Stand-up Paddleboarding thrives in the East End.
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), the ideal way to enjoy the scenery of the Hamptons waterways while getting an excellent workout, is having a major moment. Actually, this peaceful, energizing sport has been gaining in popularity for the past 10 years all over the continental U.S. after it was brought over from Hawaii by surfers who first developed the technique. In 2013, SUP claimed more first-time participants than any other outdoor sport in the U.S., according to one report, and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
The sport has many plusses: Anyone at any age can learn to paddleboard, from serious athletes to absolute beginners (the board is longer and wider—and thus easier to balance on—than a typical surfboard). It can be done at various paces and intensities, from high-energy racing to leisurely sightseeing, and in ocean waves or peaceful lakes. Whatever the setting, SUP is a full-body workout, with core muscles, upper body, and legs all benefiting from the activity.
Naturally the East End has become a popular location for stand-up paddleboarding, and there are a myriad of ways to enjoy the sport in these beautiful surroundings, offered by several first-rate outfits. Here are recommendations for a fantastic SUP experience guaranteed to make you a loyal fan (if you aren’t one already).
Founded by fitness instructor, wind-surfing teacher, and scuba instructor Gina Bradley, East Hampton-based Paddle Diva was created in 2009 specifically for women, who she felt were underserved by the sport. (Her efforts led to the creation of the popular DIVA board, a SUP board custom-built by Nature Shapes.) In addition to lessons, group paddles, adventure tours, parties, and corporate events, Paddle Diva offers one of the most popular trends in the sport: SUP Yoga. The company has the largest floating yoga studio on the East End with a unique anchor system that allows you to tether your board to a special hook, transforming it into a floating yoga mat. Practiced in the warm waters near shore, SUP yoga is a more challenging workout than the stationary practice because your core muscles work harder to achieve balance. The sound of the water and the feeling of floating bring a natural sense of serenity and calm, focusing and relaxing your mind. Only drawback: it may be hard to go back to regular floor yoga after such a sensational experience! Recommended for both beginners and regulars. (219 Three Mile Harbor Rd., 631-329-2999)
Founded in 2012, family-owned and operated Adventure Paddleboards was voted one of “Dan’s Best of the Best” two years in a row. Aside from having taught thousands of folks of all ages the art of stand-up paddleboarding, the company offers a variety of SUP outings launched from several locations on both the North and South Fork. One of these excellent adventures is SUP & Sip, consisting of either a beginner- or advanced-level stand-up paddleboard tour coupled with a wine-tasting excursion, courtesy of New Vine Wine Tours. It’s a logical duet; is there any better way to enjoy the lovely North Fork than taking a scenic SUP tour, followed by a relaxing jaunt to the area’s renowned local wineries? Adventure offers tours leaving from either Jamesport or Mattituck, both offering gorgeous views and abundant wildlife so you can enjoy your surroundings while putting in a good workout. An experienced instructor leads you through a two-hour tour that includes a taste of paddleboard yoga (and a refreshing dip in the water, if you’re so inclined). Afterwards, indulge in a fabulous wine-tasting package from Mattituck’s New Vine, which includes tastings at two or three notable North Fork wineries, a gourmet cheese platter, and boxed lunch or steakhouse dinner, depending on your choice of tour. Both SUP and Sip tours are by appointment only (Adventure SUP: 631.377.0162; New Vine: 631.409.8687)
Adventure Paddleboards also offers a 75-minute Saturday Sunset Paddle on beautiful Moriches Bay, an experience made magical by the ever-changing colors of sky as the sun sets. This beginner-level outing includes a lesson, guide, and equipment so all you need do is book it and show up. Enjoy a drink afterwards at the Tiki Bar or extend your day with dinner and live music at the Waters Edge restaurant. (Windswept Marina, 215 Atlantic Ave., East Moriches, 631.377.0162)
While paddleboarding is obviously beneficial for the participant, it can also help others, as demonstrated by the East Hampton-based nonprofit Paddlers for Humanity (P4H). Dedicated to bettering children’s lives, the organization supports innovative mental health programs for kids and youth, among other worthy causes. Funds are raised through a series of paddling and running events, including the Tenth Annual Block Challenge, which takes place this year on Saturday, Aug. 29. P4H’s signature paddle is18 miles of exciting open-ocean paddling from Montauk to Block Island.
What a fabulous way to experience this scenic crossing, which begins on the north side of the Montauk Lighthouse and ends at Champlin’s Marina on Block Island! Have a blast paddling alongside a supportive and fun-loving group of fellow participants, accompanied by the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue Team and numerous additional supporters, all gathered to make a difference for kids on Long Island’s East End. (In addition to paddleboarders, folks with kayaks, sculls, and outrigger canoes are welcome to take part; it is suggested that all entrants have completed a 10-mile paddle within the last year.)
All paddlers must attend a pre-event briefing on Friday, Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. On Saturday, check-in begins at 7 a.m. with a 7:30 launch; the trek takes about six hours, after which there will be a festive post-event celebration. Participants will be returned to the Montauk by ferry at 5 p.m. For complete details and to register, go to www.p4h.org (917.834.3888)