Stand up paddle boards (SUP) offer a fun, relaxing way to play on the water. With a minimum of gear, you can paddle ocean surf or placid lakes and rivers.
Paddle boarding delivers a full-body workout and thus has become a popular cross-training activity. And since you stand at your full height, you can enjoy unique views of everything from sea creatures to what’s on the horizon. To get started, you just need some basic SUP gear and techniques.
Paddle: Stand up paddles have an angle or “elbow” in the shaft for maximum efficiency. Choose a paddle that’s roughly 6" to 8" taller than you are (note: some manufacturers recommend an 8" to 10" differential).
PFD (Personal Flotation Device): The U.S. Coast Guard classifies stand up paddleboards as vessels, so always wear a PFD. One popular option is an inflatable PFD, which is lightweight and compact until it is inflated. (You should also carry a safety whistle and use a light if you are paddling after sunset).
Proper clothing: For cool conditions where hypothermia is a concern, wear a wetsuit or dry suit. In milder conditions, wear shorts and a T-shirt or bathing suit—something that moves with you and can get wet.