A rigid paddle board isn’t nearly as versatile as a good inflatable paddle board, which is why inflatable SUPs are a great choice for paddle boarders of all skill levels. Since these boards are inflatable, you can take them pretty much anywhere, even your next trip abroad. If you’re new to SUP life, then you may not realize just how versatile these boards are and what type of activities you can try, in order to get more use out of your new board. This guide on the 8 fun things you can do on a SUP will shed some light on how you can make your favorite outdoor activities even better, with your board, some basic gear, and the open water. It will also show you that you don’t have to have a big budget to take the family out for a fun day out on the water. Now, let’s check out the best ways you can use your SUP for some serious fun.
Gear and Accessories
- You already know you’ll need to bring along a paddle board but having the right accessories and gear on hand will also be important. This can include:
- Patch and repair kit
- Paddle board paddle
- Appropriate clothing
And other items you’ll need depending on the application. Wearing paddle boarding shoes will also be a must since they can improve your grip on the board’s surface and protect your feet from sharp rocks and bites from unseen marine wildlife that are lurking beneath the water. Having the proper gear on hand will ensure you have a great time out on the water and that you’re prepared for pretty much anything.
While there are some people that love gym life, many of us are tired of waiting in line to use weights, dealing with crowds, or the inability to focus on a workout as someone tries to helpfully pipe in about improper form. If you’re also tired of paying for an expensive gym membership and gym life altogether, then working out on your SUP can be exactly what you need to shake up your workouts and give you a whole new way to challenge your body while improving your stamina, boosting your gains, and giving you that sense of peace and calm that you just can’t get from a gym environment. On your SUP, you’ll enjoy being outdoors, taking in the beautiful sights and sounds of nature. Whether you want to give stand up paddle board yoga a shot, or long-distance paddling, working out on your board and spending alone time outdoors, can be a total game-changer, which will be huge for the retired gym rat who has hit a plateau.
If you’re not sure how to get started, you can do a search online for fun cardio workouts you can try on your paddle board. These workouts are designed to sculpt your body, improve your balance, and increase your stamina. Of course, if you plan on trying a cardio or yoga workout on your board then you’ll also need to pick up a paddle board anchor, which will keep your board securely in place, preventing it from drifting as you work out.
Take Your Dog for a Wild Ride
Many dog owners are just now discovering how fun it is to take the family dog on a SUP ride. Hitting the water with your pet and your new board is a great way to bond while getting both of you outdoors for much-needed fresh air and exercise. Of course, not every dog will love this type of experience, but if your pup enjoys swimming and adventure, then with a little training you can make taking your dog out for a spin on your SUP a regular weekly activity. Just make sure the board you have is able to support both your weight and your dog’s otherwise, the board will sit too low in the water, which can make it difficult to handle.
I recommend starting off slow with your dog and gauging how they respond to the water and board use. A smaller breed may be easier to train and bring along than large breed dogs. Dogs that are scared of the water may be even more terrified to find themselves stuck on a board in the middle of the water, while dogs that go crazy over water will be difficult to control. Teaching a dog how to SUP will be about consistency and dedication, but once you have your dog trained, you’ll enjoy a new bonding experience and adventure with man’s best friend.
If you’re interested in training your dog for SUP life, then click here to read my guide on how to paddle board with your dog in under a week.
While many pros recommend using a hard paddle board for competition use, you can ride an inflatable paddle board to catch some serious waves. Surfing on your paddle board is a great choice for the experienced paddler who wants to get away from their busy nine to five and enjoy the day out on the water, watching waves break and catching some surf. Even if you don’t have a truck or SUV, you can still use a paddle board, since they can easily be folded up into a small compact package that will fit right in your trunk.
Additionally, if you’ve tried surfing on a traditional surfboard and didn’t have any luck, then you’ll find that surfing on a paddle board is much easier since you’ll have a larger surface to stand on. These boards are also much easier to paddle out with since they don’t weigh as much as a traditional surfboard. To learn more, click here to read my guide on the best tips for surfing on your paddle board.
If you’re totally new to surfing, avoid the big crashing waves and start off small, with gentle waves in calmer waters. Do a little research regarding local wave action, the best spots for beginners, and always be sure to check the weather forecast the day of your trip in order to avoid being surprised by inclement weather.
Who doesn’t love camping? If you enjoy camping out every summer, then try taking along your paddle board on your next adventure. Most SUPs will come with bungee cord storage areas so you can attach your fishing rods and other supplies and enjoy a little paddle board fishing and bring freshly caught fish back to camp. If you want to spend a longer time on the water, look for a paddle board that’s compatible with kayak seats, so you can kick back, have a few brews and enjoy a little fishing with your buddies. Fishing from a SUP continues to grow in popularity since it will allow you to access tight channels and other types of areas that are not easily accessible by a fishing boat or kayak.
Go for a Dive
If you find yourself on a calm lake or river, it’s hot outside, and you need to cool off, you can use your SUP as a type of diving platform. You can also do this if you’re out the beach, just paddle past the breaking waves, until you reach milder waters. Bring along some snorkeling gear and you can do a little exploring and find shells, sand dollars, and even starfish. This is a great family activity and one the kids are sure to love.
If you have a large board, you can carry more gear, which will be a plus if you’re using your board for a diving platform, since you can attach a dry bag that contains drinks, food, a first aid kit, and other important supplies. Be sure to check your board’s max weight limit before you bring along a lot of gear since too much weight can have a negative impact on a board’s maneuverability and tracking.
Since SUPs are so versatile, they offer plenty of hidden uses. You may have never thought to use your board to go crabbing, but since these boards can fit almost anywhere, they’re a great choice. You can crab on your board in a couple of different ways. First, you can attach crab pots to your board, allowing them to sit in the water for a couple of hours as you and the family enjoy lunch onshore or a dip in the water. On your way back home, you’ll pull up the pots and enjoy your catch of the day. If you find the right spot, you can catch ten to twenty crabs per pot.
Another surefire way to catch some crabs is to bring along chicken legs for bait. To use, all you have to do is tie a rope to the leg and use a net. Toss the leg out about six feet, where it’s sure to attract some crabs. Once you feel the crabs feeding, pull the leg in slowly and you’ll find a crab still clinging onto it. Slide the net over the crab, bring it in and toss it into an awaiting cooler.
If you have a long, narrow board, then it probably cuts quickly and smoothly through the water. If you want to challenge your friends or family and have a little fun in the water, try SUP racing. If you have a shorter board, it will not be able to cut as cleanly or quickly through the water, but if you’re just racing the kids, then it won’t really matter. If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity, then this is a great option that the kids are sure to love. You can use this opportunity to teach the kids how to turn and maneuver their boards as they cut through the water. I wouldn’t recommend racing in choppy water conditions if you’re with the kids. Instead, hit a calm lake or pond and set up some fun family races that will keep the kids entertained all afternoon long.
Use your board to explore local creeks and marshes. Many of these areas feature dense plant life, which can make using a kayak or fishing boat to do a little exploring almost impossible. With a paddle board, you’ll be able to easily fit down tight water channels and check out local plant life and wildlife. This will be another fun activity for the kids as well and can be a great learning opportunity, especially during the spring when you’re sure to catch migrating birds nesting, and fish and tadpoles hatching. If you’re taking along younger children, then make sure you have them stick with you on your board, since navigating down a tight creek can be difficult for beginners. Make sure you bring along maps of the waterways and take note of areas that would be difficult for larger vessels to access. These areas will be teeming with fish and wildlife since these areas are not disturbed as often as the areas that are easily accessible.
Other Fun SUP Activities
The following activities may not have made it onto my top 8 list, but they’re also great activities you can try the next time you’re out on your board, looking for a new adventure and experience.
You don’t have to take classes on photography to get off some great nature shots. What you really need is a little inspiration, a unique way to take photos, and of course, some great scenery. With the latest smartphones, even the amateur can take some pretty great shots, without the need for a lot of equipment. That’s where the paddle board comes in. With just a basic camera or your smartphone, you can paddle around and take some beautiful landscape shots. It’s also a great way to document your latest trip or outdoor adventure. If you’re fishing and catching and releasing, you’ll also be able to snap a shot of your catch before tossing it back into the water.
If you’re serious about your photography, then using your paddle board as an important tool that can take you to places you normally wouldn’t have access to on a boat can be a great way to take more challenging photos and take your photography to the next level. To learn how to use your board to take some amazing shots the next time you find yourself out on the water, click here to read my article on SUP photography tips.
While this can certainly go hand in hand with yoga, if you’re not into working out on your board and you’re simply looking for a new way to relax or you want to practice meditation in a calm and quiet environment, then meditating on your board can be a great way to destress and relax. Many people recommend meditating on SUPs in calm waters, such as a large pond or lake. If you’re concerned about drifting into choppy water conditions, then you can use a SUP anchor to keep your board securely in place. Many people who are new to board use or even meditation have found that meditating on their boards offers one of the most peaceful and relaxing experiences imaginable.
Looking for a new way to surprise your partner or entertain the kids? What about a relaxing picnic lunch on your board, in the middle of a lake? You and your significant other can enjoy a relaxing and quiet meal out on the water, or you can take the kids out for a new outdoor experience. This is another fun and affordable way to get more use out of your board and it’s one that your spouse and the kids will love since it offers a new experience that starts with a meal and ends with a cool dip in the water.
With a SUP, even a family on a tight budget can enjoy some exciting and new outdoor adventures. This guide on the 8 fun things you can do on a SUP will keep you and the kids entertained all summer long. Remember, if you have younger children, have them ride with you on your board, since learning how to paddle and navigate choppy waters or tight water channels can be difficult for smaller children. The activities I’ve included here will allow you to get more use out of your board, showing you exactly how versatile a SUP can be, and why these boards are considered a better option than surfboards, kayaks, and larger water vessels.
Really, with some basic gear and your board, you can plan an affordable, fun, and safe outing with the whole family, explore nature, get fit, take beautiful photographs and even have the family dog join in on the fun. With a paddle board, the options are almost endless.