Vacation is a time to try new and exciting things, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is the place to do it. With the Atlantic Ocean, sandy beaches, world-class golf and a wide range of attractions, shops and restaurants, the Grand Strand is the perfect place to break out of your routine and step out of your comfort zone for a memorable vacation experience.
For those adventurous souls who love water sports but lack the skill, stamina or nerve for activities like surfing, kiteboarding or parasailing, there's a popular alternative to give you a more relaxed taste of a day on the ocean. It’s paddleboarding, which combines the thrill of surfing with the leisure activity of canoeing.
Paddleboarding involves standing up on something of an elongated surfboard and using paddle power to maneuver around the ocean. The calmer waters out past the breakers, where the subdued swells usually offer smooth sailing, provide the perfect opportunity to paddle around and enjoy a one-on-one encounter with the ocean. Here are a few tips for our guests at Long Bay Resort who want to explore local waters and experience the increasingly popular sport of paddleboarding:
* If you already know how to stand up on a surfboard, doing the same on paddleboard will be a piece of cake. In fact, if you can stand on dry land, there's a good chance you can learn how to paddleboard with relatively little practice. The concept is the same as surfing – using one smooth, fluid motion to go from the push-up position to standing. Unlike surfing, your feet are positioned side by side rather than one foot in front of the other, about shoulder length apart and at the widest spot of the board for maximum stability.
* The real trick to paddleboarding is holding onto the paddle, and knowing how to properly use it for steering. If paddling on the right, place your left hand on the end of the T-grip and the other about midway down the paddle, forming as wide of a triangle as comfortable with your two arms and the blade. The blade is spoon-shaped and is designed to be held with the angle sloping away from you. Dip it into the water and take long, smooth strokes with your arms and back.
* Finding the right equipment for paddleboarding is a breeze in Myrtle Beach, which is filled with outfitters, surf shops and surfing schools to accommodate a large number of water-sports enthusiasts. Nearby spots like Surf City Surf Shop and Kokopelli Surf Camp not only offer surfing lessons and gear rental, but also everything you need to paddleboard. Rent one by the hour, day or week – and if you really get hooked, you can purchase your own board at a local shop.
* Once you are ready to get in the water, be sure you know where to go paddleboarding. The City of Myrtle Beach has established surf zones that are designated for water-sports activities like surfing, kiteboarding and paddleboarding. Guests at Long Bay Resort don't have to travel far to find one of the most popular surf zones in town between 62nd Avenue North and 68th Avenue North. For those who prefer to learn on calmer waters, book a paddleboarding adventure through a local outfitter to the relatively wave-free waters of Murrells Inlet or the Intracoastal Waterway.
After a fun day on the water, head back to your cozy room at Long Bay Resort and relax in the hot tub, in the pools, in the Oceanview Cafe or on your private balcony overlooking the ocean while you recount your adventure. Whether you get hooked on paddleboarding or chalk it up as a one-time experience, it’s a vacation memory you will never forget.