Paddle Happy | Five Ways To Boost Your Mood

Anderson smiles her way to a third Carolina Cup title. Photo: Greg Panas
Annabel Anderson knows a thing or two about positive paddling. Photo: Greg Panas

Paddle Happy | Five Ways To Boost Your Mood

Most of us standup paddle simply because it's a fun outdoor activity that makes us happy. But what if we told you that your SUP sessions could be even more fun? Well read on because that’s exactly what we’ve got in store. Whether you're paddling experience has plateaued or you’re just looking for some new ways to liven up your next session, try these fun tips at your future board meetings. —Shari Coble

Plan. One way to help ensure a fun time on the water is to understand SUP safety. Plan ahead for your water time so you're safe and prepared when precarious situations arise. This includes understanding the day’s weather and water conditions, always wearing proper safety gear, and letting others know where you’re going. While it may not sound fun, we guarantee that a safe paddler is happy paddler. So take a quick refresher course on your SUP safety knowledge and share it with all your paddling buddies.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst and accept advice from the experts. Photo: Andrew Dye
Exploring new waterways is great, as long as you plan ahead for safety. Photo: Andrew Dye

Smile. Thich Nhat Hanh said it best: “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." There's science to back the claim that smiling can help improve positivity and boost mood. If you're forcing yourself to stick out a bad paddle, smiling just might be the trick to improve your mood for the rest of your session. At worst, your beaming smile may just brighten someone else’s bad day on the water.

Meet up. Solo time is great but there are SUP groups from coast-to-coast that offer enriching experiences  on the water with friendly competition, fun paddles and workouts, as well as the opportunity to meet paddlers of all levels, including some pros. Show up to one of the many meet ups (listed here) to standup with old friends, meet new ones, and expand your SUP circle.

The group says goodbye to Maliko. For now. Photo: Black-Schmidt
The more the merrier on our recent Maui Dream Retreat. Photo: Black-Schmidt

Explore. Paddling in the same location may be easy but it can also become tiresome after a while. With three-quarters of the earth covered in water, you have literally countless options for exploration. Talk to fellow paddlers to find new SUP spots, go on a guided SUP trip, or try a self-supported overnight adventure. Not sure where to start? Check out some fun destinations, try a SUP yoga escape, or for the ladies, a women's retreat .

Be grateful. If you're not already grateful to be out on your SUP, think about why you should be. We are incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to glide across the water using nothing but the power of your body and blade. We can breathe in the fresh air–especially in the ocean as salty ocean air is a proven mood booster–enjoy the wonders of our natural surroundings, and appreciate the solo time or company of others. Most importantly, remember the reason you began standup paddling: it’s fun!

Related

Need a reason to paddle? Science finds link between saltwater and happiness.

Don’t let stress keep you off the water, five simple ways to relax.