Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Walking On Water

Stand Up Paddle Boarding is quickly becoming all the rage in paddle sports. And rightly so. It's a new perspective on being on the water as well as a low impact form of exercise while having fun. I just spent 7 1/2 hours on a SUP up at Twin Lakes while my husband fished from his kayak. I wanted to make sure it was something I really wanted to invest money in before purchasing one. I'd been on a SUP before but only for about an hour at a time.The day started out paddling from the Twin Lakes put-in, across first lake and into second lake where there is better fishing. There are lots of ski boats on first lake which will kick up some swells and big wakes. The board I was on was a Hobie 11'2" ATR and I had my Werner Nitro paddle. This board handled great! I found the stability to be very reassuring in those swells. Once into second lake while Tom fished I lounged on the board and enjoyed the day. I was able to sit, stand if I needed to stretch my legs, put my feet in the water and swim off the board. I felt like I had my own island! I had put deck rigging on the nose of this board so was able to bring my essentials, a towel, a change of clothes if the weather turned bad, food and water. After spending close to 4 hours leisurely exploring second lake we headed back to the put-in. From one end of second lake to the put-in took me 2 hours all standing and I wasn't the worse for wear. I appreciated the lightness of the Werner Nitro during those two hours and the buoyancy of the blade. I'm a 47 year old woman not in great shape but I would highly recommend paddle boarding to anyone. I absolutely plan to buy one and make it my main form of recreation on the water. As I get more comfortable on the board I'll be working on those step back and pivot the nose turns! Maybe even look for some small waves to surf.

Here are some thoughts:
SUPing & PFD's - you definitely want something low profile. A lot of SUPer's are wearing inflatable style vests, for me personally I'm not a great swimmer so I like some flotation. Considering the Kokatat Orbit, Astral Bella or Stohlquist Rocker (has a beverage pocket!). These vests put a lot of the flotation lower on your body and leave your arms freer to move so you avoid chafing under your arm.
Footwear - some SUPer's prefer to go barefoot so they can feel the board. For me standing barefoot for a long time hurts my feet, I need support. I wore my Merrell Waterpro's which have arch support and are designed to drain when you step in the water. I could still cool my feet no problem.
Rigging your SUP - a must for flat water SUPer's. Carry a dry bag or two with daily essentials. Both NSI and SurfTech have peel and stick lash points you can apply to you board. a Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag with exterior lash points looks like it might be a perfect addition.
The last thing I would consider for anyone doing long days on flat water is maybe bring an extra kayak paddle for those times when you just have to sit down!

There are now so many SUP options, the hardest part will be trying to figure out which one to buy! Come on in and check out the latest SUP's from Hobie & SurfTech!

-Mel, CCK Staff

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