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What’SUP?

Last year, Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) was the most popular outdoor activity among first-time participants. You’re probably wondering ‘why’?

The Okanagan Lake has been pioneering water-based activities for the last several decades. In the 70’s and 80’s waterskiing was all the rage with loud boats streaking up and down the valley, dragging gleeful victims with two planks of wood strapped to their feet. Since then the field of aqua-themed sports has expanded considerably.

In the late 90s, Wakeboarding made getting dragged behind a boat cool again. Wakeboarding cornered the market by appealing to a younger generation who grew up skateboarding and snowboarding and who were badly in need of a new way to hurt themselves while still experiencing an adrenaline fueled state of joy. Other water activities including kite boarding, surfing, wind-surfing, and kayaking have also always been a mainstay here in the Valley.

Jump forward a decade and we now have a new water sport, albeit one that features more calm and serenity and is quickly becoming a cultural phenomenon the world over. First emerging in Hawaii and Australia in 2005, as an offshoot of surfing, the Stand Up Paddle Board has gained notoriety as an all-ages activity that combines exercise, fun, and scenic adventure.

Made of polyester or epoxy resin with a polyurethane foam or wood core (depending on the brand), the Stand Up Paddle Board is over 9 feet in length and is often wider than an average surfboard to allow for even weight distribution when paddling. A light paddle is used to propel yourself across the surface of the water while standing on the board.

The workout potential of SUPing is unsurpassed when it comes to water activities. It provides a complete full body workout that tightens your core while the balancing works your legs and arms to a degree that you won’t realize until you attempt to get out of bed the next morning.

The Outdoor Foundation’s 2013 Outdoor Participation Report  listed Stand Up Paddle Boarding as the most popular activity among first-time participants beating out windsurfing and boardsailing.

There are several places in the Okanagan to rent paddle boards (Okanagan Beach Rentals & Kelowna Beach Rentals) or you can pick one up from local board shops for anywhere from $600+. Be sure to do your research first as they come with a variety of features that can help or hinder your learning curve.

If you’re looking for a picturesque area to float then we suggest McKinley Beach. Away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown core, you can enjoy the calming and tranquil influence of nature as you master your SUP skills. The McKinley Beach community will soon feature a SUP storage unit by the beach so you’re only ever moments away from your next splash in the lake.

So what are you waiting for? The sun is shining and the Okanagan Lake looks inviting. Grab a board this summer and give it a try!