What's SUP?

Fun on Stand Up Paddle Boards

Stand up paddle-boarding (SUP) is an outdoor water adventure that delivers excitement, balance, ease and confidence. Not much equipment is needed, and what’s needed can easily fit in a car: an inflatable paddle board, a paddle, a helmet (for river riding), a personal floatation device and “gripe” water shoes.

SUP started taking off in 2005. By 2013, it was the outdoor sporting activity that tallied the most first-time participants of any in the United States. Take a look down any local river or lake and you’ll see people using SUPs to surf, for yoga and to ride the river.

The first dedicated SUP store opened in California in 2007, and now, we have our own local company in Carbondale.

Shaboomee, owned by Shaine Ebrahimi, designs and manufactures SUPs, rents SUPs, provides SUP yoga and fitness classes, and organizes clinics and retreats. Shaine runs the company with Mary Sundblom, whose title is “creative director and adventuress.” Both are SUP instructors and guides who have been teaching and guiding SUP enthusiasts on our local rivers and lakes for more than seven years.

The Roaring Fork Valley is full of great whitewater spots, perfect for your SUP. One favorite place for local fun is the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park, also known as the “G-wave.” It’s the first man-made whitewater feature built anywhere on the Colorado River, and it provides year-round enjoyment for river enthusiasts. Most popular from May through September, the G-wave offers a great terraced spectator area where you can watch seasoned kayakers, surfers, rafters and SUPs all performing their tricks.

For a recent SUP trip, a group of six of us took off from the Satank Bridge near Carbondale, planning to end our trip at the “take-out” near Westbank Bridge. Locals call this stretch “pink to black” and based on the water flow, 4,500 cubic feet per second on this day, the trip should take approximately an hour. It was beautiful and sunny, with majestic Mt. Sopris creating an amazing backdrop for our float.

For my trip, I grabbed my pair of Sperry Point Breeze Sneakers. Water shoes are a key part of SUP equipment. You need something that will allow your feet to grip the board. The better traction you have, the better balance and oneness you will feel with the board.

The Sperry Point Breeze Sneakers are super lightweight, offer a secure fit and have great arch support. Perfect and stylish! Asked about them during the adventure, I described how they gripped the board and was told that traction is exactly what you need for optimal board-riding performance. The shoes’ Adaptive Wave-Siping design disperses water and makes for improved traction on both wet and dry surfaces.

During my trip, I was lucky to be riding a new 2015 Shaboomee SplitSUP. This board, designed and patented by Ebrahimi, takes a conventional paddle board design and splits it into two narrower surfaces attached to an inside rail. This design allows for natural body mechanics and enables each leg to move independently. The result is increased mobility, stability and balance. The SplitSUP was great for riding rapids as it truly provided suspension.

During the trip, I also checked out the all-around versatile HydroCruiser SUP board. It’s 11’ long, 35” wide and 6” thick. Both boards were super fun and I wish I had them both.

Wish you could have joined us? Stop wishing and jump in. It’s time to live life, as there is no other time to be living. I guarantee you’ll smile.