The benefits of stand-up paddle boarding for professional rugby players

Stand-up paddleboarding is a complementary sport for a rugby player. Titouan Guilon, a scrum-half who plays in the French second division, explains.

Benefits stand-up paddle boarding rugby

"Recreational SUP boarding is complementary to playing ruby every day. I have loved board sports (skateboarding, surfing, windsurfing) since I was a kid, and it fits in well with playing scrumhalf for USBPA in the French professional second division. I joined a professional club, because I wanted to make a career of playing rugby. After joining the training centre in La Rochelle, I started surfing and SUP boarding on a regular basis at the nearby spots on the Île de Ré.

Titouan Guilon

#1 A complementary activity

For me, stand-up paddle boarding and rugby are perfectly compatible. The energy I exert depends on what I choose to do (touring, surfing, racing).~When I’m training hard, I usually prefer touring on my SUP board. I take the time to escape, think about something other than rugby and get closer to nature, which I love. ~When I’m not playing competitively, I prefer surf SUP boarding or surfing. This form of SUP boarding demands more energy, but the risk of injury is still very limited, so well suited to a professional rugby player.  


rugby stand up paddle
proprioception stand up paddle

#2 The benefits of proprioception

SUP boarding is one of the sports that exercises the most muscles, due to the instability of the board and the need to work your core muscles permanently. Professional rugby players practise proprioception every day in our daily workouts to build up our muscles and the injury-prevention sessions.~These exercises consist of making more or less complex movements when unstable, with bosu balls, waffs or elastibands. The goal is to remain stable and keep your balance. These exercises improve the nervous transmissions from the muscles to the brain. So Stand-up paddle boarding is a great fun exercise, because the body has to react to every unexpected movement of the board. I want to carry on playing rugby and stand-up paddle boarding for as long as possible, and to progress in both sports.

#3 My choice of SUP board

Since I now play for Bourg-en-Bresse, I can only go surfing very occasionally. So, I opted for the 12’6x29 Itiwit touring boarding for intermediate users, which also allows me to go fast on my SUP, while remaining stable. This inflatable board is very easy to transport, son I can use it every week for touring on lakes and rivers and to train for racing. In April, I took part in the “Ré SUP Contest”, a 12-km downwind race on the Île de Ré. The board was great and stable and even allowed me to ride over the bumps.  ~My favourite spots:~La Rochelle: Chef de Baie~Île de Ré: Les Grenettes-le Lizay~Finistère: La Torche-Pors Carn~Le Lac d’Annecy ~The river Ain: Neuville sur Ain~ 

stand up paddle board rugby