Five Reasons to SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard)

by Sarah Shaffer

We recently bought a SUP and have been enjoying it during these hot summer days. Here are five reasons I recommend owning one.

1.We bought a blow up version that allows you to pump it up once you get to the location of your choosing. Because of this, you can carry it in a large backpack (weighing roughly 15 pounds) making it convenient, very easy to transport and making it possible for accessing high alpine lakes by carrying it on your back.

2.My favorite thing about SUPping is that it gives you the opportunity to see clearly into great depths of water. Because standing up on the SUP gives you more distance between the top of the water and your eyeballs, it offers much less glare on the water so you can see more clearly at deeper depths. I have seen jellyfish, seals, fish, kelp, rocks etc. which I normally cannot see while using a kayak or canoe due to being too close to the top of the water and having too much glare to contend with.

3.You can bring along kids on the front while they sit and look in the water. Or kids can paddle and you can ride along with them.

4.They are sturdy, we have friends who have had theirs for 4 years now (the blow up version of SUP) and they have yet to have a hole in it. Surprisingly they are not too hard to balance on either. With that being said you should be prepared for the occasional splash of falling in though.

5.It surprisingly does offer a workout. Depending on how much effort you put into it, I have felt my quads, core and back getting a workout while paddling.

Places I have taken the SUP are: The ocean within the Puget Sound-the coves offer very little waves and not too strong of currents so paddling there has been rewarding. Rainy Lake in the North Cascades, the Columbia River near Turtle Rock, the Wenatchee River, the Columbia River to the Wenatchee River Horan Natural Area estuary. Banks Lake is another good spot and the water is so clear. I am looking forward to the many places the SUP will go, and the memories that will continue to be made with it.

Gear to Bring: Next I need to outfit the SUP appropriately with the approved gear. Did you know that SUP’s are now being considered a vessel by the U.S. Coast Guard? Whoa, this means we need to start wearing the appropriate gear (U.S. coast guard approved life vest, sounding whistle) and outfitting ourselves for other traffic on the water. This includes making ourselves more visible by wearing bright neon colors, using reflective tape on our paddles, and by carrying a light. If you are paddling a SUP at night you must have a “white light” or headlamp. Other recommendations are paddling with a buddy, giving detailed information to someone before hand as to where you are going, carrying a locator beacon, or phone in a waterproof case.

Click here to watch a short video for more information on what is now required for SUP’s.

Sarah Shaffer coming in for a landing next to the rocks. It was cooler up in the alpine country so a swimsuit was not worn for this outing. Sarah felt confident enough that she would not fall in the water, which as luck has it, she did not.

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