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About Stand Up Paddleboarding

It’s no surprise that Stand up paddling is one of the fastest growing water sports in the World. It’s so much fun but even more than that it is very good exercise utilizing almost all of the body.

A few years ago I bought my first board and quickly became completely and totally addicted. It often has that affect on people.

The Upper Spencer Gulf is ideal for SUP’s and exploring the marine parks creeks and just getting great exercise.

The Basics

Stand up paddleboards known as as S.U.P.’s come in many different shapes and sizes. They can be used for flat water, touring the gulf, even fishing, surfing, or just plain goofing around having fun.

Paddling an SUP targets your core muscles the most but also provides an awesome full body workout. You’ll be amazed even your toe muscles building strength, (hanging on)
It can be a bit wobbly and intimidating when you first start out and some early days you end up in the water more than you will be on your board. But that soon passes and balance appears.

Below are some very common beginner questions. It’s actually not all that hard to get started and you’ll be surprised how quickly you improve.

Beginner Questions & Answers

1. How hard is it to stay up on those things?

It only takes a very short adjustment period before your balance kicks in and you are looking like one of the pros on flat water. If you follow a few basic steps your first time or two out, you may not even fall in, I did! But you know what, before you know it stability comes and you almost never fall off.

So what’s next?

2. What is the easiest way to get started on an SUP?

Ok, here are the simple steps to get out on the water.

  • It’s best to start it in flat calm water. Often around the old wharf the water is very flat and protected..
  • Use a beginner board – a board that is wide and thick = BIG. This can be inflatable, soft or epoxy but wide is better than a narrower race board.
  • Carry your board to the water and be carefull not to drop it in too shallow and hit the rocks.Then climb onto it on your hands and knees. Then sit back on your knees.
  • You can start off by paddling while sitting on your knees.
  • Then when you are feeling comfortable slowly stand up one foot at a time keeping your feet shoulder width apart. Don’t go too wide as you can get a bit wobbly stretching wide.
  • Then paddle while standing. If you begin to feel too wobbly go back down on your knees as this is a very stable position.

You can also try paddling your board by sitting on your bum. Although I reckon this is harder than standing. And it’s harder to get in a standing position from here.

If you fall in, don’t worry about it. It will be the first of many, crack a smile and climb back on your board and try again. It’s really a lot of fun. And it doesn’t take long to stand up confidently, really!

3. What size board should I use?

It boils down to three things

  • Water Conditions – Usually flat here at the top of the Gulf
  • Your weight – See the crew at saltbush for some guidance on the right board for your weight.
  • Convenience – Inflatable for easy packing and storing or LONG raceboard for roofracks, lets talk about what board is best for you.

4. What equipment do I need?

There are 4 main things you will need:

Stand Up Paddle Board – Obviously you will need a board. There are plenty to choose from and we keep a range of style and price options at Saltbush for you to think about.

SUP Paddle – SUP paddles are like Indian canoe paddles in the movies, just longer, they have a handle at one end and a blade at the other. They are made from a variety of different materials such as plastic, aluminum and carbon fiber . The length of your paddle should be between 150 – 200 mm longer than you are. In flat water choose a longer paddle.

Board Leash – The leash is very important as it will keep your board attached to you if you fall in the water. Always remember to use it!
It will attach to one end of your board and the other end will wrap around either your ankle or calf with Velcro.

PFD – No reason not to, especially if using your SUP for distance work. Find a comfortable PFD, many are very slimline and you hardly know they are there.

5. How Do I Transport My SUP?

If it’s inflatable simply let it down and chuck it in the car boot. If you have a hard-shell board then you either have to transport it in the back of a ute or on top of a roof rack. They all have either a carry handle or hand hold recess for carrying from the car to the water.

6. How Do I Use My Paddle?

The paddle should be held with one hand on the top and one hand on the shaft. Try holding roughly shoulder width apart giving you the best power to comfort ratio.

When you take a stroke, dip the blade of the paddle fully in the water. If you are having trouble completely dunking the blade in the water then your paddle is too short for you. Stiffen your core as you stroke and try not to bend too much.

7. Practice and have fun.

It doesn’t take long to get proficient and improve. You’ll get faster and want to paddle further and there are plenty of great spots around Port Augusta and the shacks or even the redbanks, for a flat water paddle.


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