THIS could be the new female dominated sport.
A growing appeal for females trying stand up paddleboarding in places like Ballarat could be the fact it is still an emerging sport in Australia, SUP instructor Shaun Ward says.
The WSUP owner and his team, who are based in Barwon Heads, returned to Lake Wendouree for two more female introductory coasting sessions on Saturday. This time sessions extended a focus to SUP for teenage girls in a bid to encourage more girls to get moving and having fun.
But Mr Ward said his paddle school had draw strong female participation from day one in all locations, mostly because it was a bit different.
“SUP is something a bit new for females. It’s not a male-dominated sport already and it’s not like surfing, which can be a little more difficult to learn,” Mr Ward said.
“Originally the coasting SUP program was designed for adult females but we’re trying to now get teens involved. Younger girls don’t think about it as much when they get out there. Ladies who are a bit older can be a little more uncertain, but they can all do it.”
Within 10 minutes of getting started in Ballarat, all participants were standing and coasting on the lake.
Mr Ward said boards may be big, but women being able to carry the boards themselves and get started paddling helped boost confidence in learning SUP as a sport they could continue.
- READ MORE: Popular paddle program expands
Coasting for Women and Coasting for Teens programs are delivered under VicHealth’s This Girl Can campaign, which aims to build female participation in sport. Part of this is helping women to find different sports they might enjoy.
Adapting the program to include teenagers taps into an age group which has significant sports participation drop-off among females. Nine out of 10 Australian teenagers do not meet the national physical activity guidelines for an hours of exercise each day.
This program aims to make coasting accessible, fun and non-competitive to entice less active teens into sport.
Surfing Victoria touts Lake Wendouree as one of the best places to paddle in Victoria, particularly for beginners. Coasting sessions in Ballarat have proved popular with booked out sessions since they launched on the lake three years ago.
VicHealth’s deliberately edgy This Girl Can campaign launched in March. The campaign is based on the successful Sport England movement in getting females of all abilities to break stereotypes and barriers.
Three in five Victorian women do not get enough physical activity, a VicHealth study shows, with more than half worrying about being judged while the exercise.
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