Our niece, fresh from a vacation in Hawaii, chattered nonstop about paddleboarding.
“It made me think of the E.E. Cummings line, ‘For whatever we lose...It’s always our self we find in the sea,’” she exclaimed.
I glanced at my man Patrick, expecting to see a cynical grimace. Instead he looked enthralled. I think I might have a paddleboarder in the house. A few calls revealed that it might not be too expensive.
“We offer walk-in paddleboard rentals open to the public for $25 in segments of two and a half hours,” explained Kate from Mission Bay Aquatic Center (mbaquaticcenter.com; 858-488-1000). “If you’re a current SDSU or UCSD student, there’s a discount, $20 for two and a half hours. We offer private stand-up paddleboard lessons — one-on-one with an instructor, two-hour minimum, $45 per hour. And we also offer a basic skills one-time class for $49. There’s a maximum of eight people in the two-hour class.”
If yoga is your thing, they also offer yoga on the paddleboard. “We offer SUPCore Yoga, where they bring out a little anchor and you’re out on the bay doing balancing exercises on the paddleboard [$35 for the hour-and-a-half class].” Two other paddleboard exercise options: SUPCore Fit and SUPCore Train — each $35 for an hour-and-a-half class. All three classes are offered on weekend mornings.
“Paddleboarding is becoming very popular,” Kate added, “especially in the bay. It’s a lot easier than surfing — it’s easier to balance. We also have kid-sized boards and a camp in the summer for kids.”
Hike Bike Kayak Sports, with locations in La Jolla and Mission Bay (hikebikekayak.com; 858-551-9510), will bring paddleboarders out on tours of La Jolla Shores or Mission Bay. “There are a few minutes of instruction at the beginning,” said the saleslady, “but then it’s a guided tour.” The guide is “pointing out things to see in the area, so you can enjoy the scenery. Mission Bay is a little bit easier — it’s nice and calm. In La Jolla it’s a bit more challenging because you have to get out through a couple of waves. The group tours last about one and a half to two hours. It’s a great vantage point, standing up on your paddleboard looking down into the ocean. In La Jolla, you can look down and see leopard sharks and all the marine life. It’s a protected area, which is why there’s so much wildlife there. We take out four people at a time, plus a guide, and the tours are $75 per person.”
But how much of a workout are you getting standing on a surfboard and paddling? “[You] definitely feel it after [you] paddleboard,” she said, “in your core and in your arms. Your core strength keeps you up and on balance.”
“If you are going straight into surfing on the paddleboard, then it’s going to be a hard sport to just walk into,” explained the salesman at Aqua Adventures (aqua-adventures.com; 619-523-9577). “It’s easy for a beginner in the bay if you are an active person. The board is 10½ feet to about 12½ long and wider than a surfboard. We offer bay rentals where people go out on flat water and either do cardio or just get some water time. Our plastic boards go for $16.50 an hour, and our composite boards go for $22 an hour. We also offer lessons starting at $55 a person; with a group of six people, it’s $25 a person. The lesson is a one-hour class. We also offer once every two weeks a class called Stand Up Start Up for $49 a person for an hour and a half.”
“Dress appropriately,” he added. “If it’s 50 degrees outside, you don’t want to go out in swim trunks and no T-shirt.”
OEX Dive & Kayak offers Paddle into Fitness classes on Mission Bay. The weekend classes are beginner or SUP Yoga. Drop-in rate is $45 for an hour and a half class. Grab four friends, as the two-hour class is $50 for five to ten attendees (oexcalifornia.com; 619-866-6129).
Mission Bay Sportcenter (missionbaysportcenter.com; 858-488-1004) offers paddleboard rentals for $15 an hour on the bay and private lessons can also be arranged.