Chat with Van Isle Paddle Boarding: What is SUPing?

Note from Ross: I haven’t done much stand up paddle boarding but it’s definitely on my list of things to do more of. My friend, Jen Vroom, started Van Isle Paddle Board Co. this year and has done tours all summer. I asked her to explain a bit about what paddle boarding is. Here’s Jen.

Stand up paddle boarding is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. It is not only a recreational pass time but also a competitive sport. It is a zero impact sport which allows for participation for any person of any age. Paddle boarding offers greater versatility than other paddle sports in addition to providing a more intimate relationship with the water due to the simplistic nature of the sport.While the origins of paddle boarding are contested it is believed to have originated in tropical locations such as Polynesia and Hawaii, we do know that is served as the initial mode of transportation for people in water. Due to this early heritage the connection that an individual has with their external environment while paddle boarding is unlike any other water sport activity. It is an eco-friendly sport that will only burn calories. A majority of the workout focuses primarily on the core muscle groups while utilizing stabilizer muscles to maintain your balance and your upper body to propel you further.

Being based out of the coastal community of Nanaimo, I find it incredible that people rarely spend time on the water. We are presented with fantastic opportunities to enjoy the biodiversity of the ocean while being able to just as easily paddle down a river. The protected environments of the local lakes also provide a different experience as they offer a perfect opportunity for people to practice their skills before heading out onto the ocean.

Stand up Paddle Boarding in Nanaimo
Stand up Paddle Boarding in Nanaimo

The paddle boards we offer weigh roughly 23 pounds and vary between 11’0 and 12’0 which makes them easy to transport. The stability of the boards is incredibly high but still leaves the need for a skill to be acquired. I always find it interesting whenever we come across people on tours who assume that it is incredibly challenging. Typically people are up and running after only 15 minutes. The fear for most people is that they will fall off, but we have noticed that the involuntary fall rate we have encountered is close to 1 out of every 20 people.

Ultimately, this is an activity that re-establishes an individual’s connection with nature. It brings a peaceful awareness of the environment in a non-intrusive manner. There’s something to be said about a person who is floating on the ocean with little more than a board and a paddle because it’s a feeling that needs to be experienced.

Jennifer Vroom
Jennifer Vroom

** Jennifer Vroom is an outdoor adventure enthusiast. She started stand up paddleboarding in Nanaimo a few years ago and loved it so much I decided to share my passion with others. She now runs Van Isle Paddle Board Co.