Q&A, Benefits, FAQ
Benefits of Stand up Paddleboarding for Fitness
"Paddlesports are gaining a lot of steam due in part to three factors: accessibility, affordability, and approachability.”
I became a PaddleFit Certified SUP Coach to advance my knowledge and ability around stand up paddle boarding.
Paddleboarding HAS become extremely popular for multiple reasons:
Paddleboarding is an excellent way to get physically active, experience and explore the outdoors, train your body and target important part of the body for core, stability, posture, strength, injury prevention and longevity and aging because it works the entire Posterior Chain.
The posterior chain is comprised of the muscles of the glutes, back, abs and core (plus hips/hip flexors, low back, pelvic floor). Workouts that target the posterior chain are critical for posture, wellbeing, and balancing the body out from the overuse conditions that arise from poor positions we place our bodies in on a daily regular basis from sitting at a desk, hunched over a computer or electronic screen, and lack of physical activity and both core and total body strength.
Regular strength and weight training on land is important, but Stand up paddle boarding is such a great versatile outdoor physical activity and sport to round out your land training. See for yourself with my Paddle Fused Fitness classes on the May River in Bluffton. Or you may sign up for private 1-1 or small group SUP classes, training sessions, or technique lessons.
At Stand and Paddle we provide Paddleboards to ALL participants. If you are looking for your own paddleboard, I do NOT recommend purchasing just any paddle board. You get what you pay for. The less expensive the board the less durable, stable, and maneuverable it is to paddle and affecting your SUP experience. We are happy to recommend boards, and will be selling our own boards in the future. Please inquire for information.
You don’t need to run, bike, or spend hours on an indoor cardio machine to get in your cardio. Paddlesports like rowing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and canoeing can also increase heart and breath rate enough to qualify as moderate- to high-intensity activity (depending on how hard you push yourself). Learning the correct technique to paddle boarding will allow you to perform better and pick up your pace for an even better workout than you may get on land!
Add to that Paddle boarding is a low-impact workout and therefore a great cross-training option – especially if impact sports like running are out, or if lower-body injuries, limitations or chronic pain are an issue. You can sit, stand, or kneel on a stand up paddleboard!
Paddle boarding is a TOTAL body sport and you will absolutely be targeting your upper body – like your shoulders and mid and upper back – unlike running, cycling, or walking. HELLO SHAPELY ARMS!
Plus, the core (abdominal) and glutes (that booty) engagement necessary to power you through the water, means an excellent means to target, tone and lean those areas as well! You’ll even have to use your core for stability and balance just to keep you on the board.
Stand up paddle boarding is adaptable to all fitness levels and even those with limitations. I’ve gotten individuals on a paddle board that thought they were doomed and incapable of standing, let alone paddling at all, due to knee, back, and other ‘limitations’ they shared they had doing land workouts and exercise. Done correctly, SUP can correct and minimize chronic pain and risk of injury to these areas (due to the training of the Posterior Chain).
You can easily make paddleboarding easier or more challenging depending on the board you are on, water and weather/wind conditions, equipment, and effort put in.
Working out in the great outdoors does wonders for our bodies and minds. Nature and sunshine is important for health and wellbeing, mood, energy, mindset, and immunity.
Best Times to Paddle with Us
The May River waterways are often calmest in the mornings and early daytime. Weekdays experience less boat traffic.
*Paddles and Classes last approx. 90 minutes.
*Our current max is 5 people per group, unless you BYO board.
*Paddles will be at Bluffton Oyster Factory Park Dock, 75 Wharf Street in Bluffton.
**Inquire for other times and days. We would love to accommodate you and your group!
***We factor in winds, tides, temps, sunrise/sunset times, and boat traffic when scheduling our Paddles so you have the best experience possible.
When: We offer tours virtually all day, everyday, but there are definitely better times and not as good times. In general, the earlier in the day, or very late afternoon/early evenings are typically much nicer paddling conditions than mid-day. During our season, we often schedule tours at 8 am, 10 am, & 12 noon, plus a Sunset Tour which will be anywhere from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm start time, depending on time of year. During the hottest, most humid, and busiest times of year we try to Avoid tours during the mid-afternoons, as not only will get uncomfortably hot & humid, but it will also get very Crowded out on the river with boats and other watercraft, especially on the weekends and holidays. It's best to avoid those times if possible. You Must contact us and schedule your session ahead of time, to make sure that we have space & equipment for your and your group.
Winds: Stand Up Paddle Boarding is very condition sport, meaning in very calm waters & winds, it's very easy and relaxing... almost meditative and therapeutic. But, strong winds, lots of waves, and strong currents, can all make SUP potentially much more challenging. If winds are too strong at the scheduled time of your tour, we may have reschedule for a day with milder winds. Windy conditions ( and strong currents), can also affect small kids much more than adults, and may make it impossible for smaller kids to paddle on their own. They may have to go tandem with a parent, or we may have to reschedule.
On a positive note about winds, if you and or your group is willing to paddle up into a strong wind, then we can turn around mid-way and do a " down-winder " back home. The wind pushes you back and makes for a very fun, exciting, and easy return trip!
Kids & Age Restrictions:
In general, roughly 12 to 13 years old is the cut-off age for kids to be able to paddle a board by themselves on one of our normal mixed group tours. But, it is very individualistic! And condition dependent also! We've had a few 11 year olds that have done great, and we've also had 14 year olds that just couldn't do it on their own. Windy days will make it considerably more challenging for small kids.
If you have small kids who really want to try paddling themselves, we highly recommend scheduling a Private Family outing, as opposed to joining in with one of our regularly scheduled mixed group tours. That way, your family can go along at it's own pace and shorter distances than our normal tours go. We can spend as much time helping the smaller kids learn to paddle themselves, and/or just playing around on the boards or sandbars after they get tired!
Why we don’t rent our boards out
Having a coach or instructor along to direct you where to paddle for the best experience, what to watch out for, ensure you enjoy your time, and remain safe is priceless.
The May River has 6-8 foot changing tides twice daily. We also factor in wind conditions, boating and water craft, and oysters.
You’re simply going to have a better chance of success and satisfaction in a group or with a coach.
Plus, the community on the water is fantastic!
Paddle boarding can be done year round, but our busiest time of the year typically runs from mid Spring (April/May) through Fall. We do offer classes, lessons and tours throughout the year, as well as land based SUP training, and land based Paddle Fused Fitness classes.
Contact, Rachel at PaddleFusedFitness@gmail.com or text 630-300-8289 to schedule a private individual, partner or group event.
How it works:
We will meet you at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park, 75 Wharf Street in Bluffton, South Carolina.
We can accommodate up to 8 individuals per class/group.
If you own your own board, you are welcome to sign up and join us as well for either a Paddle Fused Fitness class or SUP tour/event. Cost if you bring your board will be reduced accordingly (for Paddle Fused Fitness classes, cost for a class if you own/bring your own board is $30 instead of $40).
All payments may be made via either Cash, Check, or Venmo (@Rachel-Cantore). You may pay this upon signing up or upon arrival prior to starting your class.
When signing up you will need to enter a credit card information in order to reserve your spot, BUT you will NOT be charged via credit card unless there is a “no-show” without prior cancellation.
In the event of a “no-show” or “late cancellation” charges will be made via CC on file.
You may sign up for scheduled classes or contact us to reserve a day and time that works for you. You may view any prescheduled classes on our website here. We do our best to plan ahead so you have an idea of and may sign up in advance. However, due to weather – storms, winds, tides, etc – we have the right to change or cancel a class prior and will inform you of any changes.
To sign up, head to our scheduling app on our site.
We have a limited amount of spots available for our classes. Our Paddle Fused Fitness and SUP events fill up quickly and early. Therefore, we ask that you do your best to commit to the event/class that you sign up for. If you must cancel, please do so as soon as you become aware of your needing to.
Any cancellations less than 24 hours in advance will be considered a “late cancellation” and are subject to being charged up to the full cost of the class/event.
Safety, Tides, Winds and weather:
The Bluffton May river has a tide change of 6+ feet between low and high tide. Due to the significance in tide changes this can make paddling either much easier or more difficult on a standup paddleboard. To keep classes/events as easy, enjoyable, and safe as possible, we determine the direction and routes of our Paddles based on the tides, winds and weather.
At low tide, there are plentiful Oyster beds visible to the eye which we will navigate around and avoid due to safety. At high tides these beds or often covered up, and there is plentiful waters to paddle through.
Winds are variable. We will run classes and events as long as winds are under 10 mph. Note too that higher winds paired with tides will affect the routes we take and Paddle Fused Fitness classes. On a windier day, you may be paddling a bit more than on a calm day doing fitness on the water. Nonetheless, you will have a blast and get a workout in.
What to bring/wear:
Please bring a water bottle. Wear comfortable clothing or a swimsuit – something you do not mind getting wet. We recommend sunscreen and bug spray (especially for early am/evening and spring/fall weather events due to no-see-ums). We do NOT recommend wearing shoes on the boards. Please do not bring any valuables as you risk them falling into the water and being lost, which we cannot recover and are not held liable for. We will be taking photos and videos during your classes, so don’t worry you will have memories to share! Keys will be kept in a safe dry location while we are on the water.
BOTH newbies and seasoned SUPers are welcome! You do NOT need to have prior experience to join us. At the start of every class or event we will go over basics SUP how-tos and safety. Individuals may stand, kneel or sit on the boards, and Paddle Fused Fitness class exercises are scalable to your fitness level and ability. We want you to enjoy yourself and have a memorable experience!
The Lowcountry tides in the May River shift throughout the day with two low tide times and two high tide times typically each day on average every 6-7 hours with a change in depth between 6-8 feet between low tide and high tide. The tide change make for significant differences in the landscape of the river and marshes. This tide pattern means changing tide currents that change every 6 hours, therefore our route and destination on the water for Paddle Fused Fitness. Most classes, we will paddle out against the tides to begin, then with the tides on our return. When the tides are low and coming in, we will paddle from the Bluffton Oyster Factory Dock straight out toward the mini-sandbar across the May River for Paddle Fused Fitness. When tides are high and on their way out we will paddle out right from the Bluffton Oyster Factory Dock down the May River to where we will hold Paddle Fused Fitness. At high tide there is more water volume and more areas to paddle, while low tides mean less volume but access to the sandbar. Winds could change these plans (see below), but this is the general guideline.
A note about Oyster Beds: Oyster beds are abundant in various areas in the May River. At low tide the water levels are often low enough that you can see oyster beds below you if you paddle over them. However we will NOT be paddling over any oyster beds and will be avoiding areas where they are found. You do NOT want to fall atop an oyster bed as they are sharp edges may create lacerations and injury. We will be directing you accordingly,
Stand up paddleboarding can become easier or more challenging depending on the winds and tides you paddle in. In calm waters with little wind, it is relatively easy and calming to paddle and reach our destination on the water where we will do the class. But stronger winds mean more paddling and work. We cannot predict the winds or weather when scheduling your paddle session. Unless there are significantly poor wind and weather conditions we will plan our Paddle Fused Fitness class as scheduled.
Generally, age 12/13 is the age cut-off for youth to standup paddle by themselves, but this varies per individual. If we were simply paddling for a tour, it would be fine having an underage child share a board with an adult, however given the nature of Paddle Fused Fitness, you each will need your own board.
If you have a child or teenager interested in doing Paddle Fused Fitness too please contact us to determine whether this is possible. You may also schedule a private group class with just your family or friends.
From start to finish, what should I expect out of a Paddle Fused Fitness class?
The entire Paddle Fused Fitness class lasts on average 1.5 hours. This includes land tutorial that lasts 10-20 minutes and getting everyone set up with their boards and paddles. We will then help each participant onto the board and paddle out to our destination on the May River. Tides, winds, and individual ability will determine how long it takes everyone to reach this point. Once we paddle out, we will spend most of the rest of the time doing various exercises, movements, and circuits of exercises on the boards. Exercises will be paired with paddling depending on how we drift and what we are doing. We will finish up the workout with some fun challenges on the board before paddling back to the dock.
There are better times we recommend to paddle. Early mornings and later in the evenings, especially on weekends and holidays, are ideal due to boat traffic as well as the sun and heat. Classes later in morning or afternoon during the summer months will be the hottest, most humid and sunny. Start times will vary based on these factors, as well as the time of sunrise/sunset and tides.
Alternative or Additional Times:
Do the scheduled dates for Paddle Fused Fitness not work for you? Would another day during the week work for you? If so, contact us to schedule a class at a time that works for your group.
If you would like to schedule a different time for your Paddle Fused Fitness class, please contact us ahead of time. We ask for a minimum 72 hours (or 3 days) notice in advance of when you would like to schedule a class so we can ensure the schedule and equipment is available.
Private (1-1) and Semi-private (2-1) Paddle Fused Fitness classes are available at an adjusted rate as group classes.
Refunds and Cancellations:
Rarely do we have to cancel due to weather conditions, but in the event of poor weather and the need to cancel, we will provide you with an alternative date for your Paddle Fused Fitness class at no additional charge.
In the case that you will need to cancel pior to your scheduled session we ask that you provide us with a minimum 48 hour notice. With limited Paddle Fused Fitness times weekly and limited number of people per class, we aim to fill each our classes to capacity. When there is a last minute cancellation, we are unable to fill your spot. If you do choose to cancel, there may be a fee or partial refund given depending on how far in advance the cancellation was made. We appreciate your understanding.
There are NO refunds given same day cancellations.
What to bring:
Please bring a WATER BOTTLE. If you have not yet made your Venmo payment prior to class and are paying cash or check please bring this with you to pay at the beginning of class. Wear comfortable clothing that you are ok with getting wet/swimming in (though not required to jump in, there's always a chance you may fall in the water given the nature of Paddle Fused Fitness). Flip flops or water shoes are recommended when we are on land prior to getting on the water, but not required or recommended while actually on the boards.
Also bring/wear sunblock and bug spray (sometimes knats are around prior to heading out while on land)
How hard is it to stand up?
We have a mix of beginners and experienced paddlers that join us for Paddle Fused Fitness. Most all beginner paddlers, are able to stand up and perform the various exercises for all or most of the class.
Do I have to stand up?
You do NOT have to stand up if you do not feel comfortable and we do not require you to do so. You may also paddle sitting, kneeling or in any other position you are comfortable. We do recommend you at least try to do so sometime during your session unless you have a limitation.
Do I need prior fitness or SUP experience to do a Paddle Fused Fitness class?
NO. You are not required to have fitness or SUP experience prior to class. You will learn how to paddleboard and perform the exercises during a class.
What if I have limitations such as standing, kneeling?
We have had participants of all fitness levels and abilities partake in Paddle Fused Fitness. If you are unsure of whether you can make it through a class please contact us prior to signing up. There are some situations that may necessitate you schedule a private session or private group class.
Paddleboarding versus Kayak or Canoe:
Standup paddleboarding provides a lot more freedom than does kayaking or canoeing. You can sit, stand or knee on a paddleboard, whereas you are limited to sitting only in a kayak or canoe.
What kind of exercises will we be doing?
Paddle Fused Fitness and standup paddleboarding targets your entire body with an emphasis on your core (abs), glutes, back, and legs. You will get a total body workout, be training your balance and stability, and be doing both strength and cardio in one session. Exercises vary from standing (squats, good mornings, RDLs/deadlifts, chops), to plank position (holds, mountain climbers, balances, rows, pushups and plank variations), lying (ab and core work like sit ups, bridges, and twists), prone or face down (pushups, supermans), and kneeling (hinges, modified squats). All exercises are able to be modified or progressed based on individual ability. We practice Rest-based Training principles, meaning 'work until you can't, and rest until you can' so you may take breaks at any time if necessary.
Should we tip?
If you enjoyed your Paddle Fused Fitness class, we would greatly appreciate if you do tip. Majority of our clients tip. We're confident that you will LOVE your Paddle Fused Fitness experience!
Will I see any Wildlife?
Dolphins, fish and birds are most commonly seen during any given Paddle Fused Fitness. Occasionally we may see a turtle. Alligators and sharks are uncommon and rarely seen in the areas where we will be paddling due to location, salt, and other dolphins and wildlife.
What to Bring: You should bring Sunblock; Footwear that is ok to get wet or muddy; athletic clothing or preferably bathing suits; Towels for afterwards (just in case you get wet); and possibly bug spray (just in case, though not usually needed). You might want to bring along some water or other hydration to suck down right before and immediately after the outing, but sometimes it's not that easy to keep and use a water bottle on the board while we're out on the river.
Tides: We have a very large tidal differential here in the Lowcountry of about 7 feet every 6 hours. This makes for a very significant difference in the landscape of the river and marshes between dead high tide and dead low tide. It also makes for a very strong tidal current which changes every 6 hours. For the majority of our tours, we go against that current for the first half of the trip and then ride that current back on the second half of the trip.
High Tides and Low Tides both have their advantages for paddling out on the river. At high tide, there is much more volume of water, so you have more places where you can paddle, such as through the marsh, up in the small estuary creeks, and underneath the the majestic limbs of the local live oak trees with the beautiful Spanish moss hanging down off of them! This is a beautiful and scenic experience.
Low tides have a much more limited locations where you can paddle, BUT then you can easily access the beautiful sand bars that found all along the river channel. Your tour can make stops along the way and frolic along the soft sandy "beaches", or make one long mid-way stop and spend time swimming, looking for wildlife, and maybe attempting some yoga, strength or gymnastic poses on the paddleboards!