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The Benefits of Paddleboarding

By James Yount

I have enjoyed aquatic sports since my childhood, taking up swimming at age five and competing as an All American swimmer at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri. I have recently taken up paddleboarding at Laguna Beach in California, where I also enjoy training for 10K running events. Paddleboarding is a fast-growing sport that requires a minimum of equipment and can be pursued anywhere a sizable body of water exists. This includes the coast, lakes, rivers, ponds, bays, and estuary environments. While paddleboarding has a connection to surfing, it is a distinctly modern creation. In the late 1920s, Thomas Edward Blake drew his inspiration for the paddleboard from a group of historic surfboards he was restoring at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu. This museum continues today as the designated Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Creating a redwood replica of a historic board of Hawaiian royalty, Blake hollowed it out, creating the world’s first paddleboard. Surf contests of the late 1920s integrated the paddleboard and in 1932 Blake won the first mainland-to-Santa Catalina paddleboard competition in Southern California. Relegated to a footnote in surfing’s history as the decades passed, the paddleboard witnessed a resurgence in the 1980s. In particular, the 22-mile Point Dume-to-Malibu race inspired full-scale production of a high quality “Waterman” line of paddleboards.

A key reason for paddleboarding’s surge in popularity in recent years has to do with the excellent full-body workout it provides. Skiers, snowboarders, and runners alike utilize the sport for cross training purposes, ensuring that all the major muscle groups benefit from regular workout. Paddleboarding is also, quite simply, a lot of fun. It gives people a chance to connect with the ocean and with the force of waves without the same level of effort and wear-and-tear as surfing. While paddleboarding may appear easy, standing up on the board with a paddle, particularly in moderate to heavy surf conditions, requires athleticism. Beginning paddleboarders benefit from calm waters and sustaining a kneeling position on the board before attempting to stand. As paddleboarders progress, they frequently shift from broad, flat boards to narrower models that allow for better handling and require advanced balance. With over 3,000 paddleboards produced each year, I rely on Stand Up Paddle Company as the provider of my boards.

About the Author: With nearly 20 years of experience in the financial sector, James Yount holds a number of securities licenses through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

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