The Popular New Paddle Sport in the New River Gorge

The newest activity in the New River Gorge’s outdoor activity repertoire is quickly becoming a favorite.

SUP race wvIt’s easy to see why stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is so contagious: it’s easy to learn and fun for all ages. It’s growing not only here, but everywhere. It’s the fastest-growing paddle sport in the country.

Here are 5 great reasons to try stand-up paddelboarding:

1. Ease

The basics of stand-up paddleboarding can be picked up in a matter of minutes. Many of people find that getting the board to the water and getting on it is the most difficult part. It takes a little wobbling to find your balance when you first begin, but once you’re up with paddle in hand, it’s just a matter of stroking to figure out which strokes steer you what direction.

One lesson can teach you enough to confidently paddleboard Summersville Lake or other flat water yourself.

2. Versatility

Paddleboarding isn’t just a flat-water activity. Once you’ve mastered your basic skills, you can also take to the rapids. Whitewater paddleboarding takes a lot more balance, but it’s a fun way to run tamer sections of river. Local outfitters take trips out on the New River to learn about safety and technique in the waves.

If that sounds too intense, you could also just boost your balance with a SUP yoga session. Running through deep, relaxing stretches while staying centered on your board adds an extra level of concentration, and can help you focus on proper postures and positioning.

3. Affordability

While new boards aren’t cheap up front, a properly cared for board can last you years and years. A used board and paddle will also be much cheaper, and you can often find them online or on sale for only a few hundred dollars.

You’ll also need a personal flotation device (PFD) to keep yourself safe on the water. And with those essentials, you’ll be good to go!

4. Fun Fitness

If you have a hard time motivating yourself to get out and run or hit the gym, taking a whirl on the lake might be just what you need.

It’s a fun workout that tones your arms, legs, abs, back and shoulders. The balance works your muscles constantly as you SUP, and paddling burns calories as you use your entire body to propel yourself through the water. It’s fun and feels like a low-impact activity, but you’ll be getting an amazing workout.

5. Lifelong Activity

You can pick up SUP at any age, and you can keep paddling your whole life. And it can follow you wherever you go. Any body of water can be a playground if you have your board in tow.

Have you tried SUP?