Called both paddle surfing and paddle boarding, and known internationally as stand-up paddle surfing or SUP paddle surfing, this increasingly popular sport first appeared in Banderas Bay in 2007. Its origins can be traced back to Peru, where the fishermen stood on narrow grass kayaks and paddled while standing. Over the years, as surfing gained popularity, surf instructors stood on paddle boards to keep an eye on their students. And recently this activity has evolved into a very popular water sport.

Paddle surfing is a great workout, offering the benefits of yoga, while immersing yourself in nature and skimming atop the water. And in addition to offering the chance to be up close and personal with sea turtles, dolphins and exotic tropical fish, paddle surfing builds core strength while burning calories at an accelerated rate. Extreme athletes, including advanced paddle boarders and surfers, can also paddle into the lineup, enjoying a bird’s-eye view of the waves and the opportunity to handpick the best ones.

The necessary equipment is minimal, simply a paddle board and paddle. Says Adam Finer of Pacific Paddle Surf in Bucerias, “On the right equipment, anybody who can swim and stand-up on their own two feet can basically paddle board. We’ve had students from 6 to 86 and everywhere in between. If you can lie down on your stomach and then stand on your feet, you can do it.”  And unlike some other water sports, a person can learn the basics in less than 15 minutes. With the popularity of paddle surfing escalating rapidly, there are a variety of options to rent equipment locally, but many people who try the sport become immediately smitten and choose to purchase their own. Once you make the initial investment of $1250 to $2000 USD for a board and $150 to $400 for a paddle (local prices), your equipment should last for up to ten years. Of prime importance is choosing equipment designed to match your skill level.

Speaking from personal experience, if you’ve never been up on a board, taking a lesson such as those offered by Pacific Paddle in Bucerias makes learning a breeze. Having someone coaching you from the water greatly accelerates your learning curve. You easily learn to get onto the board, lie on your stomach, get up on your feet in a squatting position and then stand and maintain your balance. Then by learning a few basic paddling techniques, you’re ready to go.

So whether you’re looking for a new hobby, an exhilarating workout to tone your body and lose those unwanted pounds, or have set your sights on training to compete, paddles surfing may be for you.

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