Alright, you’ve spotted some people enjoying the SUP boom at your local beach, thought about doing it yourself, and picked up a SUP of your own. How do you ride it, and more importantly, how do you do so without hurting yourself?
SUPs are for people of all ages, and they’re a blast when you figure out how to ride them. Especially if you have a hobby that goes along with it such as fishing, yoga, racing, or wave surfing. They can produce some risks, though.
Today, we want to make sure you’re equipped to get on your SUP and learn to ride whether you’re 16 and trying a new sport, or 45 and just trying to get some fun exercise.
Let’s get started.
1: Be Comfortable in the Water
Most people learn to swim before they’re in their teens. So, if you’re a teen or adult, you probably don’t need to invest in swimming lessons.
However, you do need to be extremely comfortable in the water without a board. Falling is a part of SUP riding, and it’s a little more than just taking a quick swim. You might get disoriented, separated from your board, or even injured if you’re not paying attention to your surroundings when it happens. You need to be very comfortable in the water to be able to handle that if it happens.
2: Know Your Limits
SUP surfing can be an extremely flexible sport. You can do something as chill and relaxing as performing yoga on a perfectly still pond, or as extreme as hitting the biggest waves and racing along the coastline.
Obviously, some activities will be more geared toward your capabilities than others, and while we highly recommend taking full advantage of your SUP and trying new things, you need to know your limits.
If you have trouble balancing at higher speeds, you definitely don’t want to hit massive waves. If you can’t balance with gear and other items on you and your SUP, you don’t want to hop right into SUP fishing in deep water.
That doesn’t mean you can’t eventually do those things. Just ease yourself into them, and don’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with.
This requires a lot of honesty with yourself. Being too brazen could lead to unnecessary risks.
3: Keep Your Tie Attached
With certain SUP activities, riders choose not to hold onto their tie. That’s to be expected. Even if you strap it to your ankle, it can get in the way of yoga poses, moving around the board while fishing, and a few other niche SUP activities.
However, you’re just starting to learn how to do the activity. Using your lashing or “tie” will ensure your board doesn’t get away from you during a fall. Depending on how far away from shore you are, you can get in a messy situation by not tying on your lash or keeping a hold of it.
4: Get a Good Board
This is a minor detail compared to the tips we gave that are directly safety-related, but getting a good board truly does make a difference. The performance level of a high-quality SUP is far above that of the cheapest thing you’ll find. You’ll learn faster, more safely, and more enjoyably.