A Beginner’s Guide to Standup Paddleboarding on Wascana Lake
Wascana Lake is a pinnacle location in the city of Regina but most people only ever experience the lake by walking or jogging around it.
The perfect way to spend a summer evening is out on the lake learning how to paddleboard with the Queen City SUP shop. Being on the water makes you appreciate the park from a different perspective and realize how much work the Wascana Centre puts in to creating such a great green space. (Want to learn more about Wascana Park? Check out these 5 fun facts.)
Here is the ultimate guide to learning how to standup paddleboard (SUP) on Wascana Lake from owners Kristal McBain and Chris Bailey:
Ten Tips for New Paddleboarders
- Paddleboarding is for everyone
Kristal was never a sporty person. But after her partner convinced her to go paddling with him, she was hooked. In fact, Kristal and Chris have a six-year-old son who owns his own paddleboard. They’ve taken people of all ages out – including a few individuals in their seventies. Paddleboarding is for everyone – all that is needed is the desire to want to try the activity to find success with SUP.
- Start with a Lesson
A 60-minute lesson is the best place to start while figuring out how to SUP. It’s a good foundation to build the proper techniques and learn the right way without forming bad habits. It’s also an opportunity to learn about safety.
For those looking for more than just the basics, QC SUP offers 6-week paddle progressions and racing workshops, all focused on more advanced skills like how to turn sharply and get a quick start on the board. They also offer SUP Yoga and Paddle Fusion and Full Moon Paddles.
- Get the right board to paddle
Choosing the correct board to paddle on is the difference between frustration and success. An incorrect board might be too tippy, too small or too narrow. Beginner boards aren’t very fast but will help the user get the feel for paddleboarding a lot quicker. And it doesn’t matter how long you stay on your knees before standing up – it’s all about comfort levels. There is a right board out there for everyone to find success with SUP.
- Put safety first
Being safe and having fun work together. Knowing how to swim is the most important skill but wearing a PFD or carrying one on the board is just as important. Also wear a leash attached to the board so if you fall in the water, your board won’t drift too far away. It’s simple: If you’re being safe, you’ll have more fun.
- Be weather aware
Weather is the hottest topic of conversation in Saskatchewan and it matters when going out on the lake on a SUP. Check the weather forecast in advance. Knowing how to react if the wind picks up is the difference between getting blown all the way across the lake to the Leg and having to walk back to the marina parking lot carrying the board.
- Don’t worry about falling in
Wascana Lake is perfectly fine to fall into – the lake is well aerated. Thankfully, it’s a soft landing and the worst thing that happens is you’ll get wet and then get back up on the board. A bonus is Wascana Lake is usually a bit warmer than larger lakes and there is always a corner to find a calm spot to paddle or do SUP yoga.
- Know how to get back on the board
After falling in, get back up on the board like you’re getting onto the side of a pool: put your core overtop of the middle of the board then kick your legs and slide onto the board. Don’t start with legs first – the board is more likely to tip. Think belly button to the handle, swing your legs and boom – you’re back on top!
- Learn to paddle correctly
Stand with feet shoulder width apart and make sure to not stand too far forward or backward for better balance. The correct paddle height is about 6-8 inches above the head. Most importantly, make sure the paddle is facing the right direction. Have the blade-face pointing away from you when you paddle – most people incorrectly think the paddle is like a scoop.
- Look up and enjoy the surroundings
People often look down while paddleboarding and are more tense because they’re concentrating so hard on paddling. Look up at the horizon and enjoy the scenery. There are cool things to spot around the lake like turtles, geese and even the occasional beaver. Looking up also helps with focus and keeps the board from wobbling so much.
- Get out there and enjoy it!
Standup paddleboarding is an activity anyone can enjoy. The sport is always changing and the QC SUP Shop recently purchased “The Dragon,” a 22-foot-long and 32-inch-wide paddleboard. Designed for four people to race against dragon boats, the Dragon is for those with a competitive spirit.
Looking for other locations to paddle?
The SUP shop offers full day and multi-day rentals so consider taking the paddleboard to Katepwa Lake, Echo Lake, Wascana Creek or even the Qu’Appelle River between Lumsden and Craven.
Looking for a SUP community and new friends to paddle with?
Consider joining the SUP Regina Facebook group here. It was created to encourage people of all skill levels to post events, plan meet-ups and and stay connected while helping grow the SUP community in the city.