Sometimes a perfect summer day means soaking up the sun on the beach with a yummy cocktail in hand. Other times, it’s jumping head first into the rolling waves on your surfboard or stand up paddleboard (aka, your SUP). If you’re bored by basic beach outings at this point in the summer and up for the adventure, paddleboarding is an alternative to surfing where people stand upright on a board and paddle out on the water with an actual paddle. The sport, which originated in Hawaii, can be a thrill and a serious workout. Check out these eight must-haves and must-knows before you get your SUP on!

1. Choose Your Day and Your Spot: There’s a right time and place for everything. First time SUP-ing is best suited to do in slower moving waves that break slowly. If you’re SUP-ing in a surfing spot, steer clear from the paddling surfers. Remember the surfing code of conduct, dude! (image via Mind Body Green)

2. Paddle Out and Catch That Wave: Paddle out past the broken waves, then position yourself to catch an incoming wave. In neutral position with your feet facing forward, paddle toward the beach and quickly generate speed so that you are traveling at a similar speed to the wave when it gets to you. And don’t forget to bend your knees! (image via Malpais Beach)

3. Size Matters: A couple of things to consider about size are your weight and the water condition. Make sure you don’t go too small for your weight. The general rule is once you’re paddling, you don’t want the tail of your board to drag. As for water conditions, the choppier the water surface, the bigger the board. (image via True Collection)

4. Board Types: So many options! The shapes of SUP boards vary according to what you use it for — long, narrow boards are built for speed, and wider, rounded boards are better for balance if you want to get your downward dog on. (image via Standup Journal)

5. Patterned Sunglass Strings ($25): It can get mighty sunny out there. Don’t lose your cool (or your sunnies) and grab a sunglass string from the Brit + Co shop!

6. Rashguard ($55): Time flies when you’re having fun. Once you get your groove on, it can lead to hours of addictive paddling. Make sure you cover up and block out that sun.

7. Stand Up Paddle Lightweight Board Cover ($250): Snag an awesome bag for your SUP. This board cover is lightweight and has non-corrosive nylon zips and adjustable shoulder straps, perfect to carry alongside your beach tote.

8. Stay Hydrated: This is probably a super obvious one, but it’s so easy to get carried away at the beach and forget to hydrate. Make it easier on yourself by sipping on yummy liquids that keep you hydrated for longer. (via Brit + Co)

What’s your favorite water sport? Got any tips for newbie stand up paddlers? We’d love to know in the comments below.