Paddle boarding increasing in popularity across the province

May 13, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

You may have seen them out on Island Lake, standing above the water and casually propelling themselves across the pond.

Paddle boarding is a relatively new sport in Ontario, although it’s roots go way back to the 1940’s in its current form.

A paddle board resembles a surfboard but is thicker and is very buoyant to support the weight of a person. It is also wider to provide a better degree of stability.

Most paddle boards are in the range of ten to 12 feet long. There are shorter versions mostly used for racing as well as types of surfing.

Boards have a foam core for buoyancy and are covered in a variety of materials like wood veneer, fiberglass, or carbon fibre.

Once you have your balance on the board, you use a paddle to propel yourself across the water. 

They are similar to, but longer than a traditional canoe paddle.

The paddle is simple – a blade, a shaft, and a handle. It should between eight and 15 inches taller than the user.

Paddlers wear a tether which is used to attach the paddler to the board in case you fall of the board, you will stay attached to it. This is especially important in windy conditions.

If you are paddling on a river, it is recommended you use a break-away tether due to the current and the potential for trouble if it gets tangled in fallen tree limbs or rocks that are in the water.

One important thing to remember is that if you head out onto open water, you will be under the same regulations as any other watercraft.

You must have a personal flotation device on board and a whistle to warn other watercraft. 

If you are caught on open water without them you will be subject to a fine just like any other watercraft operator.

It is recommended you wear personal flotation devices at all times when you are out on the water.

The sport is easy to learn after a couple of lessons.

There are several versions of what people like to do on their paddle boards on the water. A lot of people have been turning to paddle board yoga as a way to relax.

While the basic method of paddle boarding goes back thousands of years, the modern version of the sport goes back to the 1940’s in Hawaii when a local surfer started taking a paddle with him to go out and meet the waves. Others surfers copied his technique.

It’s not an expensive sport to get in to. 

You can get a beginner paddle board for few hundred dollars. 

You can try learning on your own or there are lessons available at various outfitters across the province that will teach all the techniques you need to know.

It has only been the over the past decade where the sport started to catch on in Ontario.

Island Lake is an excellent place to learn the sport.

There are many places in Ontario recommended for the sport and they are now listed in tourist guides for best destinations.

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