Staff Blogger: Rena Arter, Advancement & Communications Intern

Staff&Volunteers_Week_3_Heironimus0362Have you ever wondered what it would be life to surf the waters of Lake Erie? I know I have, and now it’s (almost) possible. Although it’s not quite surfing, stand-up paddleboarding is a fun and exciting activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Last year, Lakeside Chautauqua took on the idea of stand-up paddleboards and introduced the activity to the shores of Lake Erie.

It is the idea of standing on a long board – typically a little thicker than a standard surfboard – and maneuvering the board with a long paddle. This involves a lot of the same stamina and skills that are used while surfing.

How did paddleboarding get its start, you ask? Interesting enough, this activity has a background that originated in surfing.

In 1778, Captain James Cook encountered stand-up paddling for the first time when he sailed to the Hawaiian Islands and became the first person to witness such an activity.

In Hawaii, this activity was called “Hoe He’e nalu,” and consisted of boards carved from the Koa tree and paddles. The chief of the tribe would receive the largest board, which was sometimes about 16-feet- long.

Modern stand-up paddleboarding also has roots from Hawaii. In the 1940s, surf instructors in Waikiki used paddles to help them stand on their surfboards so they could get a better view of their surf students in the water and see large, incoming waves. This is what became known as “Beach Boy Surfing,” and over the years, it has been refined by many surfers into the modern paddleboarding that we see today.

In 2003, “Beach Boy Surfing” was added to the world-recognized “Buffalo Big Board Contest,” and ever since then, the demand for stand-up paddleboarding at resorts and waterfront destinations has increased significantly.

It has gained so much popularity that other sports have incorporated the activity. Paddleboard yoga is an intense workout that combines the balance and meditation of yoga with the flow of the water and paddleboard. Stand-up paddleboarding is also a form or cross-training and provides an excellent core workout.

At Lakeside, it has been the most popular rental on the waterfront. Paddleboard rentals can be made at the Info Center and are $15 for 30 minutes, $15 for an hour and $35 for two hours.

Surf’s up at Lakeside! I’ll see you “out back” beyond the breaking waves of Lake Erie.

Have you ever been on a stand-up paddleboard? What did you love about it? If you haven’t, do you plan on trying stand-up paddleboarding at Lakeside? Share your experiences in the comments section.