Flip to the paddling chapter of the book and you’ll see a section on Stand-up Paddling, one of the latest and greatest crazes to sweep the paddling world. What is it, you ask? An age-old Polynesian technique revisited (and popularized by the likes of Laird Hamilton) whereby you stand atop a wide, stable surfboard of sorts and…paddle!
Developed for times when swell is down on the ocean, giving surfers an alternative workout, they’ve also morphed into a mainstream activity for river and lake travel for families, from the coasts to Colorado. We took the Uli, an inflatable SUP, on a 90-mile river rafting trip down Utah’s Deso/Gray Canyons this summer, and the kids couldn’t stay off of it. They’d play King of the Hill on the flats, practice surfing, and cannonball off and climb back on all day long, while the rest of our additional craft (inflatable kayaks, canoes, inner-tubes) watched with envy. If we ever got a rapid that was too big, we’d simply tie this new additionto our floatcraft family onto the back of the raft.
Its best attribute? It’s the only paddlecraft kids can jump off of and climb back on easily.
As the attached photo of Casey and I shows, you can also ride it tandem (this shot taken on our hometown Yampa River through town). Cowabunga, parents!