SUP, short for Stand-Up Paddleboarding, is one of the most popular watersport activities that have come up in the past few years. It’s a great way to explore coastal areas while staying fit at the same time. And the best part about it – it’s super easy to learn and anybody can do it! We at SeaBookings are also absolutely in love with SUP, and decided to offer a complete SUP guide to anyone looking for some advice!
Ways to do SUP
SUP Board rental
Before anything else, you should decide how you want to do SUP for the first time. For this, there are different options – you can rent a SUP board and venture out by yourself and try your luck. If you want to do this, it would come in handy if you already had some experience in other board sports like snowboarding, surfing or skating.
Guided SUP Tour
If you prefer having a guide teaching you the basics about SUP and showing you around the most beautiful spots, the best option would be a guided SUP Tour. Usually, there are private as well as shared tours available in any region where SUP is possible. A guided SUP Tour is great to really explore the region in a safe and fun environment, while also improving your SUP technique.
And for those looking for a real extensive SUP experience, there are more and more offers of full SUP holidays! On these kind of holidays, you will have different SUP experiences and really get to improve your skills. SUP holidays are offered in many destinations already, like Croatia, Greece or Spain! This is a great opportunity for those looking for an active holiday out in nature!
Basic techniques of SUP
A complete SUP guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the most important SUP techniques! There are a few things to have in mind when paddling around the water, so here come our most important basic techniques of SUP!
How to stand on a SUP Board
While it may look easy, you will see that it actually can be quite hard to keep your balance when standing on a SUP Board. To stabilize your body, there a few simple techniques you can use.
First of all, you should be standing right in the middle of the board. The middle is usually quite easy to determine because it is where the handle is situated. Make sure you use this helping point because if you stay too far in the front or the back, it will be very difficult to balance the board on the water.
Secondly, your feet should be standing shoulder-width apart. This is the best position to balance your body and evenly distribute the weight between your two legs. Also, make sure you don’t grip your toes into the board, but keep your feet flat and stable. In this position, you should be able to stand perfectly stable on your board!
How to paddle
After you know how to stand properly on the board, the next thing to do is to paddle forward! When doing SUP, you have one big paddle you use. The first thing to do is to adapt the paddle to your size. There are a few tricks you can use to adjust your SUP paddle correctly:
- Do a “shaka” or hang-loose, place the thumb on top of your head and where your pinky is, that’s where the paddle should end (while touching the ground with the other end)
- Put the paddle upright with the handle touching the ground in front of you. The place where the blade starts and the stick of the paddle ends should be right in front of your eyes
Once you have the right paddle size for you, you just need to figure out how to do the perfect stroke. Before starting, make sure you’re holding the paddle correctly – it should be bent away from you. This way you can generate the biggest power while paddling.
When you start paddling, you first need to dip your paddle in the water in front of your body. Make sure you have the entire blade underneath the water surface to be able to do a strong stroke. Knees should be slightly bent and your shoulders should be relaxed and not pulled up to your ears to avoid injury.
Once the blade is inside the water, you need to do the stroke that moves you forward. For this, you should activate the muscles in your core and back to move the paddle towards you. It’s important to really engage all muscles in your upper body and not only use your shoulders. This way you will have a lot more energy and power! After completing the stroke, you just dip your paddle in front of your body in the water again and go for the next stroke!
How to turn on a SUP board
To turn your SUP board as a beginner, the easiest way to do so is simply by stroking with more power on only one side. So if you want to go right, you just keep paddling with strong strokes on the left side. To do the turn even faster, you can even do a wider stroke, like drawing a half-circle on the water.
The other technique to turn is by doing a backstroke. You might already know this if you have done kayaking before! For this, you just remain in the same position standing on the board, but instead of paddling from the front to the back, you reverse the direction of the stroke! So you dip your paddle back of your body and do the stroke to the nose of the board. This way you will turn even faster than using the front stroke!
These are the two basic techniques to turn a SUP board in the water. Some people prefer the one while others feel more comfortable with the other. The best way to find out which one is better for you is simply by trying them out in the water!
Best places to do SUP
Alright, after establishing the most important things about Stand-Up Paddleboarding it’s time to plan your next SUP trip, right? Our complete SUP guide will show you the best spots in Europe for SUP!
Portugal is our all-time favourite for any kind of boat tour or watersport activity, thus we also think that SUP in Portugal is a perfect holiday activity! The variety of different landscapes and regions in Portugal come with some incredible spots to do SUP! Number 1 being, of course, a SUP Tour to the world-famous Benagil cave in the Algarve. But did you know that the Ponta da Piedade in Lagos is just as stunning as the Benagil area? Here you can also do a sunrise SUP Tour along the impressive rock formations.
Further west there are some unforgettable SUP Tours in Arrifana or, for a change, on an amazing river along the beach of Odeceixe. If you’re looking for an option closer to Lisbon, you can do a SUP tour in Sesimbra that allows you to explore the unique bays of the region. Or you can do a SUP tour in Lisbon to explore the city coastline! For those looking for something calmer, there are options for SUP Yoga in Lagos and Cascais! Portugal is a true paradise for SUP-lovers, and has great options for everybody!
Another great destination in Europe that can’t be left out on our complete SUP guide is Greece! The islands of Greece are great for SUP thanks to the calm and warm waters surrounding them. Being islands, there are also, of course, plenty of coastal spots to explore by SUP! The best way to find the best spots around the coast is by joining a guided SUP tour!
Some of the best destinations in Greece to do Stand-Up Paddleboarding is Rhodes and Crete! In Rhodes, you still have a lot of unspoiled nature that can be best admired from the sea. On a SUP Tour in Rhodes you have the opportunity to move really close to the impressive coastline! In Crete, you can also enjoy the coast while paddling along it, and on a SUP Tour you even have the chance to do some cliff jumping as well!
Croatia is probably the hidden gem among the best destinations for SUP in Europe! It is spoiled with splendid landscapes and stunning beaches all around, and the warm water of Croatia makes it the perfect destination for your next SUP adventure!
In Croatia, you actually have quite a lot of complete SUP holidays that are very accessible when it comes to prices! Along the Croatian Coast, there are some amazing spots that you can explore while paddling on your board, like Kornati Islands, Brioni Islands, Hvar Island or the famous Brač Island. Wherever you go, expect breathtaking landscapes and perfect conditions for SUP in Croatia.
Last but not least on our list of destinations in our complete SUP guide is Spain! The Mediterranean country and its surrounding islands have a lot to offer when it comes to Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Whether you want to do a relaxed SUP Tour along the coast of Alicante or explore the coast of Mallorca, there are plenty of options to choose from!
Also, the Canary Islands have a lot to offer for SUP-lovers! Stand-Up paddle in Tenerife is a great adventure for those looking for some fun, and allows you to have some of the best views over the volcanic island! And for those looking for an alternative to partying in Ibiza, there’s the option to do some SUP Yoga along the coast!
We hope we could help you out with our complete SUP guide and maybe even ignited the fire to try out stand-up paddle boarding during your next holidays! We promise that you won’t regret trying it out and most probably will find a new addictive hobby! If you have any questions about our SUP guide or any tours, just send us an email! We’re always happy to help spreading the passion about the sea!