Paddle 2 the People—A Feast for SUP

96OlAyq0SaiLiGHJd1pQkw_thumb_34dd
Wekiva Spring

SUP surf. Paddling up a spring run. S’mores and campfires—what’s not to love? All that and more at Todd Bishop’s inaugural Paddle 2 the People in Wekiva Springs State Park.

iybhIqe9RmwKEXw2-CVSzBokgnVVmvi7PAPcKtUKGk2DrB9AKl1_WEQb5XFwVl6rHXx8Pg4-UXq6bQGNmfCQh939JScD7J2tP9qtEwwmyGNW=s0-d
Wekiva Springs State Park Cabin (Courtesy of Rangervision.blogspot.com)

I loaded my board and drove to the Youth Camp at Wekiva Springs State Park. It felt like a reunion—Ronnie Kemp of Sea Kayak Georgia, Ashley Brown and Jeff Atkins of Wave Paddler, and Christa Foisy of Paddle NC and more. My kayak buddies had switched from boats to boards.

IRI16gt1QqiKNqfSiuYBDQ_thumb_34e7
Fishing SUP
Y1u7SIO7TX6LrFlkLaLbNQ_thumb_34e9
Fishing SUPs are wide and stable

We learned stuff on the water, and we learned stuff on land. David Hernandez and Will Niemann from St. Augustine Paddle Sports spoke about fishing SUPs, a quickly growiong market segment. These SUPS are large and stable, with hatches, attachment points for coolers, and even a bar to stand up. Not a bad way to spend a day on the water.

CrYtZJLDRc24ulcLtePpZg_thumb_34e3
Chillaxing in the dining hall
%fnA+gFxSamqkuLaL+Xxvg_thumb_34e2
Board options
NtUVRQu2T%CQJoqsFH+OMA_thumb_34e6
Swag

Plenty of options each day, ranging from an L1-2 IDW/ICE to coastal paddling to ‘Meet and Greet’ paddles on the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run.

Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 8.43.09 AM
Menu of activities
so0zvGqCRU+KqngImch2qQ_thumb_34e5
Inflatable boards bounce off of rocks

Chaz Corallo of, ironically, Flatwater Paddle Co. of New Jersey showed us the gear necessary to do battle with rocks, including body armor, helmet and breakaway leash. Not just anyone can style Nantahala Falls on a SUP.

Chaz bracing
Rocking the Cross Tail Heel side Low Brace (Photo credit: Steve Faives of H20 Stoked)
Chaz at nanty
Chaz Styling Nantahala Falls (Photo credit: Steve Faives of H20 Stoked)

Inflatable boards bounce, not break, on rocks. I can’t say the same about bodies. Body armor seems like a good idea.

qjr6QQssQaSC%%cTSdUEiA_thumb_34e0
Ronnie Kemp of Sea Kayak Georgia
vR5SnUMzQce7Hqe8JRZkhQ_thumb_34d8
What lurks below Rock Springs Run

One day, we paddled down Wekiva River and up Rock Springs Run which has 3 primitive campsites, perfect for a SUP camping trip. Despite the proximity to Disney and Orlando, this landscape feels primeval and wild.

q8tAHjJ7TW2KHdVSQVGM6w_thumb_34d6
The best fish tacos ever
mRbfa5PhTmKaaXyxXgkIEg_thumb_34d7
Wekiva Island-just down the road

Road trip to Wekiva Island for fish tacos and beer! Noone left hungry.

New friends, new skills, and a new board for Watertribe. I’m looking forward to Paddle 2 the People, part deux.

xsPJQmLmQ0uArO6hjdR+1w_thumb_34dc
The primeval beauty of Rock Springs Run

Author: Whitney Sanford

Writer, research, teacher and outdoor enthusiast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s