SHERMAN, Conn. -- When Sherman resident Kristin Hart decided to start a Stand Up Paddleboard program in 2011 on Candlewood Lake, little did she know how quickly it would take off. She currently teaches the sport to 40 to 60 students each week.
Stand up paddleboard, known as SUP, is essentially standing up on an oversized surfboard with one blade. "You have to keep your balance on the board. Your feet are parallel on the board," said Hart, who is 35.
Classes are offered every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. through Labor Day weekend. Hart also teaches private group sessions as well as at summer camps and birthday parties. You must know how to swim before trying SUP, she says.
Hart recommends that anyone interested in learning stand up paddleboard take the hour-long class. "They learn a lot more this way instead of trying to go out on their own," she said.
In SUP classes, students learn where to stand on the board, how to hold the paddle properly, how to control the board and how to propel it through the wind.
"SUP gets you outside in the fresh air. You get to see beautiful views. Also, if it's not too windy, it can be very social," she said. "It's a full body workout since you are balancing with the paddle."
New Fairfield resident Emily Cunningham took a SUP lesson last summer and highly recommends it. "I was surprised how difficult stand up paddle boarding was at first. I figured you just stand on the board and go. The balancing and turns were trickier than I anticipated but Kristin was a great teacher," said Cunningham, who works as a nurse.
"I fell off the board a few times, which I was not expecting. But by the end of the lesson I had learned a lot and it was really fun. It was a great experience being out on the lake," Cunningham added.
Hart, who grew up on Candlewood Lake and has been active her entire life, said she first because interested in SUP after receiving a paddle board for her 30th birthday. "At the time, I was sitting for eight hours a day at a desk job," she said. She knew she was ready to make the job change.
Hart said she sees the sport of SUP growing. "I hope to continue teaching stand up paddle to people in the area," she said.
Candlewood Stand Up Paddleboard classes are offered at Chatterton Marina at 5 Shore Drive in New Fairfield. For more information, click here .
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