Last night, a friend and I went stand-up paddleboarding in the dark of night. We joined a “SUP Glow” paddleboard adventure on glow-in-the-dark paddleboards (basically large surfboards) in the Newport Beach, California marina. The water was still, warm, and clear. It was an awesome adventure, not to mention an incredible workout.
Pirate Coast Paddle, the three-year-old company that runs “SUP Glow” paddleboard adventures on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday summer nights, is a fantastic start-up run by guys who really embody good customer service. The guides were super chill, taught us newbies to paddle, paddled alongside us (small group of 6 had 3 guides), and pointed us to look out for water wildlife in the shallows as our lit boards glided over (bright LED lights are mounted on the underside of the board so a large swath of water is lit underneath us the entire ride. We spotted eels, glow-in-the-dark algae, small fish, and little sting and bat rays.
Not only was this a fun adventure, but it was also a real workout. Paddleboarding (recreational and competitive) has been around Hawaii for decades and has recently become popular in Southern California. The basic technique is easy to learn and the tools are simple – a paddleboard is simply a large surfboard on which you stand and use a long paddle to continuously pull / push / glide the board forward – alternate sides when paddling. If you’ve ever been kayaking before, the workout feels similar. Total body cardio workout with low-impact – you use your core, legs, abs, back muscles to balance and do a lot of the work. Your shoulder and arm muscles pull the paddle through the water. In fact, balance is so core to this sport, that you could challenge yourself further and do yoga out on the boards. One caveat is that there is a chance that you will fall into the water. If you don’t feel comfortable in water, you should ask to wear a lifejacket. Paddle on!