Paige Blankenbuehler
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September 8, 2012
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Eat, Drink, Play: Feel like walking on water?

When I was invited to try paddleboarding for the first time, I asked avid stand-up paddleboarder Ace Durkee what the appeal was, he responded with "when you try, you'll just know."

He was right. The relaxation, the views and the fact that you're getting a core workout doesn't quite describe adequately stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).

Driven by the fun workout, low learning curve and boards that have better flotation than in the past, SUP has risen from invisible to red-hot.

Though the startup costs to this sport are a less than modest investment, ability wise, it doesn't take long to adapt to the sport. Unlike surfing, paddleboarding is very easy to learn. Within one hour you can become very comfortable in the water and on your board.

It's all about balance, Durkee says. Luckily for me, woman and children take to the sport easily, according to Durkee.

"I've seen it time and time again, women always have an easier time adapting to balancing on the board," Durkee said as he effortlessly paddled beside me. "When I first started, the balancing was difficult - I fell right off, but you get back on and the feeling becomes more natural."

The sport originated in Hawaii as a life-saving device. It serves this purpose well because it is essentially a large, floating surface firm enough to support a person while navigating over oceans, lakes or rivers.

The stability of the paddleboard allows for the user to bring the sport to lakes, oceans and rivers - though inflatable paddleboards are preferred over fiber glass boards for navigating rivers.

The versatility of the paddleboard is matched by the serenity of experiencing the sport.

"This is the closest thing a person can do to being able to walk on water," Durkee said.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, 1.24 million people SUPed last year, up 18 percent from 2010. Even in Summit County, the sport is becoming more difficult to ignore.

"Paddleboarding is really an up-and-coming sport," Durkee said. "It's beginning to take hold in Summit County as an activity that anyone can enjoy."

The Dillon Reservoir Committee had a special meeting Aug. 22 to reassess the regulations that encumber SUP recreationalists.

"This is a fun committee to be on because sports are always changing - we just need to responsibly and appropriately come up with modern regulations on these types of recreationalists," said committee chair Howard Scott, recreation technician for the U.S. Forest Service. "I think this sport is especially exciting."

Currently, regulations on the reservoir require a SUP user to be wearing either a dry or wet suit.


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The Summit Daily Updated Sep 8, 2012 09:12PM Published Sep 8, 2012 09:08PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.