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Published January 16th 2017
Take a lesson and explore Smiths Lake by SUP
No doubt you are aware that Stand Up Paddleboarding is a popular recreational activity, for obvious reasons. Not only is it a great way to enjoy our beautiful waterways, it is also a fun and social way to stay active outdoors. If you've never tried it yourself and are still watching from the shore like I was, perhaps it's time to take a lesson and get out there on the water.
A lesson is a great way to start, as you get all of the equipment and information you need. In addition you will learn the correct technique, without developing any bad habits.
Pacific Palms SUP is located on Smiths Lake, around three hours north of Sydney and 30 minutes south of Forster in NSW. They offer both lessons and rentals and they are an accredited SUP school with the Academy of Surfing Instructors. The owners, Jeff and Francesca, live locally and have essential knowledge about the lake and its conditions. You can find them located next to the Frothy Coffee boatshed on Smiths Lake every day during the school holidays or they can be contacted year round through their website here.
Smiths Lake is a great spot for SUP beginners, as it is relatively safe with no tides or currents and no sharks to worry about. Myself and four friends were keen to have a go so we booked in for a morning lesson this January.
As we arrived for our lesson we were greeted by one of the owners, Francesca, who sorted out our paperwork and payment. Participants are required to sign a standard waiver acknowledging the risks of this water-based activity. We were then introduced to Jeff, our instructor. After assigning us appropriately sized boards Jeff began the lesson with some all important safety instructions. He then explained how to hold the paddle, the best position to stand on the board and how we would first start on our knees. Then we headed in to the water.
We were extremely lucky with the weather as the lake was glossy and calm with not a breath of wind on the day of our lesson. In fact we had perfect conditions for our first SUP experience.
Under the guidance of Jeff, we started on our knees, getting our balance on the board and getting familiar with the paddle before tentatively standing for the first time. We all got on to our feet relatively easily and Jeff got us to practise some turns before we started exploring the lake.
Balancing on the board was easier than I had imagined, but perhaps that was due more to the calm conditions than my skill level. Paddling was not strenuous and once you got your rhythm it was actually very soothing. The great thing with SUP is that you can go as fast or as slow as you like. I found that once I stopped worrying about falling off I could relax and enjoy the experience and the scenery. From my vantage point on the board I could easily see the marine life in the clear water of the lake below such as fish and jelly fish of all colours and sizes.
Our instructor Jeff was easy-going, friendly and supportive of everyone in our group. He was very knowledgeable and could cater to our different skill levels by offering helpful information and advanced skills to those who found it easy or tips and support if we were struggling. He managed to get around to everyone in our group for some individual attention and a chat which we all appreciated.
Our lesson ran for around an hour and 15 minutes. Pacific Palms SUP offer both individual or group lessons. The lesson includes your instructor, all equipment and safety guidance and information about technique. The rates are based on the number of people in your group and can be found on the Pacific Palms SUP website here.
Pacific Palms SUP also offer paddle board rentals. You can find out more by clicking here.
It is always best to make a booking to secure your preferred time. You can do this by phoning 0481 126 255 or via the website here. Payment is by cash or direct deposit (there are no credit card facilities).
I would highly recommend a lesson with Pacific Palms SUP. In fact I enjoyed the experience so much that I went back the next day to hire a board to do some more exploring in the lake by SUP.
So why not give it a try and discover the pleasures of stand up paddle for yourself? It is a fun activity to enjoy with family or friends and it is a great way to get out on the water and stay active.