Stand-Up Paddleboarding Is the Perfect Outdoor Activity for Self-Isolation
Running, biking and skating are fine. SUPing is better.
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Outdoor activities during our coronavirus quarantine have come in waves. Anyone self-isolating with a window onto a public street knows what I mean: first came the runners, then came the bikers (once the backlogs at the bike shops cleared up), then came the inline skaters (no, really, those are back).
The problem with all of these athletic pursuits? Despite governors around the country allowing them to continue even in “shelter-in-place” orders, they’re not ideal during a time of self-isolation. Even in the most ideal of circumstances — when people all wear masks and try their damndest to keep six feet away when walking in public parks, on sidewalks and on trails — sometimes there are just too many people. When it’s 70 degrees and sunny, people will be out and about, as we’ve seen already, and all that self-isolation goes out the window. For most people, anyway.
The past few weeks while neighbors in my neck of the woods have been dodging pedestrians on clogged lake walks, I’ve been at least six feet away, and more often than not dozens of feet away, from everyone. My secret? A SUP. That is, a stand-up paddleboard.
Not just any stand-up paddleboard, mind you — during the age of COVID-19, I’ve been finding my personal moment of zen on a Body Glove Performer 11’ inflatable stand-up paddleboard.
You’re probably aware of SUPing, I’d even go so far as to wager you’ve partaken in this most tranquil of aqua activities on your most recent warm-weather vacation. The leisurely cousin of the surfboard and more active sibling of the canoe has been slowly making its way up the ranks of summertime essentials, but because of coronavirus restrictions, it is now the piece of equipment you need from now until fall.
What’s so great about a stand-up paddleboard? From a purely physical perspective, it’s simply a great way to get a solid workout outside without risking your health, and without feeling like you’re doing that much work. (Although, if you decide to paddle around an entire lake, like I did on my first outing, be aware of changes in the wind — if you’re paddling into a strong headwind your arms will be jelly the next day, guaranteed). Also, all it requires is you and the board, but if you’re starved for companionship and want to turn it into a group activity, that’s fine too! Get your friends, head down to the lake, river or inlet, and the board and paddle will force you to stay separated; although you should make sure to keep a safe distance on land, too.
To be quite honest, you probably don’t need me to convince you. Anyone who has paddled out on a SUP and experienced one iota of what I did last night — the near-full moon rising through lavender clouds at sunset on my local lake while loons called and fish lazily swam underneath my board — have probably at some point or other put a paddleboard on their bucket list. The main problem is which one to buy.
After researching reviews, comparing specs and price points, and planning out how exactly I would be using my SUP, I settled on Body Glove’s longest inflatable option for a few reasons. First, if you don’t live on a body of water, you’re going to want a blow-up option instead of rigid fiberglass. That way, you’ll be able to carry it around without risk of cracking the hull. Second, while the idea of an inflatable board may make some nervous, not only is this board rated to 320 pounds, but from personal experience, it is astonishingly stable. And third, while the price doesn’t make it an impulse buy, Body Glove is a reliable brand you can trust.
I know what many of you are thinking: I’m gonna go over to Amazon and see if they have it for cheap there. How do I know that? Because when I took this bad boy out to the lake last night, a woman said just as much to me as she strolled by in her Vineyard Vines getup. Let me save you some trouble; it’s not available for cheaper via Bezos.
More importantly, though, if you do search on Amazon you’re going to be bombarded with cheaper inflatable stand-up paddleboards. While I can’t stop you from buying a no-name brand, do your research before clicking “add to cart.” I’d bet they don’t have the same return policy, and that the construction doesn’t feature triple-layer side rails and carbon reinforcement. Not only that, but the Body Glove Performer comes with a backpack for carrying, a slick dual-action hand pump, a paddle that adjusts to your height, an ankle leash, a dry bag for your phone and a repair kit.
There is, however, one tiny problem with inflatable paddleboards. You have to be OK fielding questions from just about every passerby. What is that? Where’d you get it? How long does it take to pump up? Are those sturdy? Are they available on Amazon?!
You could entertain the queries, or do what I do: tell people to look it up on InsideHook.
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