by Danielle Clark-Fox, DPT
It’s hard to argue that SUP- stand up paddle boarding is the hottest new water sport out there. Having just returned from the great state of Hawaii, I can testify that everyone from Grandpa to grandson was out there enjoying the water and getting a great total body workout. So what exactly are the benefits and where can you go around the Boston area to try it out?
For those not sure what exactly the set up is; you stand on what is basically a surfboard and propel/steer with a longer version of a canoe paddle. The paddle should be about a foot taller than you, and the board fitted to you as if you were surfing. The option is yours for the ankle tie between you and the board, in case the two of you are separated! The gentleman I spoke with in Kona, HI said unless the waves are right for surfing and you want more of an exihalarating workout, there is no reason you should be off your board. Just as a sidemention, SUP got its start in Hawaii and has quickly moved from Pacific to Atlantic and Lake Champlain in our neck of the woods!
What does it do for your body? It combines cardio, core stabilization and balance as well as upper and lower body strength. You need to steer and propel yourself using your upper body predominately with your core kicking in for stability and balance. Your lower body gets a workout mostly from assisting in balancing on the board and supporting the actions of your upper body. I really feel one of the best benefits is that it’s a great option for a workout that almost everyone can take part in and be out on the water in a safe way!
Most companies that offer SUP lessions and equipment lent you rent for the day, so give it a try before investing in a board of your own or rent occasionally as a boost to your current workout plan. And around the Boston area most places will rent you a wet suit as well since our ocean temp tends to run quite a bit cooler. Check out Charles Rive Canoe and Kayak as well as REI around Boston to get you started on your SUP experience!
Dr. Clark-Fox is a physical therapist at Boston Sports Medicine.