Stand Up Paddle Boarding Is The Way To See The Florida Keys!

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand Up Paddle Boarding Can Be Enjoyed By Everyone

The sport has really caught on in the last few years, and not a day goes by when I don’t see someone gently crossing the Florida Keys waters on one of them.

It is a beautifully graceful image, and one that I always marvel at.

It kind of gives you the feeling of going back in time for a moment or two.

The reason that paddle boarding has become so popular is that it is a sport and transport method that has great flexibility, and once you have purchased your bits of equipment, it doesn’t take too much effort or expense to get the full benefit of it all.

Known as SUP throughout the world, there have been many myths that sprung up in regards to the history of the stand up paddle board, where it originated, who created it, and the reasons for the board coming into existence at all.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding History Lesson.....(just the interesting bits!)

It is generally recognised that it started across the waters from the Florida Keys in the area of the America that will argue the point of being the actual southernmost point of the states, taking that title away from Key West, and that is Hawaii.

And although many people seem to believe that the history of sup goes back generations and even centuries, there hasn’t been any documented sightings of people standing on top of a piece of wood.

Certainly famous explorers and adventurers such as Captain James Cook, and Robert Louis Stephenson made no mention of it…..and you would think that they would have after all.

So really the first official example of people paddling out, whilst standing on a board seems to occurred around about 1950, and it was nothing more than an ingenious way to boost tourism.

You see with the influx of American tourists, starting to realise the beauty and wildness of Hawaii and its sister islands, many would come off the cruise liners that deposited the tourists in the thousands and head out to see to catch a wave.

Catching A Wave On A Paddle Board...Sure Looks Like Fun!

Surfing is world famous throughout the state of Hawaii, and so many started earning their living teaching the tourists to climb on a board and push on past the breakers, to where the big waves were.

And if you were going to make the effort to throw of your office clothes, and learn a new skill such as surfing then you would want a photo to prove to your mates back home how adventurers and exhilarating you can be on holiday.

Which is where it is believed the idea of the stand up paddle boarding came from.

As back in the 50’s cameras weren’t waterproof at all, and so by hanging a box around your neck and standing upright as far away from the splashes of the saltwater, it was possible to paddle the board to where you wanted to be, take your photo and then return to the shore safe and dry.

And thank god they did, as now we have a sport that can be enjoyed by sportsman, fitness lovers and anglers too, and nowhere better than in the Florida Keys.

Fish The Florida Keys Flats On A SUP

What Do You Need To Buy?

The funny thing is about buying the equipment to go out paddle boarding, is people will spend money on a great outfit, snazzy board, but will skimp on a paddle.

Hellooooooo…….it’s called paddle boarding people.

The paddle is the engine.

It’s what will propel you through the waters, which is I assume is the very thing that you would want to do.

So the main advice from everyone that I have spoken to is making sure you buy a good paddle.

It will serve you for years.

The size of the paddle should be about eight inches to ten inches taller than you are, due to the bend in the middle (known as “The Elbow”).

It’s this bend that really gives the stand up paddle board the oomph, and helps propel the board far more effectively than you would get from a straight one.

The second most important piece of kit is of course the board, which will be the main expense that you have to pay out for.

Paddle Boards Come In All Sizes

(And Of Course The Colour Is ImportantToo!)

The best thing to do is visit a stockist who can advise on the type of board that you will require to get going.

The rule of thumb is if you are a novice you will be looking for a larger and flatter board which has much more stability and will help you get used to standing up on your paddle board.

Once you get the hang of it then you can replace your beginners’ board with one that is lighter and narrower, which really allows you the cut through the waters at some speed.

And it won’t take as much effort to paddle, which makes the whole experience of stand up paddle boarding so much more enjoyable too.

The last thing that will be needed is a good quality flotation device, as although you think that you could fall in and then just climb back on to your paddle board again, if you are travelling around the waters of the Florida Keys the National Coastguard see you as a vessel, which means by law you must wear one.

How Do I Begin To Master Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

When you want to start getting out on the water on your board, it may seem a simple thing to say but hey.......I'm going to say it anyway.

Look for smooth and calm water to start practicing on.

Yeah, thats it.

My number one bit of advice.

But it will have a massive effect on your confidence as you will no doubt struggle at first.

Now you have got your board into the water, the second bit of advice is to start by kneeling on the board.

Although you want to experience the whole standing up bit, every sup has to start somewhere, so start on your knees and paddle along until you feel the undulations and movements of the board become comforting and not something to worry about.

Everyone says that there is a moment when you feel part of the board, and that is the moment you should ease your way gently to your feet and begin stand up paddle boarding.

Once you are in position on the board, make sure that your feet are about the same distance apart as your hip, as this will give you the best stability.

Oh, yeah and then start paddling.

This might seem the most obvious of all things to do with mastering stand up paddle boarding, but there are a few things that you can do to become an experienced sup as quickly as possible.

  • Keep your back as straight as possible.
  • Don't look at your feet or the paddle going into the water, but instead focus on the horizon.
  • Don't try to overpower your strokes with the paddle. This takes time and will leave you trying to climb back onto the board after falling off.
  • Make about four strokes on one side, and then whilst holding the paddle firmly at its top, switch to the other side and repeat. This will keep the board going in a pretty straight line.
  • And lastly do not expect to become good straight away. It might look easy, but so does walking, and that took you awhile to take your first steps.

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