Last week, I was just getting off the water after a nice afternoon paddle on Puget Sound. A woman on the beach said “That looks hard.” I responded “It’s easier than you think as we use finesse for our stroke as our core / torso provides power which allows for less actual work.” “And it’s super fun!” As she pushed her Lime Bike with a dead battery (very heavy) back to the street, she added “I’ve got a bad back, I’d have to wait until it heals.”
Which reminded me about some of the stand up paddling myths people mention about SUP – and solutions for each…
- “I have bad balance”. I tell folks, if you can walk normally without any issues, then on a properly sized board for your height and weight on flat water, you won’t have any problem with balance on the water.
- “It looks bad for my back.” By paddling correctly by twisting your torso for your turns and forward stroke, using a loose grip and a stable board, SUP will actually benefit you by strengthening your back.
- “I’m not in shape.” Over the years, I’ve had students who waited to take my classes as they felt they had to be in good shape to paddle. Unfortantly, magazine articles and billboard ads show paddle boarders as super fit model looking folks. This deters many from trying it. Truth is, paddling will get you in shape!
- “I’m not a good swimmer.” When I ask my students to fill out a liability form which asks a few questions such as ‘Can You Swim?’, a few say they can but are not good swimmers or competitive swimmers. All I care about is whether you can swim. Even I’m not a really good swimmer. But it’s not an issue as I wear a vest life jacket and a leash to prevent my board from floating away from me. And I don’t go out or take my students in conditions above our skill level and wear the right clothing for the water temperature.