Jason Smith, one of the organizers for the annual Adirondack SUP Fest in Saranac Lake, knows a thing or two about stand up paddleboarding in the Adirondacks - and he's not afraid to show it!
"SUP" is not just a hip way to greet a friend. SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) is the new, coolest way to enjoy your local waterways and it's here to stay. Over the last 1,000 years or so, SUP has evolved from standing on utilitarian rafts made from reeds in the Polynesian and Hawaiian Islands, to locals standing on their boards to photograph vacationing wanna-be surfers during the surf popularity explosion of the early 60's. It hit the mainstream when big wave surfers started to stand and paddle longboards in order to get a workout on days without waves.
Now SUP has made its way from coastal waterways to inland lakes, ponds, and rivers. Along with the popularity of SUP has come many different ways to enjoy your board. There are boards made for SUP Yoga and fitness, racing and whitewater, as well as those made specifically for the angler. There is no doubt that paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts throughout the Adirondacks have caught the SUP bug.
A New Perspective: Adirondack Paddleboarding
Stand up paddling gives paddlers a new perspective on waterways they may have paddled many times before, including Adirondack ponds, lakes, and rivers. Life under the surface of the water takes a great role in your on-water outing. Nature lovers and anglers were quick to take up SUP, noticing less surface glare and more opportunity to see what they were searching for. Add a pair of polarized sunglasses to your SUP outing and you'll be amazed by all the life below you.
Fitness to the Core: Adirondack Wellness
Stand up paddling has been acknowledged by both paddlers and fitness buffs as a great workout. Both Yoga routines and fitness workouts have made their way to SUP boards. Combining the upper body, the quick cadence torso rotation of a forward stroke with the act of balancing makes for a great full body workout. For those who are looking to take their yoga routine to the next level, mastering your favorite pose while maintaining balance over the smooth surface of your favorite waterway will surely test your skills.
All in the Family: An Adirondack Tradition
There is no doubt that everyone in your family will love SUP, even young children. A family board is more than just another paddle craft, it's your own personal floating dock on which the family can swim, jump, explore, or simply hang out on. A familiar phrase heard at our home while getting ready to hit the water is, "We are bringing paddleboards, right?"
For those who love to be on the water, you will certainly enjoy SUP. Whether it's the new perspective of a familiar paddling spot, the feeling of tired muscles after a good day on the water, or a tired kid who spent the day at the beach with a couple boards and a couple friends, SUP will bring you a new on-water experience that you're sure to love. SUP has brought a new spark back into the paddling community, and visitors can find SUP rentals at many of the Adirondacks canoe and kayak outfitters and rental shops.
Some Great Adirondack Locations to SUP
- Lower Saranac Lake - This popular paddlers' destination offers great views, numerous islands to circumnavigate, and endless swimming opportunities. Visited by vacationers from near and far, it's easy to understand what makes this lake so popular. Perfect for the quick after work sunset paddle or a full day of on-water fun. Lower Saranac Lake is hard to beat.
- The Raquette River - The Raquette's wandering flow leaves a paddler guessing what might be seen around the next corner. This intimate river offers calm waters on days when the wind is gusting on larger bodies of water. Wildlife viewing opportunities are numerous along this route.
- Follensby Clear Pond - This large pond is located just south of the famed St Regis Canoe Area. With easy access and just a short carry away to nearby ponds, Follensby Clear is a great place to test your SUP portage skills.