Get Up, Stand Up: Paddleboarding, that is!03/10/2021 10:51AM ● By Mark Aiken
A day at the beach doesn’t have to be just sandcastles and catching sun rays. Stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP-ing) on Lake Champlain is an emerging sport that can be as exciting as surfing ocean waves…or as peaceful as meditating in front of a silent sunset.
“The whole family can get into it,” says Kevin Womersley, who manages pro surfers and acts as ambassador for Burlington’s WND&WVS, a shop dedicated to all things watersports-related. “Age, ability level, balance—none of that matters.”
SUP-ing has several disciplines: surfing waves, racing, practicing yoga, and touring. (Kevin and other members of Burlington’s SUP community will gather at Thompson’s Point in Charlotte and paddle 16 miles to the Burlington waterfront when 40-mile-per-hour south winds, common in autumn, blow.) Different boards have distinctive qualities: SUP tourers can paddle 15 times on a side without turning on a long displacement board, narrow racing boards slice through water, and wide boards provide a stable platform for yoga. “You name it, there’s a board for it,” says Kevin.
WND&WVS and Burlington Surf Club, (which was founded by WND&WVS owner Russ Scully) offer Intro to SUP lessons by appointment into fall. Lessons include boards, paddle, PFDs and—for cooler days—a wetsuit. There is a proven novice progression: on-land instruction first, on knees on the board in shallow water, then standing up. For quick studies, there are different skill sets and specialized boards to play with.
Adventure watersports don’t end with SUP-ing. There’s also kiting, wind-surfing, and even e-foils (water’s version of an e-bike). “Watersports are great for peace of mind; they’re a form of meditation,” says Kevin. “It’s about fitness, cross-training, and being out in nature.”