Paddle Boarding Gaining Popularity on Local Lakes
Photo by Patesaubeurre, From Wikimedia Commons
Paddleboarding is becoming popular in Pagosa Country as is evidenced by these ultralight watercraft appearing on local lakes in greater numbers and their availability on main street. It would seem that if one has fair balance it can be done by children to seniors. It is an excellent way to explore and get great exercise. Norm
Paddleboarding participants are propelled by a swimming motion using their arms while lying, kneeling, or standing on a paddleboard or surfboard in the ocean. This article refers to traditional prone or kneeling paddleboarding. A derivative of paddleboarding is stand up paddle surfing and stand up paddleboarding. Paddleboarding is usually performed in the open ocean, with the participant paddling and surfing unbroken swells to cross between islands or journey from one coastal area to another. Champion paddlers can stroke for hours and a 20-mile (32 km) race is only a warm-up for well-trained watermen.
Paddleboards are divided by length into three classes: Stock, 14 Foot, and Unlimited. Stock boards are 12 ft (3.7 m) long, and best for paddlers around 180 lb (82 kg) or less. Stock boards are easy to accelerate and fast in choppy water. But with their short waterline, they lack the calm water top speed of 14 foot or Unlimited boards.
14 foot class boards are arguably the best all around board. At 14 ft (4.3 m) in length, they combine many of the best characteristics of stock boards with nearly the calm water speed of Unlimited boards. Only about half of all races have a 14-foot class.
Unlimited boards are the fastest boards afloat. Their speed comes from their long waterline and this also gives them a longer glide per stroke. Though usually 17 to 18 ft (5.2 to 5.5 m) long, the class is defined as “anything that floats” and boards over 20 ft (6.1 m) have been built. They can be difficult to handle in choppy water and their length makes them harder to transport and store. Modern Unlimited boards have rudders that are steered by a tiller between the paddler’s feet.
There is an additional board class, the 10′ 6″. These boards are not used in the long ocean races that are run with the Stock, 14 Foot and Unlimited boards, but are used in surf and sprint races. 10′ 6″ class boards are known by several names: Ten-Six, Sprint Board, Surf Racer, or Racing Mal.
Paddleboarding can also be done on various pieces of equipment, including surfboards. Paddleboards are made of fiberglass, epoxy, and/or carbon fibre and are generally quite large, ranging from 8 ft (2.4 m) to 21 to 18 ft (6.4 to 5.5 m). An emerging paddleboard technology is an epoxy surfboard, which are stronger and lighter than traditional fiberglass. Cost of new boards range from $1,500 to $3,500 for custom boards. Used boards that have been well kept are in high demand and can be sold fairly easily on paddleboard listing web sites.
Be safety-minded when out on your paddleboard
DURANGO, Colo. – Going out on the stand-up paddleboard is a great way to experience our state’s waters, so Colorado Parks and Wildlife is urging boarders to stay safe while on rivers and reservoirs.
“Paddleboarding is easy to learn and almost anyone can have fun doing it,” said Scott Rist, head ranger at Paonia, Sweitzer Lake and Crawford state parks. “But because it’s easy, a lot of people don’t realize that you can get in trouble when you fall off. We urge everyone to wear life jackets and use a tether.”
Every year Colorado State Park rangers report that paddleboarders must be rescued after they’ve been separated from their boards. Most lakes and reservoirs in Colorado are windy; if you fall off your board the wind can push a board out of reach. On rivers boards can flow out of reach on the moving water. Combine that with very cold water and boarders can get in trouble quickly.
“We still have a lot of snow in the mountains and the run-off is coming later than usual this year, so cold water temperatures will be an issue throughout the summer,” Rist said.
Colorado boating regulations treat paddleboards like any other water craft. Every craft ‒from powerboats to canoes ‒ must carry a personal floatation device for each person on board, and a sound-producing device such as a whistle must also be on board. Children under age 13 must wear a PFD when on the water. Life jackets for children must also be fitted properly to give them safe buoyancy in the water.
“Anything can happen at any time on the water, so we urge people to be cautious and consider their own and their loved one’s safety while they’re enjoying the water,” Rist said.
For more information about safe boating, go to: http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/BoatingSafety.aspx.