SUP – Davis Bay

What a summer. Today was the last day of July and not a single drop of rain all month long. Nothing but sunshine and perfect temperatures to be outside on the ocean. Today I took advantage of one of my favourite summer programs: WOW – (Wednesdays on Water) coordinated by my friends at Alpha Adventures.

SUP Davis Bay 10

Really, this picture says it all. Can you picture a better way to spend a summer evening? What a sunset! (Big thanks to Sarah for sharing the photos! I’m not brave enough to paddle with my camera.)

Having fun

Having fun

I’ve paddled in a number of places on the Sunshine Coast, but I really enjoy the WOW SUP program. Every Wednesday evening a group paddle goes out of either Davis Bay or Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. I love the social aspect. It is always a different group of people at different levels of experience. The conversation is always different and interesting. Tonight there were 4 of us along with our high-energy leader, Sarah. A teenager and his dad, a very mature 12 year old boy, and myself. The others were new paddlers, but Sarah had them confidently stand up paddling in the bay in no time.

SUP at the Davis Bay Pier

SUP at the Davis Bay Pier

I always enjoy paddling in Davis Bay. It faces west, so great sunset views and Vancouver Island is off in the distance. Cruise ships bound for Alaska sail past every evening, and we got to watch 2 of them tonight while we paddled. Davis Bay opens to the Salish Sea, a.k.a. Georgia Strait. A heron landed on the edge of the wood pilings shown above. It was so still, I thought it was a statue but soon enough it took off in flight skimming just above the water. Beautiful! Davis Bay is an active area where people come to swim, walk the long seawall, fish off the pier, or just watch the sunset. Tonight there were a group of about 10 who were jumping off the pier into the warm ocean. It wasn’t quite high tide yet, so they were jumping a good 10-15 feet into the water.  Definitely braver than me, but fun to watch while I paddled.

Let’s hope August is just as nice and provides many more days of fun on the ocean.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The long sunny days of summer have truly arrived and I can think of no better way to celebrate than my first paddle of the season. I love paddleboarding! Today my hiking buddy and I spent the afternoon getting our workout in Gibsons Harbour. We couldn’t have asked for a better day…temps in the low 20’s (70’s F), sunshine and a light breeze on the ocean. Not a bad backdrop for a workout, is it?

Gibsons Harbour from Winegarden Park

Gibsons Harbour from Winegarden Park

The only downside about paddling is that it is hard to take pictures to help convey the experience. I’m not nearly confident enough to take my non-waterproof camera out for a paddle. Here is a shot from last summer to help you get the idea.

SUP on the Pacific Ocean

SUP on the Pacific Ocean

I take every opportunity to get out on the water. This prairie kid truly appreciates the magic of the ocean. I think what I love most is getting a different perspective on things. You see the landscape around you in a certain way every day…you think you know what your community looks like. Then you get out on the water and get the chance to look back at the landscape in the opposite direction. It is interesting how some things look very different when you can take a 180.

I love the freedom of paddling. Don’t get me wrong…it’s a workout. Core body strength is important in keeping your balance, and your upper body conditioning is way more fun than lifting weights.  But the freedom of being under your own power while gliding through the water…that is something special.  You’re weightless…yet expending energy.  You might work up a sweat…but all you have to do is jump in and cool off.

I am very happy to have SUP’s available for rent now right here in Gibsons Landing. I’ve been out many times in Davis Bay and on Sechelt Inlet, but now I can go 5 minutes from my front door. The new owners of Sunshine Kayaking have added paddleboards to their fleet of kayak rentals. They have also added sailboat tours….can’t wait to try a sunset trip! Mark your calendars…next full moon paddle is July 22.

SUP in Davis Bay – July 4, 2012

The sun returned and it was finally warm enough to really get outside.  I took advantage of the blue skies and celebrated some WOW – Wednesdays on Water with my friend and guide Sarah at Alpha Adventures.  This was my first time out on the water this year…it finally felt warm enough.

It was high tide and the water was so smooth.  Hard to believe this is the ocean, sometimes.  A quick reminder of some basics from Sarah and I was off.  This was only my 3rd time paddle boarding and the first time out since last fall.  Yes, just like riding a bike, it all comes back.  In no time I was up on the board and cruising down the beach.

Davis Bay w/ Vancouver Island in the background

WOW takes place every Wednesday.  It’s a social paddle…anyone can join and its about practicing skills, making friends and having fun.  My fellow WOW group members were all from out of town. John is visiting from the other Sunshine Coast in Australia. He chose the wet suit because we don’t have the tropical waters from Down Under, but he was sweating up a storm after the good workout that paddling provides. I was happy to not have ‘taken a swim’…a.k.a. falling in. Every once in a while a wave would run across the top of my board and my feet and remind me that the water is still cool. Two sisters from Canmore Alberta were in town for BC Bike Race (more about that tomorrow) and decided to have a little ocean adventure.

So much fun.  You know how the sun shines and creates a trail over the water as it gets lower in the sky?  I just let myself line up with that trail and paddled along.  Not a care in the world…just me and the ocean.  It’s a real sense of freedom.  When I looked back toward the beach, I couldn’t believe how far from shore I had gone.

These shots are from the beach after a good workout.  I can really feel my abs tonight!  A couple days of rest and then I hope to be back on the water for Sunday’s 2nd annual SUP Festival in Porpoise Bay.  Come out and try paddle boarding for yourself!

2 kayaks – 2 Alaskan cruise ships
smooth water with Vancouver Island in the distance

SUP Porpoise Bay – Sept 14, 2011

What a night! Huge thanks to my friends at Alpha Adventures and super guide Annie. I’ve been dying to get back out and try standup paddleboarding for a second time. Every Wednesday this summer, Alpha Adventures takes out a group of 10 lucky people for a group paddle. I just haven’t been able to make the schedule work, or they have been sold out by the time I phoned. Tonight we launched from Porpoise Bay Provincial Park.

Tonight was beautiful! It was cloudy so the deep clear water of Sechelt Inlet looked black once you were away from the shore. Smooth as glass and as quiet as can be. It was so cool paddling along behind ducks, seagulls and Canada geese who were coming in for the night.
OK, this picture isn’t from tonight…but I can’t have a post without pics…and I’m not good enough to take a camera out on the water. This is my friend Laurie’s photo of my first SUP trip back in July. Thanks Laurie! 90 minutes of paddling and I didn’t go for a swim! Which I was very happy about as the water is ok for a quick walk but a bit chilly for a swim.
There were a couple of ambitious teenagers in our group who decided we should paddle around Poise Island. I am glad they did…it gave us a goal and a target and it is gorgeous. Steep cliffs and a mass of rock. How do trees grow directly out of rock? One thing about being new at paddleboarding…you pretty much just look straight ahead. Too much looking around messes with balance which means taking a swim. When we came around finishing the circle of the island, I got my first view at just how far we were from shore. Wow! “How am I going to ever get back?” is what I was thinking. Never fear…slow and steady…but it doesn’t even feel like work while you’re at it. Too much focus on just how beautiful the area is and how different your perspective is from the water.
I hope the temperatures hold in for a couple more weeks so that I can get back out on the water soon.

SUP – July 24, 2011

Today was an amazing day. Summer has finally arrived in earnest here on the Sunshine Coast and we were looking for some fun in the sun. Our good friends at Alpha Adventures hosted the 1st Annual SUP Festival in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. I’ve been wanting to try this hot new sport out for a while now, but everything finally came together today.

What is SUP? Stand Up Paddleboarding! I am so sorry not to have pictures…I didn’t want to worry about the camera on the beach and in the water. I’ll try to get some from a friend to add to this post tomorrow.

Picture standing on a surfboard in fairly calm water and using a single paddle…something like a canoe paddle, but really long. How hard would it be? Balance of surfing but advertised as easy as kayaking? It was awesome!

Thanks to Jamie Mani, Alpha Adventure co-owner, for hooking us up with equipment and a quick 5 minute lesson. Yes, a whole 5 minutes to get a pfd, learn how to measure for the appropriate paddle length, learn to carry the board into the water. Next, you get on the board in a kneeling position on all fours and center yourself on the board. I like to think of it as yoga prep…do a few cat/cow to get comfortable on the board. When you’ve got the feel of it, roll back onto your toes and into somewhere between downward dog and forward fold. Get your balance and roll yourself up to a standing position. You’re up!

This is where the work begins. This isn’t just standing on a board and paddling. This is balance! Core muscles working, knees bent, thighs engaged, arms & abs pulling through the water. This was a perfect day to learn…sunny and warm so not a big deal if you fall into the water. We were out at high tide on Sechelt Inlet, so fairly calm water and a very long stretch of shallow (3′) water. Just a little windy to cause some waves to give you something to pay attention to. Now you learn to paddle and steer and see how brave you are to venture to deeper water.

So much fun, but high concentration necessary to not fall into the water. (only once!) After a break to warm up & dry off in the sun, I took a second try at it. Amazing improvement 2nd time out and able to enjoy and look around a bit more. What a gorgeous day! Shallow enough water to feel very safe, but so clear you could see the bottom. Lots of families out enjoying a day at the beach and trying out the equipment. I am looking forward to upcoming Wednesday evenings when Alpha Adventures does regular SUP nights in Davis Bay. Yes, come out after work and try paddleboarding in the Salish Sea. Can’t wait to try this again!

To watch a video of the day, check out Thanks to Laurie at for the photo & video!