Paddling in Maryland
SUP is THE ultimate water sport. There, we said it. Kayaks are nice, and wakeboarding was really cool, but nothing beats the endless possibilities of a SUP board. We may also be so bold to say that Maryland is THE greatest state to SUP in. California, Florida and Hawaii are nice, but Maryland can offer everything they have plus some. If you don’t agree, then allow us to explain just why SUP and Maryland are so great and then give you some awesome bragging rights to share with your out-of-state friends.
SUP is a fantastic sport to become involved in. Like we explored in our previous post, A Look at Bliss on the Bay 2014, SUP is growing because it has such an easy learning curve, anyone can do it, and the physical health benefits are plentiful. We brought together a diverse group of SUPers to sit down and discuss the sport of SUP using some analogies to other action/outdoor/adventure sports. During this roundtable, we noticed a good amount of discussion of how versatile SUP is. A SUP board could be transformed to have many different functions. From racing, recreation, yoga, fitness, fishing, and more, a SUP board can become so much and please so many people. It’s difficult to find another sport that could offer that much flexibility in function.
To gauge how significant SUP has been, we brainstormed some analogies to compare SUP with. First we compared the SUP trend in water sports, to snowboarding in snow sports. The rise in popularity of snowboarding is similar to what we’re currently seeing with SUP, with just a few differences. We see that both of these sports are encouraging those who would not normally be involved with outdoor sports, to have an interest in and become involved with those worlds. Snowboarding brought something exciting to snow sports, just as SUP is doing for water sports. Both sports helped gain massive attention to their respective world of sports. They reached out to the general public and became very appealing to younger generations who wanted to identify themselves with a culture that could make them cool and sexy, but also unique. Pulling the attention of a young crowd early on helped hook them in to dedicate their time and effort into advancing the sports themselves, as well as the communities that surround them.
We also compared SUP to introduction of Jeep’s four door Wrangler. The four door Wrangler brought to cars what SUP brought to water sports: options. Both are so versatile and allows for endless options of fun. The Wrangler gave the cool vibe of a Jeep, whether you used it for off-roading or taking your kids to school.
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With SUP being such an adaptable sport, who wouldn’t want to experience everything it can offer? From an ocean coast, to a calm lake, or rapid river, Maryland offers the most diverse assortment of paddling waters in the country. Take a look at some other Maryland SUP posts and you’ll find photos from many of these waters. Ocean City and the Eastern Shore offer ocean waters for SUP surfing and calm waters for touring and racing. Deep Creek boasts large, calm waters for touring. The Potomac area offers great white water for those who want a challenge. Finally, you have the Chesapeake Bay waters, like our location on the Gunpowder River and Dundee Creek, which offer relatively flat waters that are good for a nice variety of activities like touring, yoga, fitness, fishing and more. Where else in the world is there such a variety of water in only a few hours of each other? As Marylanders, we have the opportunity to master every form of SUP.
Besides the variety of water venues, Maryland has a strong and quickly growing community of SUPers. There is a large social aspect to SUP, which has helped to supplement this community’s growth. Although SUP may come off as a solo sport at a first glance, it offers many opportunities for social interaction. Paddling alone may be relaxing, but paddling with friends doesn’t diminish the experience one has on a SUP board. As touched on in some of the analogies discussed, the social aspect of a sport can really help in promoting its popularity. Snowboarding became a very social activity, creating a culture from its community. We see the same trend reflected in SUP. The SUP community is creating a culture of people who not only are social, but genuinely encouraging and supportive of one another and the progression on the sport.
While the social aspect of SUP has helped to foster the community’s growth, we believe the community’s strength really stems from the people of Maryland. We have the most supportive and genuine community of SUPers. They don’t need to win the race, have the best headstand in the class, or have the newest and greatest board. All that matters is that they’re out on the water, having an enjoyable time. Take a look around the Maryland SUP website and you’ll see firsthand just how wonderful of a community there is here in Maryland. That is exactly why we are proud to be SUPers, and especially proud to be Maryland SUPers.
To learn about what SUP activities Ultimate Watersports has to offer in Maryland, go to www.ultimatewatersports.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!