Friday, June 22, 2012

A Fast Growing Watersport For The Whole Family-Another Way to Enjoy Charleston's Beautiful Coastal Waters

I know of only one person, and his name is not Bruce Almighty, who history recorded as having actually walked on water. But there is a water sport gaining in popularity in which the participants say doing it is "like walking on water". The difference between actually walking on water and experiencing the sensation of walking on water is ginormous, and despite our restrictive human abilities, just experiencing the sensation would be exilerating, like the idea of flying. This fast-growing-in-popularity watersport first made its appearance over 50 years ago, but only arrived in the U.S. via the West Coast 12 years ago, and is currently taking the Southeast by storm. I only recently became aware of this amazing activity. So, what's SUP with that?

The athletic water activity that is being enthusiasticly embraced by the masses is called Stand Up Paddleboard or SUP for short. All you need is a long surfboard with a leash, a long paddle, and to be safety concious, a life jacket, and you are set to go. The idea originated in Hawaii, the birthplace of surfing. Early in the 1960's the Beach Boys of Waikiki, while standing on their long boards would paddle around the surf with outrigger paddles to take pictures of the tourists learning to surf. Back then it was called "Beach Boy Surfing", another name for SUPing. SUPing then beacame a way for Hawaiian surfers to stay in shape when the surf was flat. Beach Boy, Rick Thomas, is credited with introducing SUP to the beaches of California in the year 2000 and since has found its way to the coastal waterways and beaches of Charleston. It is a fun alternative to kayaking with a one distintive advantage.

The advantage of SUPing verses kayaking is your vantage point. You have the ability to see more things below you when in a standing position as opposed to a sitting position, plus you can see farther out over the surface of the water as well. Everything from horseshoe crabs, stingrays, jellyfish, and dolphins become more visible as you cruise along the rivers, creeks, and backwaters of Charleston's beautiful estuaries. I have kayaked the inner coastal waters and salt marshes of the IOP. At low tide, it is hard to see over the thick marsh grass, thus losing your way or getting lost becomes a possibility. This aspect is minimized if you are on a SUP board. Feeling bodacious and want to take it beyond the flat waters? You can even use your board to catch a wave on one of the three main beaches along Charleston's coastline, the IOP, Sullivan's Island, and Folly Beach. Other activities you can combine with your SUPing are fishing and yoga style excercises.

Interested and don't have your own board, no problem. Charleston SUP Safaris on Folly Beach has everything you need to get you going. They have the equipement. They have the know how. They offer 5 day summer camps specifically for your kids with a focus on teaching them effective paddling and timing techniques with the added features of imparting an understanding of our incredible marine ecosystem and instilling a respect for the importance of preserving the barrier islands. All the instructors have educational experience in Marine Science and ecology of the Lowcountry. There are also three different two to four hour tours available costing from $45 to $70 per person. The Dolphin Safari is an introductory paddle on the Folly River flatwaters. The Sunset and Full Moon Safari is exactly what the name implies. The Morris Island Lighthouse Safari takes you to Morris Island and the mouth of Folly River. It is for more experienced paddlers. For more detailed information on rentals and safaris go to Charleston SUP SAfaris.

Charleston Watersport, located on 1255 Ben Sawyer Blvd in Mt. Pleasant, is a another option for your SUP needs with rentals, group SUP classes and private SUP lessons. They have partnered with Island Paddle Adventure offering you the opportunity to paddle around the wildlife-rich marshlands and coastal waters of Isle of Palms, Sullivan's Island and ever popular Shem Creek with one of their packages. For more information on the tour packages go to Island Paddle Adventure tours and for fitness classes go to Island Paddle Adventure fitness. Charleston Watersport is South Carolina's exclusive gallery for Dragon Paddle Boards and gear. Paddle board rental rates are $40 per day, half days $25, equipment included. Multiple day discounts and weekly rates are available. For more infomation go to Charleston Watersport.

Want to put your SUP skills to the test and have a waterfull time? The 3rd Annual Shem Creek SUP Shootout is scheduled for Friday, July 6, 2012 - Saturday, July 7, 2012. The Registration Party will be at Red's Ice House on July 6th starting at 6pm running till 9pm. Racers meeting will be at 9am on race day at Red's Ice House, Elite SUP Race start time is 10am and all other classes with start at 9:10 in 10 minute intervals for each class. There will be a  Post Race Celebration following the race awards. Paid registration includes both the registration and post parties and a limited edition event t-shirt. All food and beverages are included with paid entry. Registration fees are from $30 to $70. For all the info go to Charleston Watersport.

SUPing is easy to learn and fun for everyone of all ages. It is another way to enjoy our beautiful beaches and marine-life rich coastal waters with either a camera or a fishing rod. For the fitness minded individuals, SUPing fitness classes offer the unique opportunity to excercise right on the water. Give it a try. It is just another SUPer way to spend your day in Charleston.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The hubby and I just did this last Saturday through Shem Creek. It was awesome and very hard! We had a guy teach us, and he was very helpful. Sure does work your core and I have had a blister on the inside of my thumb all week from the paddle :-) Will absolutely be doing this again. So fun.