SUP is the fastest growing water sport & I can see why!
SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) is hot right now, so hot in fact that it is the fastest growing water sport in the world. It's definitely really popular with the locals, tourists and summer residents in Sunset Country. I've seen paddlers out on Lake of the Woods and Wabigoon Lake and really wanted to try it out. Lucky for me, Dustin Shore from Boardanyone in Kenora volunteered to take me for a paddle on beautiful Lake of the Woods.
While paddleboarding first came to Kenora around 5 years ago, Hawaiian pro surfer Laird Hamilton can be attributed to bringing the sport mainstream. During the 2000s pro surfers such as Laird used SUP to continue training when the ocean was too calm to surf. Although we don't do much surfing here, our lakes in Northwest Ontario are perfect for paddleboarding.
SUP can be described as a cross between kayaking and surfing. I love kayaking, but I thought it would be neat to get more of a bird's eye view of the lake instead of being so low in the water. It does give you a different perspective higher up.
It was the perfect day to paddle; calm, warm and sunny.
On a beautiful sunny day in the beginning of June, Dustin and I met at Norman Beach in Kenora to go paddleboarding. If you rent a board from Boardanyone, they will deliver (if needed) the board within a 10 km radius. The paddle boards were long, but Dustin was easily able to carry it to the beach (I did my share carried mine back to the truck after our paddle. Considering the size, it was surprising light.)
After a quick tutorial on how to get on and how to hold the paddle we were off. I was just as excited to try out our new GoPro as I was to go paddleboarding. Check out the video at the end of the article. We headed west along the shore towards the Discovery Centre. It was easier than I expected. As we paddled along the shore it was neat to check out what was under the water. You could see very old dock cribs, rocks, the sandy areas, even a few fish.
Next we headed in the other direction towards town. This side of the beach was a little busier. A group of young canoeists passed us, as did a pontoon boat and some motorboats. It was great to see so many people out enjoying our beautiful lake in so many different ways.
Heading back to Norman Beach I felt a little sad that my journey was ending. A paddleboard is definitely something I'd like to own. I was on the Odyssey SUP which was a middle of the road, stable board that retails with a paddle for $949 which I figure is probably a little less than I'd spend on a kayak. You can rent one for the day for just $49 - totally worth it in my opinion. I'd like to rent one and take it to Blue Lake Provincial Park where the crystal clear water is very shallow for a long time.
There some health benefits too!
As I was enjoying the view of the lake and exploring Lake of the Woods, I was also getting a work out. Paddle boarding works your full body but it's the core muscles that get the biggest work out. While I didn't really feel it while I was paddling, my core muscles hurt for 2 days after! I guess I need to do it more often. Boardanyone has even offered SUP Yoga classes. 'Refining your technique' and the fact that it 'helps you with your breathing' are just two of the 10 Reasons You Should Try Yoga On A Stand Up Paddleboard.
If you've been considering trying out paddleboarding in Kenora, put down what you're doing and head down to Boardanyone right now! You won't regret it, it's fun, a workout and affordable. As of July 1st, 2014, Boardanyone will be partnering up with the Gill's Trading Post in Sioux Narrows and opening a location right next to Gill's. So now you'll be able to rent a paddle board right in Sioux Narrows. Call 807-468-3211 if you have any questions or to book a paddleboard rental in Kenora or call 807-464-0529 in Sioux Narrows. If you rent one and then end up buying a paddleboard from Boardanyone, they will discount the amount of the rental. I know there will definitely be a paddle board in my future. How about you?