Q: What is Stand Up Paddleboarding?

A: Picture a long surfboard gliding across the water, propelled by an upright person using a single-bladed paddle that's longer than the person is tall. Now envision this happening all across Minnesota's 10,000 lakes. When you consider the expanding popularity of stand up paddleboards (commonly known as SUPs), this image is not farfetched. While the use of SUPs started in the surf of Hawaii back in the '60s, we know that interest in their use is extending far beyond big ocean waves and onto Minnesota's blue lakes and calm backwaters.

While the entire concept sounds strange to many people, once you try it you are usually hooked. We are seeing more SUP enthusiasts here every year. Stand up paddleboarding provides you with a very different perspective than canoeing or kayaking. Standing upright allows a broader view of the world and the waves around you, a better view into the water and it avoids the feeling of cramped legs that many experience in kayaks and canoes. Just the fact that SUPing is new to the neighborhood makes it fun.

Paddling a SUP improves core body strength and benefits your arms, shoulders, back and legs. If you are in a training program for strength and endurance, this adds a whole new dimension and interest to your workouts. On the other hand, you can approach it on a very comfortable, casual basis with a wider, stable board. Perfect for the cabin and a great diversion for all ages and abilities. You'll have fun the first time out and more fun as you gain confidence and experience, traveling farther and faster with less effort, turning with greater ease.

The equipment is minimal; a paddleboard, a paddle (available in sized or adjustable length models), a PFD and a leash (so you don't lose the board in high wind/waves). Hoigaard's has demo paddleboards so that you can give it a try before you buy. Go to our Events Calendar for more information on dates and locations of our Paddlesports Demos.

Basic technique involves keeping your weight centered, facing forward, with your feet apart and side by side. Some people prefer one foot slightly forward of the other. Make small adjustments until you find a good balance. Your back should be straight and your knees slightly bent as you pull the paddle through the water.

When you start out it will help to make a stroke on each side of the board until you get moving. Your strokes should be straight and smooth, don't follow the curve of the board. As a beginner, look for a day with low winds and calm water. As you get better, challenge yourself by working on faster turns and by playing in bigger waves. To initiate a quicker turn, move your weight back a little to drop the tail and use your paddle to drive the turn. Envision yourself in the surf of Waikiki.

Stop in to Hoigaard's to check out our extensive line of SUPs.