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“You’ve gone kayaking before? Surfing? Oh, this will be easy!”
As we soon discovered, getting the hang of stand up paddle boarding was a little trickier than we first expected. One of the employees at Ahoy Rentals in Kingston, a friendly and energetic young man, provided each of us with a paddle board, a paddle, and a life jacket down by the water. The water itself was the Saint Lawrence River, which flows gently past downtown Kingston. This particular spot was protected from many of the larger ships and vessels arriving and departing from the harbor, making it an ideal place to stand up paddle board.
This was our first time trying stand up paddle boarding in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. So, what do we think of this water activity?
I climbed on to the paddle board, staying on my knees in an upright position. After paddling a short distance from the pier, I slowly started to stand. My legs were wobbly and started to shake. As I began to stand up, I was able to regain my balance. Within moments, I was doing it! I was stand up paddle boarding.
Justin had no issues standing up on his board either. When we went surfing in Bermuda, he figured it all out very quickly. Without a doubt, he has a great sense of balance. Except…on a couple of occasions, his mind wandered too much or he wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing. And he fell. Twice. For the first time, he fell directly onto his knees without falling in the water. And the second time, he did fall right into the water. Sadly for me, I wasn’t watching him on either occasion so I wasn’t able to witness him falling or taking the plunge! Once I knew he was perfectly okay, it was totally fine that I laughed at him, right?
Once he realized that it was important to pay attention, the falling stopped and we were both floating along the river. I found SUP to be very relaxing and almost meditative. When I was simply drifting along the water, it was easy to enjoy my peaceful surroundings. My gaze wandered from the trees on the distant islands to the sailing ships on the horizon.
At the same time, it is a fantastic workout. I really felt that my entire core was at work while stand up paddleboarding. Not only that, but my legs had to remain stable and I used my arms to paddle on both sides. SUP really is a full body workout!
If you’re going to be enjoying a water sport, it’s best to be mindful of everyone around you. At one point, some children controlling a small sailboat had seemingly lost control of their boat and were headed straight at us. We heard their instructors off in the distance yell, “Watch out for the paddleboarders!” I thought for sure that I was going to be struck by a small sailboat! And as someone standing on a board in the middle of the water who was rather inexperienced at this whole endeavor, I felt pretty vulnerable. Thankfully, they managed to narrowly miss hitting me at the last second. I guess I would have just jumped off the board had they come any closer. I’m glad it didn’t come to that.
After we had been paddling for a little while, Justin noticed that we had really drifted pretty far from the shore. As we started to paddle back, it became much more difficult against the current. We really had to put a little extra oomph into those paddle strokes. I suppose this was where the whole workout thing really came into play. It’s a good idea to be mindful of the water conditions and how tricky it will be returning to where you need to drop off your rental equipment. However, it’s also fun to take a breather and sit down on your board. You can even lie down. Though we didn’t try it this time around, some people even do certain yoga moves on their paddle boards (I think this would have sent me flying straight into the water). Maybe I’ll give that a try next time around.
The verdict? Yes, you should try stand up paddle boarding! Yes, Kingston is a fantastic place to try SUP. There were a few small waves here and there that added to the enjoyment, but for the most part, the waters were calm and ideal for this activity. If you try SUP in Kingston, you’re in a great location to explore the town once you’re finished. From Ahoy Rentals, you can walk a few blocks to the downtown core for a meal or a coffee.
Looking to plan one amazing trip? Visit Hell Holes Nature Trails and Caves on your way to Kingston (if you’re traveling from Toronto). After staying overnight in Kingston, head towards the 1000 Islands to go kayaking or hiking at the 1000 Islands National Park.