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Stand up Paddle on the seashore or in the rough waters of a river? Water sports for all tastes

This modality has been booming in recent years along the length and breadth of the beaches. However, what many people don’t know is that for the more intrepid, it can also be practised on river descents.

It is increasingly common to see on the beaches of our geography a person or groups of people on top of a surfboard while paddling. This modality known as Stand Up Paddle (SUP), paddle surf or paddle board has become very popular in recent years and is an activity aimed at all types of public depending on age and degree of difficulty. A golden opportunity to improve your balance, avoid stress and get away from a sedentary lifestyle.

Although this modality is in vogue especially in seas and lakes, this aquatic activity is also gaining ground in rivers where the difficulty increases, especially in those cases where it is done in white water descents, such as in the area of Murillo de Gállego, in Huesca. It is usually practised individually and for those who want to try this discipline for the first time, it is best to practise it in rivers that are not very fast-flowing and with little current. It allows people of all ages to learn the basics of this activity and begin to gain balance on the board.

The adventure and degree of difficulty are greater when practicing SUP in rivers with more current and greater flow, although the best way to get started is to do it in calm waters, such as a lake or a sea. Those who choose to do it in rivers with more current, should be aware that a greater degree of knowledge and practice is required to carry out the activity, with more safety measures and a mastery of the chosen route or course.

“In the river there are diagonal waves, many oscillations, the link between the paddler and the board is fundamental. That’s why in the river we don’t have the leash attached to the ankle that you can have in the sea”, says Gustavo Ortas, head of the UR Pirineos centre in Murillo de Gállego, where one of the outdoor adventure activity centres is located.

The best water activities to do in the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean.

In both cases the main attraction is the views that can be seen from the top of the board. An example of this is the paddle surfing service offered at Torrassa Lake, from the activity centre located before entering the town of La Guingueta d’Àneu. This area, located in the heart of the Alt Pirineu Natural Park, is one of the bases of RocRoi, one of the leading companies in southern Europe in the organisation of outdoor sports experiences.

In the case of beaches the variety of activities is even greater. From longboarding to Big SUP, Standup Paddle is one of the most popular choices of outdoor sport. Not surprisingly, it has become one of the fastest growing disciplines during the Covid-19 health crisis. Thus, at the nautical base of the Costa del Garraf, in Vilanova i la Geltrú, standup paddle surfing has become one of the most popular activities, along with sailing and kayaking.

Ángel Panicello, manager of the Vilanova base, explains that unlike what people are used to thinking, paddle surfing also makes muscular demands, which makes it a good opportunity for physical exercise for people of all ages. “Some people think it’s just for walking, but if you apply your muscles well in each movement, it’s a good workout,” he says. Apart from the risk and the small margin of error that the sea provides an opportunity to exercise and do some sightseeing in the area. These two reasons are the main reasons for doing sea activities in Vilanova i la Geltrú.

One of the most popular modalities is longboarding. This activity consists of paddling the board in flat water, a practice that can also be replicated in marshes. With boards similar to those used for beginners in windsurfing, but with single-ended paddles and a hand-holding handle, the practitioners can spend hours sailing in calm waters and testing their balance.