What’s SUP? Stand-up paddleboarding is the fastest growing craze in water sports today. Paddleboarding is an eco-friendly way to explore the water, regardless of your activity level. SUP is a low-impact activity and is only as physically demanding as you want it to be. It is an enjoyable way to strengthen large and small muscle groups while utilizing your core for stability. Fitness is one piece of SUP, and the workout provides total body muscle engagement.

I fell in love with SUP years ago, mainly because of the wildlife that I can view from my paddleboard. I have an intense appreciation for the nature and wildlife that surrounds our coastline. Paddleboarding around our estuaries provides relaxation and entertainment. As an eco-friendly water sport, one can view nature without disturbing anything in the area.

I love sharing SUP and my enthusiasm for it is contagious! Over a year ago, I started a local paddleboarding business and began instructing others. SUP Englewood was born on the beaches of Manasota Key. I started out by providing free paddleboard demos and lessons to engage the community. Soon, people were discussing the business and providing referrals to friends for rentals and guided tours. As SUP Englewood continues to grow, our goal remains to educate others about the new water sport and teach important safety information.

Other activities can be performed in conjunction with paddleboarding, creating a platform for other water sports. This includes fishing, racing, fitness, as well as touring and surfing. Many paddlers find SUP appealing for the touring aspect of the sport. Eco-touring on a paddleboard offers flexibility to paddlers, allowing for optional stances; such as sitting, kneeling or standing on the board.

In the Gulf, one can attempt paddle surfing some light waves which is perfect for learning. SUP surfing is attracting some surfers as the paddle enhances speed to catch waves. The standing position is also more useful for finding swells off in the distance.

While paddleboarding can provide a light workout, SUP fitness classes take things to a different level. Many paddleboarders utilize their boards as an exercise mat and perform physically demanding workouts on the water. SUP Englewood hosts SUP Yoga Classes on the water three times per week. Paddleboards are anchored in the water during the class and yogis practice in the bay.

SUP Racing is the competitive side of paddleboarding, and races are held around the world. Racing boards are a different style from the cruising models, and are longer and narrower. These characteristics of the board help the racers to pick up speed. SUP racing is an intense total body cardio workout.

SUP Fishing is catching the attention of kayak fishermen, however, some are uncertain about trying this new sport. Fishing paddleboards are usually wider in shape, providing more stability. Accessories are a must on fishing boards, as coolers and rod mounts are essential gear. The steep viewpoint is the main advantage to SUP fishing, as you can clearly see fish and the underwater structure beneath your board. Some fishermen have hesitations regarding this new sport because it does require some balance. However, you have to be up for this challenge to experience the benefits.

Paddleboarding is a versatile sport offering a pleasurable outdoor experience for all activity levels. SUP offers something for everyone in the family to appreciate. Try out a new water sport while exploring the wildlife that surrounds our gulf coast.

Nicole Miers