Super sup sunset yoga @sporadessup Skopelos Greece

7 Reasons Why SUP Is The Perfect Workout

Standup paddle boarding is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world and for good reason. Not only is it extremely fun and a great beach activity, it’s also an incredible workout! Here are 7 reasons why Standup paddle boarding is the perfect workout!

1. Improves balance
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This is probably the most obvious fitness-benefit of SUP. Whether you are in calm lake waters or surfing ocean waves, you will need good balance to stay afloat on a paddle board. When paddle boarding, your body is continuously challenged to maintain proper balance. Personally, I found that evan after one SUP session my balance improved drastically. Better balance will not only make your next SUP session more enjoyable (and keep you from falling into the water), but it is also key component to a higher fitness level.

2. It works your core (without doing sit-ups)

It’s true, you can improve your core strength when standup paddle boarding, without doing a single sit-up! This is because your core is constantly at work while trying to stabilize your body’s balance. This type of core stabilization also works your abdominal and lower-back muscles in a different way than crunches do, providing a more well-balanced (no pun intended) workout for your core.

3. It’s a strength workout for your WHOLE body
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Nearly every muscle group is used when standup paddle boarding. Your back, arms, and shoulders are used in every stroke of the paddle and your leg muscles and core are being exercised when maintaining balance. The degree of intensity and amount of strength required depends namely on water conditions. For example, paddle boarding on a windy ocean is sufficiently harder and requires a lot more strength than leisurely paddle boarding on a calm lake. You can also control the intensity with how fast and long you paddle.

4. Improves endurance 

Let’s face it, no one paddle boards for only ten minutes. If you’re going to SUP, then you’re doing it for thirty minutes at the very least. This means that your body is in a state of constant (and fun) exercise for upwards of half an hour, which improves both your endurance and cardio. And like anything, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes, allowing your body to become fatigued less easily.

5. Feel the burn

This one is pretty self-explanatory, as any form of exercise will burn calories. You’ll be surprised at how many calories you can burn with even a leisurely SUP session! According to SUP World Mag, one hour of casual SUP can burn 305 – 430 calories, while an hour of intense SUP racing or surfing can burn upwards of 1,000 calories! Not a bad way to replace the treadmill.

6. Workout while working out!
Super sup sunset yoga @sporadessup Skopelos Greece The great thing about standup paddle boarding is that you can do another exercise while you’re on the board. SUP yoga, for example, has become very popular as it requires extra balance and strength (and also provides a better view) than a normal yoga workout. I have also done a number of strength exercises while paddle boarding, including push-ups, sit-ups, and squats. Additionally, there are many balance and mobility drills you can perform on top of a paddle board.[/caption]

7. It doesn’t feel like you’re working out! 

This is perhaps my favorite reason of them all, you get a great workout while not even realizing it! Chasing friends around on your board, going on a scenic coastal tour like I did at Sporades SUP, or just soaking in the sun and enjoying the water, all provide a great distraction as your body is getting a full workout.

This guest-post was written by Justin, a blogger from California. His hunger for adventure, and well hunger in general has taken him around the world where he writes about food and travel. For more blog posts check out www.GetStuffedBlog.com

Beach. Skopelos, Greece

8 Reasons Skopelos Should Be On Your Bucket List

Of the 6,000 islands peppering Greece’s Aegean and Ionian seas, Skopelos is one of the most beautiful. Don’t believe me? Just ask the location scout for the feature film Mamma Mia!-who selected Skopelos as one of the primary filming locations for the movie. The island’s incredible green pines, crystal clear water, and fantastic location make it the perfect spot for a getaway. Check out this list of reasons a trip to Skopelos should be on your bucket list-and try to resist buying a flight immediately! (or don’t!)

1. Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia Church

While locals probably chuckle at musical fans coming to Skopelos in search of the famous locations seen in the movie, for true fans, these gems are a highlight of visiting the island. Step into the shoes of Meryl Streep or Colin Firth for a day and visit as many locations as you can! A favorite is Agios Ioannis-the stunning cliffside church that hosted the famous wedding scene. For a guide to filming locations, click here!

2. Beautiful Beaches

Beach. Skopelos, Greece

Panormos, Kastani, and Milia are the names of just a few of Skopelos’ most beautiful beaches. From secluded coves accessible only to boats or ATVs to more popular spots featuring beach bars and restaurants, there is a beach for everyone on this incredible island. A vacation here is sure to involve lots of beach hopping- you’ll have to come here yourself to discover your favorite!

3. Its touristy, but not too touristy

One of the best things about Skopelos is its number of tourists-a proportion that seems to be perfect in comparison to the island’s size. There is plenty to do and other travelers to meet, but the island retains the authenticity and charm of a place not completely overrun by tourists.

4. The “Green and Blue” Island

Skopelos, Greece

Skopelos is one of the greenest islands in the Aegean, and is known as “the green and blue island” for its green trees and forests set against the blue water of the Aegean. A visit here will have you marveling at the beauty of nature and wishing you could spend even more time on this island paradise.

5. Stunning Sunsets

Sunset, Skopelos

The sunsets in Skopelos are some of the prettiest in the world. One of my favorite ways to watch the sun dip behind nearby Skiathos Island is on a Sunset Paddleboard tour. Gorgeous views and a fun activity for the whole family! Learn more here!

6. Charming Towns

From Skopelos town to Neo Klima to Glossa, each of the towns in Skopelos are filled with charm, and close to a beach! From yummy meals at local tavernas to evening walks around town, the relaxing pace of island life is a welcome switch from the stress of busy cities.

7. There’s so much to do!

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Whether you prefer stand up paddleboarding, zooming around the island on an ATV, or snorkeling, there is something on the island for everyone to enjoy. Try something for the first time, or enjoy your favorite beachside hobbies, you won’t be disappointed!

8. The Sporades

Skopelos isn’t the only island in the area worth checking out-a day trip to Skiathos or nearby Alonnisos are perfect ways to see some of the surrounding islands. 24 islands make up the surrounding territory, of which 4 are permanently inhabited. Learn what makes each one unique by visiting a few!


This post was written by Catalina, a tour guide and travel addict living and working in Florence, Italy. Read more of her (miss) adventures at www.missadventuresabroad.com, where she blogs about her travels, life in Florence, and shares study abroad tips.

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Paradise

 

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I’ve been lucky enough in my life to travel to some amazing places, and I come from a beautiful country with beaches lining a land of rich, diverse landscapes. I’m attracted to the water, and have developed an obsession, a thrill seek even, to venture to places of natural beauty encompassing the ocean, that instantly take my breath away and force me to have a ‘Mother Nature is a …’ moment. So in the last few years, I have set out to find these places, and seek out these rare moments of astonishing wonder and bliss. Something that money can’t buy, an experience that for me is more important than material objects and status. When I look back on the highlights in my life so far, I don’t remember a time I earned a bonus at work, or got something in on a tight deadline under pressure. I remember a time where my heart stopped, breath was taken and no words could come from my mouth. It doesn’t happen often, but on Skopelos, Greece, I experienced this moment.

Skopelos is a small island in the Sporades which has been recognized previously for its beauty by professionals who are paid to seek places of beauty. Skopelos is the island where Mamma Mia was filmed – the breathtaking scenes of tranquil blue waters, rocky coastlines and middle aged American men holding onto their 20′s attempting to sing and dance to countless ABBA songs.(The latter I may or may not have been lucky enough to encounter on my trip, but I definitely had my fix of ABBA which I am in no way complaining about.)

In an attempt to ascend to a high point and further experience my breathtaking moment, my friend and I decided to trek to the famous church upon rocky, exposed cliffs in the ocean from scenes in Mamma Mia. We set off on foot from the mountain, armed only with a map, swimmers and a good book (the essentials). The walk itself, using only a map, was the build up to the thrill, everything about the island of Skopelos depicts the beauty of nature and an island uninhabited by ‘over the top’ tourism. We tracked along a dirt path through lush green forest, with occasional views of the ocean, surrounding islands, and at one stage a rare peek, preview even,of our final destination. After an hour and a half wander through the natural beauty of the mountains of Skopelos, we descended to Ionnasis; the view instantly mesmerizing.

The sun was warm on my shoulders, the Aqua ocean below teasing me with it’s clarity and stillness. We started our ascent of the stairs to the church. (Hot tip if you’ve seen the film- don’t be discouraged if you’re battling guiltily up the stairs thinking you’ve indulged in too much bread, olives, wine and cheese – there is no chance a donkey and Meryl Streep managed to run their way up there!)

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And then all of a sudden, there it was, breathtaking beauty. Objective accomplished. Skopelos had done it for me. A moment that cannot be depicted. Views that cannot be described in words or given justice in pictures. You just have to get there to experience it yourself. Go and find your moment.

- Guest Entry By Heather Dunn

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Summertime in Skopelos

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I recently landed in Greece and was greeted by the hot, sticky air of summertime in Athens. You simply can’t visit Greece without visiting Athens, yet after a few days in the city I think everyone has the same thought — ” I’m ready to get to an island.”

Reaching our max in the city after only 4 afternoons in Athens, we boarded a bus and headed north to Mantoudi Evia to catch our ferry to the amazing island of Skopelos.

If you’ve seen Mamma Mia, you should have some strong visual images of the beauty of Skopelos already and upon our arrival I was happily greeted by the little town of Glossa and the beautiful blue waters of the harbor.

The island was just what I had anticipated…chalk full of hiking trails, quaint towns and Greek villas, stunning sea views, vivid sunsets and clear waters.

I love the outdoors, yet when the summer heat comes out, I much prefer the seas to the mountains. So instead of pursuing my general notion of a good hike, I wanted to find an alternate form of fun and exercise – and that’s how we found Sporades SUP.

Our first time paddleboarding with Shane was fantastic. I was familiar with paddleboarding from my days living in California, but he was quick to offer helpful tips as I reacquainted myself with the balancing act of smoothly gliding through the water standing upright.

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The water was so clear and perfectly refreshing. We paddled from one bay to another, each beach seemingly more beautiful than the last. We told Shane we wanted some adventure so he made sure to show us to his favorite spots and even take us through some little caves along hidden coves. We were able to see parts of the island unavailable by foot and the whole experience was just lovely – a bit of exercise (which I had hoped for after eating so much Greek food) yet it was also very relaxing.

The 3-hour tour was a great way to get started, but before our time was over we had already booked our next tour for SUNSET. I couldn’t get enough of it and I knew the sunsets were stunning from our villa’s view, but was hopeful they’d be even more stunning on the water. Knowing Shane and the beauty of this island, I know our next tour will be even better!

So if you’re looking for something to do around the island and you’d like an opportunity to cool off from the summer heat and explore the island from a new vantage point, email Sporades SUP (shane@sporadessup.com) and make a booking today – you won’t be disappointed!

~ Linnea (age 27)

Crystal clear water, stand up paddle boarding, @sporadessup Dhasia Island, Skopelos, Greece

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding for the First Time: One Girl’s Experience

The sun has broken through the dense, grey rain clouds, and I welcome its warmth on my back. I admire the spiky sea urchins clinging to the rocks beneath the clear, turquoise water as a solitary bird calls from the pine forest on the cliffs above. This stretch of coast is quiet and wild and I enjoy the splash of the paddle breaking the water, spilling cool water over my toes.

I bend my knees, reach forward to dip the paddle into the water and pull it alongside the board. Bend, reach, pull. I fall into a comfortable rhythm, gliding over the almost mirror calm surface. It doesn’t get better than this, I think.

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I’ve had the pleasure of learning to stand up paddle board (SUP) on an increasingly deserted Skopelos island, in northern Greece. Sporades SUP owner, Shane, invited me to share his passion and we spent a few hours each day bouncing over the waves, each of us left to our own thoughts as we paddled along the coast.

Stand up paddling @sporadessup Ag.Ioannis Skopelos Greece

p class=”p1″>This was my first attempt at stand up paddle boarding, but I found getting up pretty simple. And standing up felt manageable too. But when it came to trying out turns and tricks I often landed in the water, surfacing with hearty laughs to accompany the mouthfuls of water. I’ve enjoyed this opportunity to laugh at myself, to be humbled as I learn a new skill and to look incredibly silly every time I toppled off the board.

<Stand up paddle boarding @sporadessup Skopelos Greece

Shane has recently begun to practice yoga and has taken it to the water. This took my own practice to a new level, inspiring me try positions I know so well in a whole new way – and falling off a lot in the process.

<Stand up paddle boarding @sporadessup Skopelos Greece

Quiet coastlines, energised bodies, yoga, stand up paddle boarding, beautifully clear water, sunshine… summer keeps rolling on!

Stand up paddle boarding excursions:

1. Elios (Neo Klima) – Dhasia island

    11.5km

Yoga on the paddle board in Skopelos

2. Aghnondas – Amarandos peninsula

    11km

Tour to Amarandos Peninsula on Skopelos

3. Loutraki coastline

    11.6km

Yoga on the paddle board in Skopelos

Stacey Nel

Girl on a wander

Stand-Up Paddle Board on Skopelos | SporadesSUP

5 Breathtaking Reasons to Stand-Up Paddle Board on Skopelos

Stand Up Paddle Board on Skopelos | SporadesSUP

Stand Up Paddle Board on Skopelos with SporadesSUP

1. Staggeringly Beautiful, Unspoiled Coastline

There is no better way to see the Skopelos coast than from the water. White sand & stone beaches hidden away in coves, majestic archways to paddle through, and unique rock formations make SUP-ing around this island a grand adventure. Skopelos was once a pirate haven. The remnants of their cave hideaways still exist, and are accessible most easily from the water. The paddle board gives you the flexibility to easily explore the “secret” beaches inside the caves and hone your paddling technique through channels and arches.

2. Clear, Blue Water Appropriate for all Skill Levels

There are some fantastic spots to SUP in the UK & Ireland, but what makes Skopelos an ideal location is the water. The water in the Aegean Sea is so clear you can often see 20 meters down into the sea where you can observe fish, corral, jellyfish & other marine life swimming beneath you. While you will experience normal sea swells depending on which side of the island you launch from, it’s easy to find sheltered areas with minimal chop for beginners to ‘get their sea legs.’ Towards the sunset hours the water is generally a glassy calm, perfect for a relaxing paddle. More advanced SUP-pers will enjoy a launch from Skopelos town, which generally provides a bit more of a challenge in the form of bigger waves.

3. Island Hopping Opportunities

Skopelos is close enough to several other islands that it’s easily possible to paddle over and explore them. Whether it’s just a morning trip to one of the small, uninhabited islands to explore some caves or a day trip to neighboring Alonissos, there are plenty of opportunities to plan your own mini-expedition. Please note that long crossings should not be attempted by beginning paddle boarders, and even experienced SUP-ers should always take a buddy with them.

4. Many Easily Accessible Launch Areas

With beaches everywhere, Skopelos provides easy access to launch a paddle board from anywhere on the island. This means that you can explore one stretch of coastline one day and another the next. Want to get an ocean view of the famed Agios Ioannis? You can even launch from a small beach there and paddle around the church atop an island, made famous by the movie Mamma Mia. SUP-ers with multiple vehicles could leave one at a landing point and take a fast-paced downwind trip, winding up at one of the many Greek tavernas that decorate the coastline. Enjoy a sunny beach or a cold drink before heading off to your next destination.

5. Qualified Instructor/Expedition Leaders

If you’ve always wanted to try stand up paddle boarding, a sunny Greek island in the Sporades is one of the best places to learn. Not only is the water clean & inviting (so you don’t even mind falling off) but Skopelos is home to a SUP instructor certified by the British Stand Up Paddle Association. Experienced paddlers can rent boards to go out on their own, but if you’re wanting to undertake a serious island touring expedition, an experienced guide is a must. Adventure expeditions are organized & led during the summer months by Sporades SUP.

My Big Fat Greek Paddle Boarding Adventure

My Big, Fat, Greek, Paddle Boarding Adventure

Earlier this spring I was contacted by a host through Workaway to come and help out with a new stand up paddle boarding business for 5-6 weeks. Let’s see…did I feel like taking a “job” in the Greek islands that would involve spending most days on the beach in my bikini, getting a great tan, and leading paddle board tours on the Aegean Sea? Umm, do cats like tuna?!

Okay, so I wasn’t really sure that was the job description – I could have been stuck in a stand renting out paddle boards and booking lessons all day for all I knew. My whole “saying yes to any opportunity that comes my way for 6 months” experiment does mean that I’m often not sure what I’m getting myself into until I get there…which is all part of the adventure!

To my very pleasant surprise, it was pretty much exactly as I had imagined. (Well, not exactly…in my fantasy I was camping on the beach instead of on a mountain, but I also hadn’t bargained on my host being a professionally trained chef, so it worked out.)

I was a little nervous that I would totally suck at paddle boarding – after all, my family doesn’t have a history of great balance and I tend to be a ginormous klutz. But, you guys, I rock at paddle boarding. It’s so much fun!

learning to paddle board

Learning to paddle board like a boss…

In case you haven’t heard of it, paddle boarding pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You stand upright on a floating board, much like a surf board and you paddle. It’s becoming really popular among surfers, and there are paddle boarding associations and competition all over the world.

As a kayaker, I already knew how to paddle, so it was just the balance part that I had to get used to. Anyone who is athletic at all won’t have a problem with it. And if you do fall in? Ummm, that’s just part of the fun! Believe me, when it’s 90+ degrees outside and the sun is beating down on you, falling into clear blue water is hardly a negative.

Even though I’m kind of a natural (not to brag or anything) I’m still a beginner. And really out of shape.

meant to exercise this whole time (besides paddling), I really did. But…there are no flat surfaces on top of the mountain to do a HIIT workout…and running is out because the path down is almost a guaranteed broken ankle…and, I’ve been really busy. I know, all pathetic excuses. The truth is I have just been enjoying drinking wine at seaside tavernas and stuffing my face with deliciousness WAY too much to worry about it.

So, when we decided to set off on a grand paddle board adventure, I was perhaps a tad ill-prepared, but I never back down from a challenge.

We decided, one beautiful Sunday morning, to do a little island hopping…via paddle board. The trip from Skopelos to neighboring Alonissos had never been attempted by paddle boarders before, but ha! We would brave the ocean swells and scorching sun! We would laugh in the face of danger! We would…forget to reapply sunscreen and end up with the worst sunburn in history (okay, that was just me).

It started out beautifully. The water was calm and there was a light breeze…until we rounded the corner out of the port. Then there were 6-7 foot waves trying to smash me into the rocks jutting out of the water. Yikes.

Paddling through waves that size is a completely different ballgame than paddling on a flat sea. By the time we reached the first beach – the first resting point! – I was exhausted.

Paddle boarding to Alonissos

I may LOOK relaxed…but that’s really exhaustion haha.

7 miles doesn’t sound like much. I could walk it fairly easily. I could even run it if I got back in shape a bit. But paddle it? By this point I was seriously questioning my judgment.

Shane asked me if I wanted to turn around go back.

Turn back? Adventurers don’t turn back. “Well…we might as well go on to the end of the island and see how we feel,” I replied.

So we pressed on. And on. And on. Once we had gotten to the end of Skopelos island, it didn’t look that far to cross over to the next little island. And after a rest & some dates (the only food we remembered to bring), the next little island didn’t look too bad to get to. And from there…well we had only one more crossing to get to Alonissos. Sure, it was the furthest crossing we had attempted yet, but at this point the adrenaline had kicked in.

Paddle boarding to Alonissos

There’s no turning back now!

We made it!!

Now we just had to get back…

Thankfully, there were a few distractions on the way back, like a school of little jellyfish that looked like floating condoms with bright orange heads. (I did briefly wonder if a passing yacht had just been having a killer party the night before.)

Just when I thought I might pass out on the board, we saw a monk seal! It wasn’t quite a dolphin, but it could have been, which reminded me that I will be swimming with dolphins (a lifelong dream of mine) in just a few months. So, I decided against falling in and letting myself be swept away into the waves. Thank you, monk seal, you probably saved my life.

Shane asked if I was planning on hitting him over the head with the paddle when we got back to shore because this great island hopping adventure has been his brain-child. If I could have lifted my arms, I might have.

Even though I had visions of murder by paddle flashing before my eyes, the truth is, I felt like a badass for making that voyage. I accomplished something I never thought I could do. Every tour we have led since has seemed like a piece of cake to me.

Teaching a SUP lesson

Proof that I do SOME actual work.

Moral of the story: if there’s ever something in life you’re having difficulty achieving, just go out and do the hardest thing you can possibly think of and your original challenge will suddenly seem easy in comparison.

(Alternate moral: never trust an Irishman living on top of a Greek mountain.)

In all seriousness, though, stand up paddle boarding is a great adventure. It can be either relaxing or a great workout, depending on weather conditions and what you’re in the mood for. I would highly recommend you try it out.

The sunset tours are spectacular if I say so myself.

Sunset tour, Skopelos, Greece

Not a bad way to end a day…I have no idea what’s behind us in the water though – Nessie lives in Greece??!!!

 


This post was written by Mandie Sanders and originally appeared on her blog, RamblingMandie. Mandie is a reformed marketing & social media strategist who quit corporate America to use her powers for good. She is now a full-time travel blogger/freelance web designer who is seeking adventure with a backpack & a passport. She believes that good wine, a bit of nonsense, and frequent travels outside one’s comfort zone are good for the soul. You can stalk her on Facebook or Twitter.