Stand-up pad­dle­board­ing ‘an in­cred­i­ble way to ex­pe­ri­ence the water’

Cape Breton Post - - HOBBIES - PAUL PICKREM

Su­san Young was in­trigued when she saw peo­ple stand­ing up on pad­dle­boards as they moved through the water. Since then, she has be­come an avid stand-up pad­dle­boarder over the past two sum­mers.

“I saw peo­ple on the water stand­ing up, and I saw peo­ple were do­ing yoga on stand-up pad­dle­boards, so I wanted to get on the water,” Young said dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view.

“It's prob­a­bly the most therapeuti­c thing that I have done,” she said.

“I have a busy life. I have two small kids, and I am busy at work. And I put my phone down, and I got on that pad­dle­board and went out into the water, and it was amaz­ing. It was mind-clear­ing. It didn't fo­cus on any­thing other than pad­dling and tak­ing in the fresh air. It is amaz­ing, and I have fallen in love with it.”

Be­fore get­ting on the water, how­ever, Young found her way to Sco­tia SUP (Sco­tia Stand Up Pad­dle­board­ing) in Dart­mouth, N.S., where she took an in­tro­duc­tory course in how to en­joy the sport safely from in­struc­tor Alex Chan­dler.

Young said she en­joyed the course so much she took it sev­eral times and in­tro­duced it to friends, who en­joyed it as well.

“Go­ing to Sco­tian SUP, I was able to rent the equip­ment, so I didn't have to com­mit to buy­ing equip­ment at first,” she said. “I fig­ured it was a good way to test it out and see if I liked it.”

Chan­dler told SaltWire re­cently Sco­tian SUP came into be­ing to help peo­ple “not only learn to pad­dle but learn to pad­dle well.”

“We are get­ting peo­ple on the right equip­ment in the right con­di­tions. With the right di­rec­tion and sup­port, peo­ple will al­most 100 per cent of the time have great suc­cess,” Chan­dler said.

Chan­dler has many years of ex­pe­ri­ence with sev­eral water sports but be­gan to fo­cus on stand-up pad­dle­board­ing be­cause it af­fords flex­i­bil­ity other wa­ter­sports do not.

“I was able to get on the water any­time I wanted. And in Hal­i­fax, there are so many di­verse places to pad­dle. Whether it be lakes, ocean or rivers,” he said.

“It fit the bill for me be­cause the other sports I en­joy are of­ten dic­tated by mother na­ture, for in­stance, wait­ing for the wind or wait­ing for the ocean to de­liver some waves. The ac­ces­si­bil­ity of pad­dle­board­ing was very at­trac­tive to me. I could get on the water any time I wanted.”

He said the sport also of­fers di­verse styles of equip­ment to suit dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties such as yoga on a pad­dle­board, pad­dling on flat water lakes, rivers, long-dis­tance ocean pad­dling, rac­ing and even overnight camp­ing trips.

Chan­dler said stand-up pad­dle­board­ing evolved from surf­ing but brought the el­e­ment of us­ing the pad­dle to pro­pel your­self through the water, as in kayak­ing or ca­noe­ing, com­bin­ing el­e­ments from many wa­ter­sports.

The pad­dler stands upright, pro­pel­ling the board us­ing a pad­dle with a shaft slightly longer than the pad­dler's height and an an­gled blade.

“The stand-up com­po­nent is a beau­ti­ful merger be­tween the pad­dle sports and the surf sports,” he said.

“Vis­ually, the op­tics are much dif­fer­ent than sit­ting in a kayak or a ca­noe be­cause you are stand­ing, which is quite in­trigu­ing. Stand­ing gives you a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive of the water. And be­cause you are stand­ing, you are engaging all your mus­cles while main­tain­ing bal­ance on the board.”

The en­try-level price point is about $600 for ba­sic equip­ment. More ad­vanced pad­dlers can spend up­wards of $3,000 for high tech boards and pad­dles.

Sco­tia SUP of­fers the ba­sic in­tro course for $100, in­clud­ing a three-hour equip­ment rental.

Chan­dler said he has trained pad­dlers as young as five up to peo­ple in their 70s, rang­ing from those ex­pe­ri­enced in pad­dle sports to peo­ple with lit­tle or no ath­letic con­di­tion­ing or sports back­ground.

"Stand-up pad­dle­board­ing is an in­cred­i­ble way to ex­pe­ri­ence the water in At­lantic Canada, as well as a great form of phys­i­cal ex­er­cise that is good for men­tal health and gen­eral well-be­ing,” he said.

More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at sco­tian­sup.com and Ca­noe Kayak Nova Sco­tia at ckns.ca.

Alex Chan­dler be­gan Sco­tia SUP five years ago to in­struct novice pad­dlers on stand-up pad­dle­board­ing through­out the At­lantic re­gion.

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