As well as the exciting adventure of a crewed yacht charter around the beautiful Thai Isle of Phuket, there are an array of adrenaline inducing activities you can enjoy alongside. One that is increasing in popularity, is stand up paddle boarding (SUP). This is an activity made for the warm tranquil waters of Thailand and now there are many ways in which you can partake in this new favorite water sport.
Although the water sport is new to the island of Phuket, it’s history is quite lengthy. Also known as stand up paddle surfing, the activity can be traced back thousands of years across the rivers and oceans in the Southern Hemisphere with particular prominence in Hawaii. Unlike some other water sports, to take part in this one you need no prior experience, and you don’t need to have outstanding fitness or upper body strength. It’s all about balance, how to use the board, and also how to tame those waves. It is most definitely something that can be picked up over a couple of sessions, and one of the most fun water sports to learn too.
Although SUP can be enjoyed as a year round activity, many locals advise that the dry season from November to April is a little more pleasant. Whatever date you choose to travel, you may wish to get a little guidance on your new sport (see point 4). Although the sport is quite intuitive, to get maximum enjoyment you may want to consider having a lesson or two. It is mainly about balance and patience, once you have got that down you will be standing up and paddle boarding before you know it.
You may wish to start with a leash to ensure you have maximum stability. There are a few options, so you may wish to do some research or ask a local SUP teacher for advice. Always make sure your paddle is the right way, and that you paddle with your core. Also look to the horizon, watch out for other water users, and don’t be afraid to fall off when needed – it’s bound to happen. Last but not least – only tackle waves you feel confident you can handle.
Great thing about this water sport is that actually it can be enjoyed all year round in all varieties of weather conditions and in all types of water. Layan beach and Ao Yon beach have become very popular with SUP enthusiasts however, and are a great place to practice your new skills. At these locations there are numerous rental outlets, and the tranquil waters and bays provide the perfect practice zone for novices and young SUPpers.
For those who have tried SUP before, there are a variety of trips on offer out into the open water to discover a number of nooks and crannies which give the thrill seekers among us a little bit more of a challenge. These trips can also be filled with other heart racing opportunities such as cliff diving. So whatever floats your boat (or paddle board) you are sure to find something that suits you.
One of the best things about SUP is that it can be done almost anywhere. Wherever you find yourself around the island you are sure to be able to find the perfect bit of beach from which to launch yourself onto your board.
Skyla͛s Surf and SUP was the first stand up paddle boarding school in Phuket. It opened in the 2000s and has seen increased interest in SUP from visitors and locals alike. Located on Bangtao Beach, this dedicated surf and SUB school is a great place to explore your new interest with some fit young enthusiastic tutors.
SSS Phuket is another option for you located on Kata Beach. This organisation offers a wider array of water activities, unlike the more specialised SUP school described above. Here you can get one to one tuition and also hire a board for the day.
Then we have Saltwater Dreaming Surf School. This is a well-established teaching organisation with over 15 years’ experience. Based near Surin Beach, Saltwater also offers high quality lessons, and had a shop should you wish to take the plunge and purchase your own equipment.
So in conclusion, SUP is a great little water sport to try your hand at whilst on a yachting holiday in Phuket. Locals and visitors have been enjoying the sport for over a decade now, which means there are lots of different ways to dip your toe in the water. Once mastered, you can practice this on any body of water in the region, and enjoy the scenery.
Photo Credit: utilacaysdiving.com, travelfish.org, surf-sup.asia, cobrainter.com, huahinkitesurfing.com, trawangandive.com, bookme.com.au