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River paddle boarding catching on around Aspen, Rocky Mountains

25 Jul 2012
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Ocean paddle boarding (SUP) is a growing sport in the West Coast and is catching on in the East Coast, but here in the Rocky Mountains, adventurers are becoming more and more enthralled with a new hybrid on the sport a river paddle boarding SUP!

Paddle boarding involves standing or sitting on a surfboard-like apparatus - called a paddle board - and maintaining your balance while paddling the water with a long paddle. To help us better understand this phenomenon, our blog team recruited Jennifer Steele to participate in this weekas Q&A session. Jenniferas the reservations manager at Frias Properties of Aspen, so she's pretty much our resident expert on planning a perfect getaway! Below, she answers a few questions about her favorite new sport.

Frias Properties of Aspen Asst. Director of Reservations Jennifer Steele splashes around on a recent river paddle boarding trip.

Q: How did you get involved with paddle-boarding?
A: aMy friend learned the sport while visiting Hawaii. Now a group of girls try to get together to master the sport on the Roaring Fork.a

Q: Is it a hard sport to master?
A: aPaddle boarding is what you make of it! I think it can be for anyone. You can jaunt around Ruedi Reservoir at a slower pace or challenge yourself in the Roaring Fork River. For river paddle boarding you need a lot of balance, keep the board straight down river, and use your paddle as a crutch through the rapids. Each board has different reaction time in the rapids. It's certainly not for everyone. I think being in shape and athletic helps control the board on the river.a

Q: Where do you go?
A: aThe Colorado River mostly. Grizzly to South Canyon in West Glenwood is a lot of fun. Lots of great waves in South Canyon [experts only]!a

A Q: What time of season is best?
A: aA sunny summer day.a

Q: What type of equipment is used?
A: aPaddle Board. A long paddle with handle. Life jackets and helmet are king when the rivers low. A leash is great but you can't rent them for safety reasons.. They can get caught on river rocks. Occasional wet suit and booties or river shoes.a

Q: Where can I get equipment around here?
A:A aGlenwood Adventure Company. Ken Murphy 970-456-7907.a

A Q: Is it good for families and kids, or is it too extreme?
A: aFamilies can ride in the raft, next to the family paddle boarder.a

A group of friends paddle the Colorado River.

Q: What type of water is needed? Rapids? Calm?
A: aEither is great! I personally like the challenge of the rapids, and kicking back to relax between the tides.a

Q: Do you go alone or in a group?
A: aThe buddy system is best!a

Q: Whatas the main thing to beware of when on the water?
A: aRiver rocks.a

Q: Does it hurt when you wipe out?
A: aNo, as long you as focus on your fall, and try to avoid the big river rocks. Helmets are key!a

Q: Tell us about your best paddle-boarding experience.
A: aBest trip so far was a 5-hour cruise from Grizzley West Glenwood Springs to South Canyon [experts only].a

Q: What (or where) would you like to paddle-board next?
A: aLove to do Two Rivers to South Canyon again and practice the big waves.a

Q: Whatas the best advice you can give to a first-time paddle-boarder?
A: aEnjoy!a