Maybe you’ve seen it on TV (it was recently part of “The Amazing Race”) or in the paper or heard the word “SUP” thrown around by outdoor enthusiasts. What is it? Standup paddleboarding, the latest outdoor sports craze! In fact, according to the Charleston Post & Courier, SUP is the fastest growing watersport in the U.S. and offers a full-body workout, with experts saying 30 minutes of SUP is equivalent to running 6 miles!
Here at Hilton Head Outfitters, we’ll teach you how to SUP on our calm 11-mile inland lagoon system that sits just outside our backdoors within Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. While you can do it on the ocean too, we find that learning on our lagoon, with no currents and protected by wind from the surrounding forest, is a great place to get your “footing” before you get more advanced.
To start, you’ll need a stand up paddleboard, of course, which you can rent or buy from us here at Outfitters. We’ll help you pick a size based on your weight and your experience. When you first start, it’s best to work with a wider, flatter board for stability.
Of course, there’s the “paddle” part too! We suggest choosing a paddle that’s about 6-8 inches taller than you. The paddle features an angle in the shaft for efficiency.
You’ll also need to wear a lifejacket for safety.
In the warmer climes of Hilton Head, leave the wetsuit at home and put on something comfy like shorts and a T-shirt or a swimsuit. You just want to be able to move easily – and stay cool! Of course, sunglasses and sunscreen are also good ideas. We’ve plenty of that in our store.
Getting on the Board
When you’re just beginning, it’s easiest to kneel on the board. Hold the board by the rails with the paddle across the deck of the board. Get your balance with hands on either side of the board. One foot at a time, stand up, placing your feet where your knees just were. We’ll be there though to help you get on!
Keep your feet parallel centered between the “rails” with your toes pointed forward and knees slightly bent. To shift your weight, move your hips and look up and out, not down. It’s a bit like riding a bicycle in learning your balance.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our paddleboarding basics series. In addition to rentals, we also offer stand up paddleboarding classes in 2-hour sessions all summer to get you off and SUPing! Or try, stand up paddleboarding yoga with Outside Hilton Head. Course, you may want to read part 2 before tackling that. J