A passion for paddle-boarding

0610_summerfun_paddlebLooking for a new core exercise while enjoying the outdoors? Paddle boarding is the sport for you.

“It’s been a sport of royalty in Hawaii for generations,” said Mike Overton, founder of Outside Hilton Head.

Paddleboards are similar to surfboards, but instead one stands on the board while paddling on one side at a time.

Maintaining your balance presents the biggest challenge. The sport engages your entire body, but especially your abdominals, obliques and lower back.

“I don’t know of a better core workout,” said Overton. “It’s like Pilates on the water.”

But it’s also a calming activity, providing a higher vantage point while traversing through our area’s abundance of waterways.

Learning to stand on a paddleboard can feel like the tribulations of riding a bike. But H2O Sports paddle boarding instructor Glen Barroncini said anyone can learn.

“I guarantee they are up in 20, 25 minutes,” he said of first-timers.

Participants start on their knees, then advance to all fours with their hands, and next try planting one foot on the board while using the other knee as a shock absorber. If successful, try planting the other foot and stand, staying in the middle of the board. Expect to need a few attempts to finally become upright, and don’t be surprised to fatigue quickly.

“The first five minutes are tough because you’re using muscle that haven’t been used before,” said Barroncini.

The boards are about 11-14 feet long, and very stable. Paddles should be 6-12 inches taller than you. Once upright, paddles two or three times on one side before alternating.

And like a bike, once you learn, you never forget.

Paddleboard rentals are available at:

H2O Sports
149 Lighthouse Road, Sea Pines Plantation
843-671-4FUN (4386), www.h2osportsonline.com

Outside Hilton Head
Plaza at Shelter Cove
843-686-6996, www.outsidehiltonhead.com