Cool Off with Local Water Fun

By Sharon Merkel-Prudhomme ~


SUP! No….not the slang millennial term for “what’s up”, SUP stands for Stand Up Paddleboard. Looking for something cool to do? Kids looking for a new adventure….are you? You’ve seen them popping up everywhere the last few years! Perhaps while having lunch or an evening meal at Klein’s in Belmar, you’ve watched them gliding past along the water. Paddleboards, Paddleboards everywhere! This cool watersport has been one of the fastest growing fun activities of late.

I took a cruise down Stockton Blvd., Manasquan and around the bend to Stockton Lake (Beach) Park to check out the happenings. Paddleworks is owned & operated by a local fella, Mike Perry. Name sound familiar? His talented musician brother, John Perry was featured in our monthly musician spotlight.

At the end of the parking lot I spied a little orange school bus unloading a group of grammar school age kids from the Princeton area. Their summer camp brought them to Manasquan for group paddleboard lessons. Unfortunately I was not allowed to use any pictures of all the fun due to parental restrictions and camp policies. I did manage to catch a couple pictures of their shoes and pile of child sized life jackets!

Lessons range from beginner to advanced in addition to rentals. I was impressed with the direction and patience the instructors, Mike and Peyton  exhibited with the group. All kids were instructed to form a circle as they were introduced to and sized for the equipment. Paddles & boards for all ages are matched according to height and weight. Instructors are all certified in First Aid as well as CPR. It is advisable to arm yourself with the basics- towel, swimwear (board shorts, short or long sleeve “rash guard”), sun lotion, bottled water, sunglasses and perhaps a hat. Remember, the sun is intense reflecting off the water!

The launching area is a sandy & calm which lends itself to all a most instant success. We arrived on a rather windy afternoon which didn’t seem to deter the groups’ efforts. For beginners and first timers, these kids took to the sport without a hitch! Smiles abound!

After the instruction to all on land, paddlers are set out or launched. The SUP instructors  paddle right along with the group. For the “tour” 1 instructor pairs up with each group of six paddlers. They offer instructions while paddling and pay close attention to individuals working to improve form all while discussing the environment and waterways. A fantastic combination making the total package a positive memorable experience.

There are four levels of lessons offered with Paddleworks with the highest ranked instructors in the North East! With instruction, the goal is working towards “muscle memory” which isn’t something you just pick up. Regardless of one’s level or ability, Mike and his team are there to bring you to various levels of performance. As I observed this day with the kids was the “Quick Start” which offers beginners a fun experience on their SUP. Next, moving on to Level 1 lessons work on improving the “Basic Strokes”. Level 2 follows up learning more Advanced Strokes.Sup Surf” is off and running, getting out and “shredding”. Paddleboarding has what is referred to as “killer paddleboarding” which is an amazing exercise routines which will knock off 300 to 1000+ calories in just about 60 minutes! All depending on the effort and movement. Time spent on the SUP works every muscle in the body thus improves strength, balance, stability & posture. Even if it’s a casual, easy, take your time paddle, far more calories are burned than walking and a lot more fun!

Often the water and wind determine the instructors’ best location for of course safety and success. Mike encourages paddlers of all abilities, from hearing impaired MS, hip or knee replacements…..and (lol) he adds….people who don’t listen. Mikes’ forte is in group outings and his packages are created with the groups in mind making rentals and lessons one and the same with 1 instructor per six paddlers. At tours end, Paddleworks will shoot action and/or posed shots with their cameras and paddlers alike. Tag your photos taken #paddleworks to be featured on the website! While you’re at it, like Paddleworks on FaceBook.

Have a birthday party coming up? Make your family event memorable with a paddleboard day! Paddleworks offers fantastic water activities such as scavenger hunts and races to heighten your child’s celebration! It’s encouraged to also bring along 3 man sling shots and water guns as well to add to the fun.

Have a business? How about a little Paddleworks “Off Site Team Building”?  What an incredible way to meet up with customers and staff. Thinking outside the box is how Paddleworks rolls…..or should I say floats! Ready to own your own set up? Mike has used as well as mid and high-end boards available for sale. Give him a call to set up a visit to his “Board Room Boutique” located in Manasquan. One of their Knowledgeable  SUP pros will hook you up with exactly what you’ll need for all your paddling needs while providing demos and options. Remember to take a look at the custom-made paddles built-in the Paddleworks woodshop!

Some of the policies are noted below:

Weather Cancellations: ONLY Paddleworks can cancel due to weather-safety is #1. If your scheduled time is cancelled- 100% refund or reschedule.

Customer Cancellation: 24 Hour notice receives 100% refund or reschedule. If less than 24 hour cancellation: No refund provided.

Late Arrival: Time is important. Be prompt-more than 15 minutes late, will start without you. If launch is missed, you will miss the class, no refund. IF space allows, a later class may be possible for that same day only.              

Group Rate: With larger groups, the balance is paid in full 5 days in advance of reservation.

Have a special birthday, graduation or attending a wedding soon?  A Paddleworks gift card will make a terrific & unique gift idea.

Paddleworks 69 Second Ave., Manasquan. 732-722-8888      Like on FaceBook too!

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