If you have been to a lake recently, we’re sure you have seen stand-up paddleboarders gliding across the water. Stand-up paddleboarding is the fastest growing paddle sport and in the last 2 – 3 years has grown over 25%. And it’s easy to get in on the fun of stand-up paddleboarding at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve.
“After taking a group of staff members up to Lake Norman to try it out” said Kevin Pimentel, an Outdoor Recreation Specialist with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation “we knew it was something we wanted to bring to Latta Plantation.”
Their day on the lake led to a year long planning process that included having 5 staff members certified in Stand-up Paddleboarding through the American Canoe Association (ACA). “The ACA sets standards for education, safety and training. The Stand-up Paddleboarding certification is fairly new and stresses safety and training skills.” said Pimentel.
If you are wondering how you can possibly balance on that small little board in moving water, trust us; it can be done! The Stand-up Paddleboarding program is guided, meaning you will always have a certified staff member nearby. “Everyone receives training, adapted to their particular skill level. The training typically takes 15 – 20 minutes or until everyone is comfortable on their board” Pimentel stressed that they work with every individual until they are comfortable going out on their own. Once participants have the hang of it, the staff remain on the shoreline to keep an eye on everyone.
“We are even able to adapt the program for people who may have injuries or problems standing for long periods of time. We have taught people how to sit on their boards and use a kayak paddle to row.” Pimentel said the goal is to make the sport “accessible to as many people as possible.”
Stand-up Paddleboarding is offered on the Saturdays from now through September 1st. Each session is 2 hours and costs $25 per person. Don’t wait too long to register for a spot though, as each session is limited to only 5 participants. They may be able to accommodate private groups during the week with an advanced reservation.
So this summer spend a few hours at Latta Plantaton Nature Preserve on beautiful Mountain Island Lake learning how to Stand-up Paddleboard. You will have the added bonus of a fantastic core work out. “When your abs are sore you know you are doing it right.” said Pimentel, whose enthusiasm for the sport is contagious. “We launched the program on Memorial Day 2016, almost a year ago. We have had fantastic feedback. People really enjoy it.”
With all of the success of the Stand-up Paddleboarding program, they have decided to also offer Stand-up Paddleboarding Yoga. So if you are really adventurous and want to step up your game, lookout for Yoga coming this August. Rumor has it, Kayak Fishing could be next!
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Make sure to reserve your spot ahead of time by going to https://apm.activecommunities.com/mecklenburgparks/
- Once you have registered your will receive an email with instructions including everything you need to know for your time on the lake.
- You must be 12 years or older to participate.
- The $25 fee includes all of your equipment. Just remember to bring sunscreen and water.