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Most people who try stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) are hooked straight from the off, leading them to buy SUPs for themselves. It’s a unique activity that can allow you to enjoy some of the most beautiful places from the vantage point of your board, while also getting some exercise too.

However, there are those out there who get ‘paddle-bored’ (I know, we can’t believe it either!), so we’ve looked at five ways you can make sure your next SUP trip is as fun as it possibly could be, making certain you’re forever hooked on SUP!

Combine Paddle Boarding with Food

Everyone loves food! So why not combine paddle boarding with this love? Many places abroad have venues close to local waterways, so if you are paddling abroad, this could be a perfect way to enjoy the best of both worlds.

If your destination doesn’t have any nearby local foodie haunts, pack yourself a tasty (and nutritional) little picnic basket and strap it to your board. You can head off and find a sweet spot en route to the turnaround point and relax.

You could fill a flask of coffee and grab some breakfast items and enjoy a morning on the water, or perhaps in a little cove that you discover while out paddling. Or if you wanted to head out with fishing gear, could challenge yourself to catch something a little more fresh!

Fishing while paddleboarding

Don’t Paddle With Your Arms

People can get frustrated with paddleboarding as they feel they aren’t getting anywhere very fast, which is more often than not a result of poor technique. One of the biggest culprits is arm paddling.

Many people new to the sport will paddle just using their arms, which will not only cause you to become more tired more quickly but won’t get you anywhere anytime soon!

You should be aiming to use your core when you paddle, rather than just your arms. Your core contains a larger group of muscles than your arms, which means they won’t wear out as fast.

Instead of bending at the elbows and taking a stroke, try practising keeping your arms relatively straight and bending at your waist to reach the blade as far forward as you can. Then, imagine you are pulling yourself towards the paddle rather than pulling the paddle to you.

Doing this will give you a better core workout, as well as letting you glide through the water much quicker than you did before. You’ll look like a pro in no time!

Photo by Zach Mahone Photography

Workout on the Water

Paddleboarding in itself is a really good workout, and that is why it has become such a popular sport in recent years. But you can always make things a bit more interesting and incorporate other exercises while on your board, which can make things even more exciting!

From yoga and Pilates to workouts that incorporate balance and agility, you can be as adventurous as you like with your exercises. Remember, don’t be afraid to fall in the water, it won’t hurt!

Find yourself a nice stretch of flat water and try out some basic moves, such as press-ups, sit-ups, squats, calf raises and maybe even give some burpees a whirl if you are feeling confident enough in your ability!

Combine these exercises with the cardio-based paddling, and you are sure to give your workout a new, exhilarating edge.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Yoga paddleboard RF

Adjust Your Blade

Before you go checking out new SUP paddles for sale, consider getting your technique right. This can be the difference between having an energy-zapping paddle and a more memorable fun time on the water.

Make sure the flat edge of your blade is facing back, and the bevelled edge is facing forward. It may feel unnatural, but if it feels awkward to start with, chances are you are doing it right.

Getting your blade right allows for maximum power so you can have a more efficient push going forward. You’ll find that people having a tough time paddling, are often the ones who aren’t engaging the right muscles and are adopting poor blade technique.

You should also ensure the entire blade is submerged in the water, to allow for maximum power and the least amount of energy output. Anything less and you’ll be too tired to soak up the spectacular surroundings that await!

Photo by Zach Mahone Photography

Get a Paddle Buddy

Yes, you can take in the beauty of nature and relish the places that you may not have otherwise been able to see if you weren’t travelling by paddleboard, but you can appreciate it all the more if you have a paddle buddy out there to experience it with too.

Not only does having someone paddling with you give you some company, but it also offers a sense of security, someone to share a floating meal with, share a workout with and even have races with on the water!

What’s more, you are more likely to stick to longer paddles, which will greatly benefit your fitness. Your paddle buddy could always be one of the four-legged kind as well.

Dogs are great company, and after some training can be the perfect partners for you on your board. There have been lots of instances where dogs have been spotted out enjoying a paddle with their owners, so grab them a dog life jacket, and get them good to go!

Paddleboarding with a dog

Experiment With Your Paddling Trips

These are just five ways you can ensure your paddling trip is as enjoyable as it possibly can be, but this isn’t an exhaustive list. Experiment with your paddling trips and find things that you enjoy, and treat every trip like an adventure – don’t be bored on your board!

When travelling around the world, there are some fantastic locations which have the perfect conditions for stand-up paddle boarding. Places like Hawaii, Santa Barbara in California, the Bahamas and Costa Rica all have the ideal conditions to give this sport a go!

If you are seeking adventure on your travels, why not try your hand at this activity? We’re sure you’ll be hooked!


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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Workout on the water by Zach Mahone Photography. SUP fishing by Zach Mahone Photography. Paddleboarding in Asia by Zach Mahone Photography. Cave paddleboarding by Zach Mahone Photography. Paddling with dog by Klaus Krumböck.


  1. Paddleboarding looks like awesome fun. I’ve been meaning to get around to trying it as there are plenty of places to do it at home on the Sunshine Coast. I hope you don’t have to be as supple as the woman in that last photo though!

    • The Sunshine Coast is a great spot for SUP! Haha and don’t worry you don’t have to be that flexible to enjoy it … god knows I’m not lol! :D

  2. SUP is the best activity. I love how it’s such a great activity close to the nature and you don’t have to have any extreme skills and years of practice to do it properly. And your suggestion to combine it with picnic sounds so good. Such a good workout!

    • Absolutely – definitely something beginners can do, and a fun way to explore a side of nature you don’t often get the chance to see :) Best combined with a picnic for sure!

  3. I really want to try paddle boarding but I suspect trying to do yoga on it might be a splash landing!

    • Haha at least landing in the water doesn’t hurt :D

  4. I’ve never tried paddleboarding, but it looks like such a peaceful way to get around the coastline or lake

    • Highly recommend! A really fun way to explore by water instead of land :)

  5. I have to admit as a fitness freak (despite me getting a little chubby recently but sorting that out), I would love to do paddleboarding. Its a great workout for the arms and back and something which has always interested me but we dont get much chance to do this in the UK. The seas and rivers are a bit too rough but would love to do this in warmer climates. :)

    • Pretty good excuse for a summer trip – perhaps some Mediterranean destinations maybe :)

  6. It took a while for my to convince my bf to paddlebarod with me, but once we started, e couldn’t stop! It really is one of the best ways to view the world…it’s amazing how much you can se under water in some places!

    • Awesome Juliette! Nothing beats doing the things you love, with the person you love :) Happy SUP!

  7. So…maybe I’m the oddball, but SUP is hell on earth. It’s all coordination and very little fun. It lacks the thrill of surfing and the rhythmic grace of kayaking. Just can’t ever get into it.

    • Not an oddball, like anything, it’s each to their own :) For some reason I can’t surf even though I would love to lol! So you have to prioritize activities which you enjoy and are right for you :)

  8. Great tips! SUP on its own is one of my favorite things to do – but add in a food component? Now I will probably love it more!

    • Glad we could throw out some ideas on how to make your next trip more fun – food for the win :D!

  9. Last summer during my backpackigntrip through Southeast Asia I saw so many people paddleboarding..sadly I didnt.
    I have to try it next time because it looks fun!

    • Definitely give it a go if you have the chance to – really fun way to spend a day exploring … especially SE Asia – so many incredible islands and coastlines :)

  10. Oh hell no. I rarely say “never” to things, but paddleboarding is one of those few I could never do. I prefer sitting down with my paddling, plus it seems the lever mechanics would favor kayak/canoe-ing. More paddleboarding fun (and room on the water) for you!

    • Like anything, it’s an each to their own :) Gotta chase what you enjoy and do what’s right for you! If you do ever get the urge to try up right paddling, can highly recommend SUP :D

  11. I have only tried paddleboarding twice and wasn’t patient enough with my balance! It’s something I would love to do and get a nice little workout while being on the water, I have to give it another chance! I would love to pack a little picnic and enjoy it on the water. Also, yoga on paddleboards seems so awesome, but you have to have AMAZING balance! One day!!

    • Not going to lie, my balance and flexibility isn’t up to Yoga on a paddleboard yet either lol although I’m sure it makes for an amusing sight for onlookers! Maybe we can give it a go when you come for a visit to Tas eventually :D

  12. I have never tried SUP before. If and when I do , I am not sure I can do any of those Yoga and Gymnastics… Splaaaash… there I go!

    • Haha don’t worry I’m not at the yoga on SUP stage yet either – though have successfully mastered the art of falling into the water :D!

  13. SUP opens up a whole new horizon of activities. I can see how it can be used to blend elements of nature and adventure together. The fact that one can do a whole range of exercises and actually do a workout of sorts on the paddleboard is really interesting and exciting too. But I am sure it is not as easy as it looks. Definitely many falls into the water are on the cards.

    • Definitely not as easy as it looks, with a bit of a learning curve when you start out – it takes a lot of people by surprise just how much of a workout it is, so perhaps some head home quite sore after their first few tries!!

      Definitely opens up a world of new horizons though as you’ve put it – a great way to travel and see the world by water at your own pace :)

  14. Great SUP article, Meg! Lots of good little nuggets in here that are really helpful for newcomers to the sport.

    One of the things that I’ve noticed is sorely lacking in our sport is educating parents on SUP safety practices. As a parent, this is a super important topic to me so I just put together a fun little infographic that parents can follow to keep their children safe on the water this summer — maybe it’s a resource that would be helpful for your readers?

    Here’s the link. If you like it, I’d be so appreciative if you and Mike would help me spread the word to parents!

    By the way, our family is currently living in Panama and love your blog! Keep up the good work. :)

    • Hi Jason, thanks for reaching out and sharing your infographic. Kids in the water is an incredible important issue, especially for SUP as it becomes a trendy and popular sport for all ages.

      Hope you’re having an amazing time in Panama – we’ve visited twice and love it there!

  15. I like your explanation of not paddling with your arms but pulling your body towards the paddle. I teach many friends and family how to SUP and I’m definitely going to use this explanation. Thanks.

    • Glad we could help Zoe! Wishing you an amazing weekend :)

  16. I have to admit as a fitness freak (despite me getting a touch chubby recently but sorting that out), i might like to do paddleboarding. Its an excellent workout for the arms and back and something which has always interested me but we dont get much chance to try to to this within the UK. The seas and rivers are a touch too rough but would like to do that in warmer climates.

    Nice you did your best that is very helpful for me.

    • It’s definitely a fun sport for any skill level, and for sure a great workout :) The best type of exercise is that which you don’t realize you’re doing :D

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