I CAME ABOUT stand-up paddle (SUP) boarding the same way I came about the majority of my college drug experiences: I’d never done it before, but I had heard good reviews. So I just bought one because I was pretty confident that I’d be a happy customer. This method hasn’t always worked for me. But it did work with SUPing.
1. You’re probably not going to fall.
If you have a basic grasp of walking and you’ve conquered a few hopscotch games in your day, there’s a good chance you will not hurt yourself on a SUP board.
Sometimes you come up against sudden winds or whitecap conditions. Seeing as you are basically acting as a giant mast, this can be terrifying. When I’m terrified, as a rule, I just sit down. An expert paddler once told me this was a pussy-move. She can shut it. Let’s move on.
2. You’ll get toned arms.
I’m no fitness expert, but I’m pretty sure SUPing is good exercise. I often get into the water feeling very Bridget Jones-y. But I usually leave feeling pretty 1982 Jane Fonda, genetic mutation that she is.
3. You can surf on them!
SUP boards are generally longer than a standard surfboard, but you can take them into surf and either stand-up paddle or paddle with your arms. If you’re going to bring your SUP board into surf, I’ve found it’s good etiquette to stay in your own area and away from actual surfers. Your paddle can become a huge Gandalf staff in no time at all. And that is a dangerous weapon.
I’ve also found that many areas with surf breaks offer SUP surfing clinics, which are usually hosted by local surf shops. And those are sweet. Sometimes they’re free.
4. Having a SUP board on your car is a conversation starter.
Just the other day I was sitting in my car (in Maine) talking to my friend Daniela on the phone, when a man (from Connecticut) TAPPED ON MY WINDSHIELD, made me roll my window down, and asked me where all the “hot sandy beaches” are. To which I was able to respond, “California.”
So having a paddleboard on your car gives you lots of opportunity to be a bitch.
5. SUP boards hold their retail value.
I’m going to be honest, it’s pretty expensive to get started. A paddle alone can set you back 200 bucks. Using Craigslist I was able to set myself up for $1,000. If you’re into water sports, the cost is nothing new to you.
I’ve bought and sold boards twice in my life. And both times I’ve been able to get back the same exact price that I originally paid. And this is not just because I’m an expert hustler.
Unless you’re going to seriously abuse your board by chucking it around, leaving it out in extreme sun all summer, and / or using it for a combination lounge chair / cheese board (guilty) then you probably aren’t going to do that much damage.
6. There’s not a lot you’ll need to replace over time.
You may need to replace your fins after awhile.
Here’s a tip: Don’t have sex on your paddleboard. Because 1, it is going to grate your fins through the sand and rocks. And more importantly 2, there’s a very good chance you’ll be seen by a man on a Sea-Doo. And he WILL slow down and wave.
7. SUPing has to be done in water.
And water is very calming. Paddling in it allows you to find a lot of secret places that the regular ol’ swimmer (BO-ring) can’t get to.
I do most of my paddling in Maine waters, so I can’t speak for the rest of the massively populated country, but on numerous occasions I have shown up to a lake or beach and been the only person there. On the entire lake. So paddling dans le nude is often on offer. Something to think about.
8. SUP boards are not that difficult to transport.
I have a 10’5” board and it’s about 30 pounds. The first board I had was an 11’ and it was probably 40 pounds. It can take a little effort to hoist that puppy on your head. But if you let your instincts take over, I’m confident you’ll figure it out.
I once had to enlist an 87-year-old man who was feeding ducks to help me lift my board onto my car. I am not ashamed of this. 87-year-old duck feeders love getting high-fives from girls in bikinis, FYI.
9. You can put your dog on it.
I have a 47-pound dog and he often comes paddling with me. Six-packs also often come paddling with me. Fitting all 8 of us on that thing is no problem. Beachgoers also find this to be absolutely adorable. Anytime I can be adorable, I do it.