Surf's down? Time for paddleboard yoga!

Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:09am EDT
 
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Paddle boarding, an ancient form of surfing, is gaining popularity as a high-intensity, low-impact platform for group fitness classes from calisthenics to yoga.

Experts say it may feel like walking on water because paddle boarding works on the flat water of a lake or pond and doesn't involve waves.

"Paddle boarding is a form of surfing. A paddle board is basically a surfboard that's thicker, more buoyant, so it can hold you standing up in flat water," said Scott Bumbalough, founder of Maui B's Stand Up Paddle Boarding, which is based in Florida.

"For fitness classes we take a one-hour lap around the lake," he said, which in this case is Lake Ivanhoe in Orlando, Florida. "Buoys are placed at intervals and at each buoy we do an exercise such as squats, push-ups, squat thrusts on the board."

Bumbalough encountered paddle boarding, which probably dates back to ancient Polynesia, while living in Hawaii, where it was a popular way for surfers to train when the surf was down.

"It's a high-intensity, low-impact workout," said Bumbalough. "The class probably works about 85 percent of the muscles in body."

Bumbalough said he brought paddle boarding to Florida in 2007. Since then it's spread throughout the nation as a hugely popular sport that can be done anywhere there's safe water.

Peace, serenity, and six-pack abs are among the many benefits that have accrued to Nani Sadowski, a healthcare consultant, since she started exercising on the paddle board two years ago.   Continued...

 
A man practices paddle surfing at La Pampilla beach in Lima August 16, 2009. REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil