Summer Time SUP-Boarding
Kirjoittanut Darius Rahman Luotu 13.07.2016
This was my first time trying SUP-boarding. I didn’t know much about these boards beforehand, except that they’re like surf boards but you stand on them and paddle. Hence the abbreviation SUP, ”Stand up Paddling”. I was looking forward to it quite a bit since it seemed like a cool extreme sport on the outside but in reality is a relaxed and easy pass time.
Or at least so I’ve heard. The fact that the boards are inflatable and deflatable helps transportation and planning tremendously. It is probably one of the main reasons why these board and the sport have become so popular over the course of one year. The board can be fit into a portable bag once deflated, along with a pump and a paddle that can be dismantled. All in all quite simple and easy. So I had decided to try sup-boarding on a sunny day after work. I rented the SUP board from the Sandcastle’s Tourist Info and took it to a shore nearby where I live. I asked my friend to join to take pictures and try it out as she was very eager for the experience as well.
It was relatively late, something around 21.00 but luckily the sun sets so late during the summer. Transporting the bag with all the equipment by car went flawlessly. Inflating the board was a different story. After figuring out how to pump the board I had realized I had forgot to attach the fins that go under the board which are meant to be attached prior inflation. There is a pressure reader attached to the pump to help pump as much as air needed for the board to stay afloat whilst carrying a person. The reading should be between 12 and 15psi, which while pumping felt like an eternity to get to at some points. Luckily all the struggle was worth it in the end and I was positive that inflating would be far smoother next time.
Finally it was time to jump into the lake with the board. I got on it on my knees at first to get a handle of how to paddle whilst balanced. Paddling on my knees was fairly easy once I found the sweet spot of the board where I had the most balance. Standing up on the board and keeping balance wasn’t easy at all in the beginning. The board felt wobbly and it felt like I would fall any second. In the end I did end up falling a few times, but after all it was my first time and I didn’t mind. Once I got the hang of standing up correctly (both legs at the same time) and keeping a steady low position on the center of the board my balance was fixed.
We noticed with my friend how the board supported her better, probably because she is lighter. She didn’t fall even once and maneuvered with ease. So I guess applying enough air pressure according to your weight is key. Balance was rarely an issue while paddling though, since in greater speeds it felt like the board was able to carry me better. It was surprising how fast SUP-boarding was. I was able to reach large distances in a relatively short time without tiring too much. It’s arguably faster and more convenient than a rowing boat for water travel. Turning also proved to be easy and efficient once mastering how the paddle worked. E.g. continuous paddling on the right or left side to slowly turn to the opposite side and paddling backwards on either side to sharply turn to the corresponding side.
Incredibly relaxing and peaceful
In my experience it was incredibly relaxing and peaceful to be able to sit on the board in the middle of a lake and enjoy the beautiful sunset. Even a mother duck and a few ducklings came to enjoy this moment with me. They weren’t scared of the board at all, in fact they were very curious and were brave enough to come surprisingly close.
Though if you paddle for a long time with long fast strokes it will tire your back and arm muscles. Mostly upper back muscles. So essentially it’s a good workout too. However it’s convenient that you’re able to sit or lay on the board at any time to take a small rest. Particularly if you’re on a longer trip crossing large water areas.
Truly a different experience compared to boating, kayaking or canoeing.
I suppose the most important part in learning how to SUP is getting the hang of paddling and staying balanced while standing on the board and once I get this under control it feels like gliding on water. After around 2 hours of “Supping”, taking amazing shots and enjoying the sunset it was time to call the day a wrap. It was definitely a worthwhile experience and I would love to do it frequently.
Luckily deflating the board was a million times easier than inflating it. The mosquitos and coldness were becoming the only annoyance as the day drew to an end. But we were extremely happy that we got some cool shots from this experience, here are a few below.