THINK OF IT AS: Canoeing with a New Age spin.
WHY IT’S HOT: Have you seen the beach-worthy bods of Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston and Eva Longoria? They’ve hopped on board SUP, the world’s fastest-growing water sport, splashing around in lakes, oceans and rivers.
WHERE IT CAME FROM: Pro surfers and big-wave riders, like Laird Hamilton, were tired of sitting on their boards waiting for the perfect wave. So they started paddling to pass the time. Now the splash-around sport has hit the mainstream, with newbies hanging 10 without the fear of wiping out.
HOW IT WORKS: You’ve got a 10- to 12-foot board and a paddle. Lying on your stomach, scoot offshore then kneel and start paddling. When you feel stable, bring one foot forward at a time to centre of board and come up to standing. Start paddling, keeping your knees and hips soft for balance. The more you engage your abs, the steadier you’ll feel. Don’t be afraid to fall off — that’s half the fun!
WHERE TO FIND IT: Everywhere from cottage country to our beautiful coastlines, you can try everything from yoga and Pilates to dance on a paddleboard. Just think of the board as a buoyant yoga mat or a canoe without sides. And since it doesn’t require waves, it’s a great lake activity. Get your gear at paddleboard retailers like Toronto’s WSUP or rentals and lessons at WazSUP in Vancouver.
FEEL-GOOD BENEFITS: This sport is an amazing form of cross-training. Balancing on the board targets core- and leg-stabilizing muscles, while paddling activates hard-to-reach side abs and defines the triceps, biceps and shoulders.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: It’s way easier to master than surfing, but you’ll look just as cool as any surfer out there. The meditative quality of this rhythmic exercise means it doesn’t feel like a humdrum workout either.
HONE YOUR SKILLS: Get paddling fit on shore with Bosu-ball exercises. Hold plank for two minutes with your hands on the ball and your core tight (try not to wobble!).