Standup paddle boarding makes a splash during COVID-19 pandemic
HALIFAX -- As Canadians continue to find ways to enjoy their free time during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, standup paddle boarding has seen a surge in popularity.
Devon McCarron is an employee at The Trail Shop in Halifax. He says some of their paddle boards have sold out – potentially for the rest of the season.
"We used to sell inflatable ones. We are sold out. Not sure we're going to get anymore in," said McCarron.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians have taken advantage of the down-time to learn a new hobby.
Kelsey Bungay did just that. With travelling on hold due to COVID-19 public health guidelines, Bungay opted to explore the water instead.
"Last summer, at the height of COVID, I was like, you know what, I'm bored," said Bungay. "This year, I am bound and determined to learn how to properly use it. I have no idea how to stand on it because I have no balance."
Some will tell you balancing is harder than it looks, while others have no problem.
"When you get the hang of it, it's really easy," said Duncan El-Hawary, who enjoys paddle boarding. "Just standing up you have to balance."
"I really like the breeze on the water," said Grace Al-Ewary, who tried paddle boarding. "It's just a super sunny day and we get to go on top of the water. It's a little bit hard to balance but it's fun."
Sarah Polley and her sister began renting out kayaks and paddle boards at Nova Scotia's Long Lake four years ago. She says the demand is growing each summer.
"Paddle boards are great because you can lay down on them, you can kneel on them, you can sit on them, you can stand on them, you can do yoga on them," said Polley with Long Lake Adventure Company.
According to Polley, about three quarters of her business comes from people who are trying out paddle boarding to the first time.
"It got busier all through last summer and, at the beginning of this summer, we started out just as busy as what we ended off last summer," said Polley.
Polley's tip to beginners is to hit the water in the morning hours when the wind is calmest, but she adds that her paddleboards are designed to be steady.