What Is Paddle Boarding?

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Anywhere there is a resort beside a lake, sea, or ocean, there is going to be a rental place for paddle boards. Yes, paddle boarding is almost as talked about as famous celebrity couples. Okay, maybe not that much, but the water sport has generated a lot of interest. Lately, you see people using paddle boarding for workouts, yoga, and for exploring some of the world’s most stunning settings.

But what is paddle boarding? Should you give it a try? What do you need to get started? We are going to answer all those questions and more.

What is Paddle Boarding?

Let’s get acquainted with this fun water sport. Paddle boarding is a little like surfing, except you are either sitting or standing on the paddle board and using your arms or paddle to propel you forward through the water.

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is the same as regular paddle boarding, except the participant stands up on the board. As you can probably guess, SUP is related to surfing, though it does provide less of a challenge and intensity.

The good news is that you do not need to know how to surf to get started with paddle boarding. In fact, you conditions that are the exact opposite to what a surfer would want: flat, calm water.

The History of Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding may have gained explosive popularity during the 1960s, but paddle boarding has been around for over a thousand years across the globe. Many cultures have used similar boards for transportation of both people and goods. For example, the Peruvians have been using paddle boards made out of reeds for over 3,000 years. In Israel, swimmers are saved by lifeguards who paddle out on hasehkeh, which looks like a typical paddle board.

However, as a sport, paddle boarding has only been widespread since the early 2000s. Now that the sport has become a craze, you can find paddle boarding almost anywhere you find a body of water.

Why You Should Try Paddle Boarding

There are numerous reasons why you should try paddle boarding some time soon, such as health benefits and more. Let’s have a look at some reasons why paddle boarding is awesome:

  • It’s a whole body workout. If you are looking to burn off some extra pounds, then you are going to love stand up paddle boarding! Every muscle group in the body gets worked while paddle boarding. The abdominal muscles and legs work for stability while the arms and chest get a good burn going. And the faster you paddle, the more calories you burn through.
  • You work on balance. Another benefit of paddle boarding would be increased bodily awareness. Knowing where you are on the board and how to shift your weight to stay upright is key. Balance is necessary throughout life, especially as you get older.
  • Low-impact. While paddle boarding is going to give you an excellent workout, it is not as taxing on the body as some other sports. In fact, it is has a low impact on the joints, ligaments, and tendons. You will find paddle boarding to be as relaxing as yoga.
  • Reduce stress quickly. Since paddle boarding is relaxing, it also helps you eliminate stress from your life. Plus, all that fun you are having is going to boost your mood even further.
  • Enjoy the great outdoors. Time spent outside means you will be getting your daily vitamin D, which is needed for bone health.

How to Choose a Paddle Board (and Other Equipment)

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Fortunately for the first timer, there is not a lot of equipment involved in paddle boarding. You just need a few things to get started:


As a beginner, the best board is going to be 30 inches or wider. From there, you should gain experience on boards with carbon vacuums and soft tops. A carbon vacuum-bagged board is going to be light and responsive, while a soft top board is heavy and durable. Keep in mind that some boards are better for whitewater while others function better for long distance.


These can be either carbon, fiberglass, or aluminum. The best paddle length is going to be 9-10 inches taller than you are.

Personal flotation device (PFD)

You can choose between a vest or a PFD belt, depending on how comfortable you are. Either way, you need a PFD to keep you floating during an emergency.


Another safety feature that keeps you attached to your board in case you fall.

Tips for Paddle Boarding Beginners

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Now that you know a little more about paddle boarding, you are probably raring to give it a shot. You might not excel the first few trials, but knowing some of these beginner tips for paddle boarding will get you off on the right foot.

  • Choose a day with calm weather. No angry waves or strong wind.
  • Start with one knee on the board. The knee should be straddling the handle hole on the board.
  • Your hands should be on the shaft of the paddle and positioned in front of the knees. Spread the fingers wide.
  • When you want to stand, get on your hands and knees. Find your balance there. Then, you will want to put both feet where your knees originally were. Make sure to do this slowly, one foot at a time.
  • Keeping your balance is going to be the most challenging part of the whole day. Remember to keep your center of gravity between both feet. Keep a slight bend in the knees, similar to skiing.
  • To keep upright, use smooth paddling and a forward momentum.
  • Gaze forward, not down at your feet.
  • The core should remain engaged while standing.


Paddle boarding is an exhilarating sport. If you have the chance to try paddle boarding, do it. You can rent for the first few times then decide if you want to make paddle boarding a hobby. Anyone can try paddle boarding, regardless of your fitness level. Stand up paddle boarding is easy to learn, is low risk of injury, and is addicting. Once you start, you will definitely want to keep doing it.