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April 2017
Fitness and sport
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SUPS: STAND UP PADDLE SURFING

SUPS


SUPS (Stand Up Paddle Surfing), or more simply SUP, is a sport practised with a longboard (a very big surfboard, approximately 3.4m in length) and an oar and the aim is to stand up and paddle either over waves or on still waters.

James Cook, the English explorer who landed on the islands of Hawaii in 1778, noted in his narratives how some natives rode waves whilst standings up on big boards, using oars to help do so. This was most probably a practice related to fishing rather than sports, however it has been considered a sport since the 1950s when surfing became popular again, especially on the beaches of Waikiki. In those times, American newspapers published the first photographs of surfers in action, including some of one of the Ah Choy brothers (some of the most famous surfers from that time) who wanted to give a different feel to his pictures, thus he went to the tops of a break point (the highest point of a wave) using a longboard and an oar. In the 1970s, longboards were overtaken by smaller boards, called shortboards, and it has only been since 2000 that longboards have reappeared on beaches (in the USA at first) with surfers standing on them using oars.

SUP is a transversal sport and it involves the same skills and requirements of other aquatic board sports, such as surfing, kiteboarding and windsurfing. It is also a very good sport on an athletic level and does not require any particular sea conditions since it can be practised with or without waves and the wind. What is more, it is not particularly hard to learn, especially if you already know the basics of aquatic board sports, but a special technique is required to use the oars.

To start practising SUP you must be physically fit so you can keep your balance on the board and deal with regular training sessions. After learning the technique, you can take advice from instructors and refer to videos and other multimedia material that is readily available on the internet to check the correct positions to assume and learn about the most common errors which are made whilst practising SUP.
One important rule for an SUP surfer is to always look ahead, that is, in the direction the board is travelling, and this also means that the surfer’s body will also have to face forward, but with the knees and back slightly bent to keep the centre of gravity low. This allows the SUP surfer to better control the board without being led by the waves, guiding the board in the right direction him/herself using the oars.

Each time you begin an SUP training session, you must summon your strength and be highly concentrated, perhaps even staying alone for a few minutes before getting on the board. Once you have decided on your aims for the session, training should be carried out with rigor and patience, yet in a determined and safe way so that you do not lose sight of the fun aspect of this sport. If you want to practise SUP on the waves, the physical workout will be more intense and will involve erratic rhythms, whereas training for still water involves constant physical activity and no jerky movements. The first training session is comparable to an interval training session, whilst the second is like a constant cardiac workout. A good SUP surfer must be able to follow an athletic fitness programme that trains both physical characteristics.

SUP is a comprehensive sport: it allows you to train all the muscles in your body at the same time without neglecting the cardiovascular aspect. Whilst working on the board, the leg, arm and back muscles are worked very hard. Furthermore, keeping your balance the whole time constantly stimulates all the stabilising muscles (abdominals, lumbar and erector spinae muscles), which keep the body balanced.
Due to the position of the pelvis and the low centre of gravity, practising SUP, especially on still water, is particularly good for women who want to keep their body weight under control because the work is constant and the heart rate can reach nearly 75% of the maxHR, which means that the surfer can work in the lipolytic threshold, which is best for burning body fat.
As mentioned, training on waves is more intense and dynamic and it allows the surfer to bring his/her heart rate up to reach over 85% of the maxHR, which is like doing a 1 minute high or 3 minute low cardiovascular interval training session; the 1 minute session represents when the surfer reaches the top of the wave, where the heart rate can even reach 90% of the maxHR, whereas the 3 minute low session represents the phase when the surfer is waiting for a new wave to come and the heart rate is around 60% of the maxHR. These last moments are needed to catch one’s breath and confront the next round of high impact work. That said, it is a good idea to wear a heart rate monitor during SUP training to keep the heart rate under control at all times.


Indo Board
In order to train properly for SUP, the board and oars must be good quality and made of the best available materials which guarantee lightness and strength, such as fibre glass because it is resistance to mechanical stress.
To benefit as much as possible, as well as doing training sessions on the board, it is a good idea to dedicate some time each week to specific physical exercise carried out away from the water so as to further strengthen all the physical features needed during an SUP session. As well as rowing equipment, other items needed for training include an Indo Board, a small wooden board that is oval shaped and just over 0.5m long, which is placed on various supports, such as a cylindrical roller or a soft cushion. The Indo Board is very good for training your balance and improving skills needed to do SUP since this smaller board is not stable on the supports, and various exercises can be carried out on it such as press ups, squats and weight lifting. Following are two suggestions about how to train, the first which involves two training sessions and the second which involves one weekly training session.


Training programme with 2 sessions (A and B) per week
Session A

Exercise Set x rep Time (min) Note
Rowing 10 min Warm up
Squat carried out on Indo Board 3 x 20 2 Indo Board must be placed under the feet
Forward lung with weights 2 x 20 1.5 Alternate legs and focus on back thigh muscles
Press-ups using Indo Board 2 x 8 2120 sec Chest, shoulders and triceps are worked. Place Indo Board under the hands
Pull-ups 2 x 6 2 Dorsals and biceps
Front leg lift 2x12 1 Lumbar and erector spinae muscles
Sit-ups on bar 3 x 10 1 Abdominals
Balance exercises on Indo Board 3 x 2 min 1.5 Self-perception, balance, coordination
Run 10 min Cool down
Stretching 5 min Exercises for major muscle groups


Session B

Exercise Set x rep Time (min) Note
Ski simulator 10 min Warm up
Jumping Squat using thigh muscles, until parallel line 3 x 15 2 Requires good technique and gradual increase
Vertical cable pulley 3 x 8 2 Dorsals and biceps. Good for oar training
Crossover with cables 2 x 8 2 Chest and shoulders. Good for oar training
Alternating bicep curls with low cable, standing 2 x8 1.5 Biceps. Good for oar training
Swimming 2 x12 1 Lumbar and erector spinae muscles
Cruch with cable 3 x 10 1 Abdominals. Good for oar training
Balance exercises on Indo Board 3 x 2 min 1.5 Self-perception and balance
Cycling 10 min Cool down
Stretching 5 min Exercises for major muscle groups


Programme for one session per week

Exercise Set x rep Time (min) Note
Ski simulator 10 min Warm up
Jumping Squat using thigh muscles, until parallel line 3 x 15 + 15 2 Do 15 reps on the Indo Board and then, without stopping, 15 jumping squats
Vertical cable pulley 3 x 8 2 Dorsals and biceps. Good for oar training
Press-ups using Indo Board 3 x 8 2 Chest, shoulders and triceps are worked. Place Indo Board under the hands
Alternating bicep curls with low cable, standing 2 x8 1.5 Biceps. Good for oar training
Swimming 2 x12 1 Lumbar and erector spinae muscles
Double crunch 3 x 10 1 Abdominals. Good for board training
Balance exercises on Indo Board 3 x 2 min 1.5 Self-perception and balance
Cycling 10 min Cool down
Stretching 5 min Exercises for major muscle groups



SUPS

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