Paddle Up for the Summer
Stand Up Paddling or SUP, is surfings latest twist – combining something old and something new – the sport has gained an explosion in growth and popularity in the last few years. Its incredibly low learning curve and versatility in the ocean, lakes, waves and rivers has made it a world-wide hit. SUP is not only a perfect inland sport for a place like Seattle where waves are scarce but lakes and rivers abound, it’s also a fantastic way to work your core, legs, back and arms in a fun and relaxing way.
The sport originates in Hawaii – Waikiki “beach boys” invented the sport in the early 1900s by hefting their long koa surfboards into the water, navigating through the breaks with outrigger paddles, impressing everyone with their skill and balance. With cameras in hand, they would capture tourists from their perfect upright vantage points.
Modern day paddlers can be spotted by their upright silhouettes balancing on boards that can range in size from eight to 12 feet. Paddles are usually made of plastic, aluminum or wood though we recommend plastic, it’s lighter and easier to handle.
Rentals abound these days and SUP schools are popping up left and right. Sign up for classes today or hit your local surf or outdoor store (REI carries various brands) for a demo. SUP has also spawned the sub-sport of SUP yoga, we’ve yet to work our way to a downward dog but can imagine how soothing the sound of the ocean would be.
We absolutely love our 8’11″ Striker from Jimmy Lewis. Its amazingly lightweight core and 30″ width makes it a squat but stable board, perfect for almost anyone. Even I can lift with this board with one hand and get it down two flights of stairs. Other popular boards from Surftech and Naish Surfboards can be ordered directly or found at your local surf shop. Choose your board based on your experience and water type.
We use Jimmy Lewis’ Kanaha Paddle, the lightweight paddle stays light in our hands and is easy to carry along with the board. It comes with instructions on how to cut the paddle to fit your height. REI has a good selection of paddles, including some handy adjustable length models for sharing.
SUP IN THE NORTHWEST
• WASUP Yoga – Seattle, Washington
Depending on where you live you may need an Invasive Species Permit for your board. Also take into consideration laws governing personal floatation devices. We also recommend a coiled SUP leash for safety and peace of mind.