Is it too late to learn to Paddle Board for over 60 or 70 year olds?

If you want to learn to paddle board and are over 60 or 70 you may question your abilities. I hope not, but let me reassure you. As someone who’s approaching a major birthday myself, and a health care professional, I see people doubt themselves often. Age plays such a huge factor in what we tell ourselves is and is not possible. Media constantly tells us that X number of trips around the sun means something. If you let it, it can also start to niggle away at what you tell yourself is possible. To learn to paddle board over 60, 70 or any ‘number of significance’, can seem intimidating. It can be a challenge to your sense of balance and physically demanding. But the truth is, it’s never too late to learn a new skill and paddle boarding is no exception.

Physical requirements for Paddle Boarding

First of all, let’s address the physical aspect. Yes, paddle boarding does require some physical strength and balance. That doesn’t mean it’s only for the young and fit. In fact, paddle boarding can be a great low-impact exercise for people of all ages. As we age, it’s important to stay active and maintain our muscle strength and balance. Paddle boarding can help with both. Plus, it’s a fun and enjoyable way to get some exercise in. You don’t need to start your paddle board journey by training for an enduro race. Unless you want to of course.

Balance and Paddle Boarding

Another concern for older adults may be the fear of falling off the board. While it’s true that falling off a paddle board can happen, it’s not as daunting as it may seem. With the right instruction and practice, you can learn how to maintain your balance. This will help you react to changes in the water. Truth is, most paddle boards are designed to be stable. They have a wide surface area, making it easier to stay on the board. Find out more about improving Balance for Paddle Boarding here.

Know how to get back on your Paddle Board

I have a hot tip here that I have for every one no matter what their age or capability. Always have a strategy for getting back on your board. There are many techniques out there and if you have had paddle boarding tuition these are usually included. Self taught paddlers experiment with techniques on Youtube video tutorials. Make sure that you test drive these techniques in calm water where you can easily touch the bottom. I learned to Paddle Board on a rigid board which sits a lot lower in the water. I was somewhat surprised the first time I fell off my inflatable board in deeper (but calm) water. Inflatable boards are quite a bit tricker to climb back on board being higher in the water. If you don’t work out and monitors upper body strength you may find that first time challenging. What seems easy enough in your mind, doesn’t quite translate into the real world! Practice first!

The Paddle Boarding image – Instagram has a lot to answer for…

You may also worry about not being able to keep up with the younger crowd or feeling out of place. I can’t attest to this as I’ve never really worried about what others think. But the beauty of paddle boarding is that it can be enjoyed at any pace. There’s no need to race or compete with others. Unless you want to of course, someone has to show those young-uns. You can take your time and enjoy the scenery while paddling at your own pace. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself making new friends on the water. Paddle boarding is a great way to connect with others who share the same interest.

Improving confidence and keeping it safe

Of course, it’s important to take the necessary precautions when trying any new activity. If you have any health concerns or conditions it is always good to check with your health care provider. Keeping in mind there is a huge difference between going for a chill paddle session compared with going into an enduro race or trying to cross the English Channel. While there is a lot of contention about wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device), it’s worth noting that some locations require them by law and if you are caught without one you risk being fined.

Always always ALWAYS wear a leg rope. This connects you to the board and ensures it doesn’t get blown out of reach if you fall off. It is easy to quickly exhaust yourself chasing a wayward board when maybe that energy would be better spent getting you to shore. It can also be a good idea to take a lesson or two from a certified instructor depending on your learning technique. This way you can learn the proper techniques and safety tips and if you need it, gain more confidence on the water.

Not all SUP sessions are about strength and speed

One of the great things about paddle boarding is that there are many different types and styles to choose from. You can try traditional stand-up paddle boarding, standing on the board and using a single ended paddle. You can try SUP Yoga, or a chill Paddle Board exploration session. Some cities offer tours to get a different perspective from the water. Why not try out a Paddle Board picnic? Or you can opt for a kayaking-style paddle board, where you sit down and use a double-sided paddle to navigate.

If you are looking to purchase your own board consider an iSUP. An inflatable SUP is easier to transport and store, making it a convenient option for those who may not have a lot of space. You can even get an electric pump that runs off the cigarette lighter in your car to inflate the board. Some social paddle boarding clubs have giant paddle boards which can hold up to 6 people or so. This can be a fun way to get your sea legs and have fun with friends. I met a guy in Scotland who was outfitting these huge boards to accomodate wheel chairs!

It’s never to late to learn a new skill

I believe it’s never too late to learn something new, and paddle boarding is no exception. It’s a great way to stay active, connect with nature, and have some fun on the water. With the right mindset, precautions, and instruction, anyone can learn to paddle board. This awesome sport is open to all to enjoy. Learn to paddle board over the age of 60 or 70 and inspire others. Don’t let age or society hold you back – grab a board and paddle on! The world needs more bad ass paddle boarding elders!

Once you feel comfortable on your paddle board why not check out these 10 Exercises you can do on your Paddle Board to help improve fitness.

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If you haven’t yet watched part one of our SUP Safari Scotland Travel Video Series  check it out here.

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1 thoughts on “Is it too late to learn to Paddle Board for over 60 or 70 year olds?

  1. Jacqueline Lambert @WorldWideWalkies says:

    Our travelling lifestyle was inspired by the Seavets – a Senior and Veteran windsurfing club. Their belief is that physical activity is beneficial for life. They are a testament to that – most are in their 80s and still travel the world in their RVs to windsurf, SUP, and cycle. I couldn’t keep up with Joe on his bike, despite being 20 years younger!
    In winter, many of them ski.
    They are truly an inspiration and that is how I want to head into my frail dotage!

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