It’s almost like walking on water, but it’s not and that is just fine with Mike von Hahn, Quesnel’s very own stand up paddleboarder.
“It’s just a whole different feeling,” von Hahn said of a sport he initially took up last year with a lesson on English Bay.
“I was immediately taken with it.”
For von Hahn, stand up paddleboarding appeals to him on several levels.
First, there is the standing on the board, which von Hahn said is easy on the joints, provides a full body workout, exercises core muscles, as well as leg, arm and shoulder muscles, not to mention the cardiovascular workout.
Paddleboarding standing up is another element that appeals to von Hahn as it provides a sense of danger and excitement, especially in wavy conditions.
At the same time, he did add, comfort on the board under various conditions could be achieved with practice.
Paddleboarding was first developed in Hawaii and has since been used on lakes, rivers and for shooting rapids.
Stand up paddleboards are shaped much like a surfboard and come in various lengths and widths, depending on what they will be used for.
Canoeing enthusiasts, von Hahn said, could find the sport appealing because the strokes used to paddleboard are similar to those used in canoeing and the paddle is similar except the handle is longer to accommodate the standing position.
Von Hahn is so smitten with the sport, he has decided to start a business, Cariboo Stand Up Paddleboard and will offer lessons and rentals on Dragon Lake and 10 Mile Lake beginning late May.
The motivation to start the business is not so much the financial side, but more to develop a community of paddleboarders, knowing others would enjoy the sport if given the opportunity.
“I want people to do this with,” von Hahn said.
“With people who love paddleboarding as much as I do.”
The lessons are part of the rental agreement and cover essentially the safety issues of paddleboarding and some techniques.
The sport is relatively easy to learn and von Hahn said one lesson was sufficient to be,” off and running.”
The tricky parts to the sport, but by no means difficult to learn, are turning and handling waves, von Hahn said.
“It’s a basic sport and easy to learn.”
If someone wants to purchase their own gear, Von Hahn said the initial outlay could reach close to $1,400 – $1,500 for the board, a paddle, life-jacket and an ankle leash.
Although a relatively new sport in British Columbia some paddleboarders have already turned to the competitive side of the sport, including von Hahn.
This weekend, von Hahn, with his special carbon fiber paddleboard, travels to Edmonton to take part in the first annual World Indoor Stand Up Paddleboard race at the West Edmonton Mall.
Von Hahn said he is excited about the competition, but admitted to being even more excited about meeting Dave Kalama, who, according to von Hahn, “is the guru of stand up paddleboarding.”
“He’s going to be there to give me and 30 other people instruction on stand up paddleboarding,” he said with a huge grin.
Aside from the exercise and the competition, von Hahn said the most appealing aspect of stand up paddleboarding is the fact it affords a different perspective than sitting in a canoe and has minimal impact on the environment.
“Standing up is a whole different sensation than sitting in a boat,” von Hahn said.
“Your visibility is different, you can look down into the water much easier.
“I like sports that bring me together with nature.
“It’s a wonderful feeling when you are in the elements.”
For more information, see von Hahn at Move for Health Day at West Fraser Timber Park, May 7, or call 250-747-2140.