Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) been around for thousands of years in one form or another. The SUP sport has seen a lot of progress, and has really taken off, in the last 10 years.
I poo-pooed it for quite a while thinking it certainly couldn’t give you a workout or be that fun. Boy was I wrong! I tried it for the first time 3 years ago and love it. I even bought my own board last year so Chester, Gretel, and I could go paddleboarding at the lake by our house anytime I wanted.
It’s no wonder it’s so popular. Paddleboarding is great exercise and a lot of fun. It’s a whole-body workout that can be shared with family and friends. It’s one of our favorite things to do to escape the scorching heat.
Paddleboarding is also great because it’s something you can do with your dog. Even dogs that aren’t big fans of water usually like to stand on the board like to stand proudly on the bow of the paddleboard and feel the wind in their face. You and your dog can turn it into a whole day adventure by padding somewhere, pulling ashore for a picnic, and heading back to watch the sunset together.
And just like with you, it helps develop your dog’s core strength, leg strength and balance.
Ready to hit the water on a stand up paddleboard with your dog? Here are 5 tips for getting started:
1) Start with a big, stable paddleboard – Having a stable paddleboard will be easier for you to maneuver and balance with your dog on it. That way you can concentrate more on fun than worrying about skills.
2) Take a lesson – This is especially helpful if you have a larger dog. Dogs under 20 lbs are pretty easy to balance and paddle with. Larger dogs will shift the weight balance as they move around and may get in the way of the paddle. It’s helpful to learn how to train your dog to ride the board properly and for you to know how to handle any balance and paddling issues. If you’re near Seattle, Lindy at the K9 Fun Zone can teach you how to ride a paddleboard safety with your dog.
3) Dress appropriately – If it’s hot and you have too many clothes on, or it’s cold and you don’t have enough on, you may not have as much fun. Dress in layers that are easy to remove while standing or kneeling. No-slip neoprene socks or booties with will help keep your feet warm give you better traction on the deck. You and your pup should always wear a life jacket too.
4) Accessorize – The #1 accessory you will want with you is a waterproof camera or regular camera inside of a water-tight bag. There will be a lot of fun photo ops you’ll want to share with your friends and family. Also, having a dry bag you can strap to the deck is nice for keeping your extra clothes, water, snacks, etc. handy and from getting water-logged.
5) Put a towel on the deck – Wetting a towel and placing it on the front of the paddleboard will help your dog grip the board and keep from sliding off.
If you don’t already own a paddleboard, or have a friend that will let you borrow one, you might want to consider renting first to make sure you and your dog like it. There are several rental places that allow dogs to ride with you on the paddleboard.
If you ARE ready to buy one, check out this article from our friend Wilderness Dave – Tips for Buying Your First Stand Up Paddleboard. He also paddleboards with his pup.
Note: This article is a portion of one written by me and published in the CityDog Magazine Summer 2016 Travel + Adventure Guide.