Have you ever wanted to learn surfing ? The eternity of blue ocean, the power of the coming waves and you, in between. What could be better ? Unfortunately, not everyone is born to be surfer and not everyone is enough lucky to leave by the ocean and enjoy the tranquility of majestic water but there is still a hope for all of us who love water sports, there is a SUP.

What is a SUP ? That is so called stand-up paddle boarding, originated in Hawaii around 1950s. Indeed, everything about surfing is linked to the Polynesian ancestry. It is written that in 1778, Captain James Cook sailed into Hawaiian Islands and became the first European to see Hawaiian people that surf. This means that this sport is not any kind of new age inventory but the old discovery of happy Hawaiian surfers who loved to use their boards with paddles. There is some interesting story that surf instructors in Waikiki like Duke Kahanamoku, Leroy and Bobby AhChoy would take paddles and stand on their boards to get a better view of the surfers in the water and incoming waves. Suddenly, the beach boy surfing was born. Not long after, SUP conquered the whole world and offered the fun and fitness to the all generations.

I am sure you know how beneficial is every activity that includes our moving but all sort of actions that belong to water fitness are nothing but the best choice for physical and mental health. The experts have investigated the advantages of this activity and came out with fascinating facts that could make you wish jump on the board and paddle, as soon as it is possible.

Many physical activities are causing some kind of stress for body. That is the core of medicine. You have, at the same time, many good things but also some not so good things that might cause the injury or minimal stress for the body. When we talk about SUP, we need to know that it has low- impact in negative way which means you are performing physical activity without putting stress on your joints, for example. In the case you are injured or not 100% functional, you can still pick up this workout and have a full workout and conditional gains.

One of the next encouraging points about SUP is indeed the ability to increase the core strength, build abdominal strength and lean muscle tone, shaping also the arms, legs, back and shoulders. It is multidimensional sport that targets all parts of the body. Beside it, it works on building and enhancing stamina and joint stability. This happens when you try to balance on a SUP board and that activates the small muscles in the foot and lower leg area. What about stress ? Think of the tranquility you can experience once when you are on the water, isolated from the busy and annoying world. Yes, this is the perfect tool for reducing stress, accumulated from daily work and standard challenges we are dealing with. You and your board is enough to open the door of water paradise and all relaxing ways you could find there. Just being around water is a therapy, blue therapy that is known being one of the main stress reducing factors. Then, there is a famous sunshine and vitamin D. The happiness and the physical strength that are hidden in just one name: SUP:“A 2016 study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise found that the “greater need to twist the core to propel the board at a faster pace” is the reason why SUP is such a great core workout, especially for your external oblique muscles. They also suggested that keeping your balance on an ever-shifting surface caused regular contractions in the abdominal muscles, enhancing your core strength. Another study  from Bond University, Australia, found that after six weeks of regular SUP, participants experienced a significant improvement in their body image, self-esteem, learning, memory, concentration, and positive feelings. 

The next important question is how to provide the right SUP board at the beginning. I was researching a bit since I have a plan to start with this activity in the summer but I am still in doubts which board is the one that is addressing my needs. What are those crucial things we have to know before we purchase the board ? First of all, we have to have a plan how we will use it. There are 4 types of SUPs: surf, all-around, race and flatwater. The surf SUPs are created for surfing the waves with a paddle and they are shorter, with narrower nose. They are slow and less stable on the flat water. The second category or all-around SUPs are for the beginners, explorers that play on the water and search for their favourite activity. They are wider and longer. The race and the flatwater boards are almost the same, ideal for lakes, ponds and open oceans but the race could increase the speed.

The difference is also between solid and inflatable SUPs. The first are taking a lot of storage but they do have good material and they are more stable. On the other side, inflatable are practical for hiking and moving and also they do not take a lot of place. You need to pick up the right board keeping in mind the next formula:

  • Your weight (in kg) x 2 for beginners
  • Your weight x 1.7 for intermediates
  • Your weight x 1.3 for experts

The longer SUPs are faster than the shorter one but for playing on the waves, you have to take shorter:”Short boards under 10’ are suitable for surfing or for kids. For all-around use and Yoga SUP, you should opt for a medium board between 10’ and 12’ to feel stable and comfortable on the board. If you are into fast paddling or long-distance touring, large SUPs above 12’6’’ are perfect because they are faster than any other size. To determine the right width for your SUP, if you are a small person, you should get a narrower board. If you are a big person, you will need wider boards. Wide SUPs are also perfect when you are touring and carrying extra gear with you. If you are a beginner, you should opt for a wide board to give you more stability while paddling. The paddle should be proportional to your height as it should reach your wrist when you stand in front of it with your arm raised above your head.

Indeed it is not easy to find the best board for your goals and mission on the water, especially when the offer is so rich and advertising so aggressive. According to the advises from the water sport specialists, the best for the beginners is to go with inflatable SUP that is moderate thick ( around 5 inches) with a rounded nose and tail. The boards with attachments points in the standing zone should be avoided but the 4-pint cargo bungee at the front of the board is great for most uses. Remember to research and invest but also you should know that the first board will be for learning and there will be some mistakes. This is not a reason to give up but to accept that and to be happy about the possibility to live through this amazing water sport. You have a chance to be surfer of your own rhythm and to conquer the waves that are coming to you, embracing the sun and pleasure of lots of vitamin D.

What are you waiting for ? The summer is almost there.


  1. Sarah’s informative and beneficial article reminded me of the various theories associated with possible contact between ancient Polynesians and indigenous peoples of South America…

    The Moche Civilisation (c. 100-700 CE) existed along the western coastal regions of South America. Aside terrestrial activities (e.g. agriculture), they innovated fishing methods, and one such technique emerged in which they designed a flat board for fishing in shallow waters. They made these from marshland reeds; although, the original, primitive design came from much older tribes of Peru’s lake areas (c. 1000 BCE).

    The Moche fishermen modified the flat boards to be able to carry fishing nets and catches. On open ocean (i.e. shallow coastal areas), the fishermen used currents and small waves to move about in a more efficient and rapid manner.

    Polynesian peoples first interacted with indigenous tribes along the western coast of South America around 1200 CE: trading, learning and so on occurred. It is around this juncture that Polynesians began to design similar boards for navigating Pacific waves for various purposes (e.g. defence, fishing). Eventually, these boards would become the surf boards we know today…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !