What's Up with SUP?

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Saturday, July 19, 2014


WANT to get a good workout but can’t stand the thought of being boxed inside a gym? If an outdoor activity that gets you moving while admiring nature sounds much more appealing, then stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP, may be for you.

At a recent clinic hosted by R.O.X. (Recreational Outdoor eXchange), Buzzy Budlong of Island Buzz Philippines led participants in a paddling adventure one sunny Saturday morning. Before everyone set out into the water, Buzzy explained the origins of paddle boarding in Hawaii, as an offshoot of surfing. He pointed out that our own waters here can be enjoyed with just a board, a paddle and a paddler, with no need for anything motorized.

If standing on a board and propelling yourself with a paddle sounds simple, think again. Paddle boarding is a full-body workout for the arms, legs and especially the core. Students were taught the proper strokes for paddling forward, changing direction, and paddling back without becoming quickly exhausted. Out on the water, first-time and beginner paddle boarders soon found out how much of a challenge it was not just to find one’s balance, but to stay balanced even when the waters got a little rough.

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Kayakers and paddle boarders started from Kontiki Marina Resort in Mactan to a secluded natural lagoon 2.5 kilometers away that some Cebuanos may not even know exist. Here, away from boats, the water is smooth and much easier to maneuver on a paddle board.

The five-kilometer adventure to and from the lagoon was a challenge for beginner paddle boarders. Simply standing on the board was not made any easier by the traffic of Mactan’s waters, from pump boats and speed boats to banana boats and wave runners.

But safety is always the priority with paddle boarding, as each participant was given a flotation device and everyone paddled in a group. Balance aside, wearing lightweight ZEM footwear will help feet get a better grip on the board; very useful especially after wiping out, getting soaked, and then getting back on the board.

For a slower-paced alternative to the sport, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa offers SUP yoga in their private saltwater lagoon. The enclosed body of water means that there are no waves to worry about, but paddle board yoga is still a physical challenge. The one-hour session offers the detoxifying benefits of yoga in the resort’s calming environment. But, the low-impact workout that tests one’s balance and flexibility is intensified with trying to hold the poses atop a board floating on water. Yoga Hub instructor Wei Sosa leads the class. SUP yoga at Plantation Bay is held every Sunday at P350 per walk-in student, while it is free for checked-in resort guests.

If staying up during SUP is difficult, not to worry: falling into the water is painless, anyway. Paddle boarding is an eco-friendly way to appreciate Cebu’s beautiful waters. With such a gorgeous view, it’s almost possible to forget how much of a workout that board is giving you.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 20, 2014.

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