Adventures in standup paddleboarding

Posted at 7:17 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 19:17:44-04

I sat on my rented stand up paddleboard, clutching a boat line as a Waverunner towed me back to the shore of Rehoboth Bay.

“Do you have to rescue a lot of people?” I called out to the Dewey Beach Watersports employee who found me paddling in circles, caught in a headwind and making absolutely no headway on my board.

“All the time!” he told me.

Not sure if that’s true, or if he was just trying to make me feel better.

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Last weekend, my husband, Micah, and I were at the beach and decided to try standup paddleboarding (SUP). The sport has grown in popularity in recent years, and it’s taken on new lives through activities such as SUP yoga. It looked like tons of fun, and I knew it would be a good workout (i.e. I could balance out all that boardwalk ice cream).

We rented SUPs for $20 each at Dewey Beach Watersports and were on our way—and at first, it felt pretty easy thanks to a sweet downwind. Though balancing on the board did take some concentration, I felt fairly stable on it and was able to move the board without any problems as we paddled north on the bay.

Heading back the opposite direction, though, was a different story. The wind was blowing in our faces and I struggled to gain momentum.

Micah, a former rower on his high school and college crew teams, fared much better and grew frustrated with my slow pace.

“C’mon, babe, paddle faster! We’re going to be out here all day,” he said.

“Well, now you know how I feel when we go out running together!” I retorted.

We continued to fight to make our way back to shore, and I fell behind (but I never fell off my board!) Determined, I paddled and paddled and got nowhere before the guy on the Waverunner took pity on me.

Of course, Micah, who was by then standing on the dock and not even trying to hide his laughter, took a picture of me:

Don’t worry, I laughed a lot, too.

Because I would like to do this again, with better results, I talked to ABC2’s resident SUP expert, chief meteorologist Wyatt Everhart. Wyatt got into the sport about five years ago and now competes in up to 10 SUP races a year.

Watch the video above to see Wyatt on his board.

He said he likes the total-body workout a SUP workout provides.

“It calls on everything in your body at one time,” he said. “You have to transfer power from your hands to the paddle, and from the paddle to your feet.”

He said beginner SUP boarders like myself will usually find them sore in the shoulders and arms (this was definitely true), but as you get more advanced and your technique gets better, you’ll be working your core a lot more. For example, keep your arms straight, not bent, Wyatt said.

“I don’t think there’s anything that helps your balance more,” he said.

He said his SUP workouts have helped him in Crossfit, because it’s good cardio. But there’s another big benefit as well.   

“I like the gym, but there’s nothing like training outdoors,” he said. 

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