Sun, fresh air and an activity that is as easy or as challenging as you want to make it. If you love the outdoors, then Stand Up Paddle boarding is a versatile activity worth getting into and South Australia is a great place to try it.
You can easily float on calm waters without going far, or you can challenge yourself to paddle a long distance or through the waves. You can SUP year-round with friends, your dog or solo on the ocean, rivers or lakes.
It’s a great way to see the scenery and marine life from a different perspective.
After years of wanting to try SUPing, I finally got a chance in 2022 and it quickly became one of my favourite activities and I recently purchased an inflatable SUP. I love floating smoothly along on the water, watching my shadow dance across the sand on the ocean floor. It’s very easy to be present in the moment; part of my brain is focused on keeping my balance while paddling in a specific direction and the rest is on watching the scenery on the shoreline or the fish below my feet.
Standing on a SUP Board
While I have seen some people struggle to stand on a SUP board, I find I can balance easily with little effort. I think this is for two reasons: the stance is similar to skiing and women have a lower centre of gravity.
The best stance seems to be with your legs about hip-width apart and your weight on the balls of your feet. Toes should be in line and below your kneecaps. Knees should be slightly bent and soft to adapt as the board moves with the ripples of the water. If you shift your weight towards your heels, you will suddenly start to lose control and balance. On skis, that means going faster than you want; on a SUP, that means probably falling into the water.
Because women naturally have a lower centre of gravity – around our hips – it makes us more stable and generally we will find it easier to balance. Men’s centre of gravity is around their chest, which makes them more top-heavy and wobbly on an unstable board. Good core strength is also helpful because it will help you micro-adjust to the subtle changes the board makes under your feet.
SUP Board Types
The board you go out on will also help you stand up successfully. When researching which board to buy, I discovered that there are several different types: surf, all-rounder, flatwater/touring, and race.
The surf SUPs are the shortest, with a narrow nose and tail. The all-rounder is thicker and wider, with a rounded nose and tail. These are the most stable and are great for beginners and a variety of water types including flatwater or slight ocean waves. Touring boards are designed for flatwater only. They are a bit longer than all-rounders with a narrower nose that can slice through the water. They are quicker than all-rounders but less stable. The race boards are longer, narrower and more pointed than the touring boards since they are designed for speed.
I purchased an inflatable all-rounder board. My iSUP is perfect for storing in a small space when it’s not in use and packing into the car to take with us when we go camping. It is super stable and has a high weight allowance, which means that I can try taking my 40kg Bernese Mountain Dog out with me.
So far, I have paddle boarded at Fowlers Bay, Seacliff Beach, on the Onkaparinga River and while on holidays at Hamilton Island. But there is so much more to explore by SUP. South Australia has hundreds of calm, swimming beaches and several rivers and coastal inlets perfect for paddling.
I can’t wait to adventure out to more places with my SUP, hopefully with Aster on board!
What is your favourite place in South Australia to SUP?
Learning to SUP was on my list of activities to do in Adelaide as South Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions began to ease. You can read about my list at 10 Things I Plan To Do in Adelaide After the Pandemic.