Fun SUP Activities That Every Paddle Boarder Should Try

Paddle boarding is awesome, especially during your first forays into the sport when even being able to stand up on your board is exciting and new. Once you get the hang of things, it’s time to unlock your full SUP potential. There are tons of exciting things that you can do on your SUP and all you need to do is go out and try them. Here are some of our team’s favorites.

Have a SUP picnic on the water

My personal favorite SUP activity is to go out on the water for a SUP picnic. Personally, my favorite way to do this is to bring some rope to tie me and my friends’ boards together while we eat. I like to bring a cooler full of drinks and sandwich fixings and make our food right there on the lake. You can try paddling out to remote shorelines and islands as well for a secluded afternoon getaway.

Try this activity for a date or a get together with friends! This one is always a crowd pleaser.

Just relaxing on their boards

Give SUP yoga a try

We’ve all seen those crazy people doing yoga poses on their paddleboards. It’s honestly really fun! SUP yoga has been around for years but I still get asked about it constantly. 

SUP yoga is a great full body workout that will work your arms, legs, core, back and all of your stabilizer muscles. Doing yoga on a SUP will engage more muscles than the same exercises would on land.

SUP yoga will bring a new level of mindfulness to your routine and improve your balance, strengthen underutilized muscles and improve your technique.

If you’re looking for the perfect board for SUP yoga, check out the Glide O2 Lotus. It has a full length, comfortable deck pad that gives you plenty of room to practice your poses. It also has added width for stability and carrying capacity and makes a good all-around board for days when you just want to do some regular paddling.

Yoga on our O2 Retro board

Participate in a SUP race

SUP racing can be a great way to test out your skills against other paddlers. You can start by looking for races and events on Facebook groups or sites online that catalog upcoming races.

There are really two types of paddlers when it comes to races: those looking to compete and those looking to just complete. If you’re looking to compete, you’ll want to check out our post on training for a SUP race here and consider looking at boards designed especially for racing.

If you’re just looking to have some fun and complete the race for your own sake, there’s really not many ways you can go wrong as long as you stay safe. If you want to use a whitewater board and paddle on your knees the whole time, the world is your oyster.

Go SUP camping

I love SUP camping so much that I wrote a whole other post about it here! Stand up paddle boards are the perfect size for overnight trips or even multi day trips.

Setting up camp with a paddle board

Stand up paddle boards are a great way to get to secluded camping spots along the water that would be difficult or impossible to reach by car or foot. If you like to bring a lot of gear when you camp, check out a board like the O2 Angler which has plenty of room for all of the gear you could need. If you like to pack light and go far, a touring board like the Quest is a great option as well.

Some light gear for a SUP camping trip

Go snorkeling from your SUP

If you live in an area with beautiful clear water, a SUP can be a great platform for your next snorkeling adventure! 

Safety is always important when you are paddle boarding but especially so if you are going snorkeling. Make sure to bring a buddy with you and tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.

It’s a good idea to have a dive flag visible on your paddle board so that other boaters know there is someone in the water. You will also want an anchor for your paddle board so that it stays in the same place. If you’re in shallow water, an anchor pole is a great option, if not, a grapnel anchor or fluke anchor will be your best bet depending on whether the floor is rocky or sandy.

Using ropes to stay connected to your board or anchor line is an option but it can be easy to get caught up in ropes in the water so many people bring a diving knife. Always make sure that your location matches the skill level of the people involved and don’t take unnecessary risks. 

Use your inflatable SUP as a packraft

Inflatable paddle boards aren’t quite as light as a traditional packraft, but they are still fairly light and almost all of them come with a backpack to carry them. This makes them great for day trips to small lakes and reservoirs that you can’t reach by car. 

You’ll be able to reach areas on your SUP on a day trip that will be more secluded than some places you could reach on foot on a full blown backpacking trip.

Create a SUP workout routine

A SUP can be a great tool for getting a good workout and can even replace your expensive home gym during the summer months. 

Your SUP is a great platform for cardio, yoga, calisthenics and more! Create a routine that exercises every muscle group and gets your heart pumping.

Showing off those gains from paddle boarding

Try out SUP surfing

Surfing is a great SUP activity once you have mastered flatwater. You’ll definitely want a leash for this one, a straight leash will work better than a coiled one in this case because your board won’t bounce back at you as fast.

We have a full guide for SUP surfing here but I’ll give you the basics. 

Riding a wave on their SUP

First timers should pick a day when the swells are 2-3 feet. These small waves will be a lot easier to catch than on a regular surfboard because of the extra buoyancy of a SUP. 

Getting out in the water can be challenging because you can’t dive under the water like on a regular surfboard. In the break zone, lay prone on the board and paddle with your hands. You’ll be able to practice getting out while paddling on your knees and feet too.

If you think a wave is going to break on you, grab your paddle, roll off the board and dive under the wave. You’ll have to depend on your leash to keep your board nearby.

To catch a wave, take several hard strokes on the same side of the board to make sure the wave doesn’t pass you. Your feet will be in a regular SUP position as you catch the wave but once you are confident you have caught it switch your feet into a standard skate/snowboard position by shifting in one quick motion.

Keep your weight on your back foot and use your paddle to speed up or slow down to stay with the wave. To bail out, you can put most of your weight on your back foot and try to kick the nose of the board back out towards the oncoming waves or you can just dive off the board.

SUP surfing is a blast and even if you live inland, you can take advantage of river waves and boat wakes for SUP surfing fun.

catching a great wave on a SUP

Go on a SUP fishing trip

Fishing on a SUP is a great activity for all skill levels. You can really use any board but a good stable one with mounts for a rod holder is the best option, Glide has a board designed just for fishing called the Angler. A solid cooler is good to have to use as a seat and to keep fish or food in.

Really, there is not a lot to fishing from a SUP that is different from fishing from any other boat. You can use bait, spinners or flies no problem. You can even give trolling a try.

Casting a fly rod from his SUP

No matter what activity you’re looking to try, Glide has the perfect board for you. Check out our lineup of durable inflatable paddle boards here!


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