By @TitanPaddles

11 Awesome Paddleboarding Locations

TABERNASH, Colo. — There’s nothing quite like skimming across the water on a stand-up paddleboard. Especially when that paddleboard is floating on a picturesque pond surrounded by wildflowers, a yurt, and the snow-covered Rockies.

My location is Devil’s Thumb Ranch, a whimsical retreat near Winter Park, Colo., that keeps its guests pretty active. Post archery lesson, I make my way over to the pond (with my eyes peeled for moose, fox, and hummingbirds) and spend an hour with an instructor mastering SUP yoga moves. It’s something that never gets old, to me, and plenty of others. It’s also a skill that travels well, as there are many equally epic paddleboarding places to choose from around the world.

 

Huvadhoo Atoll, Maldives

Guests at The Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort in the Huvadhoo Atoll have the chance to paddle their way above a pristine barrier reef. On a clear day, you can see up to 30 feet below. Bring a snorkel along so you can listen closely for parrot fish nibbling on the coral. It’s also common to find dolphins, surgeonfish, and turtles.  outrigger.com

 

Merritt Island, Fla.

Add this bioluminescent tour to your bucket list. Guests get to paddleboard along the scenic Banana River after dark. As the dinoflagellates (single-celled microorganisms) get stirred up, they begin to glow, creating a glow-in-dark spectacle. You’ll be in good hands: SoBe Surf’s instruction team is made up of a competitive SUP racer and a lifeguard with a marine biology background. Expect an up-close encounter with manatees, pelicans, and fish of all sorts as you glide by waterfront mansions. It’s equally peaceful and thrilling at the same time. sobesurf.com

 

Lake Powell, Ariz.

With 96 dramatic red-rock canyons as your backdrop, plenty of caves and inlets and surreal blue water, Lake Powell is a popular spot for boating, kayaking, and tubing. However, it doesn’t ever feel crowded because of its scope. As the second largest man-made lake in the U.S., it has more shoreline than the entire West Coast. Bring a sandwich along and picnic along the beach. And don’t forget the camera. Scenes from Planet of the Apes and Gravity were filmed here. You’ll want to document the otherworldliness. lakepowell.com

 

Dewey Beach, Del.

Dewey Beach, just south of Rehoboth Beach, is your launching pad. Delmarva Board Sports Adventures is your guide. Float along past waterfront eateries, Thompson Island and Cape Henlopen State Park where dolphin sightings are nearly guaranteed. If you go during the spring season, be on the lookout for spawning horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds. delmarvaboardsportadventures.com

 

Kauai, Hawaii

Paddle along the Wailua River with Sleeping Giant, a well-known mountain ridge, in the background. Both Kayak Kauai and Outfitters Kauai have tours that will take you down the watery expanse, which happens to be one of the only navigable rivers in the state. kayakkauai.com

 

Antarctica

Who knew paddleboarding in the crystal-clear waters of Antarctica was even an option? First, bundle up with layers, a full dry suit, gloves, and boots and then prepare to be wowed. Not only do you have the chance to spot penguins, seals, dolphins, and whales from a distance, you are also passing by icebergs, glaciers, and snow at the same time. quarkexpeditions.com

 

 

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

There are plenty of places to SUP in Fort Lauderdale and Sunrise Paddleboards gives guests plenty of fun choices. There’s a 20-acre waterfront park in downtown, for example, where you can paddle down a waterway leading into the Intracoastal. Or make your way past the mansions on Millionaire’s Row. Or opt for manatee tours, nighttime tours, paddleboard yoga sessions and fitness workouts. Deerfield Beach is yet another gem. Afterward, picnic on the beach and search for rare seashells. sunrisepaddleboards.com

 

Asheville, N.C.

Wai Mauna Asheville SUP Tours will take you on a guided tour that will have you maneuvering around rocks and sections of fast-moving water. Or opt for a sunrise stand-up paddling tour in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s a super unique way to start the day in Asheville, and the only place you can paddle at sunrise in the mountains on the entire East Coast. In the fall, guests take leaf-peeping SUP tours on the French Broad River. waimaunaashevillesuptours.com

 

Lake Tahoe, Calif. 

Bring your GoPro along: After all, your backdrop here is towering pines, mountains, sandy beaches and granite peaks. Even better, you can see 70 feet below you in Emerald Bay thanks to the super-clear water. Once you reach Tahoe’s only island, Fannette, take a break and hike up to the tea house (open May through October). Be ready for encounters with eagles, ospreys, fish, bears, and beavers. Outside of the Tahoe Basin, there are several natural hot springs in Genoa and Carson Valley, which are accessible by car. visitinglaketahoe.com

 

Galapagos Islands

Get to know the locals (sea lions, penguins, reef sharks) as you explore designated areas of Galapagos National Park with Ecoventura, a luxe expedition yacht that operates seven-night cruises. Keep a lookout for rays and sea turtles swimming along, marine iguanas lounging on the rocks and blue-footed boobies flying overhead. ecoventura.com

How to SUP (Paddleboard)
By @TitanPaddles

How to Stand Up Paddleboard

These are some things that almost everybody does wrong in the beginning, so don’t feel bad if you do it, but this will help you avoid some of the common mistakes.

So how to stand up paddleboard? First of all, when you go in the water, make sure that you’re deep enough in the water where your fin doesn’t hit the bottom. I see a lot of people get about this deep, and they put their board down and try to jump on it, and the fin is still stuck in the sand here. So make sure you get the board out far enough in the water where the fin clears the bottom. So once you’re out this far, you’re far enough out.

 

 

So then, try to always get on your knees first before you try to stand up, and make sure you’re in the middle of the board. So I’m going to get up on the board on my knees, and you can kneel like this or sit on your ankles, whichever is more comfortable for you. And then, when you’re paddling on your knees, hold the paddle lower, you don’t have to hold it way up here. And make sure you go into the wind first. That’s another common mistake. Don’t let the wind just carry you downwind, and then having to struggle coming back.

 

The next thing is standing up. Don’t look down at your feet, try to look forward. That’s another common mistake, where people look down and then they just keep falling in because you kind of end up going where you look. If you look down, you’re going to go down.

 

Now also, another thing is holding the paddle correctly, which is with the blade angled forward. Almost all beginners try to hold the paddle backward. If you do that, you end up pulling your board down. If you look at the angle of the paddle right here, and I’m pushing the water up, I’m pushing myself down. So the correct way is to hold the blade angled forward, paddling like this.


Another common mistake is to have the paddle not straight up and down, but too far out to the side. The more you get the paddle out to the side and away from the board, the more your board’s going to turn. So if you want to go straight, you want to hold the paddle straight up and down and pull it back in a straight line. This is what’s going to make your board go straight. The more you have it out to the side, if you want the board to turn, you can do a steering stroke getting the paddle out to the side, getting your body lower to the water, getting the paddle kind of at a low angle, way out to the side, that’s what’s going to make you turn. You’re going straight, you hold the paddle straight up and down.

 

Okay, another common mistake that we see a lot of beginners do is holding their hands too close together. So if you try to hold your paddle really close together, and try to stroke like this, you’ll notice that it’s very, very hard to make a stroke and get any power in your paddle. So try to hold the paddle about halfway down the blade. So about halfway between the blade and the handle, that’s where your hands should be. If you put it on top of your head, it should be about right angles with your elbows. That’s how you get a lot of power on your paddle. Most beginners hold their paddle somewhere around one or two feet down, and it’s very hard to get enough power in your stroke at that grip height.

 

So, what else? Oh, another thing is just not standing in the right spot. A lot of times beginners stand too far back on their boards. So if you’re trying to paddle like this, you can see my board’s at an angle, and it just kind of drags through the water. It’s very hard to get your board moving, plus it’s less stable. So try to stand right in the middle, where the board’s flat in the water, and you’re going to have better glide with your board.

 

All right? So those are just a few little common mistakes that people make, just have fun and enjoy. Did you see are ‘11 Awesome Paddleboarding Locations’?
Choosing the right Stand Up Paddleboard
By @TitanPaddles

Choosing The Right Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) offers something for everyone. You can head out for a relaxing paddle on a calm lake or catch waves in the ocean. Or maybe you’d like to do SUP yoga or go for a fast-paced paddle to get a workout. Whatever your ambitions, having the right board is key to your enjoyment.

 

To find the right SUP, here’s what you need to consider:

  • Hull type: Your two main choices are a planing hull and a displacement hull; the type you choose will be based on the type of paddling you plan to do.
  • Solid or inflatable: Do you want a solid board or an inflatable one? Your answer will be based on things like board performance, portability and your storage options.
  • Volume and weight capacity: You want to pick a board with the volume and weight capacity that’s right for your height and weight to ensure good stability and paddling performance.
  • Length, width, and thickness: The dimensions of a SUP play a big role in determining how it handles on the water.

From there, you’ll consider a board’s fins and any extras or accessories that work for you.

SUP Hull Types

The hull, or body, of a paddleboard, plays a major role in determining how the board performs in the water. Most SUPs have either a planning hull or a displacement hull. There is a handful with a hybrid design that combines the best attributes of each design.

Either hull shape can be enjoyed by beginner paddlers, but there are differences that make them better for some activities than others. Because of this, it’s wise to choose the hull type based on how you plan to use your board.

SUP planing hull diagram

Planing Hull

A planing hull is flat and wide, similar to a surfboard. It is designed to ride on top of the water and be very maneuverable. Boards with planing hulls are a good choice for:

  • Leisure paddling
  • Surfing
  • SUP yoga
  • Whitewater

SUP displacement hull diagram

Displacement Hull

SUPs with displacement hulls have a pointed nose or bow (front end) similar to that of a kayak or canoe. The hull slices through water, pushing the water around the nose to the sides of the SUP to improve efficiency and create a fast, smooth ride. The efficiency of a displacement hull requires less effort than a planing hull to paddle, allowing you to go longer distances at faster speeds. They also track nice and straight but are generally a bit less maneuverable than planing hulls.

Paddlers choose displacement hulls for a variety of applications, but always with an eye toward paddling efficiency and speed. Some applications include:

  • Fitness paddling
  • SUP touring/camping
  • Racing

Solid vs. Inflatable SUPs

Woman inflating inflatable SUP
                                                                Planing hull and displacement hull SUPs are available in two different general construction styles: solid or inflatable.

Solid SUPs

Most solid boards have an EPS foam core that’s wrapped in fiberglass and epoxy. This is a fairly lightweight, durable and affordable construction. Carbon fiber is a lighter and stiffer option, but it’s also more expensive. Plastic SUPs are more affordable, but they are very heavy and lack the performance of other materials. Some SUPs incorporate lightweight wood for a beautiful appearance.

Why get a solid SUP:

  • Performance is your priority: Solid boards offer the best performance on the water. They travel faster, smoother and with less effort than an inflatable. If paddling fast and far are your priorities, a solid SUP is for you.
  • For a perfect fit: Solid SUPs are available in a larger variety of sizes and finely tuned shapes than inflatable SUPs, so you’re more likely to find one that fits you just right.
  • Stability is important: A solid board is a tad more rigid than an inflatable board, which can provide a more stable feel, especially when riding waves. Solid boards also tend to ride lower in the water, which can also create a more stable feel.
  • You have a place to store it: Solid SUPs can take up a lot of space. If you have ample room in your garage and a vehicle that can transport it, then a solid SUP is a fine choice.

Inflatable SUPs

Inflatable SUPs feature PVC exteriors with drop-stitch construction that creates an air core. They come with a pump for inflating the board and a storage bag for when it’s not in use. A quality inflatable SUP is designed to be inflated to 12–15 pounds per square inch and should feel very rigid when fully inflated.

Why get an inflatable SUP:

  • You have limited storage space: If you live in a small house, condo or apartment, you may not have room for a large solid board. Inflatable SUPs are compact when deflated and can easily be stowed in small spaces, like a closet or the trunk of a car.
  • You’re traveling: If you’re taking a road trip or hopping on a plane, you can bring along your inflatable SUP and do some paddling when you reach your destination. Packed away in its storage bag, an inflatable can be checked on an airplane or stowed in a train, bus or car. Most storage bags have backpack straps for easy carrying.
  • You’re hiking to a lake: If you’re headed to an alpine lake and want to paddle, you certainly cannot carry a solid board. An inflatable stowed in its storage bag is still heavy, but it’s pretty much your only option.
  • You’re paddling whitewater: Like a raft or inflatable kayak, an inflatable SUP is better suited to handle bumps up against rocks and logs than a solid board.
  • You like SUP yoga: You don’t have to get an inflatable for SUP yoga, but they tend to be a bit softer than solid boards, making them more comfortable for yoga poses.

SUP Volume and Weight Capacity

Two people stand up paddle boarding
A SUP board must work for your size. If the board doesn’t displace the correct amount of water for your weight, you won’t be supported well and the board may feel unstable. Board volume and weight capacity are two factors that affect how stable you will feel and how well the board will travel through the water.

Volume and weight capacity are determined by the length, width, and thickness of the board. SUP manufacturers combine these three dimensions in different ways to achieve different performance characteristics (see the SUP Length, SUP Width and SUP Thickness sections of this article to learn more).

Volume: A paddle board’s volume, expressed in liters, gives an indication of the board’s ability to float with weight on it. The higher the volume, the more weight the board can support.

Weight capacity: Each paddleboard has a rider weight capacity. Knowing weight capacity is important because if you’re too heavy for a board, it will ride lower in the water and be inefficient to paddle. When thinking about weight capacity, consider the total amount of weight you will put on the board, including your body weight and the weight of any gear, food and drinking water that you’ll be taking with you.

Volume and weight capacity as it relates to hull type: Most planing-hull boards are very forgiving, so as long as you’re below the weight capacity, the board will perform well for you. However, with displacement-hull SUPs, volume and weight capacity are more significant. SUP makers spend a lot of time determining the most efficient position for displacement boards to be in the water. If you overweight a displacement board and cause it to sink too low, it will drag and feel slow. If you’re too light for a board, you won’t sink it enough and the board will feel heavy and difficult to control.

 

SUP Length

SUP stand up paddle board lengths

 

The length of a board plays a major role in determining how the board handles. In general, longer boards are faster than shorter boards, but shorter boards are more maneuverable. Keep in mind your intended use when deciding what length SUP to buy:

  • Short boards (under 10’):Great for surfing and/or kids. These boards almost always have a planing hull. Short boards are more maneuverable than long boards, making them great for surfing waves. Boards designed specifically for kids are typically around 8’ long.
  • Medium boards (10’ to 12’): Ideal for all-around use and for SUP yoga. Most of these boards have planing hulls, but sometime you’ll find a displacement-hull SUP at this length.
  • Longboards (12’6” and above): Great for fast paddling and long-distance touring. The majority of boards in this size range are displacement-hull SUPs. They’re faster than short and medium boards and they tend to track straighter. If you’re interested in paddling fast or touring long distances, you’ll want a longboard.

When choosing a length, it’s helpful to understand how it relates to volume and weight capacity. A longer board can increase the volume and capacity, which can make it feel more stable and allow you to carry more on the board (width and thickness are also factors in volume and capacity; see the SUP Width and SUP Thickness sections of this article).

Consider, too, board length in regards to your type of car, home storage situation and length of walk to the beach or shore (longer boards are more difficult to carry, especially in windy places).

SUP Width

SUP stand up paddle boarders camping
Width is another important factor that affects how the board handles. A wider board will always be more stable than a skinny board, but keep in mind that a wide board can be slower and if the board is too wide for you, difficult to paddle. SUPs are made in widths ranging from about 25 inches up to 36 inches to accommodate a variety of needs.

When choosing how wide your SUP should be, think about the type of paddling you do, your body type and ability level:

  • Type of paddling: If you’re going on long tours that require you to carry extra gear, like a cooler of food and a tent, choose a wider board in order to have more storage space. The same is true if you’re doing SUP yoga; a board that is 31 inches wide or more will give you space and stability for doing poses. Narrower boards, on the other hand, are faster and more maneuverable, making them the choice among racers and surfers.
  • Body type: Try to match the width of the SUP to your body type. In general, if you’re a small person, go with a narrower board and if you’re a big person, go with a wider board. This is because a smaller person can generally find their balance on a narrow board, whereas a bigger person may struggle to do so. Also, if you put a smaller person on a board that is too big for them, they have to awkwardly reach out to the side to get their paddle in the water, resulting in an inefficient stroke.
  • Ability level: If you’ve paddled a lot, you may be comfortable on a narrower, faster SUP. However, someone brand new to SUP might prefer a little extra width to help them feel more secure.

As with length, width affects the overall volume and weight capacity, so you can select a width with this in mind. For example, if you’ve determined the length you want based on the type of paddling you want to do, you can choose a width (and/or thickness; see the SUP Thickness section of this article) that gives you the appropriate board volume and weight capacity.

 

SUP Thickness

Woman carrying SUP stand up paddle board
After finding a board with the length and width that makes the most sense for you and your paddling style, consider a third factor: board thickness.

The main reason to consider the thickness of a stand-up paddleboard is that of how it affects the overall volume and weight capacity. If you’re looking at two boards of the same length and width but different thicknesses, the thicker board has more volume than the thinner one and the higher the volume, the more weight it can support.

Here’s how you might use thickness: You’ve determined you want a long, skinny displacement board for cruising fast on flat water. If you’re a small person, choosing a thin board will keep the overall volume of the board lower so that you’re properly weighting the board for the most efficient performance.

SUP Fins

SUP stand up paddle board fins
Fins add tracking and stability to a paddle board. In general, larger fins with wider bases and longer front edges will track straighter and provide more stability than smaller fins. On the other hand, a smaller fin provides better maneuverability. Most fins are removable, so you can swap out fins and take them off for storage.

There are many different options for how fins are configured on the bottom of your SUP.

Some popular SUP fin configurations include:

Single fin: Many SUPs include a single fin placed in a finbox and secured with a nut and screw. The finbox has a channel for the fin to slide back and forth in. The single fin provides good tracking and minimal drag, making it a good choice for flatwater paddling.

3-fin setup: Also called a thruster, this setup promotes straight tracking on flatwater and offers good control in the surf. All three fins are usually about the same size.

2+1 setup: This configuration includes a larger center fin with a smaller fin on each side of it. This is a common setup on SUPs designed for surfing.

Fins for inflatable SUPs: Inflatable SUPs can have any of the fin configurations already listed. What sets them apart is that they feature either flexible rubber fins attached to the board or detachable semi-rigid fins.

SUP Extras and Accessories

Two women pulling SUP stand up paddle board paddles out of the back of a car

Depending on how you plan to use your SUP, you might want to look for a board with extra features, such as:

  • Bungee straps/tie-down: Sometimes located on the front and/or rear of the board, these stretchy straps or tie-down spots are great for securing dry bags, clothing, and coolers.
  • Attachment points/mounts: Some boards have specific attachment points for fishing-rod holders, seats, cameras and more. These accessories are typically sold separately.

 

After purchasing a SUP, you need just a few more key pieces of equipment to enjoy paddle boarding. These include:

  • Paddle: A SUP paddle looks a bit like a stretched-out canoe paddle with a tear-drop-shaped blade that angles forward for maximum paddling efficiency. The correct length paddle will reach up to your wrist when you stand the paddle up in front of you and raise your arm above your head.
  • PFD (Personal Flotation Device): The U.S. Coast Guard classifies stand up paddle boards as vessels (when used outside the narrow limits of swimming or surfing areas), so it is required that you wear a PFD. Note that the regulations also require you to always carry a safety whistle and have a light available 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 and dries quickly.
  • Leash: Typically sold separately, a leash tethers your SUP to you, keeping it close by if you fall off. Your SUP is a large flotation device, so being attached to it can be important for your safety. There are leashes designed specifically for surf, flatwater and rivers; be sure to purchase the correct one for your intended use.
  • Carrack: Unless you have an inflatable SUP, you need a way to transport your board on your vehicle. There are specific SUP racks designed to go on the crossbars of your roof rack, or you can use padding, such as foam blocks, and utility straps to secure the board to the roof of your vehicle.

 

Check Out: How to: Stand Up Paddleboarding