Being out on the water, listening to the lapping of the ocean and inhaling the salty sea breeze brings a special kind of peace that only the life aquatic can provide. Even in the heart of our beautiful city, you can escape the summer heat, simply by paddling away from it all. This week we stay right in Vancouver, but experience the city from a different perspective – a stand up paddle board adventure on the Westside.
The sport of stand up paddling (or SUP) is so hot right now… literally. With all this sunny weather, people are hitting the beach in search of ways to cool off and get fit. Paddle boarding is the fastest growing water sport in the world. The beauty of it is there’s no motor and no noise. You are the machine. It’s just you, your board, a paddle and the wide open ocean.
Last weekend, I was invited to experience a beginner SUP lesson with Stand Up Paddle Vancouver . The adventure began with a brief shore orientation before we ventured onto our boards and out into the waters around the Maritime Museum. My fellow paddlers were Elle Basten of Yyoga and famed speaker and yogi Raghunath; an ex-punk, ex-monk turned healthy living advocate, inspirational speaker and coach.
Now in their second summer, owners Coreena Fletcher and Kristy Wight have put together a great roster of SUP programming: beginner lessons, guided tours, corporate groups and special events, SUP-powered crabbing, and even “SUP and Sip” – a paddle to from the Maritime Museum to a wine tasting at the Legacy Liquor Store in False Creek. One of their signature activities is SUP Yoga, a 75-minute yoga class on anchored boards. These classes take place every Wednesday at 6pm at the Maritime Museum. In fact, this Sunday, Yyoga is hosting a Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Yoga workshop.
While SUP’ing is hitting the mainstream in North America, it’s far from a new sport in Hawaii. The sport – called “Hoe he’e nalu” in Hawaiian language – is the ancient form of surfing. It made a comeback in recent decades as a way for surfing instructors to keep watch over their large groups.
Vancouver is a hot bed for SUP and there are tons of great paddling events to participate in all summer long. Big Chop is sponsored by Mountain Equipment Coop and runs every Thursday. On the more intense side is the water adventure race called Ocean Man, a 2-3 hour multi-sport adventure that includes SUP’ing.
Regardless of whether you want to compete or just get fit, SUP is an amazing combination of fitness and adventure. So, what are you waiting for? SUP to it!
PUBLICATION: Vancouver Is Awesome
Photo: Neil Foster