Fit Dog Friday – Stand-Up Paddleboard with your dog!

The husband and I lived in San Diego for a year in 2011. During that time, I regularly did Stand-Up Paddleboard and even took yoga classes on a SUP. There was a bay that I went to with calm waters and the weather was always awesome. It was so much fun and I loved it.

After we moved to the Bay area, for some reason, I never really got into it again. We did do it once in Half Moon Bay, but the waters were choppier and it’s a bit of a drive.

Then we got QQ and we started hiking regularly on weekends, and I never thought much about SUP. Then one day I saw a photo of a girl on a SUP with her dog. And I thought – I want that! I want to do that with QQ. That looks soooo amazing and so much fun! I remember how much I loved SUP and I want to share that with QQ. And the idea of being on the water with QQ, being able to share that experience with him, makes me feel so excited.

So I began searching for places that will allow me to do SUP with a dog. And sadly, I didn’t manage to find any for a long time. For some reason, there aren’t that many SUP rentals in the Bay area near where we live. Most are quite a distance away. There’s Half Moon Bay, but from our previous experience, the waters can be choppy. I wasn’t sure how QQ will do on his first time on a SUP. And from prior experience, he gets a little afraid even crossing a bridge, the silly little thing. So it’s important that we do this on the calmest water possible. There are some lakes that do rentals, but those lakes are located in parks that do not allow dogs. There are many water channels near us that allow people to kayak or do SUP and there aren’t any dog restrictions whatsoever, but there aren’t any rentals and most people own their own equipment. I was thinking I might have to buy my own SUP if I really wanted to do this!

Then I discovered Vasona State Park in Los Gatos. Admittedly, this park is still a bit of a distance from where we live, but it is dog friendly, and it has a lake. AND, they have SUP rentals. All that remains is to check if they allow us to bring our dog with us on to the paddleboard!

We visited the park on a weekend and it was filled with families having fun. This is a huge park, complete with a mini train running through a part of the park, a carousel, playground and of course, the lake.

SUP7

QQ and Chyler posing by the pretty lake. We enjoyed a walk around the lake after our SUP session

The first question I asked the lady at the rental store was, “Can I bring my dog on the SUP?”

And she answered, “Yes, if you are sure your dog won’t jump off.”

I was so excited I nearly squealed. I ran to tell the husband. Then I got really nervous. There were a lot of people by the lake. It was a Sunday and a beautiful day and it felt like everybody was out enjoying the sun. I’ve never done this with either of our dogs before and I really really didn’t want to fall into the lake and have everyone stare at me. I didn’t know how QQ or Chyler will behave when we make them get onto the paddleboard. But it was such a rare chance and I’ve been wanting to do this for so long, I decided to just heck it. I told myself that I didn’t know anyone here so it doesn’t matter if they do see me make a fool out of myself. And it’s such a warm day it won’t matter if we fall in anyway.

I decided to do this with QQ, because QQ’s “sit” and “stay” is very reliable. Also, I’ve been wanting to do this with him since even before we adopted Chyler. The husband smartly opted to stay on the shore with Chyler and our foster dog Tailz and take (blurry) photos. He never enjoyed SUP and I think he secretly thought I was nuts.

We surprisingly managed to coax QQ onto the paddleboard easily. I think he jumped up wanting to explore, not knowing he won’t be able to get off for awhile.

SUP1

QQ, happy when we were setting off

And I pushed us off with the paddle, and we were off! QQ was soooo good! He never tried to jump off and he remained calm most of the time. He sat in front of me in the beginning, then he got up and started to explore the board a little. But he came back and sat down when I told him to.

SUP6

Us in the middle of the lake

The paddleboard rental costs $15 per hour. We paddled for about 45 minutes. Because I was so nervous, being that I hadn’t done SUP for about a year and I didn’t know if QQ would go crazy and capsize us, I stayed kneeling the entire time and didn’t stand up. But given that QQ behaved so well, I think the next time we do this, I will definitely try standing up. Staying down was hard on the knees so we didn’t paddle the full length of the hour, but we did make it pretty far!

SUP4

QQ looking back, likely wondering why we are so far from the shore.

There were moments where I got a little nervous. QQ has a high prey drive and always wants to chase geese and ducks and whatnot. There were a lot of geese and ducks on the lake and when we came close, I was always afraid that he’s going to jump off to chase them. Luckily, he only growled and when I told him to stay and sit, he listened.

SUP5

QQ growling at all these ducks that are clearly not afraid of him at all.

Another time I paddled close to the shore where the husband was standing taking photographs of us. QQ saw the husband and he clearly wanted to jump onto shore to be with him. Mayhaps he had enough of this floating on the lake nonsense. We got really scared that he’ll do it and I quickly paddled away further.

SUP2

posing for the husband. moments after QQ contemplated if the shore was near enough for him to make a jump for it.

Other than these couple of near misses, the 45 mins we spent on the lake was uneventful. Passing boats commented on how cute QQ was. QQ never really fully relaxed though. He was either sitting and looking around at the scenery or he wandered to the back of the paddleboard and took tiny sips of the lake water. But he never made any huge movements that will cause us to capsize, nor did he try to jump off. All in all, I consider this first attempt a huge success!

SUP3

QQ walking to the back of the board to explore. There really isn’t much to explore. It’s not that big of a board.

 

This is something I will definitely try again. We are still perfecting Chyler’s “sit” and “stay”, but I think the next time I will try bringing her. I will also try standing up. The rental shop also rents rowboats and the husband said we can also do that next time so we can bring both dogs on board. I’m looking forward to it!

Has anyone have a similar experience? Do let me know!

 

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21 thoughts on “Fit Dog Friday – Stand-Up Paddleboard with your dog!

  1. This sounds fun! We have this in Sg too, but it’s quite expensive! And the water is not as calm as yours, so not very conducive for Mango. Glad QQ stayed on the SUP the whole time! Hopefully Chyler gets to go next round!

  2. Mom really wants to try this with us, but there isn’t anywhere much to rent them here either. Recently a place started renting them but only on weekends and we want to do it when there is not a big crowd and waiting time, so we will just have to wait.

    • Yes, I like to think it helps train their impulse control, because they have to restrain themselves from going after geese and jumping off into the waters :p

  3. That is so cool! I would love to do this with our dogs, but I think they’ll jump off. I think Jessica of YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner SUP with her dogs.

  4. I know that mom would love to try this it looks like so much fun, not me though I am pretty sure. QQ did a great job but I didn’t see a life jacked on him which bothered me some. But I think you found the perfect place, a lake is much better than the ocean! love Dolly

    • oh, they didn’t have life jackets for dogs. QQ had a harness on and I was holding on to his leash the entire time. Also, we took him to another lake and he proved that he knew how to swim there. I was prepared to jump in immediately if he do fall into the water too. And the lake isn’t very deep… likely due to California’s drought.

      And yes, a lake is much better than the ocean!

  5. I am not very skilled and it hurts my knees, but my husband, kids and godson (featured with his lab last week) all love SUP.I don’t think Kilo the Pug would like it and he would need a life jacket, but lots of dogs that like water do. Those photos are great- such a beautiful spot and good they are dog-friendly. X Susie and Kilo

    • Thank you! I don’t know how much QQ liked it actually, but it was a new experience for him, and I want him to have as many different experiences in life as possible 🙂

  6. That looks like so much fun… love your photos, too 🙂 I took Rocco kayaking last year for the first time with one of our Eskie friends… who looks a little like QQ! Never tried SUP. I think Rocco would go CRAZY for those geese. Not sure I could have kept him on the board!

    • Thank you! I don’t know how to kayak, or I would love to take the dogs kayaking as well. I thought QQ will go crazy too! He will definitely chase them off leash on the shore. I think being on board helped him with his restrain 🙂

  7. Wow, how cool & good for you that you took this amazing opportunity and just tried it! I would like to try out stand-up paddle boarding with our pups, and also kayak with them.

    • I was really nervous about it, but I find that I usually only regret things I didn’t do and not things that I do. Do come back and share when you try it!

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