Yes, it’s always nice to spend some time alone on your board, with a barrier of open water protecting you from the demands of work and family. A lot of people get in to the sport for this very reason: pure solitude. Nevertheless, there are plenty of ways to make your SUP a tool for social interaction and group activity.
Just take a look around your area or community. There are most likely groups of people already partaking in one of many collaborative SUP sessions. One of the more popular group activities is the weekly paddle session. Just getting out and paddling in a small group setting is a great way to stay active and meet new people.
This article takes this concept a step further by exploring some of the specific activities that can be enjoyed with others on a SUP.
1) SUP Fishing
As we’ve mentioned previously, it’s become popular for serious fishermen and women to head out on the water with tackle and fishing gear loaded on their SUPs. It’s a way to cast in silence and get up close to schools of fish. But, just like gathering a crew of your buddies for a day out on the water – coolers and all – you can always make room for your friends and turn the voyage into a fun-filled adventure.
Look for opportunities to gather up a few SUPs. If you each have your own, that would be ideal. However, you can always rent SUPs, or maybe you’re lucky enough to know (or be) the friend who actually owns more than one SUP.
You can spread out the gear load, handle more bait, and identify better locations as a team. Along with your increased chances of actually catching some fish, you’ll each get a little exercise out of it. Not a bad way to spend some time outdoors with your friends.
2) Yoga Class
Yoga already brings you closer to a serene, meditative state. Now imagine that your executing your poses on the water – the only thing separating you from nature is the 4 to 6 inch thickness of your SUP board. This is your platform for gaining balance, flexibility, form and overall fitness.
If you live on the coast or near a body of water with an active SUP community, these classes are popping up all over the place. It obviously helps to have calm waters during a class, which is why you’ll find many classes starting early in the AM.
But what if there isn’t a SUP yoga class option available? Are you already a yoga enthusiast? Why not start one yourself? Check out this Pinterest board for yoga training ideas and opportunities, or simply search for some online. There are dozens of classes and training options listed out there.
For the photographers out there this might be your new best friend! As with fishing, the SUP gives you a unique level of access to your natural surroundings. You can get up close to coastal and aquatic plant and wildlife. You can also use your SUP to find perfect spots for capturing unspoiled panoramic vistas and landscape views. The SUP also enables you to take great action photos of surfers, windsurfers, kite boarders, and more (just try not to get in their way). And, yes, this can be a great group and social activity.
Find a stable board, protect your gear, and head out with your camera or bird watching buddies. If you’re traveling with your family, perhaps you can find a SUP rental shop and go out as a group to take photos. Even just staying close to shore will give you excellent vantage points to capture your natural surroundings.
4) Racing and Endurance Events
Maybe you are a competitor at heart? Well get ready for the thrill of the race because there are tons of opportunities to go head-to-head with other competitive SUP enthusiasts. Summer is the high season for SUP events on the circuit. There are meets held all over the United States, from Hawaii to Florida and everywhere in between. There are even some in Michigan on the Great Lakes and dates scheduled for New England.
If you would like more information about the specifics or for more information about connecting with people that are established in the community, venture over to the World Paddle Association for more details.
5) You and Your Dog
That’s right: a well-trained dog can be a great companion on a paddleboard. First, your dog needs to acclimate to the board and be comfortable near and in the water. Train them to get on the board while still on land. Teach them to stay and dismount with simple commands (get some more specific doggie paddleboard training advice). This may sound a little far-fetched (pun intended), but it can be a lot of fun. Check out some footage of dog owners with their pups on board. .
You may find that your dog likes to stay close to you while you paddle. Other dogs like to scout the waters from the nose of the board. In either case, you want to your dog to have a secure footing and stable platform for your ride. Moreover, try to paddle in calm waters, such as on a lake or bay. Bring fresh water and treats, and find a fundraiser or community event nearby (see, this counts as a group activity) to show off your new tandem paddleboard team.
Feel free to share any other group SUP activities with us with via our comment form . . . and happy paddling!