Starting Gear for Paddle Boarding

Stand Up Paddle Board

Based in the Florida Keys, professional chef Edwin Hammond Meredith regularly participates in several water sports. In recent years, Edwin Hammond Meredith has developed a particular enjoyment of stand up paddle boarding and has completed several long-distance races throughout Florida.

Stand up paddle boarding is a fun and challenging water sport that tests balance and coordination. As with most sports, there are some key pieces of gear one will need in order to get started.

As the name of the sport suggests, the first thing you will need is an actual stand up paddle board. These boards are available in a number of styles, measuring 8-12 feet long and 28-32 inches across. While they may resemble surfboards, stand up paddle boards are fabricated with a thicker construction, often composed of a foam core coated with epoxy and fiberglass. Beginners should stick with boards that have the most surface area, meaning the longest, thickest, and widest boards.

Paddles can be fashioned from a number of materials such as wood, plastic, carbon fiber, and aluminum. When paddling on flat water, it’s best to use a long paddle. Choppier, more active water calls for a shorter paddle.

A leash is a strap that wraps around the lower part of the leg (calf or ankle) that connects the paddler to his or her board. A good rule of thumb is to select a leash that is the same length as your board. A leash helps you stay with your board in the event you get tossed from it by wind or waves.


Training for a SUP Race

SUP Race pic

SUP Race

Professional chef Edwin Hammond Meredith of the Florida Keys spends much of his free time participating in stand up paddle boarding (SUP). Having completed long-distance water crossings with fellow enthusiasts, Edwin Hammond Meredith is currently training to compete in SUP races.

As with any other race, SUP races require a good deal of preparation. When you first start training, it can be extremely helpful to find a partner or group; having a partner keeps you from taking a break from your training. Even if you don’t feel motivated to go out on the water one day, your partner or group will help motivate you.

When you are training, try mimicking SUP races. If you live near a race area, you can practice on the race course. This gives you a good idea of how the winds, waves, and current might change during a SUP race. If you can train at the actual race course on which you will compete, then you will be even better prepared.

During your training sessions, give your body ample time to rest and rebuild muscle. Too much training can tire out the muscles and may lead to injury. Similarly, if you focus too much on working specific areas of the body, you are more likely to lose ability in the ignored areas.

Intervals are a great way of increasing performance and endurance levels by improving your lactic threshold. This threshold is what makes your muscles tired. By increasing it, you are able to use your muscles for a longer period of time before they start getting worn out. Staying hydrated is equally important. Always drink plenty of water during both training and the actual race, and maintain good nutrition.