Stand Up Paddling
Stand up paddle-boarding (SUP) is a fast growing sport and can be done in nearly every type of watercourse like lakes, rivers, harbours and in the open ocean, but you don't need a wave. It is an easy way to play on the water and offers an amazing full body workout, being an excellent cross-training activity for skiers and other athletes.
One of the advantages of SUP is the visibility, because you are standing at your full height over the water, you can see both into the water and further across the surface of the water, allowing better visualization of features others lower above the water may not be able to see, whether it is water creatures or any change in weather. It's like walking on water...
“You are connected to the water, mountains and trees on a different level and in a perspective you never thought possible. Instantly you will be hooked” says Brandon Olsthoorn, from Bow Valley Stand Up Paddleboarding.
SUP is derived from its Polynesian roots. The Hawaiian translation is Ku Hoe He’e Nalu which means to stand, to paddle, to surf a wave. Early 1960′s is when the beach dwellers of Waikiki would stand upright on long boards and paddle out along the ocean waves, often to take photographs of tourists and locals trying catch a wave. In the early 2000s Hawaiian surfers such as Dave Kalama, Brian Keaulana, Rick Thomas, Archie Kalepa and Laird Hamilton started SUP as a way to train while the surf was down.
The many health benefits of stand up paddling include working the core, toning of the body, strengthening, balance and endurance, not to mention the mental clarity reached by paddling in a meditative state through the water. “If you are looking to build strength in your body and mind through SUP Yoga be prepared for a challenge by balancing on a board while doing a downward dog”, says Brandon, adding that “whichever way you choose to enjoy your board is entirely up to you. Just know that once you get on one you will be connected in that way you never thought possible and you are probably not going to want to get off.”