Paddleboarding Around the Grand Strand


If you’re looking to pick up a watersport that’s more main stream than extreme, check out the laid-back leisure activity of paddleboarding.

Similar to surfing without the heavy surf and similar to sailing without the sail, paddleboarding involves standing, kneeling or sitting atop and elongated surfboard and riding the calmer waters of the ocean swells, or exploring the connecting rivers and inlets.

Paddleboarders use their hands, feet or a paddle to maneuver their way slowly over the unbroken waves or along the more tranquil waters of the Intracoastal Waterway and Waccamaw River. You may have seen lots of paddleboarders just off the coast cruising along at a leisurely pace while surfers, kiteboarders and windsurfers blow past them.

If that’s more your speed than some of the more extreme watersports, there are plenty of places on the Grand Strand to both learn how to paddleboard and rent or buy equipment. While most watersports outfitters will rent or sell you the gear you need, few have fully licensed trainers to teach how to ride. Fortunately for you beginners, it’s not very hard.

Unlike standing up on a surfboard, which are usually between 6 and 8 feet in length, paddleboards are generally 12 to 14 feet long and are much easier to stand up on in the water. The more buoyant paddleboards remain fairly stable while you work your way from a prone to kneeling to standing positions. Using the paddle to steer your way through open waters is fairly self-explanatory.

If you have surfing or other watersports experience, you can likely get away with renting equipment and foregoing the lesson. But for newcomers, visiting a full-service outfitter like Carolina Paddleboard Company in Myrtle Beach, Little River Fleet on the North Strand or Capt. Dick’s on the South Strand in Murrells Inlet is the best plan of attack.

Offering all the gear and equipment you need to hit the water running (actually, standing), Carolina Paddleboard Company also provides full instruction in the safety of the Intracoastal Waterway or Waccamaw River. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be ready to move to the ocean and experience the thrill of walking on water.

(posted 6/24/14)

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