Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Try stand up paddle boards on ponds, lakes, ocean waves and whitewater!

SUP's are popular for ocean surfing
Surfing with Fido

SUP nuts tying the knot

A scenic and relaxing sunset cruise
In the lesson, we started out on our knees ...

Some SUPs are set up for paddle-boarding and sea kayaking

Jo Cassin and Jefe Bates give us the skinny on how to get started ...
Hi all,

I've been seeing quite a bit of information about a new recreational toy called a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) in the last year, so I thought I would give one a test drive.

I took a class on Tuesday night, and the class was full -- that seems to indicate how popular this new sport is becoming. Idaho River Sports is offering lessons upon demand during the day Monday through Saturday, and evening sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays. Alpenglow Mountainsport also is offering lessons upon request with a SUP board rental.

Interest has just "exploded" in the sport of SUP in the last year, local paddling experts say.

"Number one, it's easy ... most people can do it," says Jefe Bates of Glide Paddleboards. "Eventually, the paddleboard is going to replace the canoe."

People also are drawn to the sport because of its potential sex appeal. Guys like being the surfer dude and showing off their beach bodies, and it's a sport where women can wear a hot bathing suit and show off as well. Bates said some people even teach yoga on SUPs.

Me? I just wanted to try it out and see what all of the fuss is about. Bates and IRS co-owner Jo Cassin walked us through the basics on dry land, and then we all got into the water at Quinn's Pond, kneeled on the boards, and nervously paddled out into the deep water, where we would all try to stand up and paddle.

I felt very stable on the board in the kneeling position, but quite unstable initially as I stood up, legs wobbling, trying to hold my balance and stand on both feet. I noticed that my other class-mates stood up and were paddling in a matter of 5 minutes or less. I managed to survive standing up, but my legs quivered for at least 10 minutes until I adjusted my feet to put one foot in back, and the other in front a bit, standing in the middle of the board. Finally, I felt a little more relaxed.

I have bad memories of trying to learn how to board-sail many years ago, when I spent hours upon hours trying to get started in a weak wind, only to fall over and try to climb on the board again. I was hoping that wouldn't happen to me doing the SUP thing, and fortunately, it didn't.

The paddle strokes came easy to me because I know how to canoe and kayak, so I know a J-stroke, sweep stroke and brace. The brace came in handy a couple of times when I almost lost my balance. That was nice.

A friend of mine told me he likes to paddle-board for balance and body core exercise. After trying it out, I can see how the balancing act works your core. After learning to balance a bit better, I felt the main appeal was relaxation while getting a low-key workout. I did get hot after a while, and had to drop into the water to cool off. One of my class-mates thought the flat-water was too boring ... she wanted to surf some waves! See what you think!

The board I used is a 12-foot soft top fiberglass board made by Surftech. It retails for $1,199. IRS also carries boards made by Doyle and NRS. Most of the boards were in the $1,000 price range. You can always rent and save money that way. I'm sure after a few years, the price may come down, or used SUP's will become available. The paddles are long -- they're supposed to be 6-10 inches taller than your head.

SUP's are very popular in the ocean for surfing. Check out this video on ocean surfing with SUPs. Bates has been focusing on running whitewater on the Payette River with a SUP, so that's a different twist! He says he has run the Main Payette, and is working his way up to running Staircase and Slalom on the South Fork Payette.

For most of us, still-water paddling venues will hold the most appeal. Besides Quinn's Pond off of Pleasanton in Northwest Boise, you also might try the Boise River next to Discovery Park, Redfish Lake, Lake Lowell, Lake Cascade, Payette Lake, the "Meanders" on the north end of Payette Lake, slow sections of the Payette River south of Cascade or by Smith's Ferry, C.J. Strike Reservoir, Swan Falls Reservoir (watch out for wind), or other bodies of water that you like to visit.

Check in with these local SUP dealers to learn more:
(I hope I didn't overlook anyone; let me know!)

Have fun!
- SS


Kaspar said...

I've been seeing quite a bit of information about a new recreational toy called a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) in the last year, so I thought I ...

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