Stand Up Paddle Boarding: The Easy River Sport?

A number of years ago I was attending the wedding of a good friend in Sayulita, Mexico, we had the opportunity to go to the beach to either go surfing or stand up paddle boarding (SUPing). I picked SUPing. We had no instructor with us and the group I was with were all “never evers” to the sport. Of course, every time we tried standing up on the boards we would fall after a seconds. We were having first time new sport challenges. We never thought of staying on our knees and paddling around to get our balance first before trying to stand up. After we were struggling for about an hour, we saw 3 young men bring their boards to the beach. We watched them closely, to try to get an idea of what to do. All three dropped their boards in the water and jumped right on them, standing up the entire time. They then proceeded to paddle out to us and then on past us at ridiculously fast speeds. They went past the bay and around the corner and out of sight. I realized right then, I wanted to learn how to SUP with confidence, just like those three young men.

Upon returning to Colorado, I borrowed boards and watched videos to learn how to SUP. It did not take long to fall in love with the sport and acquire the balance to use the board properly. Moving about on the board and allowing the board to move from one rail to the other is another important skill. Not having to learn how to “roll” a stand up paddleboard makes learning seem much easier than some other water sports. After falling off, getting back on is simply a matter of kicking your feet and pulling yourself up on the board. Next came learning proper paddle strokes, learning to paddle and keep the board on a straight path is easier said than done. Learning not only forward and backward strokes but also learning the j-stroke is crucial for keeping the board on a straight path.

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 Author's Disclaimer: These photos are of my early days of SUP'ing, with my friend, Matt McCabe (permission given by him). But these were the early days and we did not have proper safety gear - and no helmets. Things have now changed! 

Author's Disclaimer: These photos are of my early days of SUP'ing, with my friend, Matt McCabe (permission given by him). But these were the early days and we did not have proper safety gear - and no helmets. Things have now changed! 

At Expeditions India, SUPing is taught in a safe environment, utilizing all safety protocols for the participants. We start out in calm water, with helmets and personal floatation devises (PFDs) securely on. We have a safety kayaker with us in case anyone needs assistance on the water. You will learn at your speed, no instructor will push you beyond your personal comfort zone, even though it may feel like it at times. After day one you will find yourself standing up and paddling around. It is easier than you think! Come try SUPing with Expeditions India on the Ganges River this spring! It will change your perspective of the river forever!!!