What’s SUP? Places to try stand-up paddle boarding

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Courtesy of The Goat Boater

The secret to exercising is to find activities that don’t actually feel like you are working out. Stand-up paddle boarding (aka SUP) is a great addition to your fitness routine, especially for those who enjoy being on the water.

It is a full body workout and what some would call a sneaky one. You use about 90% of your body as you work on your balance and strength, but you’re having so much fun you won’t know how much work you’re putting in — until you feel the effects the next day.

Whether you participate in a relaxing yoga session on a board or kick things up by competing in a league, SUP can be enjoyed at a variety of fitness levels.

Now that we are officially in summer, why not take your workout out on the water? We’ve found a few places within a short drive of Charlotte’s city center that offer the fun water sport.

(1) Aloha Paddle Sports

Location: 17505 W. Catawba Ave., Waterstreet Seaport – Suite 130, Cornelius

Courtesy of My Aloha Paddle Sports

Just north of Charlotte, Rob Bennett’s team at Aloha Paddle have been coaching boarders since 2011. “It’s important to learn safety,” Bennett, owner of Aloha Paddle Sports, told CharlotteFive. “Wearing a leash connected to your board is key. Learning things the right way before getting out on the water is important to me.”

You can find several options for SUP here. Everything from introductory classes, sunset paddle tours, as well as a SUP yoga class. Don’t worry, the boards are anchored to keep your board stable.

If you are already somewhat experienced, you can simply come out to Lake Norman and rent a board. They sell out often, so reserve your board in advance.

“You get so many benefits out of this one activity,” Rob said. “I like to call it the trifecta. You get to enjoy the serenity of being on the water. You are getting in a great workout, whether you realize it or not. Also, you’re in the sun soaking up natural Vitamin D. Not to mention, it’s fun!”

Courtesy of Aloha Paddle Sports

Aloha offers introductory classes every day at noon for $35. If you aren’t comfortable with learning in a group, book a private lesson for $50. SUP yoga is offered Wednesday evenings at 6:30 and Sunday mornings at 10:30. As the summer goes on, it will add additional time slots. Sunset paddle tours are offered on Thursday and Sunday evenings.

(2) The Goat Boater

Location: Tega Cay Dr, Tega Cay

Photo by Melissa Oyler / The Herald archives
The Goat Boater

For those in or near the South Carolina border, there’s a SUP company near you. The Goat Boater is a mobile company that operates around Lake Wylie. It has a partnership with the city of Tega Cay that allows it to use the lake.

You can find a plethora of options to choose from. They include a variety of intro classes, moonlit paddle events done via LED lights, an adult paddle board league, technique classes, as well as SUP yoga in conjunction with Om Yoga.

“SUP gives you an avenue to the lake while spending time in nature,” said Megan Cynowa, owner of The Goat Boater. “It is the perfect activity for almost any person, whether you love to relax on water or you are someone looking to get fit.”

If you are interested in the yoga class, check the prerequisite from Om Yoga then book a class through Om’s website. The classes are held at the Tega Cay Swim and Beach center about 15 minutes from the studio.

For those with children who love the water, Cynowa and her team offer a Kid’s SUP adventure camp in June and July. The camp lasts one week and focuses on teaching kids the importance of environmental awareness. They also get to spend time on the water. You can find out more information via the website.

(3) U.S. National Whitewater Center

Location: 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway, Charlotte

Courtesy of U.S. National Whitewater Center

You can now experience SUP at the Whitewater Center. The option is available almost every day between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Guests are able to paddle along the calm waters of the Catawba River while going at their own pace.

The activity does not require you to have previous experience. All gear is provided with your activity pass. This is self-guided. You must be at least 8 years old to participate.

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