Stand Up and Paddle!

20 Oct

Louise has mentioned in a few blogs that I have recently got into Stand Up Paddle boarding.  I thought it might be interesting if I wrote a quick blog about it for our site.

Stand Up Paddling is known as SUP, pronounced ‘S’… ‘U’… ‘P’.  It involves the paddler standing up on a long, wide surfboard and using a long paddle to propel yourself on the water.  You can paddle almost anywhere: on the flat water of rivers, harbours and lakes, in the surf and even out at sea (down wind and with the sea only).

I first tried it a couple of years ago when I was in Florida and when we arrived in Sydney last year I was pleased to see loads of people doing it in Rose Bay.  Only now that I have a little more time have I had the chance to give it a real go, and for the last few weeks I have been going with a Club in Rose bay a couple of times a week.

We train every Tuesday and Friday at 6 am (Aussies tend to get going earlier than Brits!), and there are races on Wednesday evening and Saturday mornings.  Both training and the races are fairly chilled affairs, but my competitive side has begun to show through in the races and as my technique and fitness improve, I am keen to improve my course times and get further up the leader board!  The trouble is there are different styles of board, some suited for racing, some for surf and some hybrids.  Then you have different lengths and widths and volumes of the boards, all of which have an effect on the boards’ stability, but the more stable the board, the slower it is!   As you can see there are many factors affecting the race, and I haven’t even begun to describe how wind speed plays a massive part.  Needless to say I am starting off at a disadvantage over someone with a smaller surface area than me!

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Unusually for a new sport and me, I have not rushed out to buy a board and all the accessories – I am not allowed!  But I am hoping that by showing that I am really committed to SUP I might be allowed to invest in a board of some kind in the not too distant future!!!  Meanwhile I am lobbying hard for my own paddle for a birthday or Christmas present…..

SUPing is great fun and anyone can do it, Louise is waiting for warmer water temperatures before she gives it another go, although we both did quite a lot down in Jervis Bay.  I have begun to meet a new crowd of people down at the paddles, and it is a really fun, social activity with some real fitness benefits.

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As a quick addition, I have just got back from my Saturday morning race and came first in my category and third overall. This a is a great achievement and considering the two ahead of me were using racing boards, it might not be too long before I am topping that leaderboard.

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