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Why You Should Try Stand Up Paddling Today By Matt Palmariello

The author paddling down to the take-out. 4-day SUP camping trip on the Colorado River, Nevada. Photo by Haley Caruso

hink back to the very first time you tried kayaking and see if you can remember the details of your experience. Was it posi- tive? Did you have fun? Did you capsize? Did you make it to where you were going? Did you make it back? For me, that very first experience was on a sit-on-top kayak during a tropical vacation. It changed my entire life. From that humble beginning, kayaking became my biggest pursuit, took over much of my life, changed my career outlook, and dominated my leisure time.


These days, however, standup paddling is doing the same exact things for me. It has given me a new per- spective, a new challenge, and exciting new experiences on the water that I won’t soon forget.

The first time you try standup paddling you’ll notice right away how similar it can be to kayaking. All of the paddle stroke skills you use in your kayak will work on a standup board. Forward and reverse strokes, turning strokes, steering strokes, draw strokes and braces are all ex- tremely effective. Some will work even better on a board than in a kayak. Coming to standup paddling with existing paddle stroke skills, you don’t need to relearn these, so can focus on balance.

But don’t let the balancing part scare you because, just like kayaks, boards come in all shapes and sizes for a range of uses and ability levels. With the right equipment you probably won’t fall in at all, and your balance will improve very quickly. If you do fall in, no worries, it takes just seconds to remount the board. On most flat-water

12 Summer 2012

Lake Tahoe lunch break. Photo by Matt Palmariello

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