Paddle boarding (according to the social media marketing dream) is all sunshine, bikinis/boardshorts, azure coloured water and idyllic backdrops. Those of us who paddle in the real world know this isn’t entirely accurate. It’s more likely soggy drips for company and the need to wear more layers than you’d care to. At least when talking out of high season SUP at least. There’s another unspoken SUP truth though. Something that never gets mentioned when you start swinging a paddle atop a board…
For most stand up paddle boarders living right next to a put in is dreamland. The reality is nearly all of us have to trudge at least a little distance to access water. And in many cases loading up the van/car prior to arrival at our chosen SUP spot is also necessary. That means getting kit from our storage to said transport before unloading and hauling gear to the place where we can get wet.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding an inflatable or hard SUP in all instances of being a paddle boarder you’ll spend a fair amount of time lugging gear about. A deflated board and paddle on your back or board under your arm; carting equipment back and forth is just par for the course with SUP. For anyone who owns multiple paddle boards this lugging is amplified.
Manhandling paddle boarding equipment about doesn’t just stop at the water’s edge either. If you’re indulging in a spot of adventure SUP and covering distance, you may have to drag your gear out of the water for those essential fuel up stops. Portages are common – especially where inland spots are concerned. Navigating obstacles requires more carrying of kit to clear the obstruction and continue on.
Then it’s back to the take out and a (literal) rinse and repeat of the process. Dragging equipment out of the drink, showering it down (good practise to nsure equipment longevity) and lugging back to your transport, onwards home and then transferring to its storage spot. With all this additional effort we’re surprised paddle boarders don’t have muscles like Arnie. Even the lightest of SUP equipment requires a decent dollop of effort to be lugged about. It can b tiring whatever your chosen board and paddle.
For those who own businesses focused on paddle boarding we feel for you even more. Think of all those inflatable SUPs that need blowing up and maneuvering into position for paddle boarding lessons and hire – often daily! Sweating profusely, huffing and puffing whilst being a tad red faced is just how it is with being a paddle boarder… We salute all paddle boarding luggers wherever you are. Keep on keeping on. It’s worth it after all.
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