Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Stand-up paddleboarding lessons mix fitness and fun under the Pinellas sun

Max Smedley, 7, on learning to stand-up paddleboard with his dad, Ron, above.

“You just go out there, have fun and chill.”

Max Smedley, 7, on learning to stand-up paddleboard with his dad, Ron, above.

CLEARWATER

It's Dad's big day and if you want to be the most awesome of offspring, treat him to one of the hippest ideas under the Florida sun — a SUP lesson.

What's SUP?

It's short for stand-up paddleboards, which look like oversized surfboards but are paddled like a canoe.

Enthusiasts say it's a fun way to cruise waterways and improve fitness, too.

Tuesday, the Smedley family from Lansing, Mich., took a group lesson from paddling kahuna Brody Welte in the calm waters near the Clearwater Community Sailing Center on Sand Key.

"He had us standing up and paddling in five minutes," said Ron Smedley, 41. "It was a lot of fun; we saw some dolphins, snook. And it's nice because it's something we can all do together."

Or as his son Max, 7, put it: "Yeah, you just go out there, have fun and chill."

Welte, 35, said he learned his craft from top Hawaiian surfers Laird Hamilton and David Kalama, considered SUP pioneers.

Two years ago, Welte started a St. Petersburg business called Stand Up Fitness inside the Reno Beach Surf Shop. They offer SUP lessons, rentals, equipment for sale and adventure vacations. A year ago, he partnered with the Clearwater Community Sailing Center to provide lessons and rentals in north Pinellas.

"I've taught thousands and never had anyone that couldn't get up and paddle," Welte said. Past students include the visually impaired, amputees and special-needs children. His oldest student to date was 77.

Welte, a Michigan State grad who lived and surfed in Hawaii and California for several years, is also a personal trainer who teaches students how to use their board as a fitness mat while on the water.

But he said that just standing and paddling can reap huge rewards, too.

"You have your cardiovascular benefits, too, with zero impact on your joints. Females paddling vigorously can burn up to 600 calories an hour, and males can burn 1,000."

Celebs like Matt Damon, Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey are SUP fans. And the fact that the sport can be done on any large body of water makes it accessible to most, grandma and grandpa included.

Welte said industry data shows SUP is the fastest-growing water sport in the world.

"It's expected to overtake kayaking, canoeing and possibly surfing because of its accessibility and the fact that no demographics are excluded," he said.

SUP lessons

Stand Up Fitness lessons include one hour of instruction and one hour free-paddle with all equipment included. Private and semiprivate lessons cost $79 each; $59 each for groups of three or more. Gift certificates are available. There are two locations:

• North Shore Park, 901 North Shore Drive NE,

St. Petersburg. (727) 260-2362.

• Clearwater Community Sailing Center, 1001 Gulf Blvd. on Sand Key. (727) 742-8870.

Stand-up paddleboarding lessons mix fitness and fun under the Pinellas sun 06/16/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 16, 2011 5:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 17: Think 11 miles of nothing but straight trail and open, flat fields sounds easy? Think again.

    Travel

    Day 17: Villarmentero de Campos to Lédigos: 33.5 km, 10.25 hours. Total for Days 1-17 = 394 km (245 miles)

  2. Uhuru activist Eritha Cainion speaks up in St. Pete City Council race

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Eritha "Akile" Cainion has been one of the most vocal candidates among the crowded field running for the District 6 seat on the St. Petersburg City Council.

    Eritha "Akile" Cainion. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. A Day to Remember's Self Help Festival lineup bringing Underoath, Less Than Jake, more to Orlando

    Blogs

    Now that A Day to Remember are big enough to lead their own festival, they're wasting no time packing it with their fellow Floridians.

    A Day to Remember played 98 Rockfest in Tampa in April.
  4. Tom Sawyer with a revolver? Twain house has live 'Clue' game

    Attractions

    HARTFORD, Conn. — Was it Tom Sawyer in Samuel Clemens' billiard room with a revolver?

    In this July 14 photo, actor Dan Russell, left, portraying the character Arkansas from Mark Twain's book Roughing it, responds to a question from 10-year-old Emma Connell, center, of Arizona during a "Clue" tour at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Conn. The tour allows visitors to interact with Twain characters while playing a live-action version of the board game. [AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times

    Business

    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]