Paddle-“bored” or Paddleboarding?? 

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Tips to Maximize Your Fun on Your Next Sup Session 1Paddle”bored”.  Definition:  an adjective to describe someone who tried SUP for their first few times and didn’t find the thrill in it, but rather finds themselves bored with the whole experience.  It doesn’t happen often in my experience when dealing with newcomers to SUP, but it does happen. And sometimes it can even occur after the initial “shiny new experience” of trying it has worn off.  Why?  Let’s explore the difference between paddleboarding, and paddle-boredom.  

“I thought it would be more fun than this.”
“I don’t feel the workout everyone talks about.”
“I don’t feel it in my core.”
“It was fun for like, the first 2 minutes.  Then it was just paddling.”

Recently I was listening to a podcast where a fitness professional went on a vacation and tried SUP for the first time.  While his travel partner loved it, he found it (and I quote)… “boring”. And the reasons listed above are heard now and then as well.

More than likely, this is all due to improper technique.  These folks either rented a board with no further instruction on how to utilize it, or bought a board with no instruction ahead of time and began paddling anyway they could figure out how to.  They began with, what we in the industry call “arm paddling”, just as you would in a canoe, and the elusive “core work” was no where to be found. In addition to that, just limiting one’s self to only paddling on a SUP is really a sad state of affairs with so many avenues, and fun ways to use your SUP – and I’m about to show you just how many ways you can!

So if you have suffered or are currently suffering from “paddle-boredom” after trying SUP just one or two times, perhaps its time you give it another go, and make sure to follow the tips below!  This will ensure the fun-filled, and core-focused workout SUP experience you have heard so much about!  

*Note: This issue is very rare, yet it is happening.  Those of you who are like me, and constantly blissed-out by SUP, might already be utilizing the tips listed below and may not find these tidbits useful,  however, you might know someone who would find it useful, so help me end paddle-boredom once and for all and pass this along. 

5 SUPer Tips & Common Sense Approaches to Fun Paddle-boarding versus “Paddle-boring”. 

Tip #1 – Fix Your Blade  

The flat edge of your blade should be facing back.  The beveled edge should be facing forward.  I know, I know, it’s counter-intuitive to what you may think when you are paddling with it, but as I always say, “if it feels awkward, you are doing it right.”

This will allow the blade to push the water down away from the front of the board, allowing it to plane out on top of the water better. And for Pete’s sake, cover up that blade!  None of this “wussy-paddling” where your blade is half-assed in the water.  Cover that mother up! You won’t have very much fun, or get very far with the corner of your blade in the water. Every stroke of your paddle should find your whole blade completely invisible beneath the surface of the water. This allow for maximum power of the entirety of the blade so that you have the most push forward. 

Tip #2 – Arm paddling is not cool  

SUP is cool, and you want to look cool doing it right?  Then, lose the arm paddling.  More than simply looking cool, using your core when you paddle as opposed to just your arms, will allow you to go farther, and endure longer.  Why?  Your arms contain fewer muscles than the vast array of muscles that make up your mid-section, thereby causing you to wear out faster than if you were to use all the many larger muscle groups in your core.  

Instead of bending at the elbows to take a stroke, practice keeping you arms relatively straight and bending at your waist as kind of a “Hip hinge” to reach the blade forward as far as you can. Then imagine pulling yourself to the paddle rather than just puling the paddle to you.  Just the beginning stages of practicing this will give you more purpose (and core work) on the water!

Tip #3 – Take your workout to the water  

More than just paddling around leisurely, SUP offers you the total body benefit of making your board the best gym you’ve ever stepped foot on or in, and your body your machine.  Whatever workout you currently do in the gym, take it on board your SUP and open up a whole new world of core-focused resistance training and cardio!  

From pilates to sport conditioning for balance and agility, the sky is the limit when it comes to training your body and toning your body in a whole new way.  Find a nice quiet cove with some calm water, and try some basic yet effective moves like squats, calf raises, push-ups, sit-ups, and yes, even “Burpees!”.  Not sure where to start?  Check out my free PaddleFit audio workouts on iTunes and, where I guide you through some quick but fun and definitely effective on the water workouts, guaranteed NOT to leave you with “paddle-boredom”!

Tip #4 – Combine your love for SUP with your love for food

All sup’d up and no place to go?  Nowadays, there are so many great dining venues on or near most local waterways, and so perhaps making your SUP adventure with a stop-over at your local floating cafe for a bite to eat, or a cup of coffee with a friend, and your sup starts to look like a whole new way to get around!  

How about packing a picnic basket or cooler and strapping it on board, for a nice paddle out to a little island? I call that a “picnic paddle”.  Or, fill up a carafe of coffee and a few of your favorite breakfast items and paddle out to nice calm cove and create your own Coffee shop on the water!  I call that “sup and a cup!”   Perhaps there is a new restaurant on the water nearby and you could earn your dinner by paddling there instead of driving?  I like to call that “SUP to supper”.  As a nutritionist and a foodie, anytime food is involved in my destination, I can’t ever seem to find the boredom in that!

Tip #5 – Recruit a Paddle Buddy 

SUP is a community sport, and the ol’ cliche “The more the merrier” really fits here. For safety reasons, it’s best to always paddle out with a buddy anyway, so that in the event of the un-thinkable, you have someone by your side to help get you to shore safely.  But in the case of fun vs. “paddle-boring”, having a buddy to shoot the breeze with, to catch a downwinder with, to grab some lunch at a floating cafe with, and to do some sup yoga with always makes for a better time on the water.

Tips to Maximize Your Fun on Your Next Sup Session 2Plus, you are more likely to stick with your fitness and distance paddles when you have someone else out there with you to pass the time with.  A furry friend can be a buddy too!  Dogs love water, and if you don’t already have one, now you have good reason to rescue one from your local shelter and give him a new “leash” on life…on your SUP.  

Like I mentioned earlier, “paddle-boredom” more than likely is a result of improper technique, but can also be due to limiting yourself to just simply paddling out and then paddling back in.  There is so much more in store for you on your SUP than just paddling.  Learning technique is key, so I encourage any beginners to take a couple lessons with a well-qualified and experienced instructor to “get more out of your core”, and then imagine the possibilities of what you can do with your SUP and where the next adventure is that it can take you on!  Bottom line is: if you are bored on the board, you are doing it wrong.  Because this sport is SUPer fun!!!

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Fitness Host for SUP TV, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, PaddleFit Coach Training Instructor, & Certified Nutrition Coach.

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