There is nothing better than spending the day out on the water. Soaking up that Colorado summer sun. Imagine being able to do that while getting in a calorie-crushing workout. Luckily, you can. Standup Paddle Boarding, commonly known as SUP, is cardio training mixed with a core strengthening workout. A water sport that has been around since the 18th century. It is rumoured that Hawaiians used to paddle the Pacific, from island to island. Currently, it is trending with over 3 million people taking up the hobby since 2011. It doesn’t matter what your age, height or size is, it is a sport that mostly anyone can do. Which makes it no surprise that today it is one of the most sought after water sports.
The health benefits of Standup Paddle Boarding are one of the main reasons for its popularity. Burning around 430 calories for every hour on the water. Almost double what you would burn if you were walking at a steady pace for the same timeframe. The main focus of this workout is on your core. Your abdominal muscles will be continuously working to keep your balance steady. Helping achieve those lifetime goals of getting a six-pack or strong abs. Staring at the blue water is much more relaxing than holding a plank position at the gym. Paddling into the water will also work out your arms. You will use your shoulders and knees to help you pop up on the board. Making it a complete full-body workout by the end of your session.
A newer trend that has hit the water is Yoga PaddleBoarding. A combination of the two exercises. In this practice, you will balance in various yoga positions on the board, in the middle of the lake. Most people think it’s harder than it actually is. Not to mention it is also a mental workout. Helping your mind become present during your practice. All of your brain’s focus will be on balancing. Ideal for adding a new challenge to a current yogi’s practice. If you reside by the ocean, SUP surfing is also making an appearance in the scene. Similar to actual surfing, but with your very own paddle.
Estes Park has impressive locations for SUP. Lake Estes is one of the lakes that allow recreational boating. Located a few miles outside of downtown Estes Park. Lake Estes Marina offers kayak and paddleboard rentals for visitors. Life jackets are included in the rental price of $25 per hour. Keep in mind, life jackets are required on the lake. Rent a paddle board and spend your day on the 185 acres lake.
Sprague Lake is a 13-acre lake located in Rocky Mountain National Park. Paddleboarding is allowed there as long as you check current conditions with the rangers. To access, park at Sprague Lake Trailhead, located off of Bear Lake Road. You will need to carry your board about one hundred yards, crossing over a short bridge. Ducks and trout are often found swimming in this lake. Paddleboarders can enjoy the 360 views of the mountains. Including Flattop Mountain, Taylor Peak & Otis Peak, to name a few. Even in July, you can normally still see the snow-capped peaks. Entrance fees to the park are $25 per car unless you have a National Park Pass.
Lily Lake is on the other side of the national park, south of Estes Park. To reach the trailhead drive about six miles down Highway 7. There you will find the Lily Lake parking area, across the street from Twin Sisters Trailhead. The size of this lake is 18.3 acres. This lake has an easier launch in the area, so hiking is not required. Entrance fees to the park are $25 per car unless you have a National Park Pass.
If you take Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park you will eventually reach Grand County. An area featuring Lake Granby, Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake. These three locations are also recommended for SUP. Grand Lake is 500 surface acres. Making it the largest and deepest natural body of water in Colorado. Grand Lake Marina is a lake recreation area that has been around since 1972. A very historical place known for its boating and summer water activities. Rent paddle boards starting at $25 for an hour with a duration of 1-4 hours at a time. If you have your own board there are public access points where you can launch in.
Inflatable paddle boards have become the most convenient option for adventurers on the go. Instead of strapping your paddleboard to the top of the car. Use your pump to inflate your board at the lake. When you are done just deflate the air by standing on it and rolling it up. You can get your very own inflatable stand up paddleboard from $300 to $800 dollars. Hard stand up paddleboards are on the pricier side. Normally ranging from $700 – $2000, depending on quality.
It is important to review all safety tips before getting out in the water. Always check the weather before launching out. Summer storms are very common and sudden. The last place you want to find yourself is in the middle of a lake when lightning begins to strike. Checking wind speeds is also a good tip. You want to keep a lookout for low wind speeds to ensure the water is calm. Also, be sure to check for designated launch in areas. Most lakes have designed areas to help you safely get into the water. Wear your leash around your ankle in case of a fall into the water. This will keep you safe and ensure you do not become separated from your board. Always wear a life vest, even if you are an experienced swimmer. Most lakes require this and won’t let you board without one.
Stand up paddleboarding is an exceptional hobby to take up this summer. Regardless if you are looking for an intense workout or a day to mentally disconnect. Float out and indulge in the sounds of nature. Take in the views of the surrounding mountains. Let your mind think about nothing but your balance. Being present can be an important key to happiness. Estes Park has many surrounding lakes for you to appreciate. So rent that SUP, put on your life jacket and get out on the open water.