In addition to being the home of NYC’s only official surfing beach, Stand Up Paddle Boarding has arrived in Rockaway. One of the first SUP schools and rental locations in the five boroughs can now be found at the Rockaway Jet Ski dock behind Thai Rock.
SUP was the fastest growing water sport in the U.S. in 2013. Tracing its roots to the Hawaiian surfing scene, the sport has grown in popularity over the past ten years. It attracted a greater following once it was adapted for use on more flat-water lakes and rivers. SUP can be learned and enjoyed by users of all levels in just about any water setting.
Rockawayist first became entranced with SUP on a visit to Austin, Texas earlier this year. Never being much of a traditional surfer, the idea of gliding down a placid river seemed like a great core workout and a great way to spend an afternoon on the water. Many SUPboarders even bring along their dogs. There were limited options to learn SUP or rent boards in NYC (aside from the Hudson River, which seems a bit intimidating to a newcomer), and I was disappointed to find a journey north to the kayak and row schools of Westchester County would be required.
With the start of summer 2014, however, Rockaway resident Linda Humphrey started offering tours and lessons on Jamaica Bay. The quintessential Rockaway resident, Humphrey has a native’s love and knowledge of the local waters. Humphrey decided to set up the SUP school after Hurricane Sandy destroyed her digital imaging business. In addition to group and individual lessons by the chatty and personable Humphrey, guided scenic and sunset tours of Jamaica Bay are available. There is even a fledgling SUP Yoga class being offered.
The SUP experience itself, while it may look like a calm outing, is a full body workout. Maintaining balance on the board requires full core engagement, and the paddling is both a cardio and upper-body resistance workout. Even in the cool breezes off the water, you will work up a sweat after an hour on a SUP. For fellow CrossFit athletes, SUP is a great way to spend an active recovery day on the water. In the course of an hour, you can paddle under the A train tracks, see some barge wrecks in Jamaica Bay, and enjoy the wildlife up close. And the views of the Manhattan skyline are unbeatable.
There are many types of paddleboards available. Humphrey uses boards made by The H2O Generation, which was founded by local Rockaway resident Kelley Brooke in 2010. H2O sells a variety of boards, including specific designs for SUP Yoga and fishing.
Reservations for SUP, kayaking and jet ski rentals can be made here.