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Old 06-16-2015   #1
kayaklifeislife's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2015
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 79
What's SUP y'all

I would really love to start river whitewater SUP what I don't really know is what it's all about. Is it really hard? Do you get hurt a lot? Best board to start? Better than kayaking?(Doubt that is even possible) How do I even start? Advice for a beginner?

Keep calm and Kayak On
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Old 06-16-2015   #2
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
Get an inflatable. It's a great workout and makes class 2 challenging again. There is some risk of injury when running whitewater (I broke 3 ribs last summer in Browns), but overall it's pretty safe. Just make sure you use a quick release for your leash. Those ankle leashes like surfers use are a no go for the river.

GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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Old 06-16-2015   #3
SteamboatBORN's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 538
Like Imyers said above, NEVER use an ankle and make sure its a quick release. Helmet, PFD, Shoes, Leash, Plastic or Fiberglass paddle (leave the carbon for ocean/lake), and I also do a combo knee/shin pad (my shins looked like I took a large cheese grater to them a month ago). Wider inflatable (32"+) and in the 9"-10"+ range, longer is faster but can be a pain on a smaller river. Be ready to swim!
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Old 06-16-2015   #4
kclowe's Avatar
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
I love it!

I haven't even been in my kayak this season because I am having a great time on my boards. My advice is to take a lesson and/or join a club. We started a SUP program with Colorado Whitewater, but it isn't a good idea to jump on whitewater without some instruction.

Gear is important, so all of the advice given so far is great. I would wait until the water comes down a little and I don't even recommend a leash for first time SUPers on the river. If you have a strong group and you have selected a good stretch of river, then losing your board should not be an issue.

I will send you a PM and feel free to e-mail me with any questions. I LOVE to recruit new SUPers. It is fantastic and you might decide you like it better than kayaking. To me it was like giving up the skis for a snowboard. Just less stuff to deal with.

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Old 06-16-2015   #5
Edwards, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 4
We do class I-II river instruction tours on the upper CO!
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Old 07-05-2015   #6
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 11
If you've kayaked and can read the river, then grab the biggest board you can rent and take it down the nearest class II, you'll have a blast!
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Old 07-05-2015   #7
Cortez, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 151
I don't SUP, myself, but some of my friends do and I'd say this:
> You WILL swim, and in low volume water, you WILL "interact with the bottom" (sometimes quite forcefully), so dress accordingly. Good shoes, knee pads, helmet, neoprene (for padding), etc.
> Always go with folks who can assist (rescue) you, if needed.
> Quick-release leash.
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Old 07-13-2015   #8
kclowe's Avatar
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
Ark this weekend

I am heading to the Ark this weekend and will most likely do something beginner friendly. This is a big Colorado Whitewater weekend, so if you are not a member, maybe you should think about joining and get on the river with us.

Also, I can bring rental gear if necessary. I will be leading a beginner cruise. Its a great way to get some free instruction. You can e-mail me at if you want more info.


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