When it comes to watersports, surfing has always been a popular choice. While surfing gives you an experience of its own, you cannot really enjoy it without waves. So what do you do when you find yourselves in calm waters?
Don’t worry, you have enough options to stay busy in calm waters too. There’s swimming, and boating, and kayaking.
Apart from these traditional water activities, one new sport is quickly gaining popularity. Yes, you guessed it right, it’s paddleboarding.
Whether you are a novice or an expert, paddleboarding is something that can give you an experience in calm waters. Let’s take a look at what paddleboarding actually is.
What is Paddleboarding?
According to the Oxford dictionary, paddleboarding is a sport or pastime of lying, kneeling, or standing on a paddleboard or surfboard and propelling oneself forward with a paddle or one’s hand. It can be seen as swimming while lying on a board.
Paddleboarding can be seen as a combination of surfing and kayaking. Similar to surfing, you still have a board under your legs. But in paddleboarding, you don’t need the waves to take you forward. You propel ahead with your own strength.
Though not that popular, paddleboarding isn’t something that originated just yesterday. People have been paddleboarding for thousands of years now. But its more popular version – stand up paddleboarding – did come into the picture just a decade ago. Its origin can be traced back to Hawaii in the late 1900s.
What Equipment Do You need for Paddleboarding?
Whether you are a novice or an expert, getting your gear right is very critical. If you don’t have all the necessary things, there is always a chance of you getting hurt. So first, let us go through all the equipment you need to take up paddleboarding.
Let’s go over the equipment one by one.
Ideally, anything that floats can be used as a board for paddleboarding. However, there are some minor little things to keep in mind while selecting your paddleboard.
Your paddleboard should be light in weight. Nowadays, boards made of epoxy, fiberglass, or carbon fiber are readily available. They offer a nice combination of being durable as well as lightweight.
The next critical thing to decide is the size of your board. If your board is too wide or too narrow, it gives you trouble perfecting the technique.
The final thing in the checklist is the cost of your paddleboard. How costly would you like your board to be? The paddleboards available in the market range from 1500 to 3500. You should choose your paddleboard carefully. The choice would primarily depend on your requirement.
Based on the size of the board, there are three different types available:
Stock- The stock type of paddleboards are 12 ft long. These type of boards aren’t that fast in calm water. Also, they are relatively easy to accelerate. So if you are a beginner, this board is ideal for you to learn. However, these boards do pick up speed when in choppy waters.
14 feet- If the stock type boards are relatively slow, the unlimited type boards are made for speed. Paddleboards that are 14 feet in length are right between the two. They are really a class apart and can be termed as perfect all-rounders.
Unlimited- As mentioned above, the unlimited type boards are made for speed. Their size is generally around 16 to 18 ft. Though, they do fall in the class of anything that floats. Everything said, there is no doubt that they are the fastest boards afloat.
Unless you install rockets on your paddleboard, it won’t propel itself. While you can always use your hands to propel, it would be a tiring task. Also, stand up paddleboarding doesn’t allow the luxury of using your hands to propel.
So, having a paddle is equally necessary. The length of your paddle has a great impact on your paddleboarding experience. Too short or too long would result in excess fatigue on your side. Ideally, the length of the paddle should be 5 to 7 inches more than your height.
Also, the paddleboarding paddles are specially designed. They have a peculiar bend right near the blade. It helps in chopping the water easily. But it also makes the paddle expensive.
• Life Jacket / Personal Flotation Device
While it is not a mandatory thing to have, it’s a nice practice to equip yourself with a life jacket. In the worst case scenarios, it will act as your personal flotation device and might just be the difference between life and death.
• Paddleboard Leash
A paddleboard leash is a thing that connects paddlers with their paddleboards. Just like a life jacket, it’s not mandatory to have a leash. But it’s always a good practice to have one. You will find it handy when you fall off your board. After all, no one would want their board to float away from them, right?
Now that you know all the things you need for paddleboarding, let’s get to know the popular destinations where you can do it.
5 Popular Paddleboarding Destinations in the United States:
• Tahoe Lake, California.
The first thing you will notice while paddleboarding at Lake Tahoe is the scenic beauty. The crystal clear water gives you a glimpse of the beautiful reef that hides underneath. While the surrounding snow-capped mountains are a treat to the eyes. Lake Tahoe also hosts the longest inland paddleboarding race.
• Hood River, Oregon.
The Waterfront park at Hood river attracts a number of paddlers around the year. The water there is a bit choppy and provides a different thrill to paddle through those currents.
• Apostle Islands, Minnesota.
It’s normal to paddle through oceans, rivers, and lakes. At Apostle Islands though, you can get a unique experience of paddleboarding through caves. The paddlers are sure to be treated to some amazing views of rock formations.
• Oahu, Hawaii.
When talking about paddleboarding, you can never miss Hawaii, can you? After all, Hawaii is the birthplace of the modern version of paddleboarding – stand up paddleboarding. Whether you like the stormy beaches or the calm rivers, Hawaii offers the best of everything to everyone. If you are looking for the best paddleboarding experience, then you should definitely visit Hawaii.
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