By Laura Houston
“The beauty of paddle boarding is that it’s gear intensive to get started, but once you’ve got your gear you’re good to go,” explains Gina Bradley of Paddle Diva, a local woman’s Stand Up Boarding (SUP) company.
Having a positive SUP experience starts with finding a board that fits your body shape and the type of paddling you plan to do. Boards vary in size, shape and quality so Bradley recommends getting fitted at a local shop and purchasing a board from a company that’s been on the markets for at least two years. Down wind boards are longer (14′-17′), narrower and the back and front of the board slightly curve up, out of the water.
The second most important piece of gear is a good paddle and Bradley insists you don’t want to skimp on this. The lightness, performance and design of a paddle can make or break your experience so Bradley recommends testing different paddles until you find the one that works best for you.
Other necessities include a leash so your board doesn’t get swept away if you fall off, a rash guard with U.V. protection, bathing suit and sunglasses with a leash. For a down winder you’ll also need a full wet suit or dry suit and booties to keep warm during the long paddle as well as some water and easy-to-access food.