Ahhh, summer: surf, sand, and a warm breeze. We’ve found a great way to get out of the concrete jungle and have fun. It’s called stand up paddle boarding or SUP, for short. SUP is an increasingly popular way of keeping fit and improves core-stability. Seems everyone I meet is talking about stand up paddle boarding.
“SUP is something that everyone can do regardless of current physical condition”, says Leo Imperial, owner of LI-SUP, located in Bayville on Long Island. “I have yet to have someone that couldn't paddle within 15 minutes… and even that's a stretch. The only thing to get past is the initial fear of falling. After that passes, everyone is hooked. It's a fantastic core workout and the intensity is determined by the paddler.” SUP can be done on almost any body of water anywhere in the world-- from ocean surf to the Hudson River (just keep your mouth shut if you fall in) to lakes and rivers—no waves required.
Lisa Doyle, 3T’s PTA Mom, LI-SUPs Liz Imperial
I recently had the opportunity to go out with a group of very experienced paddle boarders, leaving at 10 pm at night, under a full moon sky. I had only done it once before and have always been a bit of a daredevil and so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to howl at the moon in the middle of the bay.
Leo, aka the SUP Viking leader, under a full moon sky
Our group of 20 boarders ranged in age from 30-60. Leo, from LI-SUP, was our leader and wore a light-up purple Viking helmet. Others had lights attached to their board, reflective gear and glow bracelets and necklaces. I was having fun already. Our group set out on a 3-mile course—into the wind. Yikes, what was I thinking? The water was choppy and I felt as if I was paddling and not going anywhere. I wouldn’t recommend a full moon paddle into the wind for newbies, but I made it (OK, I cheated a bit and used a short-cut) and had a fantastic time. It was exhilarating and an amazing workout. Of course, I was the laggard in the pack, but a few kind fellow paddlers kept me company and encouraged me to continue. As I was concentrating trying not to fall off the board-- gripping my toes into the board and white-knuckling the paddle-- Leo paddled to us to check on our progress and belt out a few bars of “Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin. Imagine a purple glowing Viking singing “Ahhhh, ahh. We come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.” Now if that didn’t blow my concentration by having me laugh hysterically while trying to balance, a few choppy waves sure weren’t going to knock me off.
Leo has combined his passion for paddling into helping a great cause. He had a rewarding experience helping his best friend, Bob Milazzo's autistic son Will, by giving him an adaptive snowboard lesson and has seen first-hand the real results of working with children with autism. Last year Leo and Bob paddled in SEAPaddleNYC, a stand up paddle fundraiser for children with autism, and this year they have an entire team participating to raise funds. “Being able to help build awareness while raising much needed money while doing something I am passionate about is a blessing. Small efforts do make a difference for an autistic child and the families too.” Their team will be paddling a total of 61 miles, with Leo and Bob paddling 26.5 miles each of this. Their goal is to raise $125 per mile, so every dollar will make a difference. Help support Autism awareness and contribute to Leo’s fundraising goal here: http://tinyurl.com/9v298ou.
LI-SUP offers lessons, excursions and equipment rentals and boards for purchase. From leisurely group paddles and tours to yoga and race training; every time out on the water is a great experience. You can get more info from the website and on the Facebook page or by calling (516) 510-3749.
PTA Mom is the mother of three young kids age 9 and under who somehow either start out in the bed or end up there at some point during the night. She has a demanding job trying to make stuff up all day, coaches’ softball and cheerleading teams--which is like herding cats, a husband who at all times would rather be golfing and has a nanny with a tramp stamp. She loves red wine, Ciroc vodka and has gotten pretty good at the BBQ. Do not ask her to ever do the laundry as she doesn’t separate whites from darks and thinks Mr. Clean is really one of those hot bald guys. Come visit on a Friday during the summer and you are bound to hear some bad Karaoke. Just don’t ask her to remove the bag or you’d see her forked tongue.
She chooses to remain anonymous. Do you blame her?