Pontoon Paddle Boarding with Motorboatin’ 30a

June 26, 2015

SUP. We're not just saying "hi," SUP actually stands for Stand Up Paddle Boards/Boarding. Who knew? Just add the acronym to the list of things we learned on our Wednesday pontoon and paddle boarding adventure with Motorboatin' 30a. If you didn't see the post where we introduced the company you can take a look at it here. If we could have spent the whole day with Michaelanne and Matt we would have - they are just that laid back, fun, and easy - but we settled for a few hours with them on the boat and some pontoon paddle boarding around Lake Powell.


So, the two of us are not the most athletic birds around. Sally had tried paddle boarding once but it was in the ocean and as soon as she saw a stingray under her board she sat down and rode the waves in, which was fine because she couldn’t balance well anyway. Molly had never tried paddle boarding, mostly because she’s terrified of the ocean and most open bodies of water and the idea of wobbling on a board while trying to “row” sounded less than fun. The aforementioned sister woes are our way of telling you that we were pretty new to this water activity and while we were very excited, we were slightly hesitant, too.

As Matt mentioned during the Q+A in our earlier Motorboatin’ 30a post, pontoon paddle boarding is much different than SUP in the ocean. Unlike the ocean, the water on Lake Powell has calm water that’s shallow – balancing is still a factor but it is much (much) easier to achieve on the lake. The boards Motorboatin’ 30a uses are by YOLO and called YAK boards. Being the nerds we are, we looked up the different kind of stand up paddle boards to get an idea of what made the ones we use different than what we had seen while down on the beach. We learned that the YAK boards are designed to be super sturdy, with stability in shallow water, and able to handle more weight. Matt told us that people often attach coolers to the board or even have smaller kids (in life vests) or dog sit on the front or back of the board. Like other paddle boards, once you are in a kneeling or standing position on the board you use a paddle to propel yourself forward.

We both started out kneeling on our boards before feeling ready to stand. Matt instructed us how to hold the paddles and advised us to do 3-4 full strokes on one side of the board before switching to the next. We learned that it’s better to keep the paddle as close to the board as possible and that you want almost the entire head of the paddle to be in the water when you’re moving it front to back to get the correct speed. Once we got the hang of paddling, Matt gave us more tips on how to hold the paddle and position/move our bodies so that the motions engaged our cores and became more of a work out.

The best activity to compare pontoon paddle boarding to would be riding a bike. They are completely different (obviously) but both activities involve using your body and additional objects to propel yourself in motion, you can make the activity more challenging depending on speed and resistance, and you’re doing something active while being able to fully take in your surroundings. And the surroundings on Lake Powell are beautiful…we paddled right up to the edge of the lake, to where the sand dunes separate it from the gulf water. It was the first time we had ever experienced the are unique area in person and it really is so amazing.

And there you have it – Motorboatin’ 30a took two non-athletic girls and turned them into pontoon paddle boarding pros! We haven’t planned our next trip to 30A but we’ve already told all our family and friends that come to the area to book their boat and paddle boarding trips with Matt and Michaelanne. The morning pontoon SUP adventure was the perfect morning activity and we still spent hours at the beach afterward!

P.S. thank you to Molly and Shawn for being with us for the day and making things even more fun (:

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