Thursday, August 28, 2014

5 Reasons to Introduce Stand Up Paddleboarding to the Family

I've spent the last three summers paddling my way across Alberta and BC on my stand up paddle board.  I've done SUP overnight paddle trips, I've fallen into glacial cold water, and I've battled head winds strong enough to bring me to my knees while my board spun in circles with each stroke against the wind.  Regardless of the challenges, I love this awesome sport and I wouldn't choose any other vessel to take with me on the water.  We even sold our canoe so that my husband and son could join me on my adventures and bought a nice tandem kayak for the two of them.


Stand up Paddleboarding - Family Friendly!
 Stand up paddleboarding is a great family activity!  While the board may appear to comfortably carry one adult, I can testify that these boards can easily carry an adult and up to three small children or a dog.  Children can even accompany you on easy river trips and the whole family can join you for an afternoon at the lake.

Red Deer River Overnight Paddle Trip
This dog rides on the family board as much as the kids do.

5 Reasons to Introduce SUP to the Family


One - A SUP board is a LOT of fun around camp or at the beach.  Kids view the boards as water toys in the same way they enjoy playing in floating rafts or using inflatable swim toys, swim noodles, or kid-sized boats. 

Playing around at camp this summer

Two - A SUP Board adds fun to long river trips.  Kids get tired of sitting in a canoe or kayak for long periods of time but they'll always enjoy a break on your board for a while.  And I've even seen kids take river naps on them!

River Nap on a SUP
One adult, two kids, and an inflatable SUP for a fun river trip!

Three - Paddling is Safer when you have more than one vessel.   By dividing your family into multiple boats, rather than fitting everybody into one canoe, you are making it easier to do a water rescue should need arise.  We always travel with my husband and son in a tandem kayak, and me on my board.  If I have a problem, they can rescue me.  If my son falls in, I can maneuver my board over and pick him up.  If both of them fall in, I can still pick them both up to at least transport them to shore.  If however, we were all in one canoe and had problems, it would be a lot harder.

Family Overnight Paddling Trip in Kananaskis
Our Tandem Kayak - perfect for overnight or day trips

Four - The Cost of SUP boards is going down.  Really, it is.  I was on the Mountain Equipment COOP page the other day and there are a lot of boards on clearance right now.  Last year I got my full package (board, paddle, fin, leash, and case) for less than $800.00 at Costco.  That's a LOT cheaper than a good kayak or a canoe!  A family could even buy two boards, put a child on each board with one of the parents for day trips, and it would be a lot cheaper than buying a canoe or two kayaks.

This is also the time of the year when you can get some good deals on used boards.  In Calgary, Undercurrents sells off rental boards each September and this is how I got my first board. 

Buy two boards and enjoy time with friends on the river

Five - A SUP board is a lot easier to transport than a heavier canoe or kayak.  Buy an inflatable SUP and you can fit it into a small compact car.  Buy a regular board and you can still stick it in the back of your truck or on top of your small car.  However, you choose to carry the board, it is easier than transporting a canoe or kayak.

Carrying my board in the back of the truck.

And Bonus Reason Number 6 - No Learning Curve!  The following photo was taken 10 min. after trying SUP for the first time ever.  And my son was only 3 at the time.

Balance comes naturally to most people on a SUP board.


Where to SUP in Western Canada



Calgary and area


 For information on where to try SUP around Calgary, read my story, Stand up Paddleboarding in Calgary, that I wrote for Family Fun Calgary.  In this story, I list off my fav. places to paddle in the Calgary area. I also talk about where to rent boards in the city and where you can rent on site without having to transport a board.

Evening paddling on the Ghost Reservoir outside Calgary

Banff, Kananaskis, and Canmore


I wrote a story for Highline Magazine on where to try SUP in the Bow Valley.  The story, SUP, Bow Valley:  An Introduction into a Pretty Sweet Water Sport,  covers the area from Kananaskis to Lake Louise.

Paddling on the Vermilion Lakes in Banff

 I also wrote a story for my own blog called Touring the Canadian Rockies on a Stand Up Paddleboard and it covers the entire area from Waterton in the south to Jasper in the north.

Paddling on Moraine Lake, Lake Louise
Finally, more on paddling in the Banff and Kananaskis area can be found in my recent story:  Family Canoeing and Kayaking in the Canadian Rockies.

Paddling at Lake Louise in Banff National Park

Jasper National Park and Edmonton 


I haven't paddled much near Edmonton yet but I wrote a story on Stand up Paddleboarding in Edmonton for Family Fun Edmonton that was just published.  It lists off a few places you can try SUP in the local area. 

Paddling on  Lake Annette in Jasper outside Edmonton
My story, Touring the Canadian Rockies on a Stand Up Paddleboard also covers the Jasper area with my favourite lakes to paddle in the area.

Paddling on Pyramid Lake, Jasper

Southern Alberta

 

Waterton Lakes National Park


We've done a lot of paddling in Waterton Lakes National Park and it's one of my favourite places to take my board out on the water.

Paddling on Cameron Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park

My story, Touring the Canadian Rockies on a Stand Up Paddleboard covers the Waterton area with some of our favourite lakes to paddle in the area.  I also wrote a second story purely on paddling in Waterton called Paddling in Waterton Lakes National Park.  It covers pretty much every paddle you could think of doing in the area.

Snow on the shores of Cameron Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park

 

The Red Deer River and Dinosaur Provincial Park


Another favourite in Southern Alberta is the Red Deer River in the Dinosaur Provincial Park area.   You can read about this year's overnight paddling trip on the Red Deer River at Five Years of Family Backpacking Trips

Paddling on the Red Deer River near Dinosaur Provincial Park

Little Bow Provincial Park


The Travers Reservoir is a beautiful place to paddle based out of a great family-friendly campground.  There is information on Little Bow Provincial Park in my camping story:  Two Campsites and Eight Families.

Paddling on the Travers Reservoir, Little Bow Provincial Park


 Writing on Stone Provincial Park and the Milk River


We camped in Writing on Stone Provincial Park last summer and spent two days paddling on the Milk River.  The scenery was incredible and the sections of river we did were very easy.  More can be found in my story:  Camping in Writing on Stone Provincial Park.

Girl SUP Party on the Milk River
Hoodoos on the Milk River

British Columbia and Vancouver


I haven't done much paddling in the Vancouver area but we spent a week on the Sunshine Coast last summer and it was a lot of fun doing ocean SUP.

Paddling in Porpoise Bay outside Vancouver

I recently wrote a story for Family Fun Vancouver on Stand Up Paddleboarding in Vancouver and it's a great resource for families in that area. More can be found in my story:  Mountain Family Meets Ocean on the Sunshine Coast

Paddling on the Ocean Near Vancouver

Kikomun Creek Provincial Park


For some easy lake paddling, Surveyor's Lake near Fernie is a family favourite.  It's the only place I know where you can SUP with painted turtles.  The water is warm and it's a safe spot to try SUP for the first time.  They even rent boards on the campground beach.

Even Daddy gives SUP a try at Surveyor's Lake.
More on Surveyor's Lake can be found in my story:  Camping in British Columbia - Kikomun Creek.

Easy paddling on Surveyor's Lake, British Columbia

The Columbia Valley and the Columbia River


Another favourite spot in British Columbia is the Columbia Valley near the town of Invermere.  We like to paddle the Columbia River, which has to be the most family-friendly river we've ever found!!

Paddling Trip down the Columbia River
For more on paddling the Columbia River, read my story:  Exploring the Columbia River Wetlands by Boat, Bike, and Hike

Family-friendly Paddling on the Columbia River


The Okanagan and Shuswap Area


We take a trip  out to the Okanagan area of British Columbia every summer and love paddling the warm waters of Skaha and Okanagan Lake. Penticton is our favourite base camp and we've done some fun paddles between Naramata and Penticton as well as from Summerland to Naramata.  There's nothing like paddling to have lunch on a beach in a different town! 

Paddling across Okanagan Lake for lunch

Boards can be rented on many of the beaches in Kelowna and Penticton and it's a great warm spot to try SUP for the first time.  No glacial cold water to fall in to here!

Trying SUP on Skaha Lake in Penticton
For more information on the Okanagan, read my story:  Vacation Wonderland in the Okanagan Valley.  I also wrote a story on camping in the Shuswap area where there is a lot of paddling to be enjoyed on Shuswap Lake. 

Paddling on Shuswap Lake

There are a LOT more places to get out with the kids on the water but hopefully I've at least inspired you to try SUP, to take the kids with you, and to introduce the sport to your family.  While not all of the photos in this story showed children riding on boards, we had kids present on over 90% of our paddles over the last few years now. 

My Support Boat that joins me on all of my trips

We've done rivers, lakes, overnight trips, and even paddled when there was still ice on the water this past spring.  SUP is a family-friendly sport and I can't wait to see what cool trips we do over the next several years.

Spring Paddling - and yes, that is ice.

See you on the water


2 comments:

  1. SUPing in Canada looks gorgeous! Glad you are able to take the kiddos (and pup)! Thanks for sharing this inspirational post. It'd be great to see more kids getting into Stand Up Paddleboarding!

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