When you have a passion, such as basketball, it becomes a priority and the focus of everything, even my philanthropic activities. Imagine my surprise when a friend touting water sports hit the nail on the head with the new sport of stand up paddle boarding. It was like “aha” and a light bulb went off. I don’t have to explain it to fans. It has been around for ages and has lots of practitioners. I can, however, advocate a few pieces of equipment so if you live by the sea, a lake, or a river, or are flying there shortly, you are ready to go.
Gear for Paddle Boarding
- Select the gear for the water destination of choice. There a multiple options of boards. A set comes with paddle, leash and roof rack. You will want easy gliding materials and a removable fin. Set a budget of $500 or more for a classic model.
- Think about a buckle nylon vest for men and women or a reversible pullover for warmth and wind protection.
- Consider waterproof accessory cases for cell phones and other necessities. You don’t want water, sand, or dust to penetrate at all! A plus is that they float.
- An underwater camera is a nice gift to ask for. It goes without saying that they are waterproof and produce high-quality images. This item can run as much a board, but photography buffs will be in heaven.
- Inflatable belt packs are also a nice accessory to tote with you to hold small personal items.
You can view anything on YouTube including how to ride a paddle board. This did it for me. I was convinced after one video and sought more. I see that there is an art to the right body position, balancing techniques, and paddle strokes. Practice is part of the fun. In a nutshell, you stand in the center of the board with feet shoulder-width apart and parallel. The knees are bent slightly. If you move your weight side to side, you will rock the board. It is a simple principle of balance and counter balance. When enough muscle memory sets in, you can try the smaller waves to start.
Now for the paddle. You grip it with the opposite hand. You will aim for efficient, long strokes for best mobility. The direction of the board will change as you learn proper strokes and go from side to side. The paddle should cut through the air like a knife as you use the core of your body. Be sure to angle forward. You will want to learn to turn (watch those videos!) by walking backward on the board.
You might not yet be ready for crashing waves (I’m not), but you get the general drift. Advanced paddle boarding in white water is a different game. You don’t head out into the waves, for example, but rather the shoulder area where they peak and peter out. It’s all about catching the perfect wave and staying clear of other surfers. There are times to stand up and times to paddle on your knees depending on the conditions. Aficionados of course go with the former stance. This is a thrill like no other!
I am set for some exciting times head, along with you I hope. Let’s literally get on board.