A New York gal living in Sydney. An ICU nurse by profession and urban hippie. A pescatarian, runner/yoga lover, scuba diver & green-living enthusiast. Admits to being a coffee snob & is owned by a sweet French Bulldog.
Published November 3rd 2014
Try one of the world's fastest growing water sport
Have you tried one of the world's fastest growing water sports yet? Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is taking Sydney by storm and I can see why...it's easy to learn, fun to do & great exercise for your core.
After contacting a few SUP businesses, I decided to go with Oz Paddle as they are "Australia's premier kayak experts: manufacturing, tours, fitness training, corporate groups, lessons and hire." I got a bit of the run-around from some of the other SUP companies around the Rose Bay Area, so it was very welcoming to have Sophie Morgan from Oz Paddle organize our activity. Our package would consist of a SUP lesson, hire of board and paddle, three-hour guided tour, photos and refreshments.
Sophie runs tours from both the Andrew Boy Charlton Pool in Woollomooloo (kayak) or Tingira Reserve in Rose Bay (kayak and SUP). She also holds a Flat-Water Guide Accreditation and has many years experience in leading tours around Sydney Harbour.
The Andrew Boy Charlton Pool is located near Woolloomooloo and is adjacent to the Royal Botanical Gardens near the city. This central location is exclusive to Oz Paddle. Kayaking from here offers amazing views of the city, Opera House and the bridge in a way like no other, as well as exploring more secluded parts of the harbour."
We met Sophie at 9am at their Rose Bay location, on a clear but cool morning and started our SUP experience with a lesson. The lesson covered basic SUP instructions on how to stand up, proper stance and basic paddling techniques. The paddles used in SUP are very long and your top arm needs to be straight up and outstretched to properly propel your board forward.
Getting our 'sea legs'
After our paddling tuition, away we went to practice our novice techniques. A key thing to remember is to look out in front of you at the horizon and not down at your feet. Also propelling your board forward makes it more stable to balance on then standing still. Once we got our balance and 'sea legs' off we paddled not too far from the shore.
Leisurely as it looks, SUP is an active sport. I was glad that the weather was not hot as you certainly generate your own heat. On our way, we stopped off at a few of the secluded beaches to have a rest, drink and for Sophie to take our photos. At our stop at Hermit Beach, we sat at a picnic table and enjoyed the light refreshments that she provided. Sophie prepared cut up melon, grapes and freshly baked macaroons. Her coconut macaroons (baking is her other passion) were light and yummy...however she would not divulge the recipe to us.
Last stop on our tour was Milk Beach, we left out SUPs here to walk to Strickland House. Probably best to wear some type of foot covering as I managed to step on every bindi on the property. The views from Strickland House are worthwhile and you can see the harbour all the way to the bridge.
Harbour Bridge in the background
After leaving Strickland House we paddled straight back to Rose Bay. This time we paddled through much deeper water with bigger waves and currents to deal with. I felt more confident paddling back then when I started out. If you get stuck in a current or fall in, Sophie instructs you on how to paddle out of it or get back on your board. I'm proud to say that although I was slower on my board then my friends...I did not fall in.
Back on dry land after our three-hour tour, I cannot wait to go SUPing again. A handy tip is to be prepared and bring shorts, T-shirt/rash, hat, 30 sunscreen, sunglasses, towel and a dry change of clothes. Also it's a good idea to know the wind report...anything over 10 knots and it's not advisable to take out a SUP.
An alternative if the weather is too windy, is to rent a kayak from Oz Paddle. Starting from $20/hour for a single or $40/hour for a double kayak, you can paddle around to the secluded beaches that way. Though the three-hour SUP tour package I did is $110, you can also rent out a SUP for $20/hour and explore around on your own.
Oz Paddle also offers kayak fitness classes:
Rose Bay - Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6am
Andrew Boy Charlton Pool - Tuesday and Thursday at 6:15am.
These group fitness sessions involve a paddle, run/walk, core and strength work, some yoga stretches and sometimes a swim.
If you are thinking of trying SUP go with Oz Paddle...it makes a great day out on the water for activities like team building, parties, tours, hens and bucks, romantic outings, picnics, lessons and hire.