Have you been to the beach or near the Halifax River lately and seen someone on what appears to be a surfboard holding boat oars? Well I assure you, this is not some new, made-up, water-sport invention. Paddleboarding, a somewhat lesser known water sport, seems to be making a resurgence in the Daytona Beach area. Paddleboarding can be done standing or kneeling and involves propelling yourself across the water using your arms or paddles. You can use a surfboard or even buy custom stand-up-paddleboards (SUP’s for short) that are specially designed for speed and balance. SUPing can be done leisurely for relaxation, for sightseeing, for exercise, and also performed competitively. It may take some time to get use to, but the fun is all in the trial and error.
Kneeling or prone paddleboarding has been around as far back as the 17th century and was used as a form of transportation and eventually turned into a racing sport. Stand-up-paddleboarding emerged in the 1960’s in Hawaii as surfers began using paddles on their longboard to get outside the reef break to get to large waves. Since then, SUPing has gained popularity around the world in coastal waters and lakes with warm climates. SUPing provides an excellent workout and is not as difficult to learn as surfing. It is relatively safe and fun for the whole family. Also, I should mention that woman are usually more skilled at SUPing due to their lower center of gravity. But how do you actually SUP, you ask? First you want to assure you have the proper sized board, usually 5 to 7 inches taller than the rider’s height. While standing on the board, hold the paddle with one hand on the handle and the other hand about 3 inches below. Pull the paddle through the water from about an inch in front of your board to about a foot behind your board. As you switch hands to keep straight, the motion will be like punching with your top hand. It sounds simple, and in the end it really is simple and a great time.
In the Daytona Beach area there are many options to begin your paddleboarding experience. Whether you choose the Atlantic Ocean, the intracoastal waterway, or even that lake in your backyard you can find many great places to buy or rent you equipment.
- Three Brothers Boards - This Daytona Beach, family-owned business sells an assortment of paddleboards and other water-sport equipment. They also offer tours and lessons for participants of all ages. Visit their site for pricing, hours and availability. Visit Three Brothers Boards
- Maui B’s - Offers lessons as well as rentals. They even offer ecotours for those who really want to get up-close with nature. Visit their site for pricing, hours and availability. Maui B's
- East Coast Paddle - Located in New Smyrna Beach, East Coast Paddle offers an assortment of boards tailor-made for things such as racing, flat-water outings and even fishing. They also offer many tours and rental opportunities. Visit their site for pricing, hours and availability. East Coast Paddle
So visit one of these great local businesses and find out what all the hype is about. Enjoy your day in the beautiful Summer sun with family, friends, and your new love of paddleboarding.