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As with most trendy things – be it skinny jeans or kale smoothies, stand up paddleboarding took a few years to make its way into the Upper Midwest. As is the custom with trends, it was met with a mixture of enthusiasm, indifference, and skepticism.
Over the last few years, however, the number of boards on the water, atop cars, and available for rental or purchase in our county has increased dramatically. In fact, boards can be rented in Sister Bay, Ephraim, in Peninsula State Park, and Egg Harbor – providing multiple opportunities for a relatively inexpensive way to get out on the water and get a decent workout in as well.
Paddleboarding - the surprising workout After my first few treks out on the water atop a paddleboard, I woke the next morning noticing a decent soreness had set in across my stomach and within my shoulders. It’s normal to feel this I was told, and once one masters the art of rotating the upper body while paddling – as opposed to only using the arms, the full benefits of paddleboarding are realized. It’s true that paddleboarding is exercise, but labeling it as such, just like stating it’s merely a trend, is an absolute injustice.
Door County possesses nearly 300 miles of shoreline, and there is simply not a poor place to paddle. The opportunities abound to walk your board in at locations like Pebble Beach in Sister Bay and School House Beach on Washington Island and glide over the transparent water, and watch as the bottom darkens as you propel yourself from shore and into deeper waters. There seems to be magic at work as you find your center of gravity standing level with the waves, navigating through the pristine waters of this immaculate peninsula.
A different kind of freedom I recently found myself borrowing a board from a friend, and walking the few minutes from her house to the causeway on Hwy E that crosses Kangaroo Lake. A few paces into the water I placed the board down, hopped on top, and paddled for the better part of two hours, circumnavigating the southern half of the lake in silence.
Perhaps it was the glass surface of the lake, or perhaps it was the early morning light, but I made the decision that morning to buy a stand up paddleboard, for it is an investment that yields unquantifiable dividends.
Trends come and go. They die off and quickly become replaced by the next best thing. Stand up paddleboarding has evolved past the stage of being simply a trend.
The simple freedom of standing atop a board, inches off the water, is something that will not float away, and is an opportunity not to be missed.
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