Annabel Anderson

You know how there are some things that some people just never remember to tell you when you’re starting out doing something new? Then you have those moments of ‘if only someone had told me the unwritten rules of engagement’? Yes, I do….especially if you’re a girl.

So while most of you are dealing with subzero temps and wishing you could use the hashtag #luckywelivehawaii right now don’t worry. Come spring, here’s how to gun it straight out of the gate and be armed with all the info you need to adequately bluff your way through most situations from what to ask at a shop to how to fake-it-before-you-make-it on the water this spring and summer.

It’s the no-bones-cut-to-the-chase bluffing girls guide to all things SUP this summer.
And while most of you have already drunk the Koolade and become the converted, don’t forget your friends that have been sitting on the fence for a few summers now. Paddling is more fun with more, and now it’s easier than ever to get them out there with you.

1. Lake-ing it or finding yourself stuck in the city this summer?

Thankfully rental docks and SUP operations are springing up all over the country regardless of how close to the ocean you are. No matter if it’s a city pond, a river, estuary, harbor or beach thankfully this summer is going to be the best yet as more and more rental operations spring up across the country. Grab a gaggle of your mates and now matter if you can/can’t paddle, I can promise you that you’ll instantly have more fun by just adding water.

2. Be respectful to the conditions and the ocean.

Yes, it’s easy, but SUP is difficult to master. Be sure to know what the wind and tide are doing and plan your mission accordingly. And if you don’t know….ask! Water is as beautiful as it is dangerous and never put yourself in a situation that you cannot get yourself out of safely.

3. Be careful who you ask for advice and take direction from.
The evangelistic women (or man) that doesn’t look like they could stand up on a surf board, likely can’t surf a SUP either. Just because they’ve done it for a while, or have a certificate does not mean they have any skill or commonsense. Instruction is unregulated. Do your homework before you sign up for tuition and don’t believe everything you read online or see on YouTube.

4. Try before you commit.

There’s a plethora of rental operations that have sprung up across the country removing the hassle of lugging big boards to the beach and back again. Let someone else take the hassle out of transporting and storing your equipment and enjoy the valet service of the cute dock boy working his way through his college holidays.

5. Taking the plunge.

If you’re looking for a board (and judging by the magnitude of messages I receive a lot of you do!). If it seems too cheap, it probably fell off the back of a truck. If someone’s friend is ‘gonna hook you up a sweet as deal’ make sure it’s a reputable brand with a warranty. A few cowboys have been known to operate in the industry and it’s a case of Caveat Emptor. Likewise if you see a rad deal, grab it balls and all! Costco offers money back guarantees and most big box retailers carry a good entry level boards. Seek out your local specialty SUP retailer for all the knowledge and advice that you need plus all the accessories and clothing to have you looking the part and they will be able to give you the low down on group paddles, instruction and loads of other helpful information.

6. Prior preparation

Just remember, you’re going to need a place to store it and trust me it’s a little bigger than the boogie board you used to stash in your bedroom! ?

Unless you have some mates who live beside the water that are up for regular visitation, you’re going to have to suss this before making the jump and buying a board.

Nowhere to store it? Ask you’re local SUP shop if they offer board storage or season rental/membership.

7. I got a board….how do I get it to the water?

Hmmmm. Good question. Practicality first girls.
Do you have roof racks? Do you have a car that you can put roof racks on?
If it’s all systems go, don’t skimp on price. If possible get Thule racks and if you’re super stylin’ you’ll get the SUP Taxi.
Why some goofy looking contraption to go atop the cross bars? They have a locking system keeping your precious mother ship safe and sound while you’re driving about town.
At a push, soft racks will suffice but the noise will get to you in under 5 mins flat.

8. It’s always more fun with more.

Like going to a walk, run or ride with your best mates, going for a paddle gives a whole new perspective on where you live. There’s plenty of cafes on or near the water to make a nice intermission to your paddle. Call it the coffee ride of the water.

9. Kids will be entertained for hours.

Put a board in sheltered waters and kids will swoon from the boondocks. With natural balance and cat like reflex you’ll be in awe of how they make something look so easy while your legs tremor with rigidity.

10. Don’t be fooled by the show-up-and-blow-up

Awesome if you’re on a boat, don’t want to chip the gel coat and can’t be assed getting in the dinghy to go to shore, tackling a grade 3+ river or don’t have anywhere to store it, but it will always be a compromise.

Yes, their performance and design has greatly improved but consider what your needs are first before being convinced that it’s your one-stop-sup solution. Without the right air pressure will become like a banana in the middle.

Wrap up warm and stay tuned for the next installment of the Bluffing Girls Guide to All Things SUP and get ready for Summer! (It will get here eventually.)