The Benefits Of Stand-Up Paddling, Plus The Best Places To Do It

We're fans of combining fitness and fun, that's why we found out what benefits you can reap from stand-up paddling, and where exactly to head.


Kelleigh Korevaar & MH Staff |

Stand-up paddling is enjoying a moment, and it’s not hard to see why. The great thing is, with a certain level of skill you won’t be flailing around in the water which means it’s winter-approved.

Related: Find Your Sea Legs With These Three Ocean Experiences

Because we’re big fans of combining fitness and fun, we found out exactly what benefits you can reap from hitting the big board (aka a SUP). As well as where the best spots to hit are. You can hit these spots now, or better yet. Book them ahead of the end-of-year holidays.

4 Surprising Benefits of Supping:

Core: Standing up on a floating board and paddling through water for forward propulsion engages both the anterior (the vanity muscles on the front of your body) and the posterior (heavy lifting muscles at the back) muscle chains. All this muscle activity equals some serious core muscle strengthening.

Muscle: Supping will give you a six-pack, guaranteed, but you’ll also gain a defined chest, arms, legs and strengthen your feet, which will help your transition to barefoot running. You won’t get huge but you’ll get toned and defined.

Balance: While it is a growing sport, supping is great cross-training for other sports because of the heavy core focus and cardiovascular benefits. The name of the game when it comes to stand-up paddling is balance – and balance is the key to any movement. Think of it as action yoga.

Clarity: What if I told you that you don’t need to sit in a lotus pose to meditate? Whenever you get in that zone where you’re at one with your activity, like when you hit a rhythm in your WOD or when you get in your stride while running, that’s meditation. Now add water, a paddle and a board.

Related: This Thailand Holiday Will Give You The Ultimate Ripped Body

Ready to hit the shore and head out supping? The Aqua Marina Fusion Stand Up Paddleboard is a winner.

This SUP has some seriously stand-out features. We’re talking a 4mm Honeycomb grooving footpad and an easy slide-in removable centre fin. And did we mention that it can roll up into a backpack?

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The new 2019 Fusion has been upgraded with a new look, style and technology. Plus, it comes with all the gadgets as well as a 12 month warranty.

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5 Great Destinations To Sup:

SUP The South Coast

Being from Durban, The South Coast is an area I’ve spent many weekend getaways, no matter if it’s winter or summer. That’s the great thing about KZN’s coast, even when it’s winter you’re still able to have a ‘summer getaway’ on sunny shores.

Pollywog has a great learn to SUP package that includes 4 or 7 nights self catering accommodation, 1 full day ocean experience and 2x half day surf lessons (full day optional), including instructor and equipment.

Your home for the trip will be in a spectacular coastal forest well away from the regular hustle and bustle, in wooden cabins with great braai and entertainment facilities after those long days on the water. It’s a short 3 minute walk to a beautiful uncrowded beach and a short drive to a few quality restaurants in nearby Scottburgh. Plus, you can go scuba diving, shark cage diving, head to the Croc World conservancy, or take microlight flights.

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The best time of year on this stretch of coast are the winter months where the weather is settled and filled with sunshine, while the rest of the country is in the grip of winter.

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Related: Get The Core You’ve Always Wanted On This Kayak Adventure In Costa Rica

SUP Bali And Indonesia

Bali is renowned for its water activities and it’s where you can find most surfers heading for a holiday. It not only has some of the best surf spots, but it has some of the best SUP spots, too. And it’s never been easier to rent a SUP board before. Keep your eyes out for these names as they’re known as some of the best spots: Sanur, Nusa Lembongan and Penida, Padang Padang Beach, Uluwatu, Medewi, Kuta and last, but not least Canggu.

Canggu is rapidly becoming one of the trendiest places to head to. That’s because it has the artsy charm of Ubud and the hip dining scene of Seminyak, with a quarter of the crowds. Plus, it’s incredibly beautiful as its coastline comprises of different black sand beaches.

The best part? We’ve found an affordable surfer boutique hotel that you can stay at. Pollywog has a package that includes 7 night’s accommodation in a Superior Double or Twin Room at the KOA Surfer Hotel, return airport transfers and breakfast daily. The kicker? It won’t break the bank as all of that starts from only R4 190 per person sharing.

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The KAO Surf Hotel is located close to the top SUP spots (400m from Brawa Beach and only 12km from Kuta Beach).

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Related: These 5 Adventurous Activities Will Improve Your Relationship

SUP Sri Lanka

In recent years, Sri Lanka has grown in popularity as a great spot to go on holiday. Between the beautiful landscapes and delicious and fresh food, it has more to offer than just great surfing and supping spots. And Camp Poe is where the best of Sri Lanka, comes together.

Camp Poe is the surfers hotspot of the South, located a short walking distance from tow of the best surf breaks in the South, and provides the best in culture, art, music and yoga, too. It’s a short walk from the town of Ahangama which is lined with bustling shops and local street food.

So what’s included in the package that starts at only R8140? You’ll get 7 nights accommodation with 7 breakfasts, 5 dinners, 5 surf lessons with transport, 2 guided free surfs, unlimited board hire, and surfing photos and wi-fi to make all your mates back home seriously envious.

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POE stands for 'Protect Our Earth'. They have designed the surf camp with their carbon footprint in mind and they encourage everyone to save our planets' precious resources.

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SUP Mauritius

Hopping over to our neighbouring island is a great move if you don’t have much time to travel or if you’re looking for something that’s fairly budget-friendly. And if you stay at Club Med La Pointe aux Canonniers you will get a serious bang for your buck, especially if you’re a family. That’s because kids under 12 stay for free.

The coral reefs surrounding the island make it the perfect spot for snorkelling, diving, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, yachting, supping and taking out glass-bottomed boats.

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The package costs from R19 872 per person, and includes all meals and drinks.

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Related:  7 Reasons Mauritius Is A Great Holiday For Active Travellers

SUP The Maldives

The Maldives is the holy grail of all water sports and beach vacations. With some of the most beautiful scenery, clearest waters and luxurious accommodation in the world. This place sits firmly on many people’s bucket lists. And rightly so. But, in a few decades it could disappear entirely due to climate change.

Because this area is one of the most desirable holiday vacations, it often comes with a hefty price tag. That’s why it’s often better to go with an all-inclusive package as it could end up being a lot cheaper than if you go it on your own. Club Med is known for having some of the best all-inclusive holidays, and their Maldives resort is no different. Starting at R22 349 per person, you won’t don’t get much better than this.

Best part? Club Med has made customising your holiday to suit your needs, easier than ever. Choose whether you wan’t your package with flights (and from where) or not and for how many days. too.

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Your stay includes full-board gourmet cuisine, bars, snacks, sports and activities, luxurious accomodation, day and night entertainment, great fun for kids and loads more.

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And if you do choose to book your own flights, you can head to Travelstart. They help you search and book cheap flights (and they have some seriously great specials) so you can stay on budget and enjoy your holiday. Check out Travelstart’s flights hereOr we recommend going through Qatar Airways, who fly all over the wold and are forever releasing amazing fares for their most popular locations (like the ones above). Head to the Qatar Airways website for their exclusive online deals.

READ MORE ON: balance core holiday destinations inspiration MH Escapes Muscle stay fit sup

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