What's SUP?

Stand-up Paddle Boarding, or SUP, is a growing sport on Vancouver Island. There are numerous places to drop in and explore the scenic waterways around Greater Victoria and Sooke. I prefer going on the ocean, but paddling around the lakes in the area has been adventurous too. 

My very first paddle on a board was at Kemp Lake in Sooke. This is a small body of water, and there is access to the lake right off Kemp Lake Road. We were able to park our truck so close that I didn't have to carry the board more than a few feet. This was perfect for me because at that time I found the board heavy to carry. My board weighs in at 35 pounds with paddle.

I wore a full wetsuit that first time to see how it fit and what my mobility would be like in it. I had bought the suit in Edmonton, AB, before I moved to the Island. There was a store closing-out sale so I got a great deal, but I wasn't sure about how the suit would fit after I lost a few pounds. I hoped it would be easier to get on and off.

The suit was really warm and I felt safe in it since wetsuits offer full body flotation. What I didn't realize is the workout I would get while fitting the skin tight suit on, and later getting it off. The booties were even more of a challenge. I should explain though, I was trying to remove the suit modestly behind a towel, beside our parked truck, after the paddle. It's an experience that still makes me cringe. I now wear a half wetsuit, and I wear a bathing suit under it so I never have to contort myself behind a towel like that again.  

I have a Harding board that is 10 feet long and 3 feet wide. This board is designed for surfing as well, but it's definitely a good size for paddling. I've had no problem staying balanced on it, or riding out rough water. What tends to happen in the chop is that my own fear of the water, and my inexperience in the white caps tires me out. I've never come off my board or worried for my safety. To avoid dangerous situations, I always paddle with someone, and we always check the tide and weather before hitting the water.

I plan to follow up with a blog on my favorite places to drop in on my paddle board, and I'd like to write more about the wetsuit workout. I'll also discuss how I've outfitted myself for SUP.

I welcome your questions and comments.