When was the last time you did something for the first time? If you’ve never tried stand up paddle boarding (SUP) before, make a promise to yourself to try it. In fact, a visit to Cape Town could be the perfect time to discover this fun and increasingly fashionable sport.
Unlike its more strenuous cousin surfing, SUP is easy and effortless enough for anyone: from young to old, and fit to, well, fat. Active and adventurous types can take straight to the sea or even race in timed trials. But if, like me, you’re completely new to SUP, a gentle 3km paddle around the sparkling canals of the Waterfront is an excellent introduction to the sport.
SUP Cape Town offer plenty of beginner’s boards for hire, which are big, buoyant and very stable. They’ll also give you an introductory briefing that’ll soon have you cruising around feeling very proud and professional. Once your paddle has been adjusted to the right length, you learn how to hold it and push it. You use strokes close to the board to go forward, and further away from the board to steer. Then, you simply stand in the middle of the board with your back straight, knees slightly bent, feet hip-width apart – and you’re off!
If it sounds fairly straightforward, that’s because it is. Within 10 minutes of setting foot on a SUP for the first time, I was relaxed enough to enjoy the spectacular scenery, chat with friendly construction workers, and even pull out my phone to identify the Cape cormorants sunning themselves on the bridges.
Apparently, SUP is a brilliant workout, great for strengthening your core and lower back. However, if you take it easy on a calm and sunny day, you’re unlikely to break into the slightest sweat. One thing is for sure, though: my first time on a SUP won’t be my last!