One of the best ways to experience Lake Tahoe is to paddle along its shore. When
paddling you are close to the water and traveling at a pace at which you can truly
capture the essence of the lake. It’s also a great workout. You need to decide
whether you want to use a standup paddleboard, kayak or canoe. My advice: go
for all three, since they each have their advantages and disadvantages.
The newest and, perhaps, most popular of the three, SUPs have several distinct
advantages. Since you are standing up, you get to look straight down at what is in
front of you, which gives you a feeling as if you are flying above the water.
The boards are lighter and less bulky than kayaks or canoes, which makes them
easier to maneuver onto the roof of a car — and carry from said car down to the
beach. The equipment is simple. All you need is a life jacket and a lightweight
paddle. It is the perfect sport to do alone.
The paddling motion used on a SUP is comfortable and less taxing on the upper
body than the paddling motion used in kayaking. Also, SUP paddling offers a nice
workout to the core. To me, paddling straight down, instead of pulling across my
chest, is more enjoyable.
You are standing on what is really a glorified, large surfboard. Thus, you are much
more vulnerable to falling into the lake and much more susceptible to the power
of waves, either from wind or from motor boats. I feel much shakier on a
paddleboard than on a kayak or canoe, especially if the boat wakes get pretty
large. I’ve also found that my feet get sore fairly quickly on a SUP, so I go out for a
shorter period of time.
Another con is that you have less ideal times to paddleboard. For instance, the
best is when the water is glassy smooth without many boat waves. Early morning
or late evening in the summer. And, preferably midweek. On the weekends, the
motorboats are out in droves. In the fall, when the crowds have left, is an
awesome time to pa