Off Season?

Off Season?

For most of us, summer is paddleboarding season. For some of us, late spring and early fall are also a part of paddleboarding season. For the latitudinally fortunate, seasons are no concern and temperatures are comfortable year-round. However, a very select few are able to maintain the tropical paddle schedule no matter where they are. Hats off to them.

We are hitting late summer here in the northern United States, and we're a little upset here at Stillwater Outdoors. What are we going to do with ourselves all winter? How do I wind down after work without a balmy paddle?

It is very easy to get caught in this train of thought, but don't! In this article, I have included some photography to remind us all that winter is a beautiful time to be on the water. With some preparation, and the proper equipment, you can enjoy all of winter's quiet serenity from the comfort of your paddleboard.

Practice, practice, practice! Hone your balance this summer, so that you only get wet when you want to. This is the number one thing that will allow you to paddle this winter.

Get a dry suit! A dry suit will ensure your safety, should you fall in, as well as keep you warm while comfortably above the surface. 

Be Prepared! Bring a dry bag with a change of dry clothes and extra gloves. Hand warmers are highly recommended as well. A thermos is full of something warm to drink is a winner every time!

Talk a friend into joining you! We do not recommend paddling alone during winter. The buddy system is best!

Use the rest of the summer to practice your balance and gather the necessary equipment so you'll never have the off-season blues again!

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The Columbia River Watershed

The Columbia River Watershed

For those of you who have never paddled the Northwest; you definitely should. The Northwestern United States and British Columbia have long been associated with rugged geography and a general sense of adventure.

Our love of paddleboarding grew from our love for exploring our area. What we want to make known, however, is the intricate system of waterways that serves as the lifeblood of this natural treasure. This lifeblood is The Columbia River Watershed.

Whit is The Columbia River Watershed? This term refers to the drainage basin of the mighty Columbia River, where rain, melting snow, and ground water converge into a single point of lower elevation.

The Columbia River is 1,243 miles long and is our single biggest outflow into the Pacific Oceon. This makes it the fourth largest river in the US. The watershed that feeds this behemoth is a 258,000 square mile area, larger that the country of France, and contains over 115 contributory bodies of water.

People are coming to realize that the Northwest is a boon of inland watersports including paddleboarding, rafting, kayaking, fishing, diving, boating, and just getting connected to nature. Next time you plan a big adventure, see what we have to offer!

Notable bodies of water:

  • Columbia River
  • Lake Coeur D'alene
  • Lake Pend Oreille
  • Flathead Lake
  • Clearwater River
  • Deschutes River
  • Willamette River
  • Spokane River
  • Payette River
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Paddle Spot: Crater Lake

Paddle Spot: Crater Lake

From time to time we like to post paddle spots that we have access to from here in the Spokane area. Not too long ago, I made a visit to crater lake, where i snapped the above photograph. Although I did not have my SUP with me at the time, Crater Lake was definitely added to my bucket list that day, and I think it should be on yours too.

Crater Lake National Park is located not an hour and a half outside of Bend, Oregon, a paddle boarding hotspot here in the Pacific Northwest. This jaw dropping area is home to Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States at 1,949 feet! Photos of the lake's 5-mile by 6-mile surface are deceptive to cameras and truly must be seen in person to appreciate. 

Crater lake was created by the volcanic collapse of Mount Mazama about 7,700 years ago and has no water flowing into it, or out of it. Instead, rainwater and snowmelt replace its contents in a 250 year cycle. It's unique geographic traits keep the water very cold all year, allowing it to maintain its deep blue blue hue and crystal clarity.

TREASURE HUNT! The cold water temperature slows organic decomposition. Crater lake is known for the "Old Man of the Lake", a 30 foot tall tree stump that has been bobbing around the lake since 1896! The top only sticks about 4 feet out of the water, but the lake's crystal clarity allows the entire tree to be seen from the surface! 

(photo credit: www.npca.org)

Grab your board, Crater Lake is closer than you think and as exotic as the farthest of destinations.

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The Most Portable SUP Yoga Anchor Ever

The Most Portable SUP Yoga Anchor Ever

Learn how to carry a 10+ lb paddleboard anchor in your pocket! We know, sounds bold, so hear us out.

We have been busy behind the scenes coming up with some exciting new stuff. One of these things is the most durable, no-frills, ultra-portable, super-light, super-heavy, mega-rad paddleboard anchor for fishing, yoga, or whenever you find the perfect place to take a break.

We wanted a portable anchor with no corners or sharp edges, very little weight, and a highly portable design that can be easily transported and set up. Moving parts were out of the question as we believe that simplistic designs often offer the most effective solution. That's why we came up with the Micro SUP anchor!

Check out the Product Listing.

When you get one, it's going to arrive looking like this:

Now, how the heck is this thing going to hold your paddleboard in place? It's simple, just fill it with whatever rocks and sands are available to you at your location. 

Once you have your desired weight filled in:

1. Grab the two sides of the plastic buckle and pull them outward

2. Roll the top of the back a couple times (like a bag of chips)

3. Fasten the clip and you're ready to go!

Once the bag fills with water, it will become a significant amount heavier than before it was dropped in the water. 

 

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Event: Spokatopia

Event: Spokatopia

If you happen to be in the Spokane area this upcoming weekend we encourage you to check out the second annual Spokatopia! We will be there offering product demos, providing tips and information, and will be featuring festival only discounts! www.spokatopia.com

What is it?

"At the 2nd annual Spokatopia Outdoor Adventure Festival, you can try stand up paddleboarding, rock climbing, kayaking, slacklining, canoeing, geo-caching, SUP yoga, disc golf, mountain biking, yoga and other outdoor activities all while hanging out in a fun, festive atmosphere that includes over 40 outdoor recreation-related exhibitors, live music, a beer garden and food trucks, mountain bike jump jam, free MTB shuttles to the top of Camp Sekani, and the biggest bike demo and sales event of the year. Kick the festival off with the 5k or 1.5 mile Up Chuck Challenge trail run or walk or a free yoga lesson. General admission, bike demos, paddleboard demos and many other activities are free, although there is a cost to sign up for the outdoor adventure clinics offered through Spokane Parks and Recreation. More parking has been added this year, and there’s a free, secure bike corral for those who ride to the festival."

When: Saturday, July 9 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Where: Camp Sekani Park in Spokane, Washington.

Check it out: www.spokatopia.com

 

 

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A Case for Escaping the Suburbs

A Case for Escaping the Suburbs

The Great American Dream: The ideal of escaping the crime, riff-raff, hustle and bustle, and constant noise of city life. You escape that crowded place and commute home to the comfortable sanctuary that is your suburban neighborhood. Daryl gives you a friendly wave from the cockpit of his lawnmower on your way by, "Howdy!" The smell of Susan's petunias wafts in the window of your chrome-clad Chevy (which is newer than Daryl's, of course) as the deep growl of the engine joins the symphony of birds that gather at your feeder each afternoon. Sparky cocks his head from the porch as he spots you beyond the crisp picket fence line. He bounds across an opulent sprawl of meticulously-cultivated Kentucky Bluegrass to greet you. A white-trimmed tribute to your success, this half-acre is your pride and joy. You made it.

Or did you? Fresh out of an episode of Leave it to Beaver, Americana promoted a post-WWII tidal wave of suburbanization that we are still surfing today. However, preferences of living space are begining to change, and there are a host of new studies advocating alternative lifestyles.

The Case For Moving In:

You might think that moving closer into the city would be a step backward, but consider this: The University of Waterloo has conducted research highlighting an inverse relationship between commute time and overall life satisfaction.

"We found that the longer it takes someone to get to work, the lower their satisfaction with life in general..." -Margo Hilbrecht, Professor of Applied Sciences, Associate Director of Research for the Canadian Index of Wellbeing.

The study found that longer commute times induced feelings of anxiety linked to time constraints and lack of physical exercise. This commute time is linked to weight issues, higher rates of work-related illness, lack of energy, and blood pressure problems to name a few.

The study states that physical activity can help offset these issues (better hit the water!) but the time-crunch commuting causes frequently deters people from making these efforts. Researchers found a positive correlation between leisure time and overall happiness.

Living closer to the city also gives residents more resources within walking distance, increasing fitness levels and the positive mental stimulation that this induces. Mental and emotional health are proven to be closely correlated with physical activity.

When you break it down, moving closer to the city and your workplace can provide many positive lifestyle adjustments.

The Case For Moving Out:

Our favorite option, spending time in nature is proven to increase mental and physical health while being a very effective antidepressant. One of many studies leading to this conclusion, Stanford University found that exposure to nature has positive effects on one's mood and decreases blood flow to parts of the brain linked to depression. It also increases mental clarity and working memory.

Getting closer to nature also makes exhilarating physical activities more accessible! Let's face it, we can all get lazy after a long day at work, but there's no motivation like having nature right outside your door.

Whatever You Prefer, Just Get Some Exercise!

The two suburban alternatives presented above have one thing in common: exercise.

Exercise triggers the release of endorphins and dopamine, the chemicals in our brains responsible for feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. If you ever hear the term "runner's high", it is a real thing and it comes from sustained aerobic exercise. As you may have guessed, these chemicals are highly important to overall happiness.

Research exploring the connection between our health and the natural world is growing as rates of mental health disorders increase and average physical fitness decreases. Dr. Scott Paluska from the Rex Sports Medicine Institute in North Carolina, and Thomas  Schwenk, from the University of Michigan Medical Center, found that physical exercise is a powerful tool to fight depression, anxiety, and panic disorders.

It also boosts confidence and just makes you feel fantastic about yourself in general! Accomplish something difficult, master a new skill, feel good about your body, just enjoy moving around.

If you're feeling up for it, maybe even give paddleboarding a shot!

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Announcement: Paddleboard Rentals by Mail

Announcement: Paddleboard Rentals by Mail

Getting into a new sport is a commitment. Not only are you committing to being a beginner, which can be frustrating in itself, but it is a financial commitment as well. You don't have the gear and, when you go to buy it, you can worry and maybe even talk yourself out of it. What if I don't like it?

We can assure you that getting into paddleboarding is well worth the time and money, and we think we can do something to take the edge off. Our company was founded on the passion for sharing our love of paddling, as we were born out of the rental business. We recently added our Rent by Mail service.

On our website we currently offer affordable rentals by mail. Complete rental packages are available for as low as $299 for an entire month, and $549 for three months. All rentals include free shipping both ways.

If you end up deciding an inflatable is right for you, we will sell you the board at a discounted price so you never need to give it back. Like you never even rented it.

A rental is a great way to get your friends into the sport, see what all the buzz is about, or save some money and stay entertained while you're at Mom and Dad's for the summer. 

Why not give paddleboarding a try?

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SUP Yoga: Let's get that Core Workin'

In the last decade, yoga and stand up paddleboarding have rapidly grown in popularity alongside one another. Both activities can be enjoyed at any intensity level, from a relaxing evening wind-down to a sweat-inducing, muscle building workout. Both are low impact on the body while providing considerable physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Neither has an age or fitness barriers, and a whole lot to offer once taken up.

It only makes sense that the two activities would combine at some point, becoming the recent SUP yoga phenomenon. In our opinion, this is among the best things to happen to either sport. We have come to embrace this trend and are currently pushing its development in our city, Spokane, Washington.

Why should you give it a try? Well, the same reasons we did!

It's a fantastic workout. You know those muscles you overlook at the gym, the little tiny ones you can't see in the mirror? Well, you're going to need them to master yoga on the water. Your body contains countless tiny muscle groups known as stabilizer muscles. While you can't flex them for that hotty across the gym, strengthening them will increase your athletic performance and prevent injuries. As you probably guessed, being unstable makes you engage these muscles. Some training on the water will improve your yoga form in ways your typical yoga session cannot.

It keeps you aware. Good form on the water means you need to be aware of waves, currents, winds, and edges of your board on top of what your body is doing. Staying in the moment means staying out of the drink, unless you get too warm, of course.

It keeps your movements fluid. Sudden movements mean rocking your board and jeopardizing your center of gravity. 

It's always different. Without the controlled environment of a studio or home, your sessions will never be repetitive again.

It's a ton of fun! Get out there and try something new! Cool off in the water, splash your friends, get some sun, take a nap, whatever you want. Just go for it! We promise you won't regret it!

 

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Downriver Paddling, Step-by-Step

Exploring rivers is among our favorite activities and we love using the current to our advantage. If you choose to float downriver you can easily cover a number of miles and see more in a shorter period of time than paddling flatwater. 

Doing this conveniently, however, does require a certain amount of logistics. Here's a step-by-step guide to floating downriver without leaving yourselves stranded at the end. Hope you all find this helpful, go try it out!

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Inflatable SUPs: Benefits and Misconceptions

Inflatable paddleboards? Kinda like an air mattress, right?

One thing we have found over the last few years is that customers unfamiliar with inflatable paddleboards tend to approach them with pool toys in mind; something flimsy, slow, and fragile. 

However, modern materials and manufacturing methods have left our customers pleasantly surprised. Many renter's don't realize that they are on inflatables until we tell them when they get off the water, we like to save the news for the end!

Here at Stillwater Outdoors you are probably not surprised to find that inflatable boards are our preferred vessel. They adapt easily to your needs and constraints. In many circumstances iSUPS make the sport more approachable and more adaptable, here's why we prefer them:

1: Durability. Inflatable paddleboards, or iSUPs, are actually more durable than their hardbody cousins. We prefer them as exploring shallow rivers and lakes, like the one pictured above, is what we love to do most. We spent many hours patching fiberglass before we decided to specialize in inflatables, and we haven't looked back. They bounce off rocks, can slide over debris just under the surface, and can stand getting dropped or tipped over during transportation and storage.

2: Portability. Exploring waterways in the Cascade means we need to be able to hike our boards into mountain lakes. There are certain places where clambering up singletrack trails with a 12 foot board just isn't an option. Additionally, you can throw enough boards in your trunk for all five of your friends to join the adventure as well. They are also light and small enough to check onto flights with no additional fees.

3. Storage: Don't you have enough in the garage already? Are there months during the year when the weather doesn't permit paddling? We don't want anybody to be deterred from the sport by the formidable dimensions of the equipment. Inflatables roll up and can be stored next to your camping gear.

Thanks for reading and, as always, we welcome your feedback.

 

 

 

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