What's SUP this summer!

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Jacob Armstrong navigates a paddle board Friday on Lake Coeur d'Alene during an outing with his family.

So here we are on July 6 and summer seems like it just started. A true sign of summer on Lake Coeur d'Alene is the abundance of standup paddleboarders. This amazing activity and all-around fitness workout has become so popular locally it seems to be one of the fastest growing sports out there.

There have been many early adopters to standup paddleboarding, or SUP, here in Coeur d'Alene and one of the most respected is Kym Murdock. Kym's in the business of SUP, but moreover she brings boarding as a community service of sorts. Every summer Kym places 20 boards out on the water with friends, including volunteering as water safety for Ironman, Coeur d'Alene Triathlon, The Crossing and many other athletic events.

I interviewed Kym last year on the fitness benefits of standup paddleboarding and how to get started in the sport. Here is a second look at how this activity can be one of the best fun, fit and low impact workouts you can add to your summer fitness regimen.

First let's take a look at what you're going to need to get started. I would recommend trying it out before you make the investment in a SUP. Rent a few times and take a few lessons before you buy, then dive into ownership if you feel passionate about your SUP experience. I myself own more than one board - each offers a different experience whether it's speed, a better workout or stability.

Now the next question to ask is "which paddleboard fits me?" What is the best size and style of board that will fit my needs? Your weight and level of expertise will determine which board size. SUPs typically range from 8 to 12 feet in length, 28 to 32 inches wide, with a thickness of 4 to 5 inches. The heavier you weigh the longer the board should be. For stability, the wider the board the better, and it will be easier for novice SUP users. The thicker the board, the less maneuverability but you will love the stability it can bring.

Don't underestimate the need for a very good paddle. Paddles need to fit your height so I would recommend getting one that is adjustable. On average it is recommended that the paddle be 7 inches taller than you are. Too short or too tall can change your postural stance and make for an uncomfortable outing. Learn the proper use of your paddle. Your paddle can be very effective as a brace keeping you stable and upright. Place your paddle fully in the water before you start to pull. This gives you the most power and stability during each stroke.

I get asked often about the use of a "PFD" - Personal Floatation Device - and if you should use one or keep one with you on the board. I think it comes down to a couple of basics. Are you a good swimmer and how far out do plan to go? Do what makes you feel comfortable. Also you can pretty much use any U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest. It does not need to be fancy.

One item that gets overlooked is if you're going to use a SUP in Idaho you will need an Invasive Species Permit on your board. The fine can be steep if you do not have one.

For most of us living in the Coeur d'Alene area, the primary use will be for flat-water recreation. There are many different types of uses for SUP like surfing, touring, fitness, yoga and even floating local rivers to name a few. Beginners tend to use larger boards, and the experts that surf with them and do competitive racing use smaller more outlined boards.

Once you get on the board you can expect a great workout. I try to get in about six miles each time I go out. The workout hits a number of key areas on your body. Using a SUP requires a lot of balance and stabilization, so your legs and core are being actively challenged while you are on the board. Your arms and back get a pretty good workout too, which makes boarding one of the best full body workouts without the impact of running or weight lifting.

Boarding on our local lakes is amazing and groups gather weekly for outings. You can check with Kym Murdoch at Coeur d'Alene Paddleboard Company on group paddles and also where to get a lesson or two.

There are two great events coming up that you may want to check out. The first one is the 1st charity event "Paddle to the Point" July 27. Registration closes for this event July 19. The other is "Jam for Cans" on Hayden Lake at Camp Mivoden on Aug. 25. Grab a board, get fit and have fun this summer at these great events.

Overall you just can't go wrong with standup paddleboarding so get there and give it a try.

Judd Jones is a director for the Hagadone Corporation.

Paddle boarding, which has gained considerable popularity over the past few years, can provide a good workout.

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