Last week I was lucky enough to host a Stand-Up Paddling meetup. This event was sponsored by Aqua Marina and participation was free! Aqua Marina is a pioneer in manufacturing inflatable SUP boards and among the most recognizable brand names worldwide. With continuous research in technologies and construction materials it is a brand built on a true passion for watersports. Unigreen S.A. is the exclusive representative of Aqua Marina in Greece and their goal is commercial success through the development of Stand-Up Paddling. The epic SUP event they sponsor brings people together to get active, strong and healthy. I was also lucky to have the support of Giannis Liakakis and George Tzannis, two passionate ambassadors, trainers and athletes of Stand-Up Paddling in Athens.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with SUP, it is the most accessible boardsport – which is also the reason why it has been expanding exponentially worldwide for the last 12 years. The rider stands on a longboard and uses a paddle to propel themselves forward. Stand-Up paddling originates in Africa and South America, where ancient tribes used boards like this together with a long stick to travel, fish and ride waves. This method was also used by warriors in an attempt to conduct stealth attacks. The contemporary version of the sport originates in Hawaii, where Hawaiian surfers would surf on boards up to 5 meters in length.
One thing is for sure: Stand-Up Paddling is one of the most popular outdoor activities among first-time participants, due to its friendly nature. Unless you’re hiding under a rock, I am certain that you have at least heard of this sport and its rise over the course of the past few years.
Here’s how much fun we had during the event:
First we got familiar with the equipment we would be using. The Aqua Marina inflatable boards are very durable and light to carry and can be used for a variety of paddling purposes. The main benefit of owning an inflatable SUP board is that it can be easily stored in your apartment and the back of your car and inflated in a couple of minutes once you hit the beach!
Then we demonstrated the correct paddling stance, explaining how the rider stands on the board with their back straight and looking forward and how they use the paddle. An efficient paddle stroke has four phases: catch, power, exit and recovery. We also explained how to paddle in a straight line and how to change sides with the paddle, as well as safety on the water.
After that, three groups of 12 persons each successively hit the water with 3 coaches to train on their boards. Each group practiced for 30’ minutes and then we held a short fun race to determine 3 winners. The final 9 winners race was fantastic and it was amazing to see that people who had never stood on a board before could paddle out, go around a buoy and then back in on their first session. This is what makes SUP so popular!
We ended the day with a 30’ SUP Fitness session led by me, with a full body workout including legs, core and upper body and some cardio exercises, too.
Do you want to come to free beach workouts in Athens? Sign up to my newsletter or send me a message through the contact form and be the first to hear about events. They will be about windsurfing, SUP, fitness, yoga and all things wellness!
See a draft demo video of the event here and some pics below!
Thanks to Unigreen & Aqua Marina for sponsoring this event, thanks to all the participants and coaches and hope to see you at the next one! Stay tuned