Stand up paddle boarding – surfing Seattle style

Jul 9, 2010, 2:55 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

paddleThe first time I saw someone doing this off Golden Gardens in Seattle, I wondered what was up. From a distance it looked like this guy was walking on water.

It’s SUP – Stand Up Paddle boarding, and it’s one of the fastest growing water sports in our area.

People stand atop surf boards that are made for this kind of sport and use long-handled paddles to steer and propel themselves forward in the water.

Like most surf sports, SUP originated in Hawaii. You’ll see on lakes, rivers and bays all around Puget Sound. In a couple of months there will be a stand up paddle race off the shore of Seward Park in Seattle.

I’m more klutzy than sporty, so I asked a friend of mine who’s into all water sports to tell us about it.

JeffShuey“The boards are very stable and provide a way for you to enjoy the local waterways at your own pace,” says Jeff Shuey who lives in Sammamish.

When he’s not on the water, Shuey is the director of business development for Kodak and a board member of Seattle’s Social Media Club.

The benefit of the sport is that it’s a great workout, but can also be a casual cruise through a local lake.

“It’s a fantastic way to see different parts of your community from a different perspective. A SUP allows you to cruise right along the shore and see birds, fish and a lot of wildlife you normally would not see,” he says.

Safety precautions and things to watch for:

  • As with all sports in the water make sure you are a good swimmer.
  • It is recommended that you bring a personal flotation device and that you attach a leash to your board.
  • Be prepared to encounter wind and wakes, they can knock you off and make it harder to reach your destination.
  • Keep an eye out for fishing lines and respect private property.

And the cost? It’s not a cheap hobby. There are several surf supply shops in Seattle, and their prices for a SUP board are between $1,000 and $1,500. You can rent boards for only $45 a day.

Another set of sports that are fun to do when beating the heat are wake surfing and wake boarding. Shuey is into those water activities too, but they require a boat.

“There is an added cost of owning a boat. Or the best way is to have a friend with a boat. This is the real meaning of friends with benefits,” he says. “For me, I offer to pay all the gas. That’s a nominal donation to my friends who have boats and are willing to take my friends and family onto the water. At this time of the summer there is nothing better than relaxing on a boat.”


Jeff Shuey wake surfing

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Stand up paddle boarding – surfing Seattle style