Nowadays, where you see a kayak, you will also spy a board. The sport of standup paddling has exploded in popularity, inspiring fitness buffs up and down the Connecticut coastline. But, one shoreline business is adding sightseeing to the mix.
“We are a mobile SUP rental. We do excursions. We do lessons, all over the state,” says Frank Rossi, owner and operator of whatSUP Standup Paddle. “If there’s water and there’s access, we’ll get there.”
One of the most exciting excursions is shaping-up to be the Thimble Island tour, which takes paddlers around the one-of-a-kind collection of granite masses, off the coast of Stony Creek in Branford.
“A lot of people in our state haven’t seen this area,” says Rossi. “There’s so much to look at. There’s so much visual interest.”
Rossi can work with paddlers of any skill level. He believes this sport is do-able for almost anyone.
“There is a challenge aspect to it you don’t get in a kayak, the balance aspect,” he says. “There are some great fitness benefits in terms of a full body workout. You don’t realize you’re working out until a few hours on the board.”
He gives basic instruction about how to stay upright and avoid falling: “Soft legs, soft knees. Don’t clench your feet, relax your feet.”
But, slipping into the water is always a possibility!
“We fall on purpose sometimes. It’s OK,” laughs Rossi, a school teacher during the off-season, who also provides fascinating narration about the area. “There’s Money Island up ahead. That has about 30 houses on it, 30 cottages. Rumor has it that Captain Kidd buried treasure there. No one has found anything!”
The water sparkles, the waves roll and the sun shines as participants take in the gorgeous surroundings from their boards.
“It’s allowing people to get somewhat of the same sensation of surfing in flat water,” says Rossi. “If you’re up to the challenge, it’s a really addicting, fun sport!”
Check out this DayTrippers video to see a SUP tour of the Thimble Islands in action.
For more information on the tours, click here to visit whatSUP Standup Paddle‘s website.