Stand Up Paddle (SUP) @Lake Michigan – Even I Can Do This?

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If you live in the Great Lakes region or if you are going to visit any of the Great Lakes, you may want to seize the opportunity to try a rather easy-to-do water sport there.

SUP seems to be gaining popularity in the Lake Michigan area slowly.  SUP stands for Stand Up Paddle boarding.  It is often shortened to Stand Up Paddle.

You paddle standing on a long board.  They say it is much easier than surfing – I have never tried surfing myself, but I heard from many sources that surfing is really difficult.  But SUP is said to be very doable for average people (like me).

Early this month (July 2012), I spotted several people trying SUP in Lake Michigan (photos) when I was on Silver Beach, St. Joseph, Michigan, with my family.  This was the first time I ever saw SUPers in Lake Michigan.  Lake Michigan beaches are becoming fashionable and trendy places!

This kid seems to be having a little bit of hard time balancing himself.

These two seem to be having a really hard time balancing themselves on the paddle board. Don’t they realize maybe it’s not a good idea that two people stand on one paddle board?

As expected, the two are about to fall in the water (and they did after I took this photo).

This kid had a really good sense of balance, I noticed.  He was so stable on the paddle board and was paddling very gracefully.

Some people were born with a lot better sense of balance than others.  I am one of those not very blessed with a good sense of balance.  I would be just like those two who fell in the water.

The first time I saw a Stand Up Paddle boarder was in Maui, one of the Hawaiian Islands, about five years ago. When I saw it, I thought “What a strange and weird new water sport…”  SUP was introduced by the famous surfers in Hawaii only a decade ago. So, five years ago when I saw it, it was only in its infant stage.

Almost always, in the infant stage of any new sport, it looks really weird to the eyes of average people including me.  As it gains popularity, it starts looking more cool to our eyes. When a new sport population reaches a certain number, do our brains shift and decide “This new sport must be cool enough for this many people.  I am now going to perceive it as cool”?  Do we need some time for a new thing to sink into our brains before we can start perceiving it as cool?  Over my life I have seen several things coming in style and going out of style. It’s all in our heads – it’s all phycological, it seems to me.

Borrowing the marketing term, followers must have started trying SUP nationwide this year.

Last year (2011), 1.24 million people SUPed (this is a new word).  That was an 18% increase from 2010.

There is an aqua outdoor sport shop named Outpost Sports on Silver Beach.  They had rental paddleboards for SUP available on the beach this year.  This was the first time I ever saw rental SUP paddleboards on a Lake Michigan beach.

$25 for one hour and $50 for one day – not too bad.  I am not trying to do a P.R. for this shop, but I look like doing it…

A brochure I picked up in the store

Notice that a large portion of it is used for advertising SUP rental.

It’s a standard business practice to use a young female model in bikini to sell aqua sporting stuff. Of course they have to do that to promote a new sport.

Even in the Detroit suburbs, SUP seems to be becoming popular.  What made me think so was the e-mail ad I received back in June (below).

Walled Lake is one of the lakes in the Detroit suburbs.  The package includes two hours of SUP in  the lake and subsequent drinks and an appetizer at one of the waterfront restaurants for a well discounted price of $39 per person (normally $80).

It must be near the end of the lifecycle of a fashion or a product (EOL) if it becomes popular in an area like Detroit suburbs ( — sorry, this is a mean joke).

Another good thing about SUP is that you can do it in your neighborhood lake or river with no waves, as long as it’s large water.

The photo above is one of the pages of the recent Eddie Bauer catalog I had at home.  I noticed they are now trying to sell women’s swimsuits with SUP setting. Another evidence of SUP going into the main stream. The model on the right does not look athletic at all.  If she can do SUP, maybe I will be able to do it, too.  This photo certainly made me feel so.

There are many websites which show films of SUP and explain how to do it. I picked the one below.  It’s an instructional film in YouTube by Kalama Stand, a very famous surfer in Hawaii.  He is one of the surfers who introduced SUP to the modern popular water sports.

Dave Kalama Stand-up Instructional (YouTube)

Coincidentally, while I was writing this post, the Los Angeles Times had the article on SUP yesterday (July 28, 2012).  It says somebody lost weight by doing SUP!

http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-paddleboard-popular-20120728,0,802603.column

Somehow, human beings can never be satisfied.  Just standing up on paddle boards is not enough. They have to do something like yoga on paddle boards (they call it SUP Yoga).  According to the LA Times, there are now SUP Yoga classes offered by 82 companies (up from only 2 last year). I don’t know if there is any in the Lake Michigan region yet.  If there is none yet, it may not be long before we have the first one around here.

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About tukusigal

もう長いことミシガンに住んでいる日本人オバさんの、自分なり、それなりのミシガン湖地方見聞記でーす。I am a long-time resident of Michigan. I am here forever. A middle-age Japanese woman. I love Imari porcelain, so my profile photo is an Imari vase which I bought in Imari, Saga, Kyushu, Japan. When I retire (when...?), I reveal my photo - but by then I may be too wrinkled (lo).
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