Here’s the thing, I am not an athlete. I love sports but I prefer to watch them with beer and wings. Over several summers I have had friends who have tried to get me to go SUPing with them, but I have not gone. I enjoy canoeing as I grew up paddling around lakes in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve even been in an ocean kayak which I enjoyed enormously, but I have been hesitant about SUPing.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know what SUPing is, but I am going to tell you anyway. SUP stands for Stand Up Paddle Boarding which is an off branch of surfing. Unlike surfing, in this sport, you have a paddle and stay in calm water (for the most part). Some people SUP rivers, but those people are nuts.
Most people like stand up paddle boarding on smooth lakes and ponds. For instance, I have seen people SUPing in the morning on Grand Lake when the water is like glass. We recently saw a bunch of SUPs on a small lake near Marble, Colorado. It’s a very popular activity in Colorado and for good reason. It’s an accessible/affordable sport and it gets a person on the water and into nature. Coloradoans love that sort of thing.
On the first weekend of August, we went SUPing for the first time with SUP Colorado Springs. I won’t lie, I was a little apprehensive. I can swim and I love the water; in fact, I’m a bit of a fish, but my balance is crap. It might be my lack of depth perception (I am almost blind in my left eye), but honestly, it’s more likely because I’m just not athletic.
We were signed up to SUP on a little body of water in Southwest Colorado Springs called Quail Lake. SUP Colorado Springs also rents at Prospect Lake east of downtown. To rent a SUP, paddle and life vest it is $15 per hour or two hours for $25. SUP Colorado Springs also rents kayaks, has SUP yoga classes and more.
When we arrived, there was a yoga class taking place on the lake. I have a hard enough time with “tree pose.” I can’t imagine trying tree pose on a SUP.
Jake was our instructor from SUP Colorado and he gave us a quick lesson in the water. Our boards looked fairly wide and stable, so this gave me some comfort. Plus, having a lesson from is great for a person like me—I didn’t want someone to show me “how they do it.” I wanted to know the best way to get up, stand and proper foot placement. Jake gave me all this instruction and then a gentle push out into the water.
I SUPed! Of course, Ryan picked it up quickly; he always picks things up quickly when they are sports-related because he’s the athlete of the family. However, I did it.
I am not posting video proof because the video Ryan took is mostly of my backside as I get up from a kneeling position to a standing position. No one wants to see that!
We paddled back and forth across the lake and I won’t lie, my legs were tense. They felt a little bit like they do when I am attempting to ski, minus the boots. Propping the paddle in front of me on the board acted as a release for my legs as did maneuvering my feet at the ankles (pointing my toes outwards and then inwards).
Paddling and turning the SUP was fairly easy once I realized that the paddle needed to be dipped all the way into the water. If you are only brushing the top of the water with the paddle you won’t go anywhere (or you’ll get there very slowly).
You won’t be seeing any cute Instagram photos of me stand up paddle boarding anytime soon, but I do understand the draw. It is an affordable way to get out on the water. My next goal is to deliberately fall off a SUP so that I can get the hang of climbing back on. That should be interesting.
Thank you to Visit Colorado Springs for hosting our visit.