SUP more in 2022: that’s the aim of many paddlers. But how to accomplish this with life, responsibility and work often in the way? There’s no question that as we get older making time for personal enjoyment becomes increasingly difficult. And yet – as has been proved over the past few years – periods, where you’re able to reset and give time to your mental well being and overall physical state, are a must. So how do you SUP more?
Move to where you can paddle (often).
Location plays a big part with getting wet. Most of us live fairly close to waterways. But not all are suitable. And experience/skills may make a spot doable or a place to avoid. In a lot of cases driving distance to reach your preferred SUP venue is needed.
One way to overcome this is to relocate nearer. Now don’t get us wrong, we appreciate this isn’t straightforward. But we know a few who’ve done exactly this following a re-evaluation of what’s important in life. Jobs, money and being in the middle of a buzzing town or city may have been important in the past. But this has changed for a good number of people who now place value on wide open, outdoor space. There are plenty of variables to consider if you plan on relocating but it could well worth it in the long run.
Make SUP your job.
Playing into the above point about relocating one reason to do this is because you decide to make stand up paddle boarding your profession. Whilst this sounds idyllic on paper it should be noted this isn’t the easiest of things to achieve.
The obvious pathway to making SUP your job is becoming an instructor. Getting professionally qualified to teach is probably the simplest route to making stand up paddle boarding your work. Even, if at first, it’s working ad hoc through high season for a SUP school. In time, with improved qualifications and having a built a solid reputation, you may be able to start your own stand up paddle boarding coaching business. We know some who’ve done this.
Another potential options is starting your own SUP brand. We’ve talked about this before. Whilst it’s certainly achievable it’s not as simple as you might think. Anyone can hit up the many Far East SUP manufacturers and end up with a container load of off the shelf inflatable SUP boards (air boards often being the chosen product). Your challenge, however, is to raise your brand’s awareness, instil confidence in the SUP market about your wares and generally get your company ‘out there’. This takes lots of time, dedication and effort. And should you want to actually design and produce your own shapes the task becomes a lot bigger.
There are other options for working in the stand up paddle boarding (and watersports at large) industry. These positions often require the right introduction as doors opening are few. You’ll also need a set of specific skills potentially. Best advice is make connections and keep your eyes and ears open. If an opportunity arises then jump on it!
Make SUP your lifestyle.
Lifestyle can be an ambiguous word to many. In a nutshell, however, we see a SUP lifestyle being where everything you do revolves around paddling, getting afloat, the outdoors and enjoying nature. This all takes place naturally without forcing the issue.
We know of a number of paddlers who have their whole family involved – because they want to be, not because they’re forced to be. It’s just who they are and what they do. (McConks are also this way). And it doesn’t just stop with stand up. These people are all about getting wet, aboard various craft, and having their lives revolve around the seasons, weather, tides and Mother Nature’s moods. It should go without saying that having this lifestyle means the aforementioned points of living in a specific area – where put ins are abundant – is just par for the course. And working in the SUP industry is off the back of watery passions and active participation during the course of a lifetime.
SUP lifestyles in the UK can be difficult as we have inclement weather to contend with. Unlike say Australia where conditions are more favourable. Over there it’s just what people do. Go out for a paddle, spend time at the beach, perhaps fish, maybe indulge in other watersports and put more emphasis on R&R than ‘driving desks’. Of course, everyone has to work but it shouldn’t be to the detriment of lifestyle. As we said earlier, the global pandemic has taught us that there’s much more to life than being a slave to the grind.
This all said there’re plenty of ways to enjoy a SUP orientated lifestyle in the UK. You just may have to get a little creative when the elements conspire against you.
Don’t talk about it – just do it!
Anybody looking to paddle more should just do it. All talk and no action is the worst thing. Grab your kit and get out afloat. As often as you can. Take the family and get them involved. Or, at least offer them the opportunity. The beauty of SUP is it’s an achievable activity that doesn’t need to be elitist. After a short while most people can be up and paddling.
Procrastination is a real prohibiting factor when trying to achieve your goals. Sometimes you just have to almost go on autopilot and do the thing. Before you know it stand up will have become your regular fix and the plan to ‘SUP more’ can finally be ticked off. Sustaining this is the next challenge…