May 12, 2014 8:58 pm

Growing interest for paddle boarding in Saskatchewan

Watch the video above: Stand up paddle boarding in Saskatoon

SASKATOON – It’s huge in places like Hawaii and California, but now even the South Saskatchewan River is visited by stand up paddle boarders.

Saskatoon’s Marcus Storey and his brother opened up a store in the city called Escape Sports a decade ago.

The idea behind it was to open a business that would cater to the alternative sports scene.

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Being the adventurous type, Marcus decided to try paddle boarding out and was instantly hooked.

“I remember the first time on the river was in the fall and it was cold. I think we went in a couple times each. But the perspective you got from being on the water was like nothing we’ve ever experienced,” said Storey.

He’s been an avid paddler ever since.

But Marcus isn’t the only one who’s fallen in love with the sport. Stand up paddle boarding is starting to catch on in the Bridge City.

“The first year was five boards sold, the next year was 12 and then it went to 30 and then it doubled to 60 and then last year it was over 100 and this year we’re already on pace to break that,” said Storey.

Marcus now teaches stand up paddle boarding.

He says that first timers always notice the same two things: the perspective is breathtaking and it’s a surprisingly a good workout.

“It’s more of a full body workout you’re engaging all these little stabilizer muscles in your legs, you’re getting your core involved a lot and then you can segregate different muscles if you choose to work on different parts of your stroke,” said Storey.

He believes that stand up paddle boarding will be in the Olympics some day.

The Saskatchewan Canoe Association says there haven’t been any competitions in the province but local paddle sport athletes are starting to make splashes internationally.

No official clubs or races are in place yet, says the association.

According to Bryan Sarauer, Saskatchewan representative for Paddle Canada, paddle boarding is becoming more popular in the province and even showing up in northern areas.

Sarauer advises newcomers to not overlook the temperature of the water and to wear a wet suit. He also highly recommends a life jacket, especially with the current in the South Saskatchewan River.

To the casual viewer, it may not look like the most exhilarating sport but Marcus says don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

“Once you experience it and have a good time on a board, it’s hard to beat,” said Storey.

Paddle Canada says people looking to get on to a board should first find a certified instructor.

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