Don’t Like to Surf? Go Paddle Boarding!

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Looking to stay active on your beach vacation? Ditto.

Unlike a lot of other tourists, surfing (the obvious beach activity) doesn’t appeal to me.  I love to watch those who are good at the sport glide effortlessly across the surf break, but when I try to achieve the same grace on the board, it eludes me.

I am too scared that the board is going to fly up and knock me unconscious, break my nose, or drag me to my death.  A little dramatic?  Maybe.  But that’s how it goes in my head.

So what’s a girl to do?  Paddle board!  Considerably easier than surfing but still great exercise, this activity is perfect for a full-body workout and a water adventure.

The sport has picked up popularity in beach towns around the world, with professional competitions and sponsorships held regularly.  But the best thing about it?  It’s easy to learn!

Essentially, you’re standing up on a long board with a paddle in hand.  Once you get yourself past the waves (an instructor can help with this), you’re free to paddle out to sea, building arm, core and leg strength along the way.  Here in Sayulita, Mexico, people have even reported seeing whales once they paddled far enough from the beach.  A little scary?  Sure.  But also magnificent!

Additional tips:

1. It’s always a good idea to consult a professional when trying out a new sport.  Get a little lesson on the beach before charging into the water to avoid injury.

2. Make sure to stretch!  It’s easy to pull a muscle if you’re not used to using it.

3. Start slow.  If you’re out of shape, stay close to the beach rather than paddling out to sea on the first go.  Remember, you’ll have to turn around at some point and paddle back in, so proceed with caution.

4. Wear a secure bikini.  You might fall the first few tries, and you want to make sure you’re covered up when you climb back on the board.  Avoid string bikinis if you own one, since these fall off most easily.

5. If you’re concerned about the security of your top, wear a rash guard.  You should be able to rent one with the board.

6. Double up on sunscreen.  Sun reflecting off the ocean’s surface is stronger than the rays you soak up on the beach.

7. Most importantly, observe weather conditions before you paddle out – if it’s windy or if the waves are huge, it’s probably not the best day for your first paddle board experience.

8. Have fun!

Have you ever tried paddle boarding? Would you? How do you stay in shape while on vacation?

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About Author

Ellen wanders. She wandered her way through Europe in 2007 during a semester abroad in Madrid, then through parts of the South Pacific after college graduation, and spent a year in South and Central America during 2010. Most recently, she went on a solo adventure south of the border to research and write the travel guidebook Go Girl Guides: Mexico.

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