Kayaking remains our primary focus, but we do admit to having a lot of fun messing around on stand up paddle boards.
We picked up a few Cruiser SUPs to use as rentals last fall and have enjoyed paddling local ponds, flatwater rivers, as well as Belfast harbor.
One thing to like best about SUPs is the standing up part. It’s somewhat of a rush to be standing up on top of the water, not unlike the first time I got up on water skis and felt, for a brief few minutes, like I was king of the lake.
You can see more from your 5 – 6 foot vantage point, especially when paddling through a marshland where — if in a kayak — the grasses would obscure your view. Being up higher improves the angle so you can see farther down into the water. Last fall, we spent a magical afternoon on Belfast bay, seeing the sea life on the bottom more clearly than we had ever seen it from a kayak.
SUPs being the simple “boards” that they are, they lend themselves to mixing activities and crossing boundaries. Tired of standing up? Sit down or kneel for a few minutes. Want a break from paddling? Lie down and soak in some rays? Getting hot? Go for a swim right off your board. Have a family member, friend, or dog on shore? Have them sit in front of you and take them out for a spin.
Did I mention that one of the best things about SUPs is standing up? Most Americans sit more than we should. Stand up paddle boarding goes even further than kayaking in terms of strengthening core muscles and helps improve your balance.
This may not be true for everyone, but for me, kayaks are destination machines. I get in a kayak and I think about going somewhere. Being on a paddle board is about the experience of being out on the water, not necessarily going anywhere, just playing around, being a kid again.