Seeing the nature coast up close with the gentle sound of water lapping against your paddleboard is the best way to spend a day in Citrus County.
Stand up paddleboarding, or “SUP” for short, is one of the fastest growing water sports in the entire world.
You might be familiar with it from one paddleboard company’s appearance on Shark Tank, or you might just be curious about what all those people are doing standing on surfboards with paddles out in the Crystal River.
Whether or not you are familiar with the concept, this popular new trend offers the perfect combination of a super fun activity and a low-impact full-body workout. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
What is Stand Up Paddleboarding?
Stand up paddleboarding is actually a very simple concept. You take an oversized surfboard and stand on it with a long paddle in your hands. Then you use that paddle to maneuver your board.
This idea originated in the Hawaiian Islands by natives there, but it was made popular by professional surfboarders who were looking for ways to continue their training when the waves weren’t cooperating.
Where Can I Do This?
One of the things that make stand up paddleboarding so popular is that you can enjoy it on any body of water. Any place you enjoy kayaking might also be a great place for stand up paddleboarding.
Unlike surfing, waves are not a requirement here.
That means that the Gulf of Mexico is a great place to start, but so are any of our local rivers and lakes. Crystal River is a very popular area for stand up paddleboarding.
What Equipment Do I Need?
As you might have guessed, the equipment requirements for stand up paddleboarding are actually quite simple.
First and foremost, you will obviously need a board. Stand up paddleboards might look like surfboards, but they are actually customized to offer more stability and give your feet a better grip where you are supposed to stand.
The board will also have a leash that you can attach to your ankle so that you don’t lose it should you happen to fall off.
You are also going to need a paddle. Again, most any paddle will do in a pinch, but you should talk to an expert to get one specifically designed for stand up paddleboarding.
Last, but not least, you will need a life jacket so that you are both safe and in line with local regulations.
How Do I Start?
As with any new sport, it is probably a good idea to try stand up paddleboarding using someone else’s board before committing to purchasing your own.
Luckily for us, the Villages of Citrus Hills is completely surrounded by great tour companies that love teaching stand up paddleboarding.
Here are some of the top local companies that offer rentals, lessons, and even stand up paddleboard tours:
A Crystal River Kayak Co, Crystal River
Bird’s Underwater, Crystal River
Manatee Paddle, Crystal River
The Kayak Shack, Weeki Wachee
Aardvarks Florida Kayak Company, Crystal River
Nature Coast SUP, Crystal River
There is a reason that stand up paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing water sports in the country. It offers an excellent combination of fun and exercise for people of all ages and athletic abilities.
If you are interested in learning more about stand up paddleboarding, you happen to be in a great place for it. Start with some lessons from one of these local tour companies near the Villages of Citrus Hills and you’ll be paddling on your own in no time!