There’s nothing like being on the water on a warm summers day in and around Steamboat. One of our favorite things to do is jump on a paddleboard and cruise down the Yampa River or paddle across the lakes in North Routt. We sat down with local experts at the Paddleboard Adventure Company to get their top tips for beginners.
If you’ve never tried paddle boarding, what do you advise to get started?
Start on a small body of flat water. Start on your knees and always be looking out, never down. There are so many kinds of boards out there so you want make sure you get the right board for your size and for what kind of paddleboarding you want to do.
What should you wear?
It all depends on the air and water temps. It is Colorado, so you want to be prepared. Even if it starts out sunny and clear when you launch onto the lake, things can change. Have warmer layers and proper safety gear such as a personal flotation device and a whistle. On the river, always wear a helmet and PFD.
We’ve heard about paddleboard yoga, how does it differ from regular forms of yoga?
You always hear those who have practiced yoga on dry land say, paddleboard yoga requires more concentration, core strength, and balance since you have the dynamic of floating on water. The boards we use for paddleboard yoga are super stable. You really only go in when you are pushing yourself to try something new. Otherwise, most things you do on dry land can at least be attempted on the board. What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll get wet.
Where are your favorite paddleboard spots in and around Steamboat?
Depending on the time of year, the Yampa River town stretch is always good. Early season it is a fun challenge cause it’s big water and late season it’s more technical. I love Pearl Lake and that’s why we do our tours there. The water can be really glassy and the views are outrageous.
Is there anything you should be cautious of paddleboarding here?
Do not wear an ankle leash on the river but one that has a quick release system attached to your PFD. Also, there is no shame in kneeling when you feel uncomfortable in whitewater. It is better to fall from a kneeling position then a standing one. Make sure you know and have practiced getting back onto your board once you fall off.
Be respectful of other users. Always steer clear of fisherman and their lines. With kids and animals, please make sure they can swim and always have them wear a PFD. The river isn’t a good place to start for anyone unless you are taking a lesson with certified and capable instructors. Also, don’t leave any trash behind.
How fit do you need to be to paddleboard?
If you’re not fit when you start, you will be after a few weeks of regular paddling. Paddleboarding in a river requires you to be a good swimmer and fit enough to be able to get back on your board in moving water, rather quickly at times. On bigger lakes, some people get wind blown to the other side and do not have the strength to paddle upwind to get back to the dock. You definitely want to be in decent shape, being prepared is always better than being surprised.
To find out more about renting a board, or taking a lesson check out www.paddleboardadventurecompany.com