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Standup Paddleboarding in Pittsburgh

March 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 177

Traditionally, surf culture was a pursuit limited to coastal towns and associated with places like Big Sur and Hawaii. The thought of riding waves and gliding over water was something inland dwellers could only dream of. Recently, however, the use of standup paddleboards, also known as SUPs, has made it possible for everyone to enjoy this incredible activity. SUPing is an ancient form of surfing that utilizes a long paddle to propel an agile but stable surfboard and an upright paddler gracefully across the water. Due to the stability and buoyancy of these enlarged surfboards, it is possible to navigate virtually any body of water. From serene lakes to wild whitewater rivers, stand up paddlers are taking to their local waterways. Pittsburgh, the city of three rivers, is quickly being realized as a mecca for the pursuit.

The Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers converge at "the Point" in downtown Pittsburgh and offer paddlers a wide range of options to explore these rivers and their countless tributaries. The Allegheny in particular offers paddlers a diverse and often tranquil experience with its coves, bays, and isolated islands. For those that prefer still water, there are an array of options nearby including lakes, ponds, and other gentle flowing rivers such as the Kiskiminetas River, Lake Arthur, and North Park Lake. Exploring these and the numerous other options on a standup paddleboard offers an incredible perspective for taking in the natural scenery and wildlife that abounds in the region. It is not uncommon to witness bald eagles and osprey diving for fish, deer browsing on the shoreline, or families of beaver making their home on the same bodies of water.

Perhaps less known are the whitewater opportunities that abound near Pittsburgh. The nearby Laurel Highlands region provides innumerable whitewater SUP opportunities, on which paddlers can test their balance over swift moving water and powerful, raging rapids. Learning to SUP in whitewater is incredibly exhilarating but requires training and knowledge of these environments. It is recommended that you take a course or utilize a guide before taking on fast creeks and rivers on your own.

With all of the options Pittsburgh has to offer, it is no surprise that the SUP culture is growing so quickly. Surf waves on the rivers, peace and serenity on the lakes, and a new way to commute to work on the three rivers gives outdoor enthusiasts their choice of experiences to take in from their standup paddleboards.

Ian Smith is the owner and guide at SurfSUP Adventures in Pittsburgh. SurfSUP Adventures is Pittsburgh's Premier Standup Paddleboarding Outfitter and offers eco-tours, whitewater SUP, SUP Yoga, and equipment sales. Please visit for more information.

Source: EzineArticles
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