LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- According to USA Today, paddle boarding is one of the fastest growing water sports in the U.S. in 2013.
The La Crosse Park and Rec Department says many love the sport because it is a fun---full body workout.
"It is one of the hottest things that you can imagine we have right now," said Dave Erickson of the La Crosse Park and Rec Department.
"Enjoying the outdoors is endless with standup paddle boarding. They are simple to use. Easy to get onto, good upper body workout and another way to be non motorized and be out and enjoy the outdoors," said Erickson.
"If he or she is comfortable standing on the paddle board it is really endless- you can be anywhere from five years old to seventy five- it is all age groups. You are working your arms, your abs and your legs," said Adam Young of the La Crosse Park and Rec Department.
The first challenge is standing-up on the board.
Instructor, Adam Young says you should place the paddle across your board, have you feet shoulders width apart and slowly go from kneeling to standing.
"Stand right in the middle of the board. You don't want you stance too wide. Once you are up, it is all about balance and keeping good posture. You don't want to lock your knees- you want to keep a good stance. Your legs should be parallel to your shoulders. Always looking up right never at your feet. You want to keep your back straight never hunched over. So you don't get hurt," said Young.
"When you are first starting out- practicing in the lagoon with calm water is your best bet and then you can get your sea legs under you and gradually go further and further. Adam say paddle boarding is similar to kayaking because it is a great upper body workout, but it is more challenging because you also are engaging your legs and core," said Erickson.
"I love it for the workout. It is a great core workout. If you are out there for an hour you can burn between 500 and 700 calories," said Young.
"If you are in the backwaters, there is really no place you can't go with these," said Young.
If you are looking more of a challenge, Young said paddle boarding is allowed out on the main channel of the Mississippi River.
"If you go out into the main channel it was be fun because you can go faster downstream. If you are out on the main channel- or in faster moving water you want to stay closer to the shorelines," said Young.
The Park and Rec Department requires everyone to wear a life jacket.
"I highly recommend the you always wear a life jacket because anytime you fall over. You can't have it too big, so if you put your arms up over your head and someone can pull that life jacket off. Then, it is too big for you. So make sure you size your life jacket before you go out. There are all kinds of comfortable ones and they aren't expensive if it saves a life then they are worth any amount of money you pay for them anyway," said Erickson.
Along with being a great workout, instructors say it is a fun way take in beautiful views.
"Your sight lines are a lot better than a canoe or kayak. You can see a lot more," said Young.
"You can get right over next to shore. You can get up next to any of the logs to see turtles and you can maneuver around very easily," said Erickson.
The La Crosse Park and Rec Department is currently renting paddle boards.
It is a flat rate of $10.00 dollars.
The Park and Rec Department says they are availible on:
Tuesday & Thursday: 5:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 11:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
For more information about rentals, log onto the City of La Crosse's website.
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