Stand up paddling on Catalina Island
One of the hottest new sports has found an ideal home on Santa Catalina Island. Stand-up paddling, or SUP, is a peaceful activity that combines great core conditioning with an upper body workout. Stand up paddlers balance on a paddleboard and use a long paddle to propel themselves across the water. It’s an ideal activity for many water environments and is exploding in popularity throughout the world in lakes and calm rivers as well as sheltered ocean coves and harbors.
Several local outfitters in Avalon and one in Two Harbors rent SUP gear and provide instruction. Once familiar with the gear and the rhythm, paddlers can explore the coves of the Catalina’s leeside. The quiet activity allows people to interact and experience the natural world in a way that doesn’t impact or disturb wildlife and paddlers will frequently see sea lions and dolphins as well as marine birds. Gliding over the island’s crystal clear waters, Catalina stand-up paddlers will be able to peer beneath the surface to see a world of amber kelp forests, bright orange garibaldi and distinctive black and red sheepshead.
While stand-up paddling can be a relaxing activity for those looking for peace and reflection, the sport has also spawned a wealth of competitions and contests with SUP aficionados taking part in races around the world.