There’s a reason that stand up paddle boarding is becoming one of the most popular outdoor activities among millennials. The generation of now-adults who were born after 1984 tend to be far more health-minded than the generations before them. Fast food restaurants have had to change their approach to offer fresher ingredients instead of the instant dinner approach that had worked for decades. You’ll find the grocery store check out line to be stocked with granola bars and healthy snacks instead of the candy they used to sell to customers.
And the way millennials get exercise also contrasts to their predecessors. In the past, jazzercise videos were considered the norm for losing that mom-bod. Now, we realize that getting outdoors and burning calories in nature is good for the body and the soul. Outdoor activities such as rock climbing and scuba diving help tone the body while also enriching the mind. And stand up paddle boarding is an excellent way to get your cardio in, and enrich your mind with a healthy does of nature.
One great aspect of stand up paddle boarding is that, unlike the upfront cost of scuba diving equipment, the cost of gear won’t require you to take out a second mortgage on your internal organs. We’ve put together a quick list of the gear you need to get started stand up paddle boarding:
Your Stand Up Paddle Boarding Equipment Checklist
- A stand up paddle board
Okay, we realize this might be obvious, but in the spirit of being an all-inclusive list we wanted to clarify, you’ll need to plan to have a stand up paddle board in order to go stand up paddle boarding. If there is any item on this list that will cost you more than a little pocket change, it’s this one.
The good news is, stand up paddle boards come in a huge range of quality and prices. If you are planning to be a serious stand up paddle boarder, you might want to invest in a good one. It will make your experience better and you’ll definitely get your money out of it. If you are just testing the waters (pun intended) of stand up paddle boarding, you might be better off just buying a lower-range one. Visit a few sporting good stores and talk to the staff about your plans for the sport to identify the best cost to quality ratio for your situation.
Another option that could save you a lot of upfront money while you’re still trying to decide if stand up paddle boarding is a long-term thing or just a one-off outing is to find a sporting good shop that will rent you a board for a day. This allows you to test out a good quality board before you’re in too deep to go back.
- Make sure you go up a creek WITH a paddle.
In addition to your stand up paddle board, you’ll need a paddle to steer and propel your vessel. The cost of one of those bad boys isn’t as much as the cost of the board itself, but it definitely pays to go for quality.
The trick to choosing the right paddle when you are stand up paddle boarding is identifying the best height for your size. In order to leverage your weight to propel your board with the paddle most efficiently, you need it to be slightly taller than are. Most sporting pros suggest using a paddle no less than six inches above your height and no more than 10 inches taller than you are. This is another category that you should definitely try out in person before you make a purchase. Don’t buy you paddle online, where you can’t see and feel it first.
- Safety gear
Even if you are a seasoned swimmer, it’s important to take precautions to ensure you participate in the sport safely. You should always wear a life vest while you navigate the water on your board. It’s not a bad idea to also bring a whistle to draw attention to yourself in the event of an accident, and a light if it is getting close to sunset when you take off. We also recommend wearing a leash to keep your board attached to your ankle. And sunscreen. Never forget sunscreen.
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