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DNR adds stand-up paddleboarding to summer programs

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The DNR is once again rolling out its summer "I Can!" programs – and adding a new sports to its staple of popoular Minnesota lake and trail activities.

Stand-up paddleboarding programs will be offered for the first time as part of the series, the department announced yesterday, giving beginners an opportunity to experience the sport without the need to buy equipment.

“It’s a very simple, easy skill to master, one that gets you out on the water in a different way,” Director of the Parks and Trails division Courtland Nelson tells WCCO. “It’s growing by leaps and bounds.”

The paddleboarding program will be offered on three Saturdays this summer: June 21 at Glacial Lakes State Park; July 5 at Sibley State Park; and Aug. 16 at William O'Brien State Park. Classes are $10 per person, and for ages 8 and up.


A number of news reports over the last few years indicate stand-up paddleboarding, as a sport, is becoming more and more popular. The LA Times reported it was around 2002 people first began to take notice – when Laird Hamilton, a surfing star, was seen using one. The Times cites numbers from the Outdoor Industry Association that say 1.24 million people participated in 2011, up 18 percent from the year prior.

The paper also reported sales of stand-up paddleboards doubled, from 75,000 to 150,000, in that time, according to the publisher of Stand-Up Paddleboard magazine.

The activity is often pointed to as a low-impact exercise, easy on the body and good for your core.

Two years ago, a man named Sonny Schierl spoke with the Missoulian. Schierl was a skier and kayaker, but tore his shoulder in a car accident. Surgery left him unable to put any stress on the shoulder, the paper reported, so those two activities – which require specific upper body strength – were no longer an option.

“I was too atrophied to kayak, but paddleboarding is such a friendly workout,” he told the paper. “You coil your torso for a good paddle stroke, so you’re not wrenching your arms.” Instead, he said, most of the propulsion comes from your core.

The website say the constant need to balance works groups of muscles at a time – rather than a traditional workout that targets a specific area.

Huffington Post even suggests trying yoga while on a stand-up paddleboard.

The Minnesota DNR isn't offering yoga on a paddleboard, just starter classes. But there are a number of activities as part of the "I Can!" program – including camping, kayaking, archery and rock climbing. Click here for the full list.

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