Taking on the Salt River as an SUP Virgin Growing up in a Midwest city founded on murky rivers didn’t present many opportunities for water sports. And partaking in the annual Polar Bear Plunge in January’s 20-degree weather wasn’t exactly my idea of fun. There are a few lakes on the outskirts of where I lived but unless you owned a boat or knew someone who did, you lived a life without water sports.
I had never even heard of stand up paddle boarding (SUP) when I moved to Phoenix last February. So when Women on Adventures hosted an SUP event in August, I had to check it out.
Heather and her crew at No Snow SUP in Mesa accommodated all 30-something of us adventure loving women one morning. They helped us rent our boards and safely strap them to our car roofs (you don’t need a pick-up, my Civic worked just fine).
We drove out to the Salt River and, despite the notorious heat at 7am, it was a gorgeous August morning. One by one we put our boards in the water. Most of us sat or kneeled on our boards until we got away from the shore. I thought standing up on the board would be comparable to learning to walk, but it was surprisingly easy—as long as you’re balanced. Once everyone was up and ready, we started upriver.
Paddling was easier than I thought and I was surprised by how much of a full body workout SUP is. Arms, back, core, quads—you exercise a little bit of everything. And you can make it as intense of a workout as you want. The majority of us took it easy (since it was our first time) and chatted as we paddled upstream. This also gave us the opportunity to appreciate the beautiful scenery around us.
We continued for about an hour before we turned around and coasted downstream. As I paddled and appreciated the occasional breeze, I knew two things: that I wouldn’t want to lift anything over five pounds for the next two days, and that I would definitely be doing this again.