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What’s SUP? Townsville’s stand-up paddling revolution

Said to be the fastest growing water sport in the world, Townsville is certainly on the same course when it comes to Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP). In the eight weeks since the Townsville SUP Club was formed, the foundation group of eight members has swelled to 30, plus the numerous casual paddlers that flock each week to the free social sessions. So what is it about SUP?

“There’s been some research done by the Australian Sports Commission that says people want a relaxed social atmosphere to exercise in – not something that’s super competitive, but a recreational activity that has flexible options to suit their lifestyle,” Daniel Rose says, who founded the Townsville SUP Club after looking for a sociable sport he could enjoy after a shoulder dislocation ruled out his rugby league training. “We have the perfect conditions for SUP here in Townsville and I’m seeing paddle boarders here, there and everywhere.”

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With stand up paddle boards being much longer, wider and more buoyant than regular surfboards, the sport is great for beginners and is ideal for targeting the core. While Daniel has only been a SUP-er for a couple of months, he and partner Rebekah have both lost 16kg and 10kg respectively. “SUP is a complete body workout and targets those muscles that you never knew existed,” Daniel says, who is also a dog trainer and has been known to paddle with pooch Sunday riding shotgun. “You can paddle for an hour and think it’s awesome, taking in that serenity, but then you’ll be sore and stiff the next day… it’s great core stability. You can do push ups, sit ups and yoga; all on the board.”

While Daniel’s main focus at the moment is building the club’s Wednesday afternoon social sessions – currently on Ross River at Aitkenvale – his grand plan for SUP in North Queensland is having the SUP State Championships in Townsville instead of the Gold Coast within three years. “We’ve got the perfect flat water conditions with Ross River and The Strand,” says Daniel, who just returned from the Gold Coast attending the same competition. “It’s great for beginners to get their confidence up and we have minimal tidal flow throughout the ocean.”

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And SUP is already paddling a competitive course on our shores, with this being the first year that paddle boarders are permitted in the NQ Ocean Paddle Series on Saturday (September 13, 2014). Plus the first Townsville SUP race is on Saturday, September 27 (course is yet to be confirmed).

“When you look at SUP here in Australia, the world’s our oyster,” Daniel says, who would love to combine his dog training and do a session called Pups and SUPS. “It’s so underdeveloped and there are opportunities for clubs to make a difference.”

Want to try SUP?

There are social paddle boarding sessions at Ross River off Leopold Street in Aitkenvale every Wednesday from 5pm to 6pm (look for the car park near the dog exercise area). There is a small charge of $20 for non-members to attend the social paddle. Please book with the club to ensure there is gear available if you don’t have your own.

Plus Townsville SUP Club’s first ‘Come Try’ day is on Saturday, September 20, 2014. Bookings are required, so see our calendar for more details.

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Can you help Townsville SUP Club?

The club is looking for sponsors to be able to purchase entry-level equipment in exchange for your branding on the boards. If you can help please contact Daniel on 0448 877 520.

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Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz is combining two of her great loves — writing and getting active. Previously working as a journalist, sub-editor, and editor in newspapers and magazines; she is editor and co-founder of TheGo Townsville. She stays active with the staples of road cycling and yoga, but has recently discovered triathlon. And become addicted (apart from the swimming part). She also has a Cert III in Fitness and is passionate about improving mental health through physical activity.

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