Wanna SUP?

Posted by Mariette on Sat March 16, 2024.

How to get started with this explosively popular sport at Sodwana Bay beach.

If you're a novice, Sodwana Bay beach is ideal to learn the ropes to SUP.

While Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) can be adrenalin pumping if you hit the league of riding two-meter plus waves, it has the calmer option of flat water paddling and small wave riding. Or you can simply explore the coastline on a calm day when clear turquoise waters allow you to see the fish below you and appreciate passing dolphins.



As in surfing, when you start SUP-ing it’s easier to learn on a wider, longer board. As you progress you’ll want something smaller with less volume and more maneuverability. If racing’s your thing you’ll opt for a long narrow board with a keel.


Inflatable boards are also an option - particularly for learners. Recently, Melkbosstrand paddler Ethan Koopmans won the Naish N1SCO European Championships in St Moritz, Switzerland on an inflatable board. With this win, Ethan earned himself a free ticket to Las Vegas for the N1SCO World Champs.


In South Africa the most popular boards are made from carbon fibre with an EPS foam-filled inner. They’re both light and strong. Paddles are available in wood, fibreglass, carbon, plastic and aluminium. Carbon and fibreglass paddles are more expensive, but more durable.



Getting ready to SUP is really fast. Just offload the board, fasten the ankle strap, grab your paddle and you’re ready to go.



Any sport involving large stretches of water carries an element of danger. A light off-shore breeze can quickly turn into a gale and have you heading out to sea. Paddling against the wind, particularly as a beginner, can be almost impossible. So, check out the weather forecast before you venture out.


SUP-ing may be one of the safer watersports, but you’re still vulnerable to sunburn, wind, hyperthermia and strong currents. Going with a friend is important and flares are essential. Also, be aware of other water users and steer your board away from bathers.


Starting or ending the day dropping down a wave face can be a great way to leave your concerns behind and come into the moment. On a physical level, SUP-ing is a great cardio and core-strengthening workout. So, on the next wind-free day, get ready for some paddling action.




SUP like a pro.