wesup. returns to the beach after lockdown lifts at the start of the 2020 season!Continue reading
Well… It’s hard to see how the allure of gracefully gliding across your favourite body of water (lake, fjord, ocean, river, canal etc…) whilst working on your fitness and mental health and simultaneously undertaking a micro expedition of sorts and enjoying a good conversation with your paddleboarding pals is an un-attractive prospect to any new watersports enthusiast. Match those sentiments with the fact that a sometimes uncomfortable or unflattering wetsuit is entirely optional and that it can be enjoyed everyday, regardless of whether there are good waves or not and I’d say yes… People are beginning to switch on to the incredible accessibility of this amazing sport and stand up paddleboarding seems set to continue exploding into our lives.
This is not to say that SUP is better than surfing, it only answers the question as to why I believe that in another 10 years time, SUP will be challenging the biggest sectors of watersports for sure. I think purely based on the sheer number of additional possibilities to get on the water, SUP can only continue its rapid and welcome evolution into our lives.
Just think of all those beautiful lakes, rivers, lochs, oceans and puddles! Literally, every single body of water in the world can now be accessed with this sport in a way that will suit almost every single human profile. So, whether for fitness, mindfulness, health and wellbeing, adventure, adrenaline, family time, friendship forming, working on your suntan, doing some yoga or working on your mental health – Stand Up Paddleboarding offers something to almost everyone and I know surfing boasts many of these qualities, but quite honestly – Surfing is bloody difficult! It requires a great deal of being bashed up and drowned before you even that first unforgettable glide, and then sometimes years of practice, traveling and experimenting before you accomplish your first visit to the ‘green room’ and finally attain the right to boast the quality that you are a surfer!
SUP boasts instantaneous gratification regardless of your age, ability, fitness, weight, previous watersports experience or social status, especially with the support of a lesson by a quality SUP School, of which there are now many popping up all over the planet. There will be no near-drowning accounts or close calls with other peoples kit flying towards your face in the surf. You may not even get your hair wet on your first go and to many, many people in the world, these factors will appeal more that those associated to surfing – In my humble opinion.
I’m bias of course, but it is not my addiction to the sport that I am referencing. It is the countless accounts of how the sport is changing peoples lives from the very first contact. I mean, if Jesus were a object, he’d be a paddleboard for sure!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially any alternative views. And, if you are going to be a total legend and give the gift of SUP this Christmas, WeSUP have a great selection of vouchers for SUP experiences from just £12. You can buy them online by following this link. https://wesup.co.uk/product-category/vouchers/
If you would rather we send you a quality printed copy over a digital version, please call the shop on 01326 311830 to speak with one of our super friendly staff, or email [email protected]. We’ll get that sorted for you – no sweat!
Back-foot; “The step-peg that one uses for control and power during sexy manoeuvres.”
It’s funny that I’ve been compelled to write about something that takes only a couple of seconds to explain, but I get asked this question so often that I actually think my response requires a permanent place on the wonderful web.
Your leash is supposed to attach to what is commonly known as your ‘back-foot’. Your back-foot is a term that I know best from surfing and it refers to the foot which is at the back of the board when I am riding a wave. My back-foot enables me to become naturally balanced as I deliver control and power to my manoeuvres and the reason my leash is attached to that foot is so that when I step back to ride the wave and control my board, my leash drags behind me and does not get tangled under my feet. That would happen every time if I were to strap the leash to my front foot thus hindering me from my maximum ability to shred the knar and a wayward leash would definitely cause an unwanted distraction when in the green room (Ha!). Just kidding, but not about the leash getting under your feet.
When most start out stand up paddleboarding they are not riding waves and stepping back to perform manoeuvres that require the leash to be out of the way. They are stood square footed and gently paddling their favourite stretch of water. However, rather than standing square footed (feet parallel) you should all be taught to stand on your board in what we call an engaged stance. That means one foot slightly in front of the other so that you can maintain balance when you rock forwards or backwards off balance. Standing with your feet totally parallel only really gives you lateral stability (side to side) and leaves the tiny muscles in your toes to do all the work of stabilising your forward and back discrepancies. So, it’s still a good idea to know which is your back foot so that you can stand in this correct engaged stance.
So, how do you discover your back foot? Well it’s hard to say but I have a couple of methods that I use on my clients although I’m sure there is a text book method out there. I encourage my guys and girls to initially just put the leash on the ankle that they reach to first as the leg that they first present to the leash is often the leg that they are happiest to control, or in my terms, that would be the leg that delivers the natural balance and control during a manoeuvre. Another test is to stand with both feet together on flat ground and get someone to push you backwards with a little force. The leg that you put backwards to catch your balance is most likely to be your natural back-foot. I stress, this is not an exact science but a method that might help your thirst for back-foot discovery!
With your back-foot potentially being discovered on dry land, you’ll now need to head into the water with your SUP and get stood up. Keep your head up and facing out towards the horizon and without looking down at your feet, take a step back into the ‘engaged stance’. Your leash should be on the ankle that is furthest back on the board. If this is not the case, you have probably not got the leash around your natural foot so come back to the land, take off your leash and swap it to the other ankle. One way or the other, you should feel that the leash is not a distraction. It should feel totally comfortable to wear and should not become tangled under your feet an any time.
I really hope this helps and wish you every success discovering your back-foot!
SUP Fitness; “An ambition to stray far from grey, disenchanting and monotonous indoor exercise”
Almost everyone who has ever heard of SUP has also heard that it’s good for your ‘core.’ Well, they are right and yes, it is. Very good in fact! It’s important though that if you are to use SUP for core fitness and really make the most of it, you are trained by an instructor how to properly engage your core whilst you paddle, or at the very least understand how to train yourself in order minimise the risk of injury, maintain your safety and maximise the amount of fun and productivity to your fitness session.
Almost every stand-up paddleboarder out there is either paddling on a basic introductory lesson or with no training at all. Those without any training are easily recognisable because they are often paddling bolt upright using almost entirely arm power. I call those people the 80:20’s. It’s not a derogatory term at all, it just refers to a person who uses 80% arm power to 20% core which by the way is totally fine for a leisurely paddle around the bay whilst reeling off your juicy gossip to your SUP buddy. However, I’m here now to enlighten those of you who perhaps do not know that there is a very specific mechanical action to your paddling that requires body rotation, leverage and total core stability.
When you paddle with the understanding that you use your entire body to transfer power down from the handle of your paddle, through the length of the paddle shaft, into the blade and finally into the water, your stand up paddleboarding experience will become revolutionised. Applying this knowledge to your stroke will enable you to paddle with at least 50% more power and will transform your 5km paddle trip around the bay into a 15km coastal adventure almost overnight. Everything will feel so much less stressful on your shoulders and arms as you finally gain the ability to engage your entire body of muscles which will initiate new found power as you propel yourself around your water way with grace and purpose.
I’m going to level with you though guys and girls… Realistically you would have to read an entire book on how to paddle if you are to try and digest the entire instruction by reading, mostly because there are of course so many variables that effect your ability to paddle. Everything from the type of equipment you are using, the environment in which you are paddling and of course your own physiology. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to write a book so I am going to just offer you the base understanding of the essential principles. In the end, teaching you how to paddle efficiently and with good skill and technique is a very personal thing. Like any other sport, if you want to be stronger, faster and improve your stamina, you will need some basic coaching to get you going. The basics are not difficult to master but as you progress your skills you will need to train and you will need to be focused. When it all clicks into place you’ll never look back and the traditional forms of gym based exercise will wither into a pale, unremarkable memory.
20:80, this is our primary objective as a core fitness paddler. That’s 20% arm power and 80% coming from the rest of your body. Even if you have arms like the Hulk, they are still much more efficient when supported by the larger muscles throughout the rest of your body. When paddling I like to think of my arms mostly as the vehicles to hold onto my paddle. The amount of exercise my arms do will rely on everything I do with the rest of my body once I have inserted my entire blade into the water and developed a solid catch or anchor point from which I can pull. To elaborate just a little, the blade is designed to ‘catch’ water in the pocket which is the area (or side) of the blade that you look at before committing it to the water. Once the blade is fully submerged, you may then begin to squeeze and compress the water that is caught in the pocket. That compression will then transfer into forward propulsion (movement under power). The more efficiently you catch and compress the water with the paddle, combined with the amount of power you can generate by driving load down though the paddle into that blade and finally pulling through the shaft as you deliver rotation to your stroke, the faster you will go and the more anaerobic your exercise will become.
Before you can deliver any power to your arms and torso, you must fully stabilise you body from the waist down. You should ensure that your feet are no more than shoulder width distance apart and are in a slightly engaged stance (one foot half way in front of the other) and stood right over the ‘sweet-spot’ of your board so that it maintains a nice flat waterline when you power up. Your toes should be griping into the deck pad and you should crunch your powerful leg muscles into action so that they become fully stabilised in time for the full power phase. Once stabilised, you will then power up your Glutes, Traps and Lats before simultaneously driving power down from your top hand using your Triceps, Deltoids and Abdominals before finally delivering a burst of progressive power through a body rotation that uses your Obliques, your Lats your Pectorals, your Glutes, Hamstrings and Calves.
Hopefully, this explanation sparks some clarity on the matter of the 80:20’s paddler. It is clear to see that in 10 of the most prevalent muscle groups we use whilst stand up paddleboarding, just 2 groups (your Triceps and Deltoids) deliver your arm power to paddle.
So what are your stats?
If you would like to improve your paddle stroke for SUP Fitness, Safety or just because you want to become a more efficient and accomplished paddler, why not take a look at WeSUP’s all new SUP Academy. You can purchase any number of our modular courses to get paddling exactly how you want to paddle. Courses start from as little as £25 for a 60minute introductory group lesson and £60 for the 90minute private lesson. All courses include a competency award certificate and inclusion into our national data base where you can prove to other centres across the country that you have the skills to paddle
SUP Experience; “One’s self-proclaimed paddling ability in multiple scenarios over ‘some’ time.”
Sean White – WeSUP Paddleboard Centre
A great question that I am asked often and one that taps right into the fabric of the sports popularity, broad appeal and rapid success. But worryingly it could also stem the foundation of the sports bad press.
Take a look at yourself… Are you a fair weather paddler? I expect so, and rightly so! It takes a rare bread of human to find that certain allure to the water when the wind is howling and the waves are up. But what happens if you find yourself in such a situation when you were not expecting it and quite frankly it’s the last place on earth that you’d wish to be?
It happens and unfortunately it’s happening more and more often in the world of SUP. Lot’s of you will have found your own way to develop your SUP skills which is what’s so awesome about SUP. On a flat lake or calm ocean when the wind is light visibility is good, you can take all you’ve learned from YouTube or what Dave told you and become a happy leisure paddler who’s looking like an absolute boss in his girlfriend’s eyes. But those of you without any professional training trying to paddle in more challenging environments are often easily recognisable as you paddle past with the grace of a drunk man leaving Whetherspoons, stood bolt up-right with a unsteady wobble, whilst using the wrong ratio of 80% arm power and just 20% core power. As well as giving the beach spectators something to giggle at, paddling in this way massively prohibits your ability to paddle efficiently over distance and against the wind. You’ll be burning your arms out and leaving yourself vulnerable to unnecessary fatigue and consequent injury. Most importantly you leave yourself at the mercy of the elements as you lack the technical ability to power through the wind and more challenging elements that often descend on you without warning.
Whilst that all sounds a little blunt, we really, really care about your personal safety and the reputation of our beloved sport. Many people getting into SUP are finding that this is the first watersport they have ever been able to achieve, enjoy and access regularly but the simplicity of the sport at base level is leading people into a false sense of security that the sport is always simple and always safe. The lack of watersports experience presents a natural lack of understanding of the dangers that open water a rapidly changing weather can present.
There are lots of great instructors right across the country that can offer you a fantastic beginners lesson which will at least arm you with the principle understanding of good paddle skill and the effects of paddling into the wind. Advanced lessons such as WeSUP’s Safe Paddler Award is designed to teach you about the things you perhaps have never considered whilst being prepared for the weather and giving you the skills to cope if it all goes wrong.
My advice is to always undertake training from a professional before you venture off into the unknown but in case you think it will never happen to you, please consider the following points,
- Assess the weather and wind direction for the entire period of time that you intend on paddling. Also, check the weather at your destination as there is a good chance it will be different from where you set off.
- Always wear your leash and ensure it is in perfect condition.
- Do your best to not paddle further from the shore line than you can absolutely swim back.
- If you do paddle far from the shore, ensure you wear a personal floatation device (PFD) that suits you. The Restube is a great option that you wear like a belt and wont hinder your paddling comfort.
- If you paddle out of ear and eyes shot from help, take a form of communication with you in a waterproof pack so you can call for help or support if required. Calling home for a collection after you got stuck downwind could be a lifesaver.
- Always let someone know where you are going, when you intend on coming back and most importantly how to get hold of you in case of concern.
- If you are going on a journey for fitness or adventure, plan for the worst. Pack a waterproof pack with a first aid kit, an extra layer for warmth, some water, and something to eat for energy
WeSUP is the definitive Adventure SUP specialist. Having paddled all over the world over the last 9 years, we have used our unrivalled experience to offer sensational guided SUP tours and experiences in and around the majestic waterways of Falmouth, as well as pop-up expeditions in Norway and Scotland. We are also home to the only specialist Adventure SUP shop where you can buy and test ride the full range of Fanatic adventure stand up paddleboards and paddles. We also have a beautiful bespoke collection of high-end adventure gear that you will need to undertake your very own micro adventures. Fanatic, Finisterre, ION, Black & Blum and GSM Outdoors are just some of the incredible brands that we are lucky enough supply. Pop in to take a look or simply buy online.
Running alongside the Adventure centre is our world-class SUP school where you can enjoy seriously fun and rewarding beginner or advanced SUP lessons. Our dedicated and highly trained senior SUP instructors are famous for their passionate, patient and friendly approach to teaching and promise you a SUP experience you’ll be buzzing about for all very long time. We are an academy of sorts in that we offer you a simple progression method of advancing your skills from total beginner, right up to senior instructor. You really haven’t been taught until you learn from WeSUP.
Finally, we are also home to one of the busiest and most dynamic SUP club’s in the country. With just over 150 members we enjoy an amazingly vibrant series of regular club activities which are free of any additional charge. Our activities are centred around SUP Fitness such as SUP Yoga and SUP interval training, as well as regular social paddles to our favourite snorkelling and cliff jumping spots, over night adventures and occasionally a trip to the pub! Club WeSUP is open to all and you don’t even need your own kit, we supply everything, just sign up and rock up!
WeSUP stand for ‘We Stand Up Paddleboard’ and in fact, it’s all we do! It is our mission to inspire generations old and new on the wonders of our sensational sport and demonstrate it’s supreme accessibility and its many facets. We believe that everyone can and should stand up paddleboard. Whether it’s for mindfulness, fitness, relaxation, exploration, friendship forming or family time, this unique activity takes away almost all personal limitations and puts you in a sublime environment where you can take things at your own pace.
Being out on the ocean here in the sanctuary of Gylly Bay will lend you a unique perspective of our truly breath-taking stretch of coastline. Only a few places in the world can match its majesty but none more special to us than Gylly.