Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stand Up Paddling Round Bowron

Stand up Paddling, better known as SUP is quickly becoming the fastest growing paddle sport around. This, plus a little encouragement from Marlin, the owner here at Western Canoeing & Kayaking, is what gave me the courage to try something no one had ever done before; SUP the 116k Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit.

For my trip I chose the Starboard
'Free Race'. This board is a terrific choice for fast touring, and it worked great. My paddle was the Werner 'Spanker' - really light, I loved it.

The first obstacle to overcome in planning this journey was how to carry all the gear. I figured I could take a couple of dry bags on the board itself but would need a sherpa of some sort for the rest. My lovely boyfriend, David, decided to take on the task. He paddled a Clipper Tripper 'S' with a solo seat just behind the yoke and carried the rest of our gear, about 150# worth.

We had originally planned on taking 7 days to complete the circuit and thought even that might be pushing it for time and energy. In the end it only took us 6 days. We paddled an average of 20k a day, which was only about 7 hrs per day. On the second day my abs were really feeling the core workout. I was also surprised that my legs weren't weak. After the first day of calm glassy waters we struggled with headwinds for most of the trip thereafter. If I stopped paddling I would instantly start moving backwards. So much for using those Wind Paddle Sails!

I wore a dry suit for practically the whole trip, as it rained 4 of the the 6 days we were out. I used the Kokatat Meridian, and was dry, warm and comfortable the entire time.

The portages were interesting to say the least. With me carrying the board it was pretty much impossible to assist David with the loaded canoe (on a cart) on portage trails. In the end we both seemed to manage ok.

People we met along the way called me crazy and snapped photos like the paparazzi. They just couldn't believe what they were seeing. The Germans we met just couldn't get enough of it. They said they had never seen such a thing and wanted pictures to prove it when they got home. Everyone stood by to watch as I ran the infamous Chute on the Isaac River. I made it past the first couple of big waves and then came crashing to the water. I managed to rescue myself and hop back on the board for the rest of the river. Thank goodness for that helmet I brought.

All in all the trip was a success. And, yes, I stood up the whole way!

Laua Demers
Sales/Demo Coordinator
Western Canoeing & Kayaking

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