“Are you going to do yoga?” they asked. “Or you could take the martial arts class,” they said helpfully as we sat with a glass of wine overlooking the calm water at Marina del Rey. This little coastal town in Los Angeles is just a stone’s throw from the airport to the south and Venice Beach and Santa Monica to the north where surfies and beach babes decorate the ocean like confetti.
I gulped, for they were not talking about stretching in lycra in a gym or even on the beach. They meant doing stunts (I shall call them) while standing on a giant surf board out in the marina.
I do like my travels to be holistic. In other words, I like to find local cuisine and watch the sun set for the happiness factor but I also like to try a new skill and be active. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no sporty spice, but when the opportunity arose to give SUP (stand up paddleboarding) a try, I was in!
I’m a late adopter. Clearly. I thought just standing on a paddleboard and moving across the water without falling in was the aim. But that is so last decade – or even century. These days it’s about more than the all-over body workout that comes with curling your toes and using your torso to balance as people swim past creating a virtual tsunami of a wake.
Who knew SUP (stand up paddleboarding) could be an extreme sport?
As the scent of summer begins to waft into our crisp evenings and barbecues and bathing suits are almost upon us, I have begun to think that this summer I want to perfect my SUP. I want to stand up and paddle as easily as those who do it on their heads. I want to learn how to speed across the water with the wind in my hair and not a whiff of trepidation on my face.
Inspired by the new #lifetakecharge mantra that Sovereign are challenging us to live by, I’ve put together these 10 tips for perfecting Stand Up Paddleboarding:
1. It’s easier to start from a pier or in shallow water.
2. Place the paddle across the board just forward of halfway, then kneel with your knees about hip-width apart just behind it.
3. Push off and get familiar with your balance. Note: the slower you go the more wobbly you will be, so be confident with your paddling even in the kneeling position.
4. Get ready to stand up! Place your hands on either side of the board beside your knees and stand up, putting your feet where your knees were, picking up the paddle as you go.
5. Shout woohoo!
6. Keep your feet parallel, still about level with your hips, just behind the centre of the board. Look at the horizon and not your red toenail polish.
7. Bend your knees and straighten your back so you can use your hips for balance and twist your torso as you paddle.
8. Keep your arms straight with one hand on the grip at the top of the paddle and the other on the shaft.
9. Short strokes are good at first. Put the blade all the way under the surface and pull it back to your ankles.
10. Do four or five strokes at a time per side then switch hands and you’re away!
And before you know it, we’ll be watching you doing yoga on your board this summer!
This post was made possible thanks to Sovereign.