Paddleboarding: a must-do activity in Carlsbad

Elizabeth O'Loughlin, Staff Writer

Dating back to the 1960s, but not becoming popular until the early 2000s, stand up paddleboarding, or SUP, allows you to move across the ocean surface standing up on a surfboard. Unlike regular surfing, riding waves on a paddleboard actually inhibits movement. Instead, a paddle propels you while also maintaining your balance.  Core strength, arm strength and leg strength determine whether or not you fall into the water; for this reason, paddleboarding gives a great workout.

And let me tell you, a great workout it was.

On Saturday, April 21, Hope Elementary School hosted a school fundraiser at Carlsbad Stand Up Paddle Board Club, located on the Carlsbad lagoon. Giving 50% of all sales back to the elementary school, this fundraiser was my excuse to try paddleboarding for the first time. I figured even if I hated the sport, I’d still be giving back to the community.

Despite an unpleasant, 65oF, cloudy climate, I donned my bathing suit and went to the lagoon feeling confident. I’ve seen countless celebrities in countless magazines paddleboarding standing up, even wearing regular clothes. I thought if Rihanna could do it, I would be a pro.

However, my initial assumption quickly disappeared as I realized it required a level of athleticism beyond me. If I didn’t consistently paddle both to the left and right interchangeably, my board would turn sideways. If I didn’t constantly remain in a mini squat position, I’d lose balance and fall in the water (and I did).

Although I had a shaky start, paddleboarding turned out to be enjoyable and even relaxing. The way the board swiftly glided, the sound the lapping water made and the amount of hidden exercise found all contributed to my satisfaction with the sport.

It’s not surprising paddleboarding has spread from its roots in Hawaii to all over the world—top paddleboarding spots include the coasts of Japan, Brazil, California, Fiji and Peru. Invitationals and races much like the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach are also hosted annually, attracting thousands. Paddleboarding is a sport that anyone, no matter your skill level, can learn and practice at any age.

Due to access to both the lagoon and the Pacific Ocean, Carlsbad locals ought to say “S’UP!” to stand up paddleboarding—it’s the beach bum’s workout.