Waikiki is for surfers. From the minute the sun peeks over the horizon in the morning to when it dips down over the mountains in the evening, they are there. Waiting. For that ubiquitous and yet elusive next wave. They are poetry in motion. Their bodies may be the finest display of core training there is (without a single abdominal crunch I would guess). The way they make riding the waves look so effortless may be what convinces the hundreds of tourists everyday to rent a board and give it a try. And let’s just say, from the beach, it is quite easy to pick out the tourists.
Everyone who knew I was heading to Waikiki told me I had to try surfing. Well, I have tried surfing (in Australia) and as I am convinced its learning curve surpasses my lifespan, I was happy to see many people doing something I had always wanted to try…stand up paddleboarding (or SUP for short). And, to my surprise (especially because surf boards and me aren’t usually friends), I was a natural. I don’t know if it was because of my years of standing core training (thank you Coreboards, BOSUs and TRX) or my canoe trips in Algonquin, but I really got the hang of it. What surprised me even more though was that although it looks peaceful, it is actually a good workout too. Using a paddle while standing requires quite a bit of stabilization from the hips, core and shoulders. Not to mention the actual work required to move the board forward. Not content to just stand there and look like a tourist though, I had to try something I had seen in magazines and online…SUP yoga. Yup, yoga on an SUP.
Balancing in some of the yoga poses can be tough enough on the ground, add the instability of the board and wow! Even the most basic of poses like downward dog become masterpieces to be proud of. I have a newfound respect for all of the yogis out there that regularly practice on SUPs. Of course, mastery requires practice so as soon as I got home I had to figure out if there were any places in Niagara I could practice my new passion. And there is. Play Hard Niagara in Crystal Beach or Port Colborne have paddleboards to rent or you can pick one up at Mountain Equipment Co-op. As an entry level paddleboard start at around $900, you may want to get your feet wet with a rental first.