Paddleboarding is one of the best complementary activities on a yachting holiday, with both combining water and fun. If you're a bit out of place in a charter boat cockpit, paddleboarding is an ideal activity to get your heart pumping and enhance your experience at sea.
What exactly is a paddleboard?
Paddleboards today come in an incredible array of shapes and forms. The best type to take with you is the universal inflatable SUP, the so-called iSUP (i = inflatable), Allround (= versatile, universal). This is exactly the type you can rent from us, along with your dream boat. “I wouldn't worry about the initial investment of 10-15 thousand crowns (380-580 euro). There is no point in buying a cheap paddleboard for much less. It is an investment that you'll easily make a return on with the joy of a well-functioning board,” says Michal Kopáček, a versatile SUP rider.
The board itself consists of several layers interconnected by lamination and drop-stitch technology, where the upper and lower inner side of the board is literally "sewn" together with reinforcing fibers ensuring torsional stiffness of the entire float.
A universal board, regarding its length, sits somewhere between surf boards (the smallest ones) and flatwater and racing boards (which are usually longer). It's also more rounded than the flatwater and racing boards, making it a true all-rounder.Paddleboards are also equipped with a fin to maintain direction and stability, a proper pump to inflate and of course a paddle, preferably foldable and height adjustable. A leash (a cord connecting the board with the rider's foot) does not always come as standard, because it is mainly used in whiter waters or in stronger winds, where there is a real risk of losing contact with the board. But somewhere near the back tip, you should always find a fixed loop. This is intended to connect a leash, but it will work well whenever you need to tie up the paddleboard.
The best universal paddleboard will have a non-slip PVA surface as well as a rubber mesh net to hold any small pieces of equipment you'd like to take along with you. Sometimes it comes equipped with a set of patches to seal off any punctures after a disaster, for example on sharp coral reefs.
Michal Kopáček has been a paddleboard enthusiast for two years.
This year he decided to sail along the Elbe from his native Kolín to the edge of the world, specifically to Hřensko, to the border with Germany. He planned his five-day trip very modestly. “Originally I didn't want to spend anything, but in the end I couldn't resist buying an occasional hot dog or beer. Altogether, the journey cost me two hundred crowns (8 euro)” the adventurer confided. Almost all the time he was plagued by a strong headwind on his way down the river. Even so, he still managed something between 38 and 56 kilometres a day. "Only up from Ústí was the current noticeable and helped me move forward, until then I was just fighting with the headwind." In the Mělník region, the wind was so strong that he had to change to a train for about thirty kilometres. Altogether, he travelled 142 kilometres on the water. He slept under the stars and had all the equipment he needed in his bags tied to the front and back of the board. "Even with the paddle, my total equipment weighed around 15 kilos, the board weighed about 8, so the rest of the equipment fitted into about 7 kilos," the unconventional adventurer remarked. Michal is a shining example of how paddleboarding / SUP is far from boring, although it may look so from a distance. Michal himself uses his water vehicle to practice yoga or strengthen his balance. "Right now I'm practicing doing a handstand on the board," he told us as he left. And what about you? Want to try it too?
What is it actually good for?
Stand-up paddleboarding has undeniable health benefits. Maintaining balance on the shaky vessel in the waves, or trying to move faster will not only strengthen the muscles of the shoulders, hands and chest, but also the muscles stored deeper in the body’s core, which, among other things, stabilize the spine. The necessary coordination of movements and maintaining balance will involve all the musculature of the human body.
A paddleboard also has an undeniable socializing function. If you take your board on the boat, you will suddenly become a very popular crew member. Everyone will want to try it out, borrow the equipment from you - and most of all enjoy the fun with you. A board with sufficient displacement can serve as a base for several people together. Balanced play and standing paddling will quickly be enjoyed by people of all ages who love water.
“To start off with, I would definitely recommend a universal board, which is, due to its dimensions, sufficiently stable and highly versatile,” Michal Kopáček advised. "In Croatia, we used to ride smaller waves at sea, it is also possible to go down rivers with it and on calm waters you can comfortably take a woman and child," he added.
A few tips for getting started
- Stand in the centre of the float, along its centre of gravity. If you are not sure which of the two rounded ends should actually point forward, it is the one with no stabilizing fin(s) below it.
- Alternate which side you paddle regularly after 3-5 strokes. Keep your lower arm relatively straight and still while paddling. Don’t thrash the water with the paddle but rather try to stick it into the water and move forward through the body. Strokes should be significantly shorter than in kayaking or canoeing.
- The paddle length is set according to the formula: the size of the rider + 2 widths of their fist. In other words, the paddle must be long enough for the entire blade to plunge into the water without any problems and lateral tilt.
- For beginners, mounting the board is easiest when performed on all fours. Place the paddle across the float, with one hand we can hold the centre loop and place one knee down. Then transfer the other knee aboard and align the body in the right direction and above the centre of the float. Then lift your backside, lift the hands holding the paddle from the board, and slowly rise. When riding, you should stand with the feet turned in the direction of travel, about a shoulder-width apart from each other and knees slightly bent.
What to do with a paddleboard at sea?
On a paddleboard, you can discover the hidden corners of the coast, narrow or shallow bays that can no longer be reached by boat. At the same time, it is a quick and healthy alternative to a small auxiliary boat, which some of your fellow crewmates might have already sailed off on.
Not to mention that you can use the paddleboard on a calmer sea as an extension to the bathing platform at the stern and calmly catch some rays on its pleasant non-slip surface. Less responsible individuals may even tie the board behind the boat so that individual members of their crew can be pulled along.
Even just from the description and photos, you can get some idea of what fun can be had with a paddleboard. But believe us, it's even more so than that. On our site, you can find your dream boat for a holiday on the sea - and we can provide a proper SUP to take along with you. But take a look yourself at what else you can rent along with your yacht.
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