Guide to Paddle Boarding for When You Are 50+

| March 19, 2020 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post
Paddle Boarding for When You Are 50+

Guide to Paddle Boarding for When You Are 50+

Beginner’s Guide to Paddle Boarding for When You Are 50+

It is safe to assume that everyone would love to be fit in their golden years. Not only is it good for your health, but it is also nice to feel strong and energetic. As you get older, it gets harder to do most of the common physical activities. More so if you have a limiting condition.

According to the CDC, all adults should do 150 minutes of physical exercise per week. The aerobic activity should be of moderate intensity—such as standup paddleboarding, also known as SUP.

Over recent years, SUP has continued to become popular among people of all ages. Brian Jordan from Opua became interested in SUP when he was over 70 years old. Today, he is an avid paddler who loves mentoring beginners. 

If you would love to become a senior paddler too, here is everything you need to know.

Benefits of Standup Paddleboarding

Why would you want to try out SUP?

a. Improves Your Health

For a while now, people have been going on about the health benefits of paddleboarding. Scientific studies have proven most of the claims to be true.

With age, comes a lot of illnesses. Your immune system gets weaker. Making SUP a part of your life boosts immunity and improves cardiovascular. This drastically reduces your risk of developing the conditions associated with being old such as heart disease. 

b. Better social life

When the kids move out and your buddies retire to different towns or states, loneliness can begin to creep in. 

SUP is among the fastest-growing sports. Most likely, there is a community of paddlers in your local area—especially if you live near a body of water.

Becoming a paddler is a great way to meet and make friends. Soon, you will be part of the SUP community too.

c. Balance

Balance issues are prevalent among older adults. Some of these problems can be reversed while other can be slowed down.

Standup paddleboarding is mostly about balance. It is not easy to stand up on a paddleboard in the water. At first, you will be falling in a lot. But your leg and core muscles will soon become stronger, making you a better paddler.

This balance won’t just apply to paddleboarding. If you have a condition that is interfering with your balance in general, SUP could help. You will also notice an improvement in your mental balance.

d. Toned Body

In standup paddleboarding, you use almost every muscle in your body—from the neck to the toes. While you may not feel very tired, the muscles work hard. So, in addition to losing weight, you will have a lean body and a low level of body fat. If you did not have a well-defined muscly body in your youth, you still have a chance if you try paddleboarding.

e. Mental Health

Just like every other aerobic exercise, SUP will make you a happier person. Physical activity reduces the stress hormone levels and causes your body to produce more feel-good hormones. This is why you are always in a good mood after working out. Over the long-term, paddleboarding may help with depression and anxiety.

There is also the aspect of going out and enjoying beautiful views in the water and meeting up with friends. This helps take your mind off whatever is stressing you.

f. Great for All Ages

As already mentioned, some physical exercises are not friendly to seniors. Not only are they hard, but they are also risky. It is easy for you to hurt yourself while running or jumping.

Standup paddleboarding is gentle. It is one of the few exercises that can be done by everyone, including older people.

Bob Purdy was a good example. He started a Paddle for the Planet campaign as his way of making the planet better. At one point, he paddled for over 2,000 days in a row for the environment. He was about 54 when he started the challenge in 2011 and about 59 when he completed 2100 days in 2016.

How to Get Started

These are the essentials.


Standup paddleboards can cost as much as $2000 and even more. But you do not need to break the bank when starting. With $500 or less, you can get yourself a great inflatable paddleboard (iSUP). These iSUPs are extremely durable. They are also easy to store and transport.

If you don’t have the money for a paddleboard, rent one. Find a local rental place or google “place to rent a paddleboard near me”.

SUP Paddle

Next up is a paddle. Choosing one is fairly simple. The most important factors to consider are the material and length. Generally, add 4 – 7 inches to your height to get the right paddle length.

Carbon paddles are the lightest but they are on the expensive side. You may want to start with an aluminum paddle and upgrade as you learn.


While paddleboarding, a leash is one of those things you cannot afford to leave behind. Its main purpose is to keep you attached to the paddleboard. Falling into the water is not uncommon for paddlers—even the experienced ones. A leash ensures that your board does not drift away.

A coiled leash is usually preferred over a straight leash because it does not drag behind you. But it is not ideal for white water.

PFD (Personal Flotation Device)

Depending on where you live, you may be required to wear a PFD at all times while paddleboarding. Confirm first before buying. The most common type of PFD among paddlers is the belt PFD. They love it because it is light and does not restrict movement.


Whatever you normally wear to the beach would be just right for paddleboarding. Unless you plan on paddling during winter. In that case, you will require a wetsuit or drysuit.

How to Standup Paddleboard

Getting on the Board

Carry your paddleboard into the water, about knee-deep. Standing on one side of the board, quickly get on to the board in a kneeling position (each knee on either side of the board). Hold the board on either side for support. The important thing is to find a balanced spot. It is usually where the center carry handle is located.

Start paddling, while still on your knees. After a few paddle strokes, hold the board on either side for support and stand up. Place your feet where your knees were and stand upright. Find a fixed spot ahead and focus on it. This will keep you from looking down.

Holding the Paddle

When you first hold your paddle, you will instinctively have it angled backward. This is wrong. The curved side should be facing away from you.

Another thing, do not hold your paddle horizontally. Keep it straight and paddle close to the board. That will make it go straight. If you paddle too far from the board, it will turn. Start the paddle stroke in front of you, at the same level as the nose. Immerse the blade fully in the water. Do not let the stroke go past your foot.

SUP Safety

Standup paddleboarding is considered safe for everyone, as long as you adhere to safety precautions.

Paddle with others: as a beginner, one of the worst mistakes you can make is wandering alone. You are still learning and there is a lot you may not know. Other people will help you when you get in trouble.

Take a class: find a professional and let them guide you—and not just about SUP. You need to learn about water conditions and what to do when things get out of hand.

Safety essentials: always have a leash. This cannot be emphasized enough. Swimming after your drifting board is neither easy nor fun. Wear your PFD and bring a whistle too.

Put on sunscreen: you may get too excited for SUP that you forget about sunscreen. There are no shades out in the water and so you have to properly protect your skin.

Standup paddleboarding is one of the best sports out there. It is easy to learn, ideal for all ages and has tons of benefits. Your immune system will improve and so will your cardiovascular health. Being a low impact exercise, it is good for those with weak bones or joints. It facilitates healing without causing more hurt. You also get to make paddling buddies and enjoy life. Don’t be left behind.



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Category: Baby Boomer, Blog