The hot, flatwater days of summer are here. And while we enjoy a bit of beachside lounging, Oregonians can only take so much sitting around. Luckily we’ve found the perfect water sport for the dog days of summer— Stand Up Paddling.

A board sport with Hawaiian roots and recently re-popularized by surfing’s Golden Boy Laird Hamilton, Stand Up Paddling (also known as SUP), is easy to learn and great for sporty folk of all levels.

SUP is pretty much what it sounds like; you stand on a long, floaty surfboard and propel yourself forward through the water with a paddle. For the fitness-minded it’s a great workout with the balance required of yoga and the arm and core strength of kayaking.

SUP has gained popularity in Oregon in places like Hood River as a windless day alternative for windsurfers and kiteboarders. At the coast, it’s an added level of challenge for surfers. And Bend (home to surfing legend Gerry Lopez and Kialoa paddle company) SUPers take to the flat water on the Deschutes River and area lakes.

But wherever you do it, SUP is pretty easy to try. Shops around the state offer introductory lessons for about $50. That comes with gear — SUP board, paddle and PFD — as well as instruction about weather and water orientation, and an introduction to the equipment, safety and water starting.

And, because this is Oregon, there are plenty of ways to take it up a notch: In addition to regular SUP classes, Big Winds in Hood River has instruction for using a SUP board for windsurfing. StandUp Paddle Bend has a SUP and yoga combo class called Flow/Flow. And in Gold Beach, the Inn of the Beachcomber has SUP rentals for folks who want to rip it up in the surf.

Editor’s Note: For an insider’s perspective on SUP, check out this blog post from our friends at Travel Portland.

Photo Courtesy of Hood River Waterplay.

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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