Why Do People Find Standup Paddleboarding So Appealing?

For watersport enthusiasts, standup paddleboards are an enjoyable and affordable way to participate in outdoor water activities. With very little strength required, standup paddleboarding is a user-friendly aquatic sport that is a perfect outdoor activity for the entire family. In addition to being an affordable recreational activity, standup paddleboarding (also known as SUP) is a great form of exercise for people of all ages. 

Standup Paddleboarding is so appealing because it is easy to learn, relatively affordable, environmentally friendly, and fun. The sport boasts a wide range of ways to participate, from casually paddling around to fishing, surfing, snorkeling, racing and more. 

In comparison to other aquatic sports, standup paddleboarding is more casual and has lower barriers to entry. Interestingly, standup paddleboarding is also a pro sport and there are competitions all over the globe. A lot of the other watersports we cover here are equipment-intensive. For paddle boarding, you just need a board, paddle, PFD and pump for inflatables. There is more to this aquatic exercise than meets the eye, with its vast array of fun, easy, cost-friendly options. 

What is so Appealing About Paddleboarding?

Paddleboarding has multiple benefits. It is can be enjoyed by people of all experience levels and ages. Besides being a fun activity that gets you outdoors, paddleboarding is also used in fitness as an easy and fun way to trim off a few extra pounds. 

SUP is Synonymous With Fun

Even though paddleboarding is considered a sport, it is primarily a recreational activity. In numerous tourism areas, paddleboarding has become a popular activity for guided tours or renting a board and heading out on your own.

It is a great way to get the kids to have fun out of the house and off their phones. This activity can be enjoyed almost anywhere with water and at a wallet-friendly price. It is a very safe activity. The only real safety concern is addressed by wearing a life jacket and learning to fall away from your board.

Paddleboarding is Quite Affordable

Even with all those advantages, paddleboarding is also a budget-friendly sport that is fit for anyone to try. Although the actual board itself can cost around $300 and up, renting the equipment can be a more cost-effective choice. On the other hand, Carlo has provided an excellent list of inexpensive starter boards if you want to make that jump to ownership.

You Can Bring Your Friends Along

For people who live near any body of water, paddleboards are a great activity to do as a family or with friends. Larger paddleboards can fit more than one person at a time making for a fun group experience. If you’re able to split the cost a few ways, it can save money too. 

Many people also train their dogs to go paddleboarding with them. Pets may enjoy the change of scenery which makes it a win-win for everyone. 

Paddleboards are Easy-to-Use

This aquatic sport requires very little skill to start, making it a less intimidating activity for younger kids and less active individuals. Unlike the surfboard, the paddleboard is used in calm water where there is very little movement making it easier for someone to keep their balance on the board. You pull yourself along with a long paddle, so maneuvering isn’t too difficult either. It’s even safe exercise for pregnant women as long they take precautions.

Paddle boards are generally longer and wider than surf or kite boards, and don’t require living near the ocean or investing in a kite and learning how to use it. Since you provide the propulsion, no boats or jet skis are needed to enjoy the sport. Wakeboards, kneeboards, and water skis can’t boast that advantage.  

Fun Paddleboarding Activities And Games

Although simple paddleboarding in and of itself is a fun outdoor activity, many other activities have developed around using paddle boards. Listed below are a few favorite alternative activities for using a paddle board.

  • SUP surfing– One of the most thrilling paddleboarding activities & great for extra surfing practice
  • SUP yoga– Due to the size of a paddleboard, yoga can be performed on the board. Paddle board yoga is a growing activity. You can read Carlo’s yoga post here.
  • Group paddleboarding– Sharing a paddleboard with kids, a partner, or pets can make for an amazing time. 
  • SUP Racing– Slimmer, longer boards that are used for competitive and non-competitive races all over the world. You can read our post on this.
  • Hammocking– Hammocraft has designed a hammock that can be attached to SUP boards. For groups, the Hammocraft can hold up to five hammocks with only two boards. 
  • SUP fishing– this is becoming a hugely popular activity, along with jet ski and kayak fishing. There are numerous YouTube videos on how set up a paddle board for fishing. Carlo gives his advice here.

Even though traditional paddleboarding is a fun activity, opting to try some of the less traditional uses could get you interested in a brand new activity. Already convinced? Check out my 2021 Paddle Board Buyer’s Guide or Carlo’s review of inexpensive paddle boards.

Understanding the Appeal of Standup Paddleboarding (SUP)

Standup paddleboarding can be described as a mixture of canoeing and surfing. The sport uses a board and a paddle as equipment and is a great outdoor activity to do alone or with a group. Despite having been created by an Olympic athlete from the combination of two different aquatic sports, paddle boarding requires little physical strength to start.

Unlike surfing, paddleboarding was made to be used in calmer waters such as lakes, rivers and calmer parts of the ocean.Thanks to the environment this sport uses, it is a great outdoor activity for family outings and people new to water activities. 

Ever since its appearance in the 1900s as a means of transport, paddleboarding has grown in popularity and is now used by people everywhere. As paddleboarding grew in popularity, it became a recreational activity that can be enjoyed anywhere there is water. However, over the decades, paddleboarding has also become a pro sport and was supposed to be featured in the 2020 Olympics had it not been canceled. 

This has become an outdoor activity that is enjoyed by amateurs and professionals alike for both fun and exercise. 

Standup Paddle Boarding as a Pro Sport 

Even though SUPing is not as popular as a pro sport compared to other competitive water sports, it still requires a lot of physical conditioning, training, and discipline to be a professional paddleboarder. But although most other professional athletes get paid handsomely, that is not the case with pro paddleboarders. 

For the most part, pro paddleboarders are paid the prize money from the competition, however, the payment is usually received months after the competition or sometimes not at all. For this reason, the Stand Up Paddle Athletes Association, more commonly known as SUPAA was founded to help bring awareness to the issue. 

This prize money issue has hindered the growth of this sport and is one of the main reasons it is not as popular as it could be. In one of the organization’s online articles, The Ugly Truth About Prize Money, the author gives a behind the scenes view of what happens with the prize money payment they should have received. 

The author boldly states that “For the good of the sport, this has to stop.”, which seems to indicate that if the problem is not resolved fast, there might not be any pro paddleboarders. For more information on the subject and how you can help, go to the Stand Up Paddle Athletes Association Website.

In Short

There is not a one-word answer as to why people are so attracted to stand up paddle boarding, there are several great reasons as to why that might be the case. Ir is a fun, easy, and affordable way to enjoy and experience nature, workout, or spend time with family and friends. 

Everybody is different, so they will each have their own reason for being drawn to paddleboarding. But whatever the reason, I suggest you borrow or rent a board and give it a try. If you’re certain you want to get involved, check out our other posts on specific paddle board brands or our buying guides for boards and accessories.

Once you’re set up and ready to go, get out there, stay safe and have fun.  

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Tim Conner, M.D.

Tim Conner, M.D. started boating in 1974. He has been involved in recreational boating continuously since then. Dr. Conner has been active in boating and watersports safety education for decades. He rode his first jet ski in 1997, and rejoined the personal watercraft arena in 2012 with a Sea-Doo GTX 155, followed by 2 supercharged SeaDoos. Scuba certification came in 1988, and he and the family have traveled the world snorkeling and scuba diving for decades. The family has recently taken up paddle boarding. Click the photo for a lot more.

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