What SUP? Stand Up Paddle Boarding.

Paddle boarding is surfing and kayaking combined.  It’s a full body workout.  It improves core strength, cardio fitness, balance and flexibility.  In 2013, it was identified as the outdoor sporting activity with the most first time participants (outdoorindustry.org, 26 January 2015).  It’s a fun way to play in the water while burning 305-400 calories an hour.  (For comparison:  biking burns an average of 483/hour, running burns an average of 650/hour.)

(pictured:  Diane and Marty Button, enjoying the summer sun)

I love kayaking but was hesitant to try SUP because of the surfing/balance element.  My mother-in-law encouraged me, and I am so happy I gave it a try!  To get started, I suggest taking a class. REI offers SUP classes. 

Recreational SUP programming available through our Michigan State Parks:


Some hints to maintain your balance:

  • position your feet hips width apart
  • keep your toes pointed forward and your knees slightly bent
  • balance with your hips, not your upper body
  • avoid staring at your feet
  • much like biking, forward momentum increases your stability


The Brighton Recreation Area (Bishop Lake) offers SUP board rental.  The cost is $10 for 4 hours, and you simply pay at the campground registration building.  They give you a key to unlock a board, which is waiting for you down at the lake.  I love this for two reasons.  Paddle boards range in price from $600- $3500.  Why buy when I can rent?  The boards are 9-12 feet long and weigh an average of 30 lbs.  Renting at the state park means I don’t need to deal with transporting these large boards.  Love it!

Written by Marty Button, 2016 Fitness Ambassdor