What seems like a very strange new watersport is becoming increasingly popular: a fusion of Pilates and stand-up paddleboarding, which is said to combine the best of both worlds, including the strength and grace of Pilates with the tranquility of the ocean.
Fitness training and stand-up paddleboarding racer Karen Mirlenbrink from Florida, is widely regarded as the creator of the sport, which is said to have originated in 2011.
SUPilates, as it’s officially called, looks a bit like ballet on the ocean. Although the activity has been gaining popularity in the U.S. and Australia over the past few years, it just recently arrived in Hong Kong, with the founder of PilatesAthlete, Jason Clark, the only instructor offering courses in SUPilates in the city.
Clark, who comes from Sydney, Australia, says he’s been conducting classes on weekends, coaching a “couple of hundred” participants from the age of six to over 60, according to an article by the South China Morning Post. Some of the participants have been Pilates students, others were stand-up paddlers, while some have not tried either activity and were just looking for a new and different fitness challenge.
Students often remark that they’re attracted to the sport because it’s done outdoors, allowing them to enjoy beautiful weather without being stuck in a gym.
Clark, a veteran Pilates trainer who started stand-up paddleboarding just a year ago, says that for Pilates followers, it’s a “great activity to highlight how various exercise movements benefit the body,” and, that’s it’s also great for “those new to Pilates because students will immediately feel the various muscles – that we try to activate in a studio – being turned on automatically because they are on a very unpredictable, changing surface.”
He adds, “Similarly, while students in a Pilates class may think they have really good technique and find the movements easy, stand-up paddleboarding will highlight any flaws and movement issues – you’ll fall off the board.”
It’s a challenging exercise, as just Pilates alone, or paddleboarding alone is difficult enough. With SUPilates, you’ve always got to be engaged. If you’re inside doing Pilates on a mat, you can stop and rest, but out on the water you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times, and keep paddling to make sure you don’t crash into the shore. But because of this, you also burn more calories, and can transform your body a lot more quickly.
Classes are popping up across the country, so the odds are, if you’d like to try it out, you’ll be able to find an instructor in your area just by doing a quick search online.
-The Alternative Daily