Sunday, November 20, 2011

Still standing

As much as Vermont’s Indian Summer has bummed out the Skier and Boarderhood — of which we are proud members — it has also turned into a rare and welcome extension of Stand Up Paddle season into November!

Most autumns, our final paddles of the season are foliage tours. So it was a little strange this year entering the water with the leaves already off the trees. Water temps in the Winooski River were cool at this South Burlington put-in. We enjoyed an initial upriver journey then a serene float over mostly glassy waters into Colchester, with some whitewater bumps along the way.

Going upriver over slow water ... Just like being on the lake.

Some rocks to start

That warm Indian Summer sun

Forecast calls for snow so this is likely it for SUP in VT in 2011. Bring it on and we’ll see you in the spring.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lake Champlain SUP Cup

The 2011 Stand Up for the Lake event was the best yet, with a solid field of men, women and kid Stand Up Paddlers coming out to represent for Vermont’s burgeoning SUP community and raise a few thousand bucks for the Community Sailing Center in Burlington.

This was the third year of the event, and it happened to coincide with a national championship USA Triathlon event, but I think we had more fun. Congrats to the O’Brien family, Mike, Deb and kids, who SWEPT all divisions and took home the Lake Champlain SUP CUP.

A pig roast and Luau followed with Russ Scully from The Spot restaurant providing Master of Ceremony services.

We are psyched to see this event grow in the future and be there as Vermont gets on board with the SUP racing movement.

Here are some photos from the event (Aug. 20, 2011).

Women's winner Deb O'Brien

Canadians were having a lot of success in the men's field

The Kiddos

Photos by Deb and Mike O'Brien

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oh, Irene

We woke up to pounding rains the Sunday that Hurricane Irene (technically a tropical storm at that point) blew through the Champlain Valley. The night before we had been gathering consensus among the SUP crew about when the best window to catch waves would be on the windy lake.

Predictions were for waves in the 5 to 6 foot range. We’d hoped for the wind to build before the rain, but Irene was already raining down heavy at 10 a.m. and blowing only 10 mph. But the waves built quickly, and by noon we joined Mike and his daughter catching 3-footers in an increasing North wind at Oaklegde Park.

Getting out past the buoys into position was a supreme workout ...

Standing up, not mandatory

Mike pulling in, about knee high

Best wishes for a strong recovery for all Vermonters now taking stock after the storm’s floods …

Friday, August 5, 2011

Midseason report

Here at the halfway point of the 2011 Vermont Stand Up Paddleboarding season, we are happy to report that SUP stoke has reached another level in the Green Mountain State. From kids to baby boomers, members of the media to folks coming in from out of town, people are getting on board, and from where we stand, it seems that something has really taken hold.

And why not … Playing on the rolling waves of Lake Champlain or cruising along on a calm glassy night … Working up a sweat heading out toward the Adirondack peaks or touring along the shoreline in and out of the rocky crags … It’s all so much fun and such a great way to spend the summer.

We don’t think there’s any turning back now, so expect to see more and more people on their feet out there on that wide-open orange horizon, or grab a board and be that person yourself.

See you in August!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Standing Up for America (on the Fourth)

If you tweet long enough you find it hard to string three sentences together. But we're going to try to get back into blog form because July Fourth weekend 2011 was both a celebration of America’s B-day and a celebration of all the great ways to Stand Up Paddle in Vermont — it’s a story that deserves to be told in long form.

Saturday (July 2) was glorious in the Lake Champlain valley, and there was so much pent up longing for summer after our soaked spring that the water was full of SUP boards, boats and smallcrafts of all kinds.

We did have some weather delay Sunday and it allowed us and our mascot Manny some down time while the showers passed. We used the time to continue setting up our humble shack/Vermont surf shop for the season.

The unsettled weather made for an unreal fireworks display over the Burlington skyline as a dry, cloud-to-cloud lightning storm became the backdrop for the annual Burlington fireworks show. It was tremendous and something no one watching had ever seen before.

The holiday itself had us taking a maiden Stand Up voyage down the lazy Mad River out of Waitsfield. We were too busy having fun to take pics. Trust us, it was a blast and we finally found the best and highest use for our green kayak-style plastic board. The thing is bullet proof and handled the Mad’s shallow sections without a second thought.

Here's a thought for the road ...

... Aloha.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

103 Feet High and Rising (a 2011 preseason paddle)

Welcome back to the third season of the Stand Up Paddle Vermont blog! All eyes in April and May have been on Lake Champlain as it has risen beyond 103 feet above sea level.

This is a record height for the lake and homeowners along the shore are dealing with immense flooding and wave damage. A disaster area for northwest Vermont has been declared and FEMA agents are on their way to survey the damage.

This is a serious situation for sure, but our curiosity took us out on the water to play around nonetheless in what was a very unique spring Stand Up Paddle in and around the Burlington waterfront.

High water means lots of debris as the Champlain basin rivers empty out ...

A different kind of playground at Perkins Pier.

Soft light as the sun went down ... Looking west (above) and looking east (below) with downtown B-Town as a backdrop.

One of the best Lake front eateries, Breakwaters, was completely swamped. It's a sad sight and will take a big effort to recover from. Wishing the best for a full recovery this spring.