STANDUP PADDLING MAKES ITS DEBUT ON THE DEERFIELD RIVER
by Karen Blom
Charlemont, MA -- Zoar Outdoor recently decided to jump into the Stand Up Paddling (SUP) market, keeping up with latest trends in the Paddlesport Industry. Standup paddleboarding is a relatively new sport, an off- shoot from surfing that started in Hawaii and has rapidly moved east. It’s very big in California and has recently been picking up on east coast waterways.
Several staff recently tested out some Liguidlogic Versa boards and Werner paddles on the Zoar Gap section of the Deerfield River. Bruce Lessels, President and Greg Poehlein, Retail Shop Manager went for a cruise down the river and were surprised how easy it was to maneuver the boards down the rapids. “It’s so much like canoeing” stated Lessels. Poehlein plans to stock boards next year for sale in the shop and offer classes on how to paddle SUPS.
SUPS are really a crossover sport between surfing and kayaking/canoeing. Like kayaks, stand up paddleboards range in length from 8 to 14 feet and come in heavy duty plastic, wood or light weight fiberglass constructions. They look very similar to surf boards, their predecessors. Paddles are essentially really long canoe paddles that carve the water as you stand atop the board. You can use these boards on any body of water – ponds, ocean or rivers.
Currently, there are lots of board and paddle manufacturers, magazines events and competitions devoted to this fledgling industry. Long-time surfers say that once you’ve stood up using a paddle, it’s hard to lie down again on a board. SUPS also really develop leg muscles since you have to stand up the whole time. It was the single fasted growing segment of the paddlesport industry in 2009.
Zoar will be testing out several program ideas this fall and finalizing details classes, rentals and retail sales of SUPs over the winter for the 2011 season. Check out www.kayaklesson.com early next year for more information on classes. For retail sales and rentals, visit www.zoaroutdoor.com/store/