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Finding the Right Style of Paddle Boarding for You

Stand Up Paddle Boarding - SUP Boarding
Finding the Right Style of Paddle Boarding for You

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What's This?

While you might not have tried paddle boarding yet, you’ve likely seen it at the bay, lake, or the beach. If you have tried it, you may already know about the different types of people and styles of paddle boarders out there. For such a straight forward activity, there is a huge variety of paddle boarders.

Here is a guide to show you what type of paddle boarder you are.

The First Time Struggler

This was definitely me. Let’s put it nicely and say I was terrible. As a 6 foot 6 male I was a little hesitant to paddleboard. For all of us that struggle with balance from time to time, paddle boarding looks much more difficult than it truly is. At first, I felt like a bear in a circus show, barely able to walk the tight rope. By the end, I was focused on the experience out on the water instead of balance.

Even if you struggle the first time you paddle board, you will quickly gain skill. The less tense you are, the better you become at it. There is a quick learning curve, then most people will move out of this phase.

The Zen Boarder

This is the old man, on his board, with his dog right before sunset. You’ll see these characters in places like Mission Bay in San Diego, California. I still don’t understand how a dog can be this calm – every dog I’ve had is too hyper to sit, much less stay on a paddle board. This is a pretty zen, but you can take it another step further.

The Paddle Boarding Model 

Some people effortlessly hop on the board, and they look great doing it. These are the type of people that the First Time Struggler will glare at, cursing them for making it look so easy.  They’ll make comments like “Oh this isn’t so hard” and “Why are you falling so much?” and other things that make you want to accidentally paddle them right in the face.

The Yoga Paddle Boarder

If you live in a beautiful, relaxing place, the combination of paddle boarding and yoga creates one of the more serene and peaceful situations you can imagine. A sunrise class is a particularly good time for this, as it is less likely to be crowded at the bay.

The Extreme Bad Ass Paddle Boarder

This is an entire class of paddle boarders I have to admit I didn’t even realize existed. My initial perception of paddle boarding fits the molds I discuss above. Turns out, there are people that make paddle boarding an action sport.

One variation is paddle boarding in the snow:

This looks epic, and something I definitely need to try, at least if I can find fresh powder like the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0VNDtUr-Nw

SUP Boarding (Stand Up Paddle Boarding)

This is basically surfing with a paddle. You can even learn how to do 360’s on your board. SUP Boarding has taken on a life of it’s own separate from surfing, and you’re sure to see SUP Boarding enthusiasts at most of the busiest surf beaches these days.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InvidGDWHU4

While there are many more types of paddle boarding, there is one great common theme between them all: they get you out on the water for a great afternoon!

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