falling in love with stand-up paddleboarding

Paddleboarding with Jenn Thiel

When lululemon ambassador Jenn Thiel first went stand-up paddleboarding, it was at the Jericho sailing club on a first date. She instantly fell in love with paddle-boarding but, unfortunately, not with him. That was over two years ago and she's still in love. To me, Stand-Up Paddleboarders will always look like Venetian gondoliers doing 'weekend casual'. For aeons, people have been standing and paddling on the canals of Venice, the rivers of America and amidst the waves of Hawaii. All you need is water, a board, a paddle and abs.

steep learning curve

Although Jenn's experience as a surfer undoubtedly came in handy, the learning curve for paddleboarding is steep (steep is good). The boards have a lot of grip and aren't top-heavy like kayaks; plus there are tons of variables to make the sport as easy or as challenging as you like:

  • start by kneeling (the paddle lengths are adjustable)
  • try a different size board; the wider it is the more stable it'll be
  • flat water is easier; choppy is more difficult; and surf and journeying (travelling on long trips) is for advanced paddlers

what to wear

On her first date, Jenn she was out there in a bikini. That's awesome on a sunny day and if you start to overheat on your workout you can jump in the water to cool off. Most rentals are for an hour to and hour and a half so if the weather or the water's a little bit chillier, a rash guard or a shorty wetsuit might be advisable. Once you know what you're doing you can switch it up. You'll see a lot of paddlers in shorts and a top.

Paddleboarding with Jenn in Deep Cove

the best kind of workout

Stand-up paddleboarding works the entire body because you're constantly making micro movements to stabilize yourself on the board. The day after, while her date nursed a broken heart, Jenn nursed sore muscles. "I woke up and I was like, 'why are my abs sore? I think, at least partly, it was from laughing so much." You steer with your paddle, which means steering with your abs, your arms and your back. "It really gets you're heart rate up," says Jenn. "Even when you're having fun it's still a workout but you can make it a super workout too; you can even have races - you go faster than you'd think."

Jenn says that her favourite thing about being on the board is that it feels so zen (looking at her photos we can see why). Watching a sunset out on the board would be unreal! We're looking forward to finding a piece of that serenity for ourselves.

want more

read more related posts:


Looking fly, Jenn!

Comment by Liz — May 17, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

Tip: a great place to start if you’re in Hawaii (specifically on the island of Kauai) is Hanalei Bay or even Hanalei/Wailua River! I’m glad Lululemon blogged on this topic for it’s my summer pastime.

Comment by Kala'e — May 17, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

Looks like loads of fun. I want to try, just need to find where to do it around here.

Comment by Suzanne Williams — May 17, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

Looks like a lot of fun! Beautiful photos!

Comment by Anil N. Singh — May 18, 2011 @ 6:23 am

Tried this for the first time this summer – found a SUP rental at a lake here in Texas. This is such a fun sport to try!

If you’re around the NTX area: http://supntx.com/

Comment by Brittany — May 18, 2011 @ 10:38 am

We just bought our Tahoe SUP Zepher and it is life changing!! Everyone should get on the band wagon- you can even do yoga on it!

Comment by SGM — May 19, 2011 @ 8:05 am

I’m inspired to try it! Thanks Jenn!

Comment by Geraldine — May 19, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

ooo when i get back to vancouver, please take me to ur paradises jen! jen inspires me! and i love lululemons exposure of such a great woman’s light filled heart doing what she loves! yes!

Comment by lisaluv — May 20, 2011 @ 5:47 am

I love, love, love stand up paddleboarding. I learned while living on Maui and have been craving to get back on the water. Thanks for encouraging us to get out there this Summer :)

Comment by Kilee — May 20, 2011 @ 7:27 am

We just bought a SUP board. You can buy them at Trailhead or MEC in Ottawa.

We’ve been using it in Constance Bay. :)

Comment by J. — May 20, 2011 @ 8:58 am

I LOVE stand up paddle boarding. I first did it in Sydney, Australia on the lovely flat waters of Balmoral which was great for learning. I recently did a private lesson in Waikiki, Hawaii for US $75 for 1 hour. Was great – hit the waves, caught a few & fell off a lot! But so much fun…are there any fitness groups in Vancouver that hold SUP sessions? I would be keen to join one?

Comment by Mandy Morgan — May 21, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

I’ve been paddle boarding for two years now and am OBSESSED!! So glad to see your post. Is Jenn wearing a rash guard by Lulu? If so, I’d love to get one. I’ve looked at the website but didn’t see anything similar to what she’s wearing in the photo. Help!


Comment by Eliza — May 24, 2011 @ 5:47 am

I’m planning on taking up SUPB this summer on lake Winnipeg. So excited to try it!

Comment by Elana Waldman — May 24, 2011 @ 5:49 am

Hi Mandy! I know that stand up paddleboarding is popular in Deep Cove in North Vancouver. I’d check out http://www.paddlesurf.ca/ to see what events they have going on.

Hi Eliza!
Jen is wearing our Paradise Rashguard. It sold out very quickly on the website, but stores may still have these in stock. Give us a call at the Guest Education Centre and we can check inventory for stores in your area: 1.877.263.9300 option #2
~ Laura

Comment by lululemon athletica GEC — May 24, 2011 @ 8:36 am

Wow – I had no idea this sport even existed! I wonder if there are places to do this in Ontario!

Comment by Aleksandra S — May 24, 2011 @ 10:02 am

Love SUP. I was introduced to stand up last summer by my brother-In-law and loved it. Great family activity even for my 9 year old niece who managed her own board. Great times on the Kenebecasis river in Saint John, NB. Check out bigtidepaddlesurfing.com … He even rents boards out to try.

Comment by Angie M — May 25, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

Welcome to my world! I discovered SUPing in Maui! Check out the Canadian Waterman Festival in Comox this weekend!


Comment by Teresa — August 11, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

SUP’tember is here and still beautiful conditions on the water to learn to SUP or join us for a sunset paddle… check us out at Stand Up Paddle Vancouver.com :)


Comment by Kristy — September 2, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

This is a great post, lots of good tips, I also fell in love with paddleboarding my first time on the board. What a great first date idea, sounds like a keeper. I second some of the other tips in the comments, now it seems that paddleboarding is almost everywhere, so try it out with some of the groupons out there or at a local rental place. Many shops that do kayak and canoe rentals now do paddleboards as well.

Comment by PaddleGal — June 23, 2012 @ 10:31 am

A great way to get a toned body. Plus, I agree it is definitely fun and relaxing.

Comment by paddle boarding huntington beach — August 2, 2012 @ 10:07 am

Love To Paddle Boarding ! Actually I Fall In Love With MY Girl Friend In The Paddle Boards :)

Comment by stand up paddleboard reviews — December 25, 2012 @ 7:43 am

These are some sustainable wooden SUPs being made in Colorado. They are beyond beautiful and will last generations!


Comment by Erin — January 4, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

I don’t know how anyone who has tried it can not fall in love with stand up paddling. It is so addictive… totally fun and such a great workout. Love it!

Comment by Alison — April 7, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

Oh.. I love paddle boarding a lot. I can’t leave without my board. I am so glad that this topic was raised.

Comment by Pavel — October 4, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

A friend of mine showed me a photo where he is crossbow fishing of the paddle board!! Has anyone done this before? Is it difficult to fish from a paddle board?

Comment by Michael — October 4, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

We tried many different brands and our favorite brand is Sea Eagle.

Comment by Alex — October 5, 2013 @ 7:19 am

Hey Michael,
This sounds like an intense activity. Truth be told, none of us here have heard of anything like this. Curious to know if any of our other blog readers have? Let us know.
Online Community Team

Comment by lululemon athletica GEC — October 7, 2013 @ 10:16 am

I’ve been stand up paddle boarding for a few months now and absolutely love it. The exercise is great and helps advance my yoga practice. I can now hold poses longer with less effort, it’s truly amazing. My SUP is beautiful, I got it for a great price from Soulr paddle boards. Check them out if you’re looking for a great board: http://www.soulrsurfboards.com/stand-up-paddle-boards

Comment by Chelsea — November 17, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

If anyone is not close to a paddle board shop and looking for free shipping and great price check out http://www.paddlesurfwarehouse.com

Already have a board then they have every sup board accessory also.

Comment by Paddle Surf Warehouse — January 14, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

This sport is truly the best workout ever. Who wouldn’t want to be outside on the water. Paddle boarding has changed my life. Great article!!

Comment by Sup Yoga Paddle Board — January 22, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

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