SUP with your Pup

Brazil celebrates dogs who love to SUP with a Stand Up Paddle Dog Tournament!

I’m not sure if you could find two better things to pair together than puppies and stand up paddleboarding. The only thing that could make this pairing any better would be to add in a warm, tropical location. Oh wait. They did that. Rio de Janeiro hosts a stand up paddleboarding tournament for dogs! Who’s coming with me?

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Down by the (Saugeen) River

For my birthday this year, my friends didn’t just plan me a surprise birthday party; they surprised me with a 23-kilometer paddle down the Saugeen River! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate my youth 😉 . The Saugeen River trek was one that I had talked about doing for some time but had never managed to organize myself. I’m lucky to have such great friends who executed a flawless paddle adventure.

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Saugeen River. Photo by: Shannon at PaddleWagon

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SUP is for Stand Up Paddle…Board?

I am a self-professed grammar and spelling nerd and it irks me that I do not know the correct term for stand-up paddle(boarding). There is absolutely no consistent approach out there – sometimes ‘board’ is included, sometimes it’s not; sometimes standup is one word, sometimes it’s not. Even on this very blog, I’m guilty of throwing around different terms. I decided to do some research.

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Photo by: Shannon at PaddleWagon – Humber Bay, Toronto

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Cold Water Paddling

This is the time of year when I tend to hide inside with a bowl Golden Grahams watching re-runs of House Hunters International while simultaneously looking up cheap flights to somewhere south. I must admit, Southern Ontarians have been spoiled this year with some pretty great autumn weather and this is making me dread the ball-busting, wet winter Lake Ontario winds even more than usual. Being cold is probably one of the things I hate the most, but I’ve made it my mission this year to embrace the cold weather and get outside….and on the water.

Photo by: Shannon M at PaddleWagon
Photo by: Shannon M at PaddleWagon

In order to get ready for some cold water paddling, I’ve invested in some key pieces of equipment. Firstly, surf booties were a must-buy. The rubber sole and neoprene (wet suit material) upper helps keep the water out and the toes dry. The second item on my to-buy list was a pair of neoprene gloves which, like the booties, help keep the hands warm and dry. For the remainder of the cold water gear, I managed to make do with some existing stuff – including a waterproof shell jacket and lightweight, full-length yoga pants.

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What’s the big fuss about Stand-Up Paddleboarding?

“I don’t get it. Isn’t it just stand up kayaking? Or surfing for the uncoordinated? ”

If you’re a stand up paddler, you may have encountered a few people who simply just don’t get the appeal of stand up paddleboarding. And chances are, those people probably haven’t tried it yet.

Photo by: Shannon M at PaddleWagon
Toronto Waterfront. Photo by: Shannon M at PaddleWagon

Stand-up paddleboarding is reportedly one of the fastest growing sports in the world, so there has got to be a few good things about it. Here are just a few reasons why (I think) the sport is becoming so popular:

It’s a good workout: unless you’re a SUP racer, stand up paddling won’t give you an intense Crossfit-style workout. However, what it will do is provide a low-impact full body workout. Paddling will sculpt your arms and shoulders and the balance required to stay upright on your board provides a great workout for all your stabilizer muscles in your feet, ankles, legs, hips and abs.  SUP yoga has also been gaining popularity as a new take on the ancient practice.

It’s accessible: Unlike other board sports like surfing and kite-boarding, stand up paddling has very few barriers to entry. Some people are reluctant to take up a new sport if they feel that they can’t commit enough time to it to become a least marginally decent at it. With stand up paddling, you’ll get the hang of it on your very first time. This makes stand up paddling something that people of all abilities and ages can participate in, even people recovering from illness and injury. A post from last week highlighted the results from a great research study on the effects of stand up paddling for recovering breast cancer patients. Stand-up paddling is also a low fuss sport – all you need is a board, a paddle and a sense of adventure. There is no need for super fancy equipment (unless you want to splurge).

Sauble River, ON. Photo by: Shannon M at PaddleWagon
Sauble River, ON. Photo by: Shannon M at PaddleWagon

The cool factor: It’s true. Stand-up paddleboarding is just plain cool right now. Social media is full of pictures of celebrities stand-up paddleboarding, like Jen Aniston in Hawaii and supermodel Gisele Bundchen and hubby Tom Brady in the Bahamas. Even pro surfers like Laird Hamilton have taken up SUPing which has created some street cred for the new sport.

What do you like most about stand up paddleboarding? Leave your comments or send me an email 🙂