SUP (Stand-Up Paddle)
Stand up paddle boarding, also known as SUP, is the newest entry in the water sports scene and, as you will find out yourselves when you try it, the most fun. It has Polynesian ancestry but was “re-born” in Hawaii and is gradually winning the hearts of those who love exercise, recreation and, of course, the sea.
Essentially, it is a combination of paddling and surfing, and is based on the same technique as canoeing, the only difference being that you stand upright. This means that you exercise not only the upper part of your body, through paddling, but also the lower part, through balancing on the board. In other words, it is a type of full-body aerobic workout.
Add to this the great fun it offers – if anything, you are in the sea! – and the fact that anyone can do it, irrespective of age, fitness level, experience etc, and you have one of the most popular water sports throughout Attica!
SUP is a great way to… catch the waves and the sun, standing or kneeling on the board and paddling! If the sea is calm, you will enjoy the ride – the feel (and balance) will be perfect! If waters are rough, excitement increases, and so does the challenge. This is when your ability to balance well and your technique to handle the board are most tested.
The trainer’s instructions will help you get the hang of it, easily and quickly; you will learn all about the correct body position and safety rules, for care-free SUP boarding. Trying it once is enough to get you hooked!
What you will need:
- The board
- A paddle
- A leash that attaches to the board and connects to your ankle. If you fall off the board, your leash makes sure it does not drift away from you. SUP leashes are specially designed, so that they don’t tangle up.
- A life jacket that does not interfere with your paddling motion.
What you should do
The correct SUP boarding technique makes the whole body participate, without extra fatigue from unnecessary or wrong movements and without injuries. Two are the main elements that you need to “conquer”: balance and cruising. Therefore, it is wise to start off in calm waters. As soon as you find the balance and your body gets accustomed to standing upright on the floating board, then you gradually start learning the technique.
To get on board:
- Find a spot in shallow waters; shallow enough for you to feel comfortable and be able to get on the board, but deep enough for the board to not touch the bottom of the sea.
- Use your knees to get on the board. At first, many prefer to paddle on their knees, before they decide to stand on their feet. Do what makes you feel comfortable. If you fall into the water, just try again.
- If you started off paddling on your knees, simply raise one foot first, making sure you are always in the middle of the board. Then raise the other foot and bring it next to the other.
- Keep your knees slightly bent and your torso centered to the board.
- Look ahead. Remember the rule that applies in driving: Look where you want to go. Don’t look down.
- Start paddling smoothly. One on the left, one on the right. Your grip and hand will change position as you change sides (naturally).
- Until you get fully accustomed to it, make sure you stay close to the shore, where it’s not too deep. If you fall off the board, getting back on can be hard in deep waters, when you are not experienced.
- Always remember the sun protection! Wear a hat, sunscreen or even special sun protection swimwear.
- If you fall off the board, try to fall to the side (which is probably what will happen, anyway). If for some reason you haven’t attached the leash and you fall into the water, first swim to the board and then look for the paddle.
Do you love the sea, water sports and outdoor fun? If the answer is yes, then SUP will most definitely become your new favourite summer activity! In Attica, SUP lessons are given in all certified surf and water sports schools, on the west and east coast. Have fun and work out in Alimos, Paleo Faliro, Agios Kosmas, Glyfada, Artemida, Rafina, Lavrio, Loutsa, Porto Rafti, Marathonas, Varkiza, Vouliagmeni, Schinias, Alepochori, Agia Marina, Anavyssos, Kavouri, Lagonissi, Vravrona and in Megara.
Happy and safe paddling on the crystal blue waters of Attica!
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