If there’s a sport that captures this year’s zeitgeist, it’s standup paddle boarding or SUP. Standup paddleboarding has been around for a decade or see, but it is the evolution of inflatable paddleboards that has really supercharged the appeal and development of SUP. It seems that everyone has been to get in on the act this year, with Orlando Bloom paddleboarding naked, Bill Bailey appearing in the Guardian discussing his love of SUP on the Thames, and even Countryfile and Waitrose magazine featuring SUP in 2016. And there are a number of reasons why SUP is the fastest growing watersport in the UK and the world right now:
1. It’s accessible. Anyone; young, old, able, less abled are able to get on a board and paddle.
2. All you need is water. Unlike most other board sports, you can SUP 24/7. Admittedly some conditions are better than others; sun drenched waters and light winds are particularly appealing. But SUP is independent of waves or wind. Although there are speciality boards for racing, or for expeditions, or for surfing, or for riding river rapids, a single all-purpose board can do all of this reasonably well. And you can SUP anywhere; river, lake, sea or canal. So there will always be somewhere to SUP within a few miles.
3. It’s easy. With the correct board for your size and weight, you will be up and paddling within minutes. Even the most balance challenged beginners are stand up paddling within 15 minutes.
4. It’s a great workout. It’s widely reported that SUP is good for the core muscles, and it’s also great for improving all round fitness; an hour paddleboarding will burn around 700 calories. And because you’re in control of how hard you work and how far you go, it doesn’t matter what shape you start in.
5. Once you have made the initial outlay in kit, there are very few ongoing costs. And although the initial outlay can seem significant, buying second hand, or buying smartly can reduce the initial outlay.
6. Getting close to nature. Stand up paddleboarding puts you right out there to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of nature. With the water under your feet you’ll find that you have the perfect viewpoint to observe amazing creatures swimming and moving about below you. You’ll be able to see birds in action, witness a serene sunrise, paddle through mist, or marvel at a breathtaking sunset. Whether you are on a solo, family, or social paddle stand up paddleboarding connects you with your natural surroundings.
7. Quality time together. Whether river paddling to lunch in a riverside pub, or paddling down river with your children on the boards, SUP can be very sociable. You can even bring your dog along for the ride.
8. Stress reduction. Fed up of busy crowded beaches? Paddle to that secluded island or inaccessible beach around the headland. Skinny dipping. Paddle far from the madding crowd, strip, and dive in the water. SUP is a great way to unwind and relax. Beautiful sunsets, inspirational sunrises, paddling in amazing places reduces stress and recharges your batteries.
9. Free dinner. Tie a crayfish or lobster pot net behind the board, add bacon and paddle. Or take a fishing rod with you. Easy to find your own perfect spot. And then grill them up on the beach when you get back. Probably with a cold beer!
10. Deflate the board, roll up, and pack away in the convenient wheeled rucksack that comes with the best inflatable paddleboards. No worrying about tired arms strapping the boards to the roof or trying to squash everything into the car. You can be on the road in a few short minutes after getting off the water.
If these reasons don’t make you want to rush out and get your hands on an inflatable paddle board, then nothing will!
Hamish Hiles is a Paddle board supplier and a passionate surfer himself. He has written various articles on the inflatable paddle board, particularly the various models available in the market. He says people can opt for an inflatable SUP if they are looking for an affordable investment without going for a solid SUP for themselves. He advises that though family inflatable paddleboard can accommodate more weight, it is better that only one adult boards on it.