Standup paddle offers fun, core workout

LOS ANGELES "It allows so many people to enjoy the ocean that never would before," said Jeffrey Sweet, a standup paddle professional.

Sweet said much like snowboarding is to skiing, standup paddling is another way to enjoy the ocean. He credits surfer Laird Hamilton for starting the craze in Malibu six years ago, although it's been popular in Hawaii for years.

"It gets you outside the gym. It's a full-body workout from your shoulders, your core, your legs, your butt and it's just something different," said Joy de Palma, a personal trainer.

"We've made it really easy with big boards, light paddles. It's something that everybody can do," said Sweet.

Being on a board on an unstable surface in the water means you're going to need a lot of core and leg strength. So, there are some exercises you can do to prep for your paddle.

"Do a little core work just to build your core a little bit so that when you get on the board, you have a little core foundation," said de Palma.

De Palma suggests doing workout routines and stretches that strengthen legs, hips and core, along with the plank for overall conditioning.

Here are the basic steps to standup paddling: Paddle out on your knees to where it's as flat as possible, stand up, and then look up quickly, keeping the arms in. Make up and down, not circular, strokes with your paddle.

"Speed is your friend. It's easier to be moving than it is to be standing still," advised Sweet.

"You're going to fall a couple of times. So be ready for that," warned de Palma.

When you do master standing up, remember that you're not alone in the water.

"Etiquette is number one. We don't go out and because we have a paddle in our hand, ride every wave. Take your turn. Be polite. Be safe. It's a big board," advised Sweet.

Lessons by Sweet are $150 per person for about 90 minutes, which includes all the equipment. Other lessons range between $75 and $200, and the price is flexible depending on how many people are in the group.

Boards are pricey, so it is recommended that you take a few lessons and try before you buy.

Becker Surfboards
23755 Malibu Road
Malibu, CA 90265
(310) 456-7155

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