Friday, July 19, 2013

What’s SUP? Surfing the lakes in Muskoka

Nicolle Stand Up Paddleboarding on Pen Lake
Stand Up Paddleboarding (or SUP) is rapidly gaining popularity for its accessibility and its unique vantage point on the water. Nicolle is a huge fan of SUP (that’s her in the photo), so we thought we’d share a little bit about this emerging sport.

SUP has its roots in surfing but because you propel yourself with a paddle rather than relying on the waves, it can be done on any body of water and is ideal for exploring Muskoka’s lakes and rivers.

It’s easier than it looks. Stand Up Paddleboards are wide and surprisingly stable. You can start out kneeling until you get a feel for the balance and then gently stand up when you’re ready. Your feet should be hip-width apart and parallel (not one in front of the other). Keep your knees slightly bent, your toes pointed forward and your back straight. That’s it. Once you begin to paddle, it’s even easier to remain stable.

Paddling is a bit different than in a canoe or kayak. Here are some more tips and a video from REI:
  • The elbow (angle) of the paddle faces away from you.
  • Keep your arms straight and twist from your torso as you paddle. Think of using your torso to paddle rather than your arms. You have more strength in those abdominal muscles than in your arms.
  • Push down on the paddle grip with your top hand.
  • Plant the paddle by pushing the blade all the way under the surface, pull it back to your ankle, then out of the water.
  • When you're beginning, keep your strokes fairly short and close alongside the board. No need to overpower it.
  • A small draw stroke at the beginning of the paddle stroke will keep you going forward.
  • To go in a reasonably straight line, paddle about 4 or 5 strokes on one side, then switch to the other.
  • When you switch sides, you'll reverse hand positions.

On a Stand Up Paddleboard, you get a unique perspective that you can’t get from a boat or a canoe. (Have you ever tried standing up in a canoe? We don’t recommend it!) You can see farther over the water and deeper into the water than from a canoe or kayak. Paddleboarding is also a great core workout and you can even do yoga on one!

If you want the feel of surfing on the lakes, you can also surf behind a boat or with a bungee using The Muskoka Surfboard. Here’s a picture of Luke giving a demonstration at the recent Rotary Dockfest in Huntsville.

Luke on a Muskoka Surfboard at Rotary Dockfest in Huntsville
Both SUP and surfing are fun, family-friendly activities and we hope you’ll try them the next time you’re at Colonial Bay. (And we hope that's soon!) You can see the availability of our waterfront cottages here.

From the waterfront,
The Howell Family

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