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What's Up with SUP?

What's Up with SUP?
by Grace Peven

Lake Wenatchee State Park attracted quite a crowd of people over the Fourth of July weekend.  It was packed with families enjoying the summer temperatures and the sandy beaches.  On my way to the water that day, I had to cautiously place my feet on the hot sand to avoid stepping on someone’s outstretched legs.  That day I was particularly thankful my friend and I had rented stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) so we could enjoy the open space of the water.

We launched from the crowded beach and paddled out onto the glassy surface.  The sound of the children screaming and playing on land quickly faded as we streamed farther and farther toward the middle of the lake. Before long only the calm melody of rippling waves surrounded us.

The two of us leisurely explored the lake for several hours, jumping in periodically to keep the July sun from frying us.  Maneuvering the board proved to be very simple and paddling flowed easily and naturally from the standing position. I found the paddling motion relaxing -- even meditative. I could do this all day, I thought.

SUP ranges from being a mellow activity to an extreme sport.  In my case, I chose the mellow side (and still found it exciting!). Watch this video of Adam Mckenney surfing a wave on the Wenatchee River to see the sport practiced at a completely different level.  

SUP is the closest I’ve come to walking on water. I felt like I was standing on water with the lake out ahead egging me to sprint across it. What a head trip!


How to get started with SUP:

  • LMS offers lessons and great resources for SUP.
  • Let’s Go Tubing! located in Leavenworth offers lessons and rentals.
  • SUP Yoga with Bridget Shae. Try balancing on your board while doing yoga!  Workshop through Snowcreek Yoga Studio coming in August. Check here for dates.
  • We printed this article about SUP (by Kim Anderson) a few years ago.
  • Osprey Rafting Company (509-548-6800) has SUP rentals (as well as sit-atop kayak rentals) at Walla Walla Point Park. There's an eddy right outside of the rental area where you can get the hang of paddling -- then paddle up river, into the swimming lagoon, portage the jetty, and paddle into the estuary at the Confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia rivers. This is a great place to paddle -- protected waters, interesting channels to explore, interesting wildlife, (deer, beaver, otters)  and many different birds. Here's a map and a birding guide to the Confluence estuary.

Here’s a great, in-depth article about local SUP scene written by Gary Jasinek and printed in the August 2011 edition of Foothills magazine.  The article includes several interviews with local SUP enthusiasts, first-hand experiences, and where to go to learn more on SUP.