Stand Up Paddleboarding 2016
Summer 2016 was the summer of stand up paddleboarding. July 22 was the first day out and I only managed about 15 minutes, half of which was sitting in the water. Since that day, I have been out on three lakes, sometimes with friends.
Here is Lake Orion, with my cousin Angie, on July 30. Notice the rain? We came off the lake when it started to thunder.
Bob and I went to Jackson Hole Lake in Fort Custer.
Kirsten rented us paddleboards in South Haven and we did a very short stint on Lake Michigan before the storm rolled in. We even managed to get Mom out for a little sitting down.
I’ve been out 25 times total since July 22. Mostly I go to Goguac Lake mid-morning. Some days it’s sunny.
Some days I’m the only one on the whole lake.
Some days, the lake is calm like glass, and I can paddle nearly three miles in an hour.
Being out on the lake is like magic. Even when it’s too windy or there are too many jet skiers, I can drop anchor and just sit and watch the waves for a little.
This summer, I really feel like I reached out and grabbed life. SUP is great fun, and not bad exercise. It’s good alone, and even better with friends. If you think you don’t have balance, you can still SUP. After your first half hour or so, it’s really hard to fall off the board. I hope to continue through October 31 at least, when Willard Beach closes for the season.
It will probably take me until spring to get all of the sand out of my car.
If you’re looking to get into SUP, you should. If you want to get into it on a regular basis and are looking for equipment, here are some of my favorite things:
Ten Toes – The Weekender inflatable SUP
The Weekender fits in my Subaru Outback (it rides shotgun). It comes in a kit that includes everything you need to get started – a paddle, a pump, fins and a repair kit. If you order from the company instead of Amazon.com it’s free shipping and no taxes. I also got their backpack to put everything in and a leash. If you’re a beginner, you should always wear a leash so your board doesn’t get away from you. In the State of Michigan, you’re also required to wear a life vest.
Airhead SUP Anchor
Sometimes you want to take a break. Maybe you want to start out each session with a little meditation or relax a little at the end. Maybe you want to do yoga. To stop yourself from floating away, get this anchor.
O’Neill Superfreak Booties
Lakes can be full of nasty surprises. Often I see beer cans, fishing hooks, rusty pieces of metal, rotten dock posts. You should probably wear shoes, but you still want to feel your board. And in the summer, regular wetsuit booties can get too hot (I am suspecting I will enjoy using them in October, though). These O’Neill booties will let water in and drain it out again, and will help you stand on your board. You can get these on Amazon.com.
You need UV protection. You need a hat, long sleeves and sunblock on your exposed parts. Rash guards, which are rated UV-50+ can be really expensive but totally worth it. You know who has cheap, well made rash guards that seem to fit normally? Land’s End. They often have some of them on sale as well. Also, when yours gets super-funky from the lake water? Soak in hot water and OxyClean for a few hours. Totally de-funks them.
I have a cheap waterproof bag that holds my wallet, car keys and sunblock. I also have a waterproof case for my iPhone. Both are easily available for cheap on Amazon.com. I always have a couple of towels in the car – one to dry off the board and one to sit on. This summer I generally went out in a swimsuit with a rash guard and board shorts over it, but I’ve also gone out in yoga capris and a t-shirt. If you’re out for a long time, a bottle of water is nice to have, too.