Paddle to Fitness

Explore calm waters atop an oversize surfboard that you paddle like a canoe—it’s a great workout and easy to learn.
Amy Stillwagon

Imagine this: You’re standing on a giant surfboard, gently paddling in the water, watching a breathtaking sunset dip below the horizon. It hardly sounds like exercise, but that’s exactly what YOLO Boarding is.

The premise is simple. You paddle into calm water, starting on your knees then progressing to a standing position. The paddling style is similar to canoeing with a side-to-side stroke. There are 18 different YOLO Boards made for every age, skill, and size. Some accommodate a parent and child, others are equipped to carry gear, and some are designed for speed and racing.

Cofounders Jeff Archer and Tom Losee developed YOLO in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, for anyone wanting to experience life on the water, whether you’re interested in fishing and camping or simply enjoying nature. The duo named the company YOLO as an acronym for their motto: “You Only Live Once.”

Besides fun and adventure, a not-so-shabby side benefit of YOLO is that this laid-back water sport can help keep you in shape. The Paddle Fit program, a comprehensive workout developed around the YOLO Board, focuses on balance, coordination, and strengthening core muscle groups. It also helps enhance posture and teaches you to focus on the environment around you. “YOLO takes you back to the childlike mentality of living in the moment,” Jeff says. “It’s better for your mind and your body.”

Where To Try It

YOLO Board Adventures: Santa Rosa Beach, FL; yoloboard.com or 850/622-5760

Bay Pines Marina on Lake Martin: Jacksons Gap, AL; 256/307-1212

H20 Sports: Hilton Head Island, SC; h2osportsonline.com or 877/290-4386

Kahuna Kai Paddle & Beach Shop: Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL; standupfitnessinc.com or 727/260-2362