Looking for a new sport to try while traveling, say to Barcelona or Los Angeles? Want my suggestion?
Try stand up paddleboarding! It’s exotic, it’s resilient, it’s calming and easy, it’s a surprisingly mean work out, it won’t break the bank, and you can do it just about anywhere! It’s no wonder people like it… so, let me elaborate a bit on my 6 reasons. (I usually always try to get to 7, since its my lucky number, but I think 6 will do for this post!)
1. It’s Got Hawaiian Roots & History.
Paddleboarding was first carried out by ancient Polynesian kings, ali’i, and even depicted in paintings produced during Captain James Cook’s voyages to the Sandwich Islands in the late 18th century. How cool is that?
2. Everyone Loves A Good Renaissance.
The sport of paddleboarding was first resurrected at the turn of the century by paddleboard maker, Thomas Edward Blake. Since the 1980s, it has taken off as a sport, made popular by racer Rabbi Norm Shifren and Craig Lockwood, a surf journalist who began to produce a high quality board called the “Waterman”. Now there are several other producers in action, and it’s estimated that 3,400 paddleboards are produced yearly in the US.
3. Paddleboarding is Zen.
The essence of paddleboarding is keeping calm amidst the waves. Once you lose your confidence, you lose your balance, and possibly fall. How’s that for a life lesson? It’s also quite safe when compared to surfing, which must be done in open ocean waters, and not nearly as difficult. Double score. To top it off, it’s something you basically do on your own unlike some types of rowing or dragonboat racing, where you have to deal with pesky row-mates. Yet, you can still go out with friends!
4. An Easy, Full Body Workout.
Since you are standing, it’s more fun and a much better workout than kayaking or other types of paddling. That said, you get a more well-rounded, full body workout as you use all major muscles from your quads to your core to your arms. I should also add that I normally hate squatting, so for me, paddleboarding easily works out those quads, I usually don’t bother to focus on! You don’t think it’s working you out, but you will feel some soreness when you’re done. The good kind of soreness.
5. You Don’t Need to Break the Bank (Yet!)
Like many sports, paddleboarding isn’t exactly cheap. Private lessons are expensive, starting at $40-$50 an hour. But again, it is so easy to pick up, you may only need a few of those, even group lessons, or none at all. Or you can just ask a friend to go out with you. Renting boards is a bit more affordable, ranging from about $20 dollars an hour to $40 for two hours. And, places offer seasonal specials and other deals! Case in point: Marina Paddle at Pier 44 is offering a great rental deal at the moment. Check it out! (I actually got a coupon through Living Social or Groupon.)
(If you get serious about it and decide you want your own board, you’re looking at a minimum $800 investment for a good used one. New boards start at $1,500… but that’s not something we need to think about just yet!)
6. You Can Do It Here, There & Anywhere.
It’s a great traveling sport, as well as something to do when you’re more settled. I plan to keep doing this here in Los Angeles, during travels, or even if I move elsewhere. So, if you’re somewhere with a lake, river or ocean, give it a go! I’d been wanting to try it for some time, and have to say, I was not disappointed.
Note: The instagrams in this post are from my paddleboarding experience yesterday at the Marina (still the largest man-made marina in the world) and while at Mother’s Beach there.
Aloha for now! See you out on the water!