Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has been steadily gaining popularity on both coasts over the last few years as an alternative to regular surfing and as a way to get a workout on the water. Toned celebs like Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz frequently get snapped enjoying the sport, which has probably inspired many other women to try it, too.
SUP is much easier to learn than traditional surfing. Once you get the courage to stand up, it’s really just a matter of staying up. SUP is done on calm waters and the board is wide and relatively stable, so there’s not much of a learning curve. On its own, it’s a great workout for the core, arms, and back, but creative fitness instructors have taken the board to a new level, offering pilates and yoga classes out on the open water.
Last year I tried a pilates/yoga hybrid class on a SUP with a friend on the intercoastal waterways near Charleston, SC. After paddling for about 20 minutes, we banked our boards into some weeds to keep from drifting and did what turned out to be one of the most unique workouts I’ve ever tried. First of all, I was pretty sure I was going to be attacked by alligators. It just looked like a place where they would lurk, waiting to prey on unsuspecting city women who are doing trendy workouts. But after the instructor assured me that alligators didn’t live there, I relaxed and was able to work out. I fell off the board a few times, but doing planks, lunges and vinyasa flow sequences on a wobbly board ups the difficulty considerably. I was sore for two days after that. (Also, it turns out I was worried about the wrong kind of predator. This viral shark video shot in South Carolina surfaced a few weeks later, and it looks exactly like the place where I paddled. Shudder.) Continue reading >>