I can vividly remember the day I fell in love with Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUP). It was October 29, 2014; a hot picturesque day in Ko Lanta, Thailand. I had always been intrigued by the idea of SUP, but never found the opportunity to try it. As I sat there on the beach thinking “wow that looks like fun”, I mustered up the courage and thought “I should get out there with them! Let’s try something new!”. And just like that, I had found my moment to try this trendy activity.

I rented the board for an hour; a safe amount of time to try SUP to decide if I liked it or not. Just like a surfer, I Velcro-ed the leash of the board around my ankle and waded out into the ocean. With endless possibilities of where I could explore, I climbed onboard the deck of the board and off I went.

I was instantly shocked at how comfortable I felt on the board. There was a freedom in my movement, a sense of security in the stability of the board against those tipsy waves, and a level of versatility in body position (you could sit, kneel, sit, or even simply lye down and bask in the sun!). I was enthralled by the cooling sensation of the water splashing over my feet and amazed that you could paddle in extremely shallow water. The part that really grabbed by attention was the higher vantage point. Standing gives paddler’s a unique birds-eye view into the water providing me with a unique opportunity to glimpse all sorts of exotic fish, turtles, and jelly fish as I paddled.

As a beginner, this activity was approachable, yet fun for me. It provided a great arm workout, but had this calming feel about it. It was relatively easy to get the hang of and I never felt that I needed prior experience to enjoy my time on the water. I can honestly say that I didn’t want that hour to end.

Since then, I have continued to look for opportunities to SUP. Whether it’s right here in our very own backyard or halfway across the world, I get excited by the prospect of getting on the board. My enthusiasm for SUP has allowed me to plan several consecutive years MacEwan Recreation’s Learn 2 SUP program in Rundle Park. This program provides guests with a 2-hour guided instruction on how to SUP and Canoe (best of both worlds!). The small group size provides a customizable experience, meaning that your 2-hours can be tailored to instructional lessons, or have free-time to explore. I would highly recommend that everyone climb onboard a SUP and discover if this is your new favourite activity!

Please go to the Recreation website for more information.

By Jess Walker

Jess is certified a Group Fitness instructor, teaching Barre and Older Adult Cardio here at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness. She is also our Recreation Special Event Coordinator.