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Discovering Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Barbados


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Barbados has been full of many first-time experiences for me. First time snorkelling with sea turtles, first time tasting the rum, first time submarine diving, and so much more.

Discovering Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Barbados

While I really enjoyed all of those incredibly fun activities, there was one that stuck out to me as a true life-changer, a new passion that I’m confident will follow me around the world – stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP for short.

If YOU haven’t tried stand-up paddleboarding yet, it probably won’t be long before you do because SUP is experiencing a surge in popularity right now and it’s easy to see why.

It’s a full body workout, it’s surprisingly serene (believe me, gliding across the crystal-clear waters can be enormously relaxing) and it can be done just about anywhere; oceans, rivers, lakes, and bays.

Discovering Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Barbados

Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

Combine surfing with kayaking and you’ve got stand-up paddleboarding.

Stand-up paddleboarding pretty much does what it says on the tin: you stand on what looks very much like a standard surfboard and propel your way along with a single paddle.

Discovering Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Barbados

And since you stand at your full height, you can enjoy unique views of everything from sea creatures to what’s on the horizon.

Discovering Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Barbados

After a few hours of SUP’ing, I came to a realisation that the key to mastering paddleboarding isn’t about how strong or fit you are, but rather it’s all about technique.

For me, the trickiest part of stand-up paddle boarding was learning how to stand on the board properly. (At the beginning, my knees were shaking all over the place).

Thanks to our SUP instructor Ryan from What’ SUP Barbados who monitored my progress in the water and got me up paddling with confidence and enjoyment.

Discovering Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Barbados

Overall, SUP takes some practice, but once you’ve got the hang of being able to balance on the board and have perfected your paddle technique, you can expect to be bitten by the paddle bug.

Who Invented Stand-Up Paddleboarding?

It is believed that thousands of years ago, ancient Hawaiians used stand-up paddleboarding as a means of transportation between islands and for fishing.

However, SUP didn’t take off until the 2000s when pro surfers such as Laird Hamilton used stand-up paddleboarding to continue training when the ocean was too calm to surf.

If it’s true, then stand-up paddleboarding isn’t so new, right?

Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Barbados

Barbados is made for SUP enthusiasts.

This small island (you can drive from one side to the other in a few hours) boasts more than 60 miles of coastline – so tons of SUP options.

But, some places are certainly more ideal than others — you are looking for calm, flat water if you are a beginner at SUP (just like we were).

If that’s the case, beaches on the West Coast of Barbados is THE place for you. The waves are typically small, flat, and calm here.

Discovering Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Barbados

Tips for Stand-Up Paddling Boarding

The best SUP tip I can give you is to keep your knees slightly bent for balance.

Don’t lean too far forward or too far back or too far on either side for that matter. Stay centred on the board, look straight ahead (not at the board) and enjoy the ride. Because it’s going to be awesome!

The scenery is stunning, catching a few refreshing waves is a thrill, and paddling along the coast is simply an awesome time.

You don’t even notice how much of a workout it is until you are finished and you start to feel your abs and thighs later in the day.

My boyfriend and I liked SUP so much that we are definitely going to take up paddleboarding wherever we go in the future.

Discovering Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Barbados

Who knows, maybe we will be taking part in one of those SUP races in Hawaii. It could be our next great adventure!

Have you ever tried stand-up paddleboarding? If yes, were you scared of falling off? 

To get a taste of Stand-Up Paddleboarding in the sunny Barbados, please check out What’SUP Barbados.