When a friend asked if I wanted to spend my day off stand up paddleboarding in the shallow waters off White Rock beach, there was little hesitation in my response. Almost before she’d finished asking, I was helping to pack up her two massive boards and we were headed towards the seaside suburb about 40km south of Vancouver.
Being a weekday, it was quiet on the water as we cruised north along the shoreline from the main beach. The gorgeous waterfront homes weren’t all we got to admire – within 15 minutes, a bald eagle had swooped over us, a huge heron landed close to shore and a seal swam right under us and popped up just 10 or so feet away (could this get any more West Coast?!). Unfortunately, he evaded my attempts to capture his cute little whiskered face on camera.
Paddleboarding is almost closer to kayaking than surfing, but it does require good balance and a fairly strong core as you have to stabilize yourself against the waves while standing up. It takes a few minutes to get used to the rocking motion of the waves and find a stance for your feet that’s comfortable. I found that bending my knees helped a lot with stability. If you get tired or feel shaky, you can kneel or even sit down on the board while continuing to paddle, turning it into a boat of sorts.
It was definitely a cool experience to have the water lapping over my feet as I paddled along, and because I was standing up, the view was even better than from a kayak or canoe. And the best thing about it? You can paddleboard anywhere there’s enough water to keep you afloat. Rivers, lakes, ocean… you name it.
If you’re looking for a way to get out and really experience the BC coastline, without spending a fortune or committing to learning a whole new sport like surfing, you should definitely check out paddleboarding. It’s relaxing, but just enough activity that you feel like you’ve earned that apres patio beer (and there are patios galore in White Rock)!
For stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), you need a large, stable surfboard and a long paddle. There are several shops in Metro Vancouver that rent paddle board equipment – just Google it! Deep Cove (north of Vancouver) and Jericho Beach (in Vancouver) are two other popular spots for paddleboarders.
Can’t wait for my next trip out on the water!