Word on the Water | Challenges of Paddling in the City
Word on the Water is our chance to pick the brains of the SUP community for insight on the state of SUP—past, present and future. For every issue, we ask a handful of standup paddlers from all walks of life to muse on a topic related to the sport. The result is an amalgam of perspectives and musings that we publish and share with the community at large in hopes of inspiring thought and dialog about our favorite pastime.
For our Spring 2016 issue—on newsstands now—we asked a group of avid city paddlers what they believe are some of the biggest challenges about paddling in the busy waters.
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Occupation: General manager, Everyday California
Transporting the boards from our shop to the beach is tough. Traffic is a nightmare, parking is a nightmare, and lugging around these big boards can be really difficult.
Hometown: Long Island, New York
Occupation: Employee, Blueline Surf and Paddle Co.
Mainly tidal currents meeting boat traffic and all the moving water that comes with it. You have to deal with a lot of ferry traffic, which sometimes can make four-foot boat wakes, and you have a lot of tidal current mixing with that that creates this crazy cross-chop.
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Occupation: Wholesale manager at SUP ATX
In the summer, traffic is the big problem. There's a lot of rowboats and a ton of recreational paddlers. If you're just out sightseeing or just cruising along or with friends, it's not an issue. But if you're trying to do a workout, it can be crowded. Otherwise, here in Austin there's no problem.
Hometown: West Palm Beach, Florida
Occupation: Sales Representative, Surftech
Currents and having to deal with different boat traffic. In New York City we went through Hell's Gate and the water opens up and it creates crazy currents and standing waves. In the middle of that, you can have tankers coming in right behind you.
Hometown: Irvine, California
Occupation: Professional paddler
When you have your board on your car and you have to go into parking structures. I have a truck and it's a little bit taller; I have a hard time trying to fit into garages without hitting my fin. The challenge is how to time going paddling with my other appointments in my day. There are so many parking garages in LA, if I have to go into (a parking garage), I can't take my board.
Hometown: New York City, New York
Occupation: Owner, New York Kayak Company
Access is a big challenge. In NYC, there is no beach; there's a seawall surrounding Manhattan. So not only are there limited points of access, but there are limited points of egress. If you have an injury, you may need to be rescued. So that's kind of a problem.
What else have you heard on the water?
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