Stand up paddleboarding has really taken off in Cayman over the last year or two, with the combination of warm, clear water and excellent weather providing the perfect incentive to get out on the water.
According to Kiristen of Waterman, located in Galleria Plaza on West Bay Road, the growth of a local paddleboarding community is something that they are very excited about, as more people are taking to the water to work on their fitness.
“I don’t personally go to the gym; I go to the ocean, that’s my gym. If I go paddling three to five times a week I’m staying slim and I’m staying in shape,” she says.
The sport provides a full body workout, as you are using your arms, legs and especially core all the time as you paddle and try to stay upright. However, you can control the intensity of the workout easily –anything from an easy cruise to a lung-searing paddle.
“It’s a full body workout, but you’re going to keep doing it because you don’t feel like you’re working out,” says Kiristen.
Even though the flat water might be one of the main things that attract people to paddleboarding in Cayman, you can make the sport more interesting as well.
“If you need more Mother Nature input, go out to South Sound when it’s wavey – you’re going to be challenged, but you’re also going to be having a lot of fun,” says Damo of Waterman.
Waterman offers paddleboards rentals from $35 per hour for periods up to a month for those who want to get a taste of paddleboarding. They also offer introduction to paddleboarding classes on Thursdays at 6.30am and 5.30pm, which is the perfect opportunity to get a grip on the basic skills.
“You will not leave the class until you have stood up. It is stand up paddleboarding after all,” laughs Kiristen.
They also offer Paddle Fit classes which combines traditional land based workouts with the paddleboard in a very social environment. The future may even hold full moon paddles, paddleboard bioluminescence tours and all manner of other fun, social, paddleboard activities.
“My biggest thing is I hope people get out there and use the boards, because they have these amazing fitness tools but if they don’t get out there and use them... they think they’ve done their bit by buying them and having them in the garage,” says Damo.
Far from limiting itself to paddleboarding, Waterman also specialises in other watersports including kiteboarding, for which there are also classes available, as well as surfing and wakeboarding. They also stock a wide range of swimwear as well as necessities such as sunblock and even Go Pro video cameras.
One of the most unique and most popular classes is paddleboard yoga class, which is presented in conjunction with Bliss Yoga.
Although doing yoga on a paddleboard may seem far too challenging to some, Janelle of Bliss Yoga says that there are some unique advantages.
“Paddleboard yoga takes you outside and into nature, so there is a huge amount of gratitude right there, which is something you cultivate in yoga practice,” she says.
Another unique advantage is that even though there is more balance involved when doing yoga on the paddleboard, the fact that if you do fall you end up falling in the water takes it from being a potentially stressful situation to being fun and relaxing.
“Falling in the water is not a bad thing at all, so it allows you to let go of expectations and fear, and that is a big thing in yoga practice. When you’re on the board you have to concentrate more not to fall but you also activate your body in a way that’s much more efficient. You don’t have a choice but to activate your abs,” says Janelle.
Although people usually gravitate to things that are easy to accomplish, Janelle says that achieving something you thought impossible is deliciously rewarding.
“You get off the paddleboard and everything just seems a little bit brighter and easier.”
For more information on paddleboards call 769-7873 or visit waterman.ky.
For more information on yoga call 949-9642 or visit blissyogacayman.com.