I’ve heard of stand-up paddling boarding (SUP) for a while, but have never done it…until Saturday. My wife and I did an impromptu trip up to Silverthorne, Colorado, where we also visited Keystone and Keystone Lake (actually more of a pond). It was at this lake that I finally got my feet wet (and that was all—okay, my shins—that got wet!). We ate lunch at The Edgewater Café, then went over to the rentals, at the Adventure Center Ice Rink (the lake is an ice rink in the winter; we’ve skated there). A half hour costs $25 and an hour costs $40. All the “sport” boards were out, so I initially used the “extra floaty” one (my instructor said I could try the sportier model when I came back, if I wanted). It was more stable and less apt to spill me into the drink. My instructor, friendly and bright blue-shirted Patrick McNally, from Woodbury, Minnesota, showed me the ropes. As I stood up on the board—in water—for the first time, I was really unstable…but as I carefully tooled around for a few minutes I found, huh, this didn’t seem so bad! So me and the extra floaty board went out into deeper water. I took it out all over the pond. I found paddling to be like canoeing—but standing up—then, when I got home, I did a search and found these techniques—which, curiously, don’t mention canoeing at all. No matter, when I used the canoeing “J”-stroke, things went extremely well.
When I returned after the half hour, I asked if I could try one of the sportier models (yeah, I’m already getting cocky), and Patrick (big smile on his face) comes over and says sure, he was wanting to get me out on one, anyway, so we went over and snagged one. He gave me a little more instruction, which was slightly different, and this time when I went out he wished me luck in a way that seemed like more of a “sentence” then fun! Turns out these sportier boards are more responsive, but also go faster and are easier to tip. Yup, noticed that right off. You’re also lower in the water. But, after getting used to the differences, I took that one out for a spin, doing a quicker tour of the lake. Yes, it is faster, and yes, it is more responsive. Even my wife commented on how much faster it moved, though it didn’t really seem like that to me.
But…I never fell over!
Though, in all fairness, I must admit that by now my legs were getting a leettle tired (and as I write this, my calves are sore…), and I very nearly almost took a spill at one point. All the 3-D balancing of the board like that does eventually tire you out if you’re not used to it. I’m on my feet most of the day and work out, so I’m not weak down there…but, all that fine tuning and constant 3-D adjusting for about 50 minutes, well, started to get to me (the paddling didn’t). So, given I almost toppled, I called it a day and brought ‘er in.
But I’ve found a new way to play in the water! This is something I’d definitely want to do again!
To check out Keystone Lake SUP, stop by the Keystone Adventure Center, at Lakeside Village, 195 River Run Road, Keystone, CO 80435. Phone is 800-354-4386.
Tell Patrick I sent ya!