Costa Rican Stand Up Paddle Board
Stand up paddle board, more commonly referred to as “SUP” is a new and innovative form of exercise and an incredible thrill if you love the water and have a desire to put your skills to the test on the Pacific Ocean. Paddle board is not only an amazing workout but it can be an incredibly leisurely activity as there are many different levels to accommodate all levels; from beginners to the more experienced. Stand up paddle board takes many forms. You can usually book a tour to explore mangroves and picturesque waterways, work on your balance before taking on waves to surf, or even join a SUP yoga class that allows you to experience original and challenges forms of exercise. There are all sorts of inventive waves to explore SUP and if you’re just beginning, you may want to take advantage of the following tips.
SUP Beginner’s Guide: Avoid the Waves
Stand up paddle boarding can be extremely challenging so it is a must to start off where the water is calmest. Often times you can find a class or an instructor in your specific area that already knows the hidden beaches or bays that offer the gentlest waves. Even if you’ve engaged in other forms of water sports throughout your life, it is never a bad idea to learn how to maintain your balance and properly paddle all within the realm of safety. Within no time at all you will be balanced, flexible and paddling with ease. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to paddle with the pros!
Everyone Falls So Get Back Up!
It is important to remember that everyone is prone to falling off their board at one point or another. Even the most experienced stand up paddle boarder has had their fair share of wipeouts. This, however, is not discouraging as falling off is expected and can actually be quite fun. By falling off, you are engaging in an extra workout by getting back on the board every time, cooling off in the water, swimming amongst fish, and learning to laugh at yourself as well as taking note of your mistakes. If you have concerns or worries, you can modify your SUP experience by paddling on your knees, wearing a life-vest, and attaching an ankle leash for safety precautions.
Choose a Skilled Guide or Teacher
When you are first starting off as a student in stand up paddle board, it never hurts to go with an experienced, veteran paddle boarder. A good SUP instructor gives you safety instructions, shows you proper operation of your board and paddle, guides you into calm waters, can prepare you for what you may experience, and supports you every step of the way. Encouragement can be really important when taking up a new hobby or trying to enhance skills that you may already possess. There is nothing quite like the help of a professional to cheer you on and keep you safe.
Focus on the Horizon or a Non-moving Object
There is a rule of thumb while paddle boarding: don’t look down. When you are solely focused on the waves or the placement of your feet, it is easier to fall of your board. By starting at the horizon or concentrating on a focal point that doesn’t move, you will be able to manage to stay on your board longer and concentrate. This is particularly important if you are engaging in a sport like SUP yoga where balance is key.
Common Destinations for SUP in Costa Rica
The following places are both great places to learn the fundamentals of stand up paddle board and put your skills to the test:
- Playa Herradura, Jaco
- Lake Arenal, La Fortuna
- Playa Manuel Antonio, Manuel Antonio
- Maracas, Quepos
- Playa Avellenas, Tamarindo
- Pavones , one of the longest beach breaks in all of Costa Rica