleboard away from you and leaving you stranded in the water.
The best ankle leashes comprise a padded neoprene ankle cuff and a long shock cord. The cord is usually quite thick and at least as long as the paddleboard itself. These elements are designed to keep you safe and comfortable during your paddleboarding session.
- Buoyancy Aid
A personal floatation device (PFD), also known as a buoyancy aid, is a type of safety gear designed to keep you afloat if you happen to fall into the water while paddleboarding. You may not need to use the PFD most of the time, but when conditions are dire, it can save your life and keep you from drowning. So you should definitely purchase one when shopping for paddleboarding gear.
The best buoyancy aids come in bright colors (for enhanced visibility), and fit snugly against your body, allowing for a full range of motion. PFDs come in various sizes and designs, and can be inflated with a pump when needed. Some PFDs also have a gas canister installed within, so a light pull on the designated cord will inflate it immediately.
Once you’ve stocked up on all the essential paddleboarding equipment, you just need to find the nearest suitable water body and jump in!
A summer full of fun, exercise, and relaxation awaits you in 2021.