Exploring Local Water With Your SUP

Posted on July 28, 2020 by Grace Robinson

Perks of not being able to do much more than stay local? You get to explore local! 

Your wanderlust travels have been pushed off until further notice, summer camps have been cancelled, events postponed with no reschedule date to be seen… The list goes on. We’re right there with ya.

But here’s to finding silver linings.

c/o Brooke Froelich

This season, take the time you may not have had before to appreciate the world around you. Quite literally — seek out nature’s gems local to your area. Find adventure in your own backyard! Yes, by backyard we mean your local waterway. SUP local!

From Mission Bay in San Diego to Lady Bird Lake in Austin to the Charles River in Boston, local can mean so many different places. And so many different types of water. 

Best type of paddle board for the ocean

Your go-to ocean SUP really depends on where you’ll be paddling. If you’re wanting to catch waves and SUP surf, we’d choose the Glider every time. This gorgeous wooden paddle board is long and narrow for optimal glide and the perfect response while riding waves.  

If your local stretch of salt water is more calm and won’t involve cresting any white caps, something from our touring collection would be ideal. The Voyager SUP is perfect for long coastal expeditions. It’s pointed, domed nose and cutting bow allow the board to shed water in choppy conditions and keep up the speed. 

A board with a similar body shape but a little more room, perhaps for a tag along pup, is the Pioneer: durable, functional, and inflatable for easier portability. Plus, the rounded nose makes it easier to catch waves. Perfect for ocean explorations.

Best type of paddle board for a river

Rivers are often a mixture of fast moving, rocky water rapids and slower paced currents. We definitely recommend knowing the local river you’d like to embark on before mounting the board. To take your SUP down a river, you most likely need to be a more advanced paddle boarder and able to navigate rough waters. 

River paddle boarding requires a SUP that is super durable and ready to take on rocky waters. An inflatable stand up paddle board is the way to go for both durability and stability. Epoxy boards have their time to shine, but you don’t want a hard paddle board in rocky waters as they could be damaged on impact. 

ISLE inflatable SUPs are crafted with a military grade PVS material that makes them just about indestructible. You’d be able to paddle down the river with no worries of shatter potential when crashing into rocks. Plus, inflatables rise higher on the water, giving you a stability advantage as well. 

For river paddle boarding, especially on rivers with white water, the Explorer is the best inflatable paddle board. Its size, shape and fin set up is ideal for navigation and stability through rapids. 

Best type of paddle board for a lake

Similar to ocean paddle boarding, your lake paddle boarding partner is somewhat relevant to the makeup of your local watering hole. 

In general, smaller lakes tend to have calmer waters and less boat traffic. Larger lakes, like Lake Michigan, can produce actual surfing waves or just have a larger number of boats on the water to make it choppy enough for a tough, Outpost board. 

The Outpost is an extremely durable hard paddle board that is designed for all skill levels and built to sustain the wear and tear of regular use. It’s also easy to carry and fairly lightweight!

c/o Brooke Froelich

For calmer lake days, we suggest the Megalodon. Maybe because when we hear lake, we think of floating out on a pontoon catching rays on a refreshingly lazy day. Let’s consider the Megalodon the pontoon of stand up paddle boards. Massive in size, this inflatable SUP is multi-person (or pet), and made for a good time. 

How shallow can the water be to stand up paddle board?

It’s been asked — can you paddle board in a creek? The real question is: how deep does the water need to be in order to safely use your stand up paddle board? 

For best usability, the water should be at least a foot deep to avoid scraping the bottom with your board. However, keep in mind that shallow water will mean a harder fall. Think of all the warning signs at pools to not dive in the deep end and apply the same logic to evaluating your potential SUP waters.  

Shallow water could mean rocks, fallen tree limbs, debris, or animal habitats that you want to avoid running into with your board, as well as falling on if you lose balance. 

In short, explore your local water options to find the most optimal location to bring your stand up paddle board before jumping into the neighborhood creek. The perfect reservoir could be just a few miles away!

As always, we highly recommend taking the time to research your water explorations beforehand to know what you’ll need to navigate your board. Keep a life jacket handy, many Coast Guards mandate its presence, and you may even need a helmet to explore rocky waters.

Recommendations for where to SUP locally

Ok — have your board ready and looking for where exactly to hit the water? Check out these posts to see where we’ve compiled selections of fantastic stand up paddle boarding spots in the hottest areas for our customers. 

Post your favorite SUP location in the comments to share your recommendation with the community!