There are different types of boards depending upon what you'd like to do. With beginner boards, racing, whitewater or fitness it's important to know what type of experience you're looking for and rent out the appropriate board.


Stand up paddles are designed for maximum efficiency and include an angle in the shaft of the paddle. Paddles should be at least 6 to 8 inches taller than you are..

Safety Equipment

Personal Floatation Devices and whistles are required with the use of a paddle board

in Colorado. The whistle is to attract attention in case you fall off your paddle board and cannot get back


Proper Clothing

Some people like to wear a wet suit for cooler water, but for warmer water a bathing suit is just fine. Campbell also recommends having good footwear to help with grip and balance on the

board. And don't forget your sunscreen!

Paddleboarding is a sport that originated in Hawaii and has made its way into the Southwest as one of the hottest trends in water sports. This new craze is easy to pick up and something the whole family can enjoy.

"Paddleboarding has made a sport that was extremely popular and iconic in surfing and brought that inland and made it accessible to virtually anyone," explained Matt Gerhardt, with 4Corners Riversports of Durango.

Gerhardt says they just started carrying paddleboards about five years ago, In the beginning, they had a handful that were rarely rented out. But since then, their popularity has exploded, he said.

"Now we have 40 plus." Gerhardt said. "Mid-summer weekends we will have every board rented out. It is our No. 1 selling market in mid-summer."

Nicole Oury of Durango was paddleboarding last Sunday at Vallecito Lake. She is an avid paddleboarder and loves that it is an activity that she can do with her whole family.

"It is pretty big in Durango on the river and the kids love it." Oury explains. "I like that it gets me out, it's good for training and something we can all do together."

Advocates say paddleboarding is a fun way to work on your fitness.

"It is fairly physical," Gerhardt says. " It is a good full body workout because you are having to balance and move your body like you aren't used to."

Gerhadt also talked about how some people even use the boards to do yoga while they are out on the water because it adds a whole new difficulty level of balance and control.

Another reason people love paddleboarding is the fact that it isn't very gear intensive and for the most part people are able to hop right on some calm water and immediately have a good experience without much practice or skill.

Twelve-year-old Emma Jaber of Durango was also out paddleboarding last weekend at Vallecito Lake, she said paddleboarding is really fun — like surfing, but not as hard. The young paddleboarder advises beginners to get on their knees first before trying to stand up.

Emma Jaber of Durango paddleboards around Vallecito Lake on Saturday on a stand-up paddleboard.
Emma Jaber of Durango paddleboards around Vallecito Lake on Saturday on a stand-up paddleboard. (Jaclyn Waggoner / The Daily Times)

"I like that it is really quiet and peaceful when I'm on the paddleboard," Jaber said.

Closer to home, three people from San Juan College just returned from a stand up paddleboard certification class.

"The hope is that we will try to add paddleboarding classes into the late spring semester or definitely next summer, 2015," said Max Campbell, facility manager for Outdoor Recreation at San Juan College.

The college does offer open boating classes that will start up again in September and Campbell says they typically bring paddleboards along as well as their kayaks for some basic instruction. San Juan College's Outdoor Equipment Rental Center has seven boards available to rent and hopes to add at least five more by the time they offer classes next year.

Where to rent paddle boards

San Juan College Outdoor Equipment Rental Center: The Rental Center charges $20 for the first day and $10 for each additional day and includes the board, paddle, life jacket and a helmet if you'd like one. For more information call the center at, 505-566-3221

Navajo Lake Marina: Navajo Lake Marina charges $15 an hour with a two-hour minimum for paddle boards or $60 a day. All safety equipment is provided and the marina can be reached at 505-632- 3245..

4Corners Riversports: 4Corners Riversports in Durango charges $35 per day for one to two days $32.50 per day for three to four day rentals or $30 per day for five or more days. For more information call 970-259-3893..

Doc's Marina: Doc's Marina at Vallecito Lake rents paddle boards out for $25 for 2 hours and they include the paddle and life jacket. For more information call, 970-884-9450.

Campbell says he goes out paddleboarding with his friends and even takes his dog along with him on the board. He says the best place to start is on flat water like lakes such as Navajo Lake or flat parts of the river.

"It's always fun and a great thing for fitness as well. It is the biggest sport on the rise as far as the outdoor field goes," Campbell said. "I feel like anyone can do it. It can be flat water to rapids. It is easy to transport on top of your car and they are just very versatile."

Jaclyn Waggoner covers outdoors for The Daily Times. She can be reached at