Home Fitness guide “You Can Learn Almost Instantly”: A Beginner’s Guide to Stand-Up Paddleboarding | Aptitude

“You Can Learn Almost Instantly”: A Beginner’s Guide to Stand-Up Paddleboarding | Aptitude


I love the ocean but in the past two years I haven’t seen it much. Now that the world has grown a little bigger, all I want to do is be by the water.

Sup – or stand-up paddleboarding – is the closest you can get without really getting wet. You sail, admire the view, find a nice place for lunch.

You can dive in, dive – damn it, you can grab a rod if you want, or do a downhill dog on your board.

Humans have long had supper – records date back to 3000 BC, but the modern iteration originated in Hawaii in the 1940s, when surfer John Ah Choy could no longer get on and off his board.

He started using a paddle to help him get out of the waves, his kids picked it up, and like many water-related activities that come from this island, it quickly spread across the world.

Paddleboarding is now a common feature in most Australian waterways. It’s often cited as the fastest growing water sport – and when you play it, you can tell why.

For starters, you can learn almost instantly. You just jump on the board and when your balance is good, if you feel comfortable, you get up. Simple.

Cait Kelly wears her Sup in the water at Lysterfield Park. Photograph: Jackson Gallagher / The Guardian
Nic Cooper and Cait Kelly get ready to SUP at Lysterfield Park, Melbourne, Australia
Nic Cooper and Cait Kelly prepare for Sup. Photograph: Jackson Gallagher / The Guardian

Nic Cooper has been souping for years now. He loves it so much that he made it his job: to take Victoria’s travelers to the best places.

“I’m hardcore in it. But I’m not one of the ones that keep going, like Sups marathons or anything like that. I love being in the ocean and relaxing, ”he says.

“I see it as relaxation.”

Cooper says he’s never had a student who couldn’t do it – some stay on their knees, but considering you pass turtles, dolphins, and kangaroos, it’s always a good time.

“Depending on your balance and stuff like that, you can get pretty good in a matter of hours,” he says.

Equal in his demands, Cooper says all ages and most body types can Sup. “I think it made water sports accessible to everyone.”

Once you have the basics, you need to refine your technique to get the most out of each shot. If not essential for beginners, it is a must to participate in a race or to Sup along a river for a few days.

It involves “bending your knees as you go forward and… leaning over your paddle… to get as much propulsion as possible,” says Cooper.

“Even turning your paddle slightly when it comes out the back, you will have less thrust on the water and therefore it will be a more efficient stroke. “

More advanced Sup-ers can even ride them like surfboards.

Before heading out for a lesson on Melbourne’s waterways, Cooper’s best advice was to ‘never look back’. What of course I forgot when a turtle swam under me.

Nic Cooper and Cait Kelly in Mount Martha South Beach
Nic Cooper and Cait Kelly on the South Beach of Mount Martha. Photograph: Jackson Gallagher / The Guardian

I spun around and went from standing paddleboarding to falling paddleboarding very quickly. But I stayed dry, and luckily out of the frame of our fast moving photographer.

Despite the fall, there was a feeling of calm – it’s like valium in a water sport.

As we drifted out onto the ocean just off the beach at Mt. Martha, in the shadow of peninsula ‘cabins’ that would cost $ 2 million, I asked if the sport was as egalitarian in price as it was. in skills. How much does it cost to regularly sit on a board for a stroke of happiness?

Not a lot, or a lot, says Cooper.

The cheapest and easiest way for those who want to try it is to book a Sup session or rent a board at the beach.

Depending on where you are, the board rental can be around $ 30 for 60 minutes. If you want a lesson to make sure you have the basics – or to extract your guide from the best spots – it’ll set you back around $ 60 for an hour.

As for buying your own gear, it depends on what you want to do with it.

“If they’re going to do these huge trips – 20, 30k along the coast or whatever – then they’re going to want a long, thin hiking board,” says Cooper. For activities like yoga, he suggests something broad and stable.

Cait Kelly in Mount Martha South Beach, Melbourne, Australia
Cait Kelly at Mount Martha. Photograph: Jackson Gallagher / The Guardian

The cheapest Sup I could find online was a $ 200 inflator – no pump. The price differences from there are in quality, ease and weight – the more expensive boards explode faster, last longer, and are significantly lighter, Cooper says.

He warns to avoid the cheaper new boards “because they’re just going to break.”

A new, high-quality board will cost around $ 900, but the used options are the best way to get a good deal.

Dinner is not a solo sport either. Aficionados can join their local clubs and even plan vacations around the activity.

“You can take them in a backpack so you can go to some really great places… Once you’re confident and you know you’re not going to fall, then you can really go anywhere.”