Water can be an unforgiving element, but perched on top of a paddleboard with a paddle in hand, gliding across Lake Ontario, what you will probably feel is peace and calm. Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is an extremely popular sport, a fantastic physical activity and easy to learn.
Now in its second year of offering water sports, lessons and equipment rentals, Burlington Beach Rentals caters to the paddle boarding community from May to September. “It’s the world’s fastest growing sport, hands down, I can tell you that,” states Maria Gerow, owner of Burlington Beach Rentals.
It’s popular because it’s enjoyable, it can be exhilarating or relaxing, and it’s multi-faceted, enjoyed by cross-trainers, yoga lovers, and anyone looking for a new way to keep fit. “It’s absolutely fantastic,” explains Gerow. She says if you’ve ever kayaked, canoed or you simply love the water, it’s an easy transition. “It’s a lot easier than people think.” Another key benefit is that SUP can be modified for people of different fitness levels or those with mobility issues.
Users renting the equipment at Burlington Beach Rentals must be at least 13 years of age, but Gerow found last year the sport was popular for women between the ages of 50 – 60, a nice surprise. “They found it was a very good total body workout. It doesn’t feel like exercise,” she says, adding that SUP can be done sitting or kneeling rather than standing the entire time.
Group classes are held twice a week, Thursdays and Sundays with private lessons also available. New to the sport last year herself, Gerow says she ensures that most people can get up and going in a one-hour lesson. During that time you can burn about 700 calories, and the sport is an excellent way to build the core muscle groups (stomach and lower back) as well as strengthening the legs and arms. Each class starts off on the beach with some theory, followed by a bit of stretching before going out onto the water. The instructor explains the equipment, safety and how to use the paddle. SUP is easiest on flat water with no wind, but some people return for additional lessons to learn how to conquer waves.
New this season is the opportunity to combine SUP with yoga to really kick your fitness level up a notch. The board itself is large, easily becoming your yoga mat while you bend, stretch and work your core strength on the water. Gerow cautions that participants must have had an SUP lesson prior to registering for SUP Yoga. Classes begin mid June and run until September.
How you choose to experience this activity on any given day is up to you, whether it’s social, meditative or exhilarating. For Gerow, it’s become addictive. “You don’t actually feel like you’re exercising. Your point of view when you’re up on the board is very different,” she says, “because even in Lake Ontario our water is clear and you can see right down to the bottom. You can see fish swimming, you can see rocks, and you can see the details in the sand. SUP is very Zen.”
If, like Gerow, you become addicted to this sport, you can check out the fine selection of boards for sale at Surf Paradise on Guelph Line in Burlington.
By: Becky Dumais
Burlington Beach Rentals
(includes all equipment needed)
Group lessons: $67.50
Private lessons: $119
Full Moon SUP Social
A peaceful experience held under the light of the full moon, surrounded by candlelight.
June 12, 7:45 to 9pm
July 11, 7:45 to 9pm
Burlington Beach Rentals