What Got You Into Stand-Up Paddle Boarding?
A Q + A with Jess
I basically grew up on the lake!
Favorite spots to SUP
Our local lakes! Kansas has so many lakes it's amazing! Especially where we live, we are within 20 minutes of like 15+ lakes.
Lake Powell is my dream spot to SUP with the dogs!
A go to guide for your next SUP Pup-venture!
Jess, Finley and Zeke take you through everything you'll need, plus some tips and tricks learned along the way!
First thing you'll need is a paddle board, of course!
A life jacket for yourself!
A few items you maybe didn't
A whistle. Just in case something is horribly wrong and you need to get someone's attention ASAP!
A bag to hold all your stuff! I prefer something that is waterproof or water resistant!
I love my pack from Ruff N' Fluff Co.
A waterproof phone case! Remember you will fall in the water! Don't ruin your phone!
What are some dog gear essentials needed?
It doesn't matter how good of a swimmer your dog is, you need to have them in a life jacket with a strong grab handle (I prefer a two-handle option). Your dog will end up in the water one way or another! Having a handle to grab onto to pull them back up saves your board and makes it so much easier.
A collapsible dog bowl and water bottles!
You don't want your pal to dehydrate!
A ball or water toy!
Wanna save yourself from getting clawed at? Bring a ball and have your dog fetch it while you get situated back on the board. The easiest way to get your dog back on is to have you on it to keep it from just tipping.
Ever tried getting on a tube while in the water? The opposite end always tips up and it's a struggle. Now combine that with a dog struggling to get back on too!
Make sure you are comfortable on the board FIRST!
Your dog needs to be able to trust you. They can't do that if you don't know what you are doing and have zero control on the board. You should be able to easily SUP on your own (including paddling while standing) before adding your pup to the mix.
Have a good recall with your dog.
If they fall off you want them to swim back to you, not the shore or to open water.
Make sure your dog is comfortable in the water before getting them on the board.
Again, you will both end up in the water. You don't want them to be scared!
Get them comfy on the board.
I blew ours up in the living room (make sure the fin guards are on) and had them sitting/laying around on the board while we watched TV. Practiced getting on and off the board with commands. Moved it side to side to simulate waves. You don't want this to be a forced experience. Your dog should want to get on it!
Have a Plan!
Know where you want your dog positioned on the board in comparison to you!
Take the board to the water and just have your dog practice getting on and off it from the shoreline while you hold the board.
Then go to where the board is completely resting on the water and repeat (you should still be where you both can touch in the water).
Once you are both comfortable, it's go time!
PRO TIP: I find it easiest to load my dogs first, then I hop on. There will be days where your dog isn't having it and they will keep hopping off before you can get away from the loading area. This is where that toy comes in handy. Throw it in the water, have the dog fetch it, and then go pick them back up on your way out!
Anything you wish you would have known before starting?
The falling in part for sure lol I'm super experienced on a paddleboard and have been doing it since I was in middle school so I was more than confident in my abilities. But the first time I was out with the dogs, one of them was extra confident in their ability to go catch a fish that had just jumped in the water and we all three ended up falling in.
Thankfully, I managed to somehow keep my phone from getting wet! But a lot of times, I have my camera on the board with us so it's extremely important to be able to read the dogs' behavior and know when they are about to jump in so I can react accordingly and not ruin my gear.
What’s the thing you love most about SUP with Finley and Zeke?!
How excited they get when they see me carrying the board and their life jackets!
They truly LOVE every second of it. It is such a great bonding experience with them and will forever be one of my favorite past times with them. They thrive at the lake and I'm just living life trying to help them live theirs to the fullest!