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U Perform Summer Staycation - Paddle Boarding

As foreign travel still looks uncertain for many of us this summer, U Perform have decided to do a series of blogs over the next few weeks looking at activities you can do and places you can visit in the United Kingdom to stay fit and active, and have a great summer at the same time too.

Our first blog looked at hiking in the great outdoors… the health & wellness benefits and how to stay safe. We then went on to look at two sports very close to our hearts.... cycling & wild swimming. Two activities that you will probably find co-founder Prof Greg Whyte OBE doing plenty of this summer as well!

And then finally, last week guest blogger Arron Collins-Thomas, U Perform’s Fitness Expert took us through RUNNING… the benefits of running and a handy guide to get you on two feet and explore the countryside near you.

This week we are heading back to the water for a leisurely paddle aboard our trusty SUPs!!!

A SUP is a stand up paddle board for those not in the know and SUPing as it’s called is only getting more and more popular as time goes on. And especially so after our experience during the coronavirus pandemic.

More and more of us are heading out into our rivers, lakes and seas not only for wild swimming adventures but for paddle boarding too; and for good reason.

SUPing is a fun and accessible activity that anyone can get involved in and the bonus is that you can keep fit at the same time too! Like any outdoor activity, safety and fun go hand in hand and if you’re thinking about heading out for your first paddle board, then you will need to make sure you are covering all the basics first. And that’s why you’re here.

In today’s blog we are going to cover:

  • The Benefits of Stand Up Paddle Boarding
  • Your SUP Safety Checklist
  • Bonus Top Tips to get the most out of your SUP experience

 

What are the benefits of Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

There are so many amazing benefits to Stand Up Paddle Boarding, but here’s just a few that we’ve handpicked just for YOU:

  • Gets you up on your feet.
  • Low impact, whole body workout.
  • Helps decrease stress.
  • Improves your balance.
  • A great way to practice moving meditations.
  • Boosts your cardiovascular health.

Whether you are a complete beginner or experienced paddle boarder, it’s always handy to be fully aware of as much safety advice as you can as well as to have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve to get the most out of your SUP adventures.

Your SUPing Safety Checklist:

  1. Wear a lifejacket – wearing a buoyancy aid or lifejacket of some description when out on the open water is an absolute must. Should you fall in (and you probably will at some point), the added buoyancy of a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) will help keep you afloat whilst you recover.
  2. Use a leash – in the likely event of you and your paddle board parting company, the last thing you want if for your SUP to get too far away. Wearing a leash around your ankle is the best and safest way to ensure you and your board are together, forever. Just make sure to fall off away from your board to save injury.
  3. Tell someone where you are going or better yet, paddle with a friend or two – if you are heading out on your own, taking a phone in a sealed waterproof pouch will protect it until you need it.
  4. Check the weather forecast – especially for a beginner, the weather conditions are going to be your biggest challenge so always check the forecast and if conditions become too extreme, there’s no shame in waiting for another day.
  5. Know your limits and seek training and advice from an expert – this last one is pretty self-explanatory. No matter your ability level you should always paddle in waters and conditions that are matched to your ability. But if you want to take that next step up and really challenge yourself, then always seek expert advice and training from paddle board instructor and local guide.

So you know the benefits of SUPing, and you’ve ticked off your essential SUP Safety Checklist. What next?

Now it’s time for you to head out on your paddle boarding adventures and enjoy the fantastic inland and coastal waterways…

But not before we’ve shared our final bonus tips to help you get the most out of your SUPing experience. And to help you make it more of a stand up and less fall in paddle boarding experience too!

Bonus Top Tips to get the most out of your SUP experience

  1. Make sure you’re using your paddle the right way round – this is the first thing that you will be taught by any instructor (apart from getting on your board in the first place) and is probably the most important and often forgotten about aspect of SUP technique. Because yes there is a right way around!
  2. Face your body the right way – just like your paddle, it helps that your body and feet are positioned correctly too. This not only helps you to balance properly but it also helps you to get the most power out of every paddle stroke. Free speed if you like.
  3. Paddle with your CORE, not just your arms – once your feet and body are set correctly, this allows you to really use your whole body and not just your arms to move through the water. You’ll be more efficient, more stable and a whole lot faster too!
  4. Look where you want to go – you’ll always hear this from cyclists when tackling sharp corners at speed and for good reason too! Wherever your eyes go, our body will follow. So as much as you might be captivated by the stunning views around you, make sure to keep an eye on where you are going to avoid any nasty collisions.
  5. Keep distance between yourself and other water users – SUPing is an incredibly social sport but being mindful of other’s in the water will ensure that everyone can enjoy their paddle safely. This is especially important when considering that you may be sharing the water with bathers, swimmers and wildlife too.
  6. Fall off your board the right way too – if in the likely event that you do fall off your paddle board, make sure to fall away from it to save you from an unfortunate injury. And don’t forget to let go of your paddle too. Don’t worry, it floats on its own!
  7. Look after your board and paddle and your board and paddle will look after you – and last but by no means least is again, very self-explanatory. Your equipment is what enables you to go on your adventures so if you look after it, you’ll get the most of it. Not only giving you value for money, but lasting memories too!

And there you have it, our SUP showcase has come to a close. Make sure to check in next week for another activity showcase for you to try this summer.

There are so many beautiful places to SUP and swim in the UK… whether that’s a leisurely paddle along the river or a more challenging coastal SUP and surf; the possibilities are endless. We would love to know where your favourite places to SUP and swim are… share your images and tag us in them @uperformuk.

Have fun exploring our beautiful countryside, rivers, lakes and coastline… follow our advice and stay safe… and enjoy both the physical and mental health benefits that SUPing can bring!

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