How I started Stand up Paddling and why you should start to SUP too

Stand up paddling is in Germany a very new kind of sport, which is only starting to get popular. In 2016 I saw people doing it for the first time and I really wanted to try it too. I faced my first obstacle as no one wanted to join. It was either too cold or too warm, too busy of a time or people I asked just felt stressed.

On a rainy day in March at the office, I was sitting with tears in my eyes at my desk. I felt mistreated not only by the company I am working for but by my friends who didn’t have time for me and of course by a guy. By the way, most of my major changes in life were triggered by a guy that didn’t want me or just treated me like shit. This feels always bad in those moments, but I am mostly thankful for the drive that a bad feeling is giving me later.

Everything happens for a reason, at least in my world.

Just loosing 300 Euros because someone wanted to reschedule our meet up in Malta because he was too busy to keep our date, hurt like crazy.

I needed to treat myself with something good, something just for me.

I searched online for a SUP and Yoga retreat and got lucky within 30 minutes of my search. I found a place in Portugal called Salty Pelican that offered twice a day Yoga classes and 5 SUP lessons in a week’s stay.

It looked amazing and the reviews were just positive about the retreat and the hostel. Yes, you heard right. This journey included a lot of new things for me. I had never been to a hostel before and I sure never shared a dorm room with 7 people I never met. I was excited and I was really looking forward to this vacation.

Finally, the day came and I took a flight to Lisbon where I picked up my rental and drove up to Cascais. The house was lovely and it turned out the people I shared my room with were also amazing.

The next day I had my first SUP lesson. Super excited I went to the beach with only little expectation of what to come.

We started with a quick introduction on how to hold the paddle and some basic navigation techniques. This is also what I would recommend to beginners. Start out with a course, for your own safety on the water. The group on the beach was homogeneously filled with beginners and all girls so laughing was obligational. After the introduction, we went in the water and on our boards.

With no hesitation, I stood up and I instantly had the feeling that this is where I belong.

I did not fall in the water during the first 4 lessons. I did my first pivot turn on the third lesson and my first nose turn on my last day. Also the day I fell in twice. First time while doing the nose turn, second while watching clouds.

In the night after my first lesson, I lay in bed and I could still feel the waves under my feet. This feeling was epic and I guess it was exactly what made me so addicted to SUP.

I was extensively working out before mostly with weightlifting and Yoga and this already made me quite happy with my body, but never showed the results I wanted.

After that week of SUP and Yoga, I saw a first body transformation. The first time, since I stopped smoking in 2008, I could see my abs. I felt more healthy than ever before.

SUP girl in Portugal
This shows me in Cascais. I have to admit I hated my belly back then.

Unfortunately, back home I was facing the same troubles as before. No one wanted to join me. Ok sorry, that is only half true. My Mum wanted to join me and did occasionally, but you know how it is, you don’t want to hang out with your Mum all the time. I went to guided tours and even had a tinder date were we went supping. However, this wasn’t enough for me and the summer was literally over at this point.

In November I went to Cambodia and the whole time I was thinking why didn’t I bring an iSUP. This really bugged me, there were so many amazing places in this country where you actually could explore even better on a SUP. Back home I decided to get myself a Christmas present, as I could not stop thinking about getting on the water, but at that time no SUP rental nearby was still open and no physical Shop to test what you buying.

SUP girl doing the craw in Cambodia
Did some Yoga in a Cambodian temple

This is when I started to research again. I was afraid I was losing interest and spent way too much money on a board I would not use that often. But I knew a very cheap board wouldn’t be the right choice either.

Actually I ordered a board online from Aquaparx which I send right back after unpacking it at home. First, it was delivered without a pump. Second, I could see the glue all over the board, which was not what I have seen on boards I liked to ride when I was renting.

At this time I was certain that I needed to invest at least in a middle price range board and I found Stemax from Austria on facebook. Quality material, fun look and they made me a great offer which included a 3 piece Paddle and a Leash.

Two SUPs at a lake in Germany
The left one was my first board. Still in use when I have friends joining me on a tour

Everyone who is starting out with Stand up Paddling I highly recommend to invest at least 700 – 800 Euros for a Board. If you are not sure if you stick to SUP get a used one in good condition from a high-end brand.

A quality board is much more fun on the water than a cheap one.

It will last longer, it has a better chance of a good reselling price and it is just more fun on the water because it doesn’t bend or has material errors that are annoying.

Now I had my own board and I could get out as much as I wanted. I got myself a drysuit also on facebook and started right away in December.

This was incredible, having the water all to myself and enjoying this on my own board. I sure was the happiest person on earth.

However, I still did not have a single person that would join me on my SUP tours. This was when I started my SUP TOUR BERLIN account on Instagram. Looking for people who would join me on my tours and share my passion. Now in 2019 I have build a wonderful SUP community that is really engaged and shares my passion and I met so many incredibly awesome people for tours. I made new friends and finally, my old friends also wanted to join me.

Moreover, going Stand up Paddling on a regular base transformed my body and finally gave me the results that I could never archive from weightlifting and even better, mostly it does not feel like a hard workout. Okay a 20-kilometer tour can be exhausting and you might be a little sore the next days, but it will feel like a reward and not like a punishment.

In a Nutshell

Why should you start to SUP

  • SUP is a whole-body workout that feels more like fun rather than sport.
  • SUP gives you the possibility to connect with like-minded people.
  • SUP brings you closer to nature and opens your eyes to your beautiful surroundings.
  • SUP shows you places you would never be able to discover on land.

Why you shouldn’t buy cheap

  • The quality of a Board is really related to the price.
  • Better quality equals more fun.
  • Also more quality means more safety on the water as the material is not likely to break down while you are on tour.
  • The reselling price and possibility are much better with a high-end brand.

I hope this inspires you to start your own SUP journey. Leave me a comment and share your story. As always enjoy your time on the water and stay safe.

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2 Replies to “How I started Stand up Paddling and why you should start to SUP too”

  1. I’m just getting into the sport and totally agree with your bulleted list.

    This is the first sport that I find to be the perfect mix of relaxation, exercise, fun, and getting outside—for relatively cheap!

    1. Absolutely agree. Being in nature is luckily still for free and never gets old. At least not for me. Thanks for sharing and have fun on the water while exploring!

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