Published on avril 6th, 2013 | by Supworldmagazine
Stand Up Paddling – A Woman’s Perspective
Women who are looking for a new and different way to enjoy the outdoors, add variety to their workout routine, or spend quality time with their family and friends now have the perfect activity available to them. The fast-growing sport of stand up paddling is changing lives all over the globe, not to mention the life of the author, yours truly.
The diversity of females getting involved in stand up paddling shows that nearly anyone can experience one of the many aspects of the sport, from the rush of surfing twenty foot waves in Hawaii to a mellow cruise of a local lake. Many onlookers say that stand up paddlers appear as if they are ‘walking on water’; the unique perspective from a stand up board lets paddlers see more than they could from sitting in a kayak or on a surfboard, giving better views of oncoming waves to surf or sea creatures swimming below.
The many disciplines of SUP include recreational flat water, fitness, surfing, racing, open ocean paddling, fishing, and even whitewater river running, and each offers a different kind of enjoyment on the water. In any form, the sport provides exceptional core and total body strengthening and toning. For women who are interested in experiencing what stand up paddling (or SUP) is all about, this article will give them an idea of how to get started and what the sport can offer.
> My Story
I began stand up paddling about 3 years ago and was instantly hooked on how unbelievably fun it was. I enjoyed exploring the ocean with a unique and refreshing new perspective. As a fitness professional I immediately noticed the strengthening and toning benefits and began integrating stand up paddling into my outdoor fitness programs after I, and everyone else, noticed the amazing transformation in my body and wanted to know what I was doing to look so good. Through my company, NRG Lifestyle Fitness Training, I designed SUP Fitness Boot Camps for my clients and it has become very popular. Now, stand up paddling is not only my passion, but also my career. I enjoy sharing my passion of this sport with whomever I can by traveling around to hold boot camps and participate in special events and competitions.
> Why Stand Up Paddle?
One of the best parts about the SUP is its simplicity and versatility; there is minimal equipment required and it can be done almost anywhere there is water. It’s a great way to spend time with the family or go solo to get away from a hectic schedule and reconnect with nature. After one lesson most women are up and paddling with confidence, many times finding their balance more quickly than the men. Improved technique comes with multiple paddle sessions and practice, but SUP is a sport women can get the hang of on the very first try.
Stand up paddling is a great way to cross-train and improve your fitness level, most of the time without even realizing it’s a form of exercise because it’s so much fun. It helps improve balance and constantly challenges the stabilizing muscles of the body.Honor Hawkins, a 36 year-old senior marketing communications consultant of Long Beach, California has been cautiously using stand up paddling as a way to stay in shape through her pregnancy. Using common sense, knowing her limits and getting an approval from her doctor, she says “I limit myself to the bay, where there are no swells, to minimize risk of falling on my stomach because my board is tippy. I get a good cardio, core and strength workout. It feels great to engage the core, but my real motivation now is just the joy of being active and on the water. It feels so good to keep my core strong, and of course to stay happy and relaxed. I hope it will make for a smooth transition after the baby comes.”
> Women who are ripping
The benefits in stand up paddling are endless and women around the world are catching on. Many are actually turning it into their full-time endeavor and making headlines in the industry. Out in Hawaii, Candice Appleby is dominating the surfing side of stand up. She says that stand up paddling is great for women because “It helps them get fit, gain self confidence, enjoy the water, and continually challenge themselves.”
Hawaii’s Jenny Kalmbach and Morgan Hoesterey are established paddlers and waterwomen. Jenny put her name on the map by receiving first place in the women’s elite division of the first annual Battle of the Paddle race in Dana Point, California. Morgan is the first female to make the solo 32-mile journey across the Molokai Channel on a stand up board. Jenny and Morgan have continued to make headlines recently by being the first women to make the dangerous crossing of all the Hawaiian Island channels, almost a 300-mile journey in the open ocean.
Southern California’s Brandi Baksic, a former ironman triathlete, is crushing the competition in the racing scene. Other women are finding her nearly unbeatable, and she routinely leaves some of the top men paddlers in the dust. Hawaii’s Candice Appleby is the top female paddlesurfer, even beating out top men of the sport in stand up surf competitions and fearlessly charging big waves. These women are making a respected name for themselves and are inspiring women all over the world to get out there and give the sport a try.
> It’s Easy To Get Started
Begin by asking a local outdoor retailer that carries stand up paddleboards if they hold ‘demo days’ or if they know of a location that offers stand up paddle lessons. Getting a lesson from a reputable and qualified instructor is recommended. Also, check online for paddleboard dealers in the area or even online resources for the latest gear, board demo locations, events, fitness and technique enhancing tips. Stand up board and paddle company websites also offer great insight into kinds of equipment available and where to purchase. Try out as many boards and paddles as possible before purchasing.
Stand up paddling can indeed be life changing. At the very least, it’s a fun and easy sport to get into. Its versatility and the ability to paddle almost anywhere there is water make it possible for nearly anyone to enjoy. With the right instruction and equipment, there is almost no end to where a woman can take the sport. From scenic paddles to extreme adrenaline rushes, stand up paddling gives women a unique new perspective of their world- guaranteed!
Nikki Gregg (article published in Sup World mag 2011)
To learn more about Nikki Gregg and her SUP Fitness Boot Camps, visit her website at www.NikkiGregg.com