Erica Neyburski


This past spring I embarked on a new found passion: stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). A SUP is a board that is larger and thicker than a traditional surfboard making it more buoyant, allowing me to stand up on top of the board even in motionless water. I use a long paddle to propel myself on the water.

SUPing is a lot of fun but challenging because it requires tremendous balance, core strength and stability. Years of practicing Pilates and yoga has helped me pick up this sport with a real advantage over other newcomers as I incorporate the principles and techniques of proper alignment, standing well, using my breath, and paddling from my core when I’m out on the water.

On a whim and with the support and encouragement of my husband and a friend, I signed up for a paddle race just days before the event was to take place. Still new to SUPing and with minimal distance training I decided to go for it anyway.

Up to race day my paddling was limited to pleasure cruises in calm waters – but this day I battled chest high waves and rough seas. To add to the challenge, the race was extended from the 2.4 miles I’d signed up for – to 5.3! Regardless, I kept my focus and did what I went out there to do. Not only did I finish, but I managed to take home the 1st Place trophy in the women’s division!

I know that the physical strength and confidence I have in myself now can be directly attributed to my Pilates training. A challenge like competitive SUPing would have been unquestionably more difficult without this background. I am looking forward to entering more SUP races next season!