Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a relatively new sport that has really become popular over the last 8-10 years. In that time, there’s been a lot of talk about learning, safety, gear, and everything else SUP-related. But you shouldn’t always believe everything you hear or read. That’s why we’re tackling the 6 most common myths about SUP - and explaining why they are totally false.
Myth 1 - Stand Up Paddle Boarding is Hard to LearnWhen it comes to learning any new sport, the conditions you pick to learn in make or break the experience. In the beginning, it’s important to start small and work your way up. Same with SUP - if you decide to go to the coast for your first SUP outing on a 10ft surf day, the likelihood of success is pretty slim. However, a stretch of calm water, light winds, a big stable board, and a little instruction and you will likely find that you are up and paddling in no time, possibly not even falling in. Pick your conditions wisely, and you’ll find that learning to paddle board is easier than many people think.
Myth 2 - I am not strong enough to SUPVery often pictures online of people on boards are of ripped men with bulging muscles powering their way through giant swells. Truth is, if they are in pictures you are seeing, they are likely professional models and they get paid to look that way. SUP doesn’t take superhuman strength. In fact, as you’re paddling using the larger muscle groups in your body, it doesn’t take much strength at all - just technique. So before you cross SUP off your list, consider that we have seen people ranging from ages 5 to 80 and of all different fitness abilities easily learn to paddle board. It’s all about practice - the more you paddle, the stronger you will get!
Myth 3 - You can only Paddle Board on the Ocean
If this was the case, only people in 23 US states would be able to paddle board in their home state. Anywhere you have water that is more than knee deep, you can ride a paddle board. Sure, you won’t be able to find the surf-able waves on your local lake like you can on the ocean. But, on the other side of that coin, it is very tough to find dead glass calm water on the ocean like you probably have on your local lakes. I live on Lake Ontario and paddle a huge variety of conditions from flat to surf (yes, the Great Lakes get surf) and do so usually about 60-70 times a year!
Myth 4 - I am too _____________ to Paddle Board
Let’s fill in the blank above with a few words to debunk a few myths all at once:
Old - Nonsense. As long as you are able-bodied, enjoy the water, and have a sense of adventure, you can SUP. My mother is 71 and SUP’s better than some 40 year olds I know!
Young - Nope. It’s never too early to start paddle boarding. Kids under 5 may struggle to paddle their own board - but you can let them ride on the front of the board with you. Once they are big enough for their own board, keep them safe with a PFD, Leash, and make sure they paddle close to shore in calm conditions under supervision. Soon they might even be better than you.
Overweight - Negative. We have stand up paddle boards that can easily handle riders up to 300 lbs. For example, in this image below Dad is 210 pounds, and each kid is about 45 pounds for 300 pounds of riders on the board. And with a new board and a new sport, you’ll be on your way to a better, more active lifestyle.
Weak - We covered this one above in more detail, but if you can hold the paddle, you can paddle a board. Along with SUP, I am an avid road cyclist, and at 6’0 I tip the scales at 153 pounds. Muscle wise, I was once described by a friend as having the physique of “someone who has been ship wrecked”. If I have the power to paddle (and I do so quite quickly) - so do you!
Myth 5 - Paddle Boarding is Dangerous
Like anything, done with the proper safety in mind, correct conditions, and the correct equipment, SUP is a very safe sport, as it takes place at low speeds. However, basic water safety rules always apply: wear a PFD, wear a leash, don’t paddle alone, and don’t paddle after dark are just a few of the basics.
The majority of incidents involving paddle boarders getting into distress happen because someone was reckless, whether they went out in the wrong conditions or skipped using the proper safety equipment like a leash. Making sure you’re staying safe out on the water is always important, especially if you’re paddling in more extreme conditions.
Myth 6 - Paddle boarding is expensive
If we look at a board like the Cruiser SUP ECO Dura-Maxx, which retails for $749 and that includes board, paddle, and free shipping to most states. While $749 is a large purchase, that is basically the only costs you have. In my city (and many others) the waterfront has ample public water access points to launch so there are no other costs (like green fees in golf or lift tickets in skiing).
For me, I have calculated that for the amount of times I use my board per year, the cost breaks down to about $4 per use! Considering how affordable SUP’s are, and how great the sport is for your health and well being - the question is more “can you afford NOT to SUP?”.
Myths Busted - now get out and start paddling!
With these few myths smashed to pieces, all that is left is getting your new SUP board on order and hit the water. Not sure what board to get? Any of our pros are more than happy to help.
Got any other paddle board myths you think we should add to the list? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org