Paddling Out: An Introduction to SUP

This post comes from our Product Copywriter, Sam!

Crystal colored shorelines. An intense sun beat: immediate warmth, the feeling of each shade of bronze as it penetrates your skin, the lightening of your hair, blondes have more fun, yes, it all makes sense in this beautiful summer dreamland. Drift off.

Nothing’s more appealing than being by the sea, getting sun-soaked, and embracing every bit of the environment — especially with temperatures in the teens back in Philly. In the beginning of the summer, I made a point of running off to as many coasts as I could, and decided not to stop. I visited the gorgeous, and oh-so-secluded, Harbour Island in the Bahamas, Malibu, Santa Monica, Miami on repeat, and more conveniently, the Jersey Shore.

Having lived in Miami for a few years, I love and miss its infamous beaches, of course. But, I also miss its hidden treasures: the Venetian Pool, Oleta River State Park, and Shake-A-Leg Miami to name a few. Between the three, I could swim or sit poolside at historic limestone quarry, filled daily with spring water, hike, kayak, or ride one of a number of trails, or get out on the bay for watersports. The need to drive everywhere and its awful traffic are my two least favorite things about Miami, both reiterated during my most recent trip during Art Basel. Some of the city’s best resources, however, are underrated. Year-round SPF weather coupled with the abundance of parks and outdoor activities make Miami a great place to be fit. I generally prefer “playing outside” to working out in a gym or studio. When I lived in Miami, I really appreciated the versatility of fitness options, both inside and out. I sailed, I swam, I boxed, I kayaked, I ran, I biked, I danced… the list goes on.

Paddleboarding, however, wasn’t on that list, and I wish it was. I especially wished it was after my visits to Harbour Island and Southern California, where I gazed enviously at the other paddleboarders, exploring the scenery. So, when I was in Miami over the holidays, I wrangled my dear friend Jimmy — an instant paddleboarding sensation as far as I was concerned — to teach my friend Starr and I to paddleboard. He happily complied under one condition, I work out with him at Barry’s Bootcamp, where Starr is a trainer. I took one for the team and got my a** kicked. Welcome to Miami.

Sam SUP1

Sam SUP2

One unbelievably blustery morning, two days later, we set out to go paddleboarding with one mission — to get the two of us standing. Admittedly, I was expecting little more than a comedy of errors and a lot of laughs. We walked over to TKS Miami to rent our boards and sign our waivers. The guy at the surf shop kindly warned us about the winds, and let us know we’d probably be in for a very rocky day of falling off our boards. We walked down to the dock and it was very slippery getting in. First, we kneeled on our boards; triumph! This is as far as I thought I was going. I was nothing short of shocked when we actually got up. There were a few blips, like almost crashing into a yacht, getting redirected by the wind and suddenly forgetting physics, reason, and needing another lesson on how to turn, ultimately, getting thrown into the water by a strong gust

Sam SUP5

The journey back was difficult. I imagine it would have been even more difficult, had Jimmy not rescued me. Being as though the wind had now intensified to full-on tempest status, we created a tow, and Jimmy led the way. Starr, in keeping with her name, fought the storm like a beast and paddled all the way to shore. Something to shoot for.

Sam SUP6

In the end, it’s not unlike kayaking or rowing, or even sailing, in the stroke or manipulation of the water. Even though I chose to go under the most tumultuous conditions possible, the activity itself seemed completely Zen; a certain oneness between the paddle, the board, the water, and the paddleboarder. Just like swimming in the ocean or running down a trail, you’re immersed in environment, perfect to free your mind, body, and soul for a total body workout, this one, you’ll really feel in your core. And if you’re looking for a more social experience, many businesses offer group paddleboarding sessions.

Sam SUP4

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Comments

  1. So glad you guys are featuring SUP. I’ve been doing that for the past two years and I love it so much! What I love most is that you can do it anywhere, on rivers, lakes, the ocean. You can just paddle for fun, you can race, do some crazy balance tricks, and also go riding waves on those boards. One of the most versatile sports I know :-)

  2. i moved to the virgin islands after college, and paddle boarding was one of my favorite day-off activities. because it’s tricky enough to get a decent workout, but not so hard that you can’t down a couple rum punches on the beach first ;)

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