Adirondack SUP Festival expands activities

SARANAC LAKE – After a strong turnout for the inaugural Adirondack SUP Festival last June, the organizers have added a number of activities to this year’s event, which takes place Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 23 at Lake Colby.

The stand up paddleboard festival is organized by Adirondack Lakes and Trails, a canoe outfitter in Saranac Lake.

Last year, about 150 to 200 people showed up at Lake Colby beach for what was essentially a one-day event, except for a clinic and lesson for SUP racers the day before the festival. This year, organizers are hoping to attract more people from all over the Northeast.

For this year’s event, organizers have scheduled four clinics for Friday and a full schedule of activities on Saturday, the main day of the festival when there is expected to be gear vendors, food and a beach packed with people. Sunday will consist of a one-day guided trip for stragglers.

On Friday, there will be an after-school session for kids, an introduction to SUP clinic, forward stroke clinic and a sunset SUP meditation session.

Saturday, there will be races, more clinics and plenty of SUPs available for demonstrations.

Many race participants may come from outside the area because Saturday morning’s races are sanctioned by the World Paddling Association.

For many locals, one of the highlights will be the fun races, which will cost $5, which includes the use of a board. There are several fun races: sprint, tandem and pooch (one person and one dog on a board).

“It’s a great spectator (activity) as well because it’s fun to watch the dogs and the people,” said organizer Jason Smith of Adirondack Lakes and Trails. “Then (there’s) the tandem race, which is two people on one board, which is equally as fun to watch because the boards are all solo boards.”

That means plenty of people (and dogs) should get wet.

In general, stand up paddling is considered a good activity for beginners, including kids. It’s relatively easy to learn and plenty of fun.

Smith is an avid stand up paddler, having taken it up in the past few years.

“If you’re a paddler and you like paddling, it’s just a new perspective on the bodies of water you’ve paddled before,” Smith said. “Not only as far as what you can see above the water, but the clarity in which you can see what’s below the water is really interesting. I always feel like the mechanics of the strokes you use in a canoe or a kayak can all be applied to it, and I think they are just as much fun, if not a little bit more fun in some cases, as to what you can do on a board. It really says summer to me.

“Kids love it. I love it. It’s definitely a fun, family thing to do as well. Then there’s the whole fitness side which a lot of people talk about to. It’s definitely a full-body paddling kind of workout versus the sitting on your bum and paddling.”

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