How to SUP in Chicago: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Secrets

How to SUP in Chicago: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Secrets

One time last summer I tried stand-up paddle boarding. The guys staying at the vacation house next to the one we were in had some paddle boards and they offered to let me try it. Let’s just say I got a lot of lake water up my nose in the process as I fell off every time I tried to stand up. Kneeling? That was fine. Standing? Not so much.

But since it’s called stand-up paddleboarding I thought maybe I should give it another try. That’s where my friend Emily and the Gilt City deal she emailed me about come into play. A one-hour SUP class for $27? Let’s do it! SUP 3

Chicago Paddle Company operates out of a converted shipping container at the south end of Hollywood Beach and you can take SUP lessons, SUP Pilates or yoga classes, or even do SUP Social Hours that include half-price drinks at the beach house! You can also rent stand-up paddle boards and go out on your own if you’re feeling adventurous.

But, let me tell you, it turns out that stand-up paddle boarding isn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it was. Not after about 20 minutes of instruction, anyway! The key? Standing up from a squatting position and keeping your eyes on the horizon. Who knew it was that simple?

SUP_chicagoOur instructors, Hans, was amazing. Incredibly patient and after a few minutes of talking to us about the various ways to turn, he let us out on our own to paddle on our knees in the shallower water. After a few minutes of getting the feel of the board he discussed and demonstrated how to stand up and how to stay standing and then let us go into the deeper water.

Admittedly, I’m still not the best when it comes to turning and anytime I got parallel to the waves I threatened to fall into the water but overall it was a very relaxing workout. Especially because the weather was perfect and the water felt refreshing instead of freezing. In fact, when we did fall off it actually felt rather nice. We paddled for about an hour while we chatted and laughed and enjoyed floating on the water. It’s a completely different experience than canoeing or kayaking because you’re not enclosed and you’re kneeling or standing.  In fact, if you like being on the water I can’t imagine a better way to spend an hour.

So, if you’re intrigued then get yourself to Chicago Paddle Company for the afternoon. And then you can tell all your friends that you’ve SUPed in Chicago!



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    Erin Vandenberg

    I'm a 30-something who decided to get off the elliptical and expand my fitness horizons. Since moving to Chicago in 2008 I've run marathons and biked miles. I've done group fitness classes and lifted weights on my own. And now I want to share my fitness finds with you!

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