Exactly what is SUP? I guess that has as many answers as the number of individuals who have taken up the sport or recreational pastime over the last few years.
For me there’s no place anything like being out on the water and having kayaked, canoed, sailed, surfed and competed in distance swimming events, SUP has been like a new discovery, an experience which draws me back to the sea whenever I get the chance. For example, I was paddling at Canadian Bay today; 30 knot onshore wind, some rain, air and water temperature 15C. I thought I’d head out for a quick 30-minute play in the choppy waves and stayed out there for more than twice that long.
Apart from the enjoyment of being upright on my boards while I paddle, an experience that’s hard to fully describe, SUP has lead to me meeting a whole new group of the most fantastic people – other SUPers. Some are “watermen” and women” who have enjoyed a variety of water-sports for years, while others have taken up SUP as first-time paddlers, with little previous water-sport experience. Men and women in their 20s, right though to mature paddlers who have already had their 50th and even 60th birthdays.
What we have in common is that we are all really friendly and welcoming. Most of us would say that SUP is addictive and we all would tell anyone who asked how good SUP has been for our health and wellbeing, core strength, balance, endurance, enjoyment of life.
I have been a teacher and outdoor & aquatics educator for many years, so I suppose becoming a SUP instructor and coach has been a natural blend of my career and recreational interest. What I can say is that teaching SUP is the most enjoyable “work” I have ever done.
Now back to where I began this blog: Exactly what is SUP? One answer is that it can be a relaxing paddle gazing down into clear water, an activity with family or friends, something you try on a tropical holiday, a fitness workout. The list could go on. SUPers though will talk about a few specific SUP pursuits such as “a down-winder, BOP, SUP Surfing. These can all be just for fun or can also be competition. Whichever of the two is the focus, it’s good to get hints and help from those who know how to do it properly and safely.