Last week I had a whirlwind tour of Austin, Texas that started with Kodak presentations at the Microsoft offices on Friday, then on Saturday it was breakfast at The Driskill and a late lunch at Chuy’s.
In the middle of it all I was able to get out for a Stand Up Paddle (SUP) session with Jeff Berres of SUPATX. I met Jeff online when I bought two SUPATX boards in 2010. We stayed connected and worked on a project to get Kodak PLAYsport cameras in the hands of every SUP paddler.
Maybe this is just Austin, but everyone we encountered had a smile on their face and a lot of them asked questions. Things like:
Hey, is that easy to do?
Where can I try it?
This is great to see. There is a lot of interest in SUP. The great news is … YES! It’s very easy to do. And, if you are in Austin … look for the SUPATX.com truck --- or check them online for where they will be.
On the waters in and around Austin it is required to have a PFD, a Personal Flotation Device. I expect to see this enforced more and more across the US as the sport of SUP continues to grow. It’s smart. Especially for people that are not strong swimmers and could become separated from the board.
One of the things SUPATX does is host regular classes on how to stay safe while having fun. Including safety, self-rescue, yielding right of way, and respecting private property. They also talk about and show would be SUP’ers how to hold the paddle (It may surprise you) and how to launch, land and everything in between. This is good stewardship and I like to see it.
The Lake in the Middle of the City
Although is was a cloudy day it was still warm and it was fun to get out on the water. We paddled about 4 miles total. We took a leisurely pace. We were on Lady Bird Lake. Which if you know Austin you know it’s right in the middle of the city. There were sculls, kayakers and even some fisherman out. It’s great to have a lake right in the middle of the city.
The Springs in the Middle of the City
We also paddled up the inlet to Zilker Park and to Barton Springs. I’m told that Barton Springs always flows at a consistent 68 degrees Fahrenheit. We didn’t get in the springs, but we could feel the cool water rushing by our feet. I’m guessing Barton Springs is the place to be during the dog days of Summer.
What’s next for SUPATX?
As the sport of SUP continues to grow they are growing with it. Jeff told me he is seeking people to open up franchises. So, if you are up for the fun and challenges of a Stand Up Paddleboard shop of your own get in touch with Jeff Berres. If you are interested feel free to contact me and I’ll make the connection or find him on Facebook here.
If you find yourself with some time in Austin … contact the SUPATX guys and get out for a paddle. You won’t regret it. If you can’t get to Austin --- that’s not a problem. All you need a a small body of water --- a lake is as good as an ocean.
If you see this vehicle and you’ll see the words properly in your rearview mirror. Follow it for some great SUP.
Who knows … you might get hooked and decide to open your own franchise. When you do … let me know. I’ll be your first customer.
See you on the water. Get on your feet!