SUPs – Getting Started
What It Is
Maybe you’ve been hearing about SUPs, (Stand Up Paddle Boards)… they’re gaining popularity quickly. There are a number of reasons for the widespread interest, one main one being versatility in the sport. Kids, parents, athletes and relaxed beach-goers alike find a good time atop a SUP.
Whether your trip out paddling is a time for relaxing, full of adventure, or a great workout depends on where you go and what you’re setting out for. You control your experience (well, unless you’re on raging waters). You put into it what you want, and sometimes a smooth, relaxing venture is just what you need other times it’s all about trying something new, like Yoga on your SUP. Where can you take your SUP out in Central Wisconsin? Anywhere there’s water! (public access allowed of course.) Try Lake Wausau on the Wisconsin River, the Rib River or even Manmade Lake at Sunnyvale Park in Wausau, or one of hundreds of lakes nearby.
What You Need
Get this: you need a SUP and a paddle! Besides that, we suggest playing it safe and always wearing a PFD. We also know the benefits to wearing the right clothing, so we like to recommend swimwear (for days on the water when you’re participating in all sorts of water activities), wet suits when the air or water is cold, or fast drying, wicking performance wear to keep you cool and dry. Sun protection is a biggie too.
After gathering those things, all you need is to get going!
How You Do It
Carry the SUP under your arm or on top of your head and make your way to the water. Starting in shallow water makes stepping onto the board a breeze, but starting kneeling or by sitting then standing works too.
Your feet should be about shoulder width apart, centered on the board. Be conscious about keeping your knees soft and back straight and use your hips to keep you centered. Tipping your head or shoulders dramatically will throw you off balance! Ground yourself with your hips.
Hold your adjusted paddle on one side, with your right hand on top when the paddle is on your left side, and vice versa. Be sure the blade of the paddle is all the way under water, and twist with your core to push the paddle back. Keep your strokes small until you’re comfortable. Repeat. And repeat. Change sides after every few strokes to keep yourself heading straight ahead. (You just learned the side stroke.)
You can backpaddle to turn your board, by paddling from the tail of the board to the tip. Stepping back on the board or leaning to the inside of the board will help your board pivot more, making your turn easier and faster.
These are the basics. After you get a hold of these techniques, you’ll have a feel for the board and can manage more water conditions.
What Shep’s Offers
We’ve done our part to have all that you need to get into the sport. We have two boards to choose from, adjustable paddles, life vests, apparel, and yes, even sun screen and sun glasses!