FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below are tips on how to get the most out of your SUP experience and become a part of stand up paddle culture in the Canadian Rockies.
Stand up paddling (SUP) is an enjoyable versatile mode of self-propelled aquatic exploration suitable for all abilities. It can be relaxing and gentle or challenging and fitness oriented. In Jasper, SUP enthusiasts explore flat water lakes, lazy rivers, and more dynamic class 1 or 2 whitewater. We hike our inflatable boards into small mountain lakes or take our yoga practice outside treating our boards like floating yoga mats. To be part of SUP in Jasper National Park is to connect with a community of mountain lovers embedded in living a life in sync with natures rhythms.
What do I wear?
The best material for stand up paddling are synthetic or wool. Wear clothing that dries quickly and doesn’t hold onto water. For longer paddles or when circumnavigating a lake that doesn’t have trail access on all shorelines, it's a good idea to wear or pack extra layers in a dry bag in case weather conditions change. On warm days, a hat and long sleeved synthetic top are important to avoid burn or heat stroke. On cool days, a wet suit and neoprene booties is ideal, but many paddlers choose to wear quick dry hiking pants or tights, fleece tops or waterproof shells. Whatever you choose, be sure it doesn’t include cotton. Some yoga leggings are entirely synthetic and marketed for SUP while other types of workout wear has cotton fibers that will be heavy and clammy if wet.
WILL I FAll in THE LAKE?
Quite possibly, yes. However, many people don't - even on their first launch. We have very stable boards suited to beginners and the majority of people who prefer not to swim, do manage to stay on their board. However, it’s always necessary to be prepared to fall and, at very least to get a little wet during launching and damp from water on the board. All participants must be swimmers.
Pack an extra change of clothes, a thermos of hot tea, or a blanket in your car in case you need to warm up quickly when you get off the water. As your paddle skills improve so will your confidence and, surprisingly quickly, you’ll find you can choose whether you swim or not. Once you’re stable on your board you can go out and enjoy paddling in colder weather with more confidence that you’ll stay dry. If you want to practice skills that put you at risk of a dunk in the drink then do those at the end of your paddle so you can keep your body heat for the journey and finish with some fun. If you don’t fall in the lake at least once, we believe, you’re not getting the full SUP experience.
What Should I have ready for after my paddle?
It’s smart to pack a change of clothes, towel, water, a snack, and a sweater of some kind for after you get off the water. On cooler days, it can also be helpful to have a warm drink and pants to change into. Any physical activity, especially in an aquatic environment, can make your body less able to maintain warmth and it can be common to become cold quite quickly after you return from your paddle.
WHat if it's cold outside? Is it still fun to STAND UP PADDLE on rainy days?
Every day is a paddling day unless there’s lightweight involved; you just need to dress appropriately for the weather. In the spring or fall, you would be best to have a wetsuit or dry suit with neoprene gloves, booties or a splash jacket. All year round, our rivers and higher altitude lakes, such as Maligne Lake, are quite cold so more the more specialized paddling gear mentioned above is a good idea depending on the length of your paddle and the air temperature that day.
Just as with hiking, some of the most rewarding experiences in nature can happen on days with weather that’s less than ideal. As long as your dressed appropriately and prepared to manage your comfort in the outdoors, a rainy day paddle can be magical and hugely rewarding. Some of the many benefits of rainy day paddling include: having the lakes completely to yourself, enjoying the mist and solitude, sometimes better chances of seeing fish and other aquatic life.
CAN I BRING MY KIDS OR MY DOG ON THE BOARD?
Stand up paddling is a safe and highly enjoyable family activity provided everyone has the ability to swim and wears a personal flotation device. We have a small selection of children’s sized life jackets for use should your children not have their own already. We also have a selection of larger boards suitable for supporting an adult plus children and/or pets.
What If I Can't Swim?
Stand up paddling is a sport for swimmers. The high probability of falling into the water at some point during your first few experiences means this is not a sport for non-swimmers. Participants need to have enough swimming ability to tread water to recover from a fall into the lake and then remount the board successfully. All children, regardless of age or size, with weak swimming abilities, must be on the board of an adult who can swim (within arms reach guidelines as set out by the Life Saving Society of Canada). All participants must continue to wear their life vests while out on the water. Adults with weak swimming ability might choose to still participate, but only with the company of another adult who is a strong swimmer. If an adult indicates they are a non-swimmer and intends to go out on the lake alone, they will be denied rental equipment.