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The Therapeutic Power of SUP For Military Veterans

January 11, 2023

Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP, is an increasingly popular water sport that offers a unique blend of physical and mental benefits for military veterans. It offers an opportunity to engage in physical activity and connect with nature, while also promoting relaxation and stress-relief. In this blog post, we will explore the history of SUP. The benefits for military veterans, and provide some tips for those who are new to the sport.

The origins of stand up paddleboarding can be traced back to Hawaii. Where it was traditionally used as a means of transportation and fishing. In recent years, however, SUP has become a popular recreational activity all around the world.Wwith people of all ages and fitness levels enjoying the sport. One of the unique aspects of SUP is that it can be enjoyed in a variety of settings. From calm, flat water to choppy, open ocean waves. And even river paddling.

Benefits of SUP for Military Veterans

For military veterans, the benefits of stand up paddleboarding are numerous. On a physical level, SUP can help to improve balance, strength, and cardiovascular endurance. The act of standing on a moving board and paddling requires the use of numerous muscle groups, making it a full-body workout. In addition to the physical benefits, stand up paddleboarding has also been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. The peaceful, meditative nature of the sport reducees stress. And it promotes relaxation. This makes it an excellent form of therapy for those who are struggling with the effects of PTSD or other mental health issues – a growing problem in the ex-military and veteran communities.

According to recent statistics, PTSD is prevalent in about 12% of those veterans who served in the brief Gulf War, or Desert Storm, in the early 1990s. Of the veterans who participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, between 11% and 20% experienced PTSD. With climbing numbers, it’s important to find new techniques and tactics to relieve the stress built up from PTSD. One way is with time spent in nature.

Since SUP is practiced outside and in nature, it is a natural connector to the stress-relieving benefits of time outside. In fact, a study published in Frontiers of Psychology concluded that you can reduce the stress hormone cortisol by as much as 28% with 20 to 30 minutes immersed in nature each day. This makes the simple practice of SUP a great tool in helping military veterans reduce stress and anxiety.

Teamwork And Camaraderie

Another aspect of stand up paddleboarding that can be particularly appealing to military veterans is the opportunity for teamwork and camaraderie. Many people enjoy SUP as a solo activity. But it can also be a great way to connect with others and form new friendships. Whether you are paddling with a group of friends or participating in an organized event, stand up paddleboarding offers a chance to connect with others. As well as engage in activities that promote teamwork and cooperation.

Getting Started

If you are a military veteran who is new to stand up paddleboarding, there are a few things that you should keep in mind as you get started. First and foremost, it is important to choose the right equipment. There are numerous types of stand up paddleboards on the market. And it is important to select one that is appropriate for your skill level and intended use. In addition to the board itself, you will also need a paddle. A personal flotation device (PFD). And possibly other gear such as a wet suit or sunscreen.

Once you have the right equipment, the next step is to learn the basic techniques for standing up and paddling. While stand up paddleboarding may look easy at first glance, it does require a certain amount of balance and coordination. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started, including instructional videos, classes, and lessons from experienced instructors. With a little bit of practice, you will be standing up and paddling like a pro in no time.

sup for military veterans

Finally, it is important to always keep safety in mind when stand up paddleboarding. This means wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times. And being aware of your surroundings and the conditions of the water. It is also a good idea to let someone know where you will be. And when you plan to return, in case of an emergency.


There are many benefits of SUP for military veterans, including a range of physical, mental, and social benefits. Whether you are new to the sport or have been paddling for years, there is always something new to learn and explore. So why not give stand up paddleboarding a try and see how it can improve your physical and mental well-being?

Questions? Comments? Reach out to us at any time! Atoll Boards is proud to offer an active military and veteran discount. Contact us today to grab your first board at a discounted price and get on the water experiencing the benefits of SUP today!

2 Responses

  1. I am serving in Sasebo Japan and my wife and three kiddos are with me. I have been in the Navy for 13 years and am looking at getting 2 SUPs from you guys because of how your company appreciates my family’s sacrifice. These ones will be for my Wife’s bday but for us all to enjoy. We have an Armed Forces Pacific mailing address. We appreciate the discount.

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