Stand up on a paddle board and glide with style

Sweetwater SUP Rentals offers fun on the water at Lacamas Lake

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The first stand up on a paddle board is memorable.

The craft wobbles as you leave the crouching position and your knees tremble. Water splashes up from the sides. You think about capsizing and tipping over.

All the sudden, you’re up on your feet, paddling left and right. After a while, you forget that you’re standing on a board. It’s more like you’re standing on water and gliding with style.

Wait, how do you turn?

These are the thoughts, feelings and questions people had who participated the Sweetwater SUP paddle boarding clinic Friday, on Lacamas Lake.

Camas residents Nick and Angie Tomihama took their sons for a spin on the boards. Levi is 5 and Noah is 3. The family did a lot of paddle boarding when they lived in Hawaii. This was their first time doing it on a lake.

“I used to paddle board a lot in Hawaii,” Nick said. “I didn’t fall off, which is nice. It was fun to be out there with the boys.”

Vancouver residents Nick Calais and Tami Weidert heard about the clinic from the Downtown Camas Association. They decided to try paddle boarding for the first time together.

“It’s not as hard as I thought it would be,” Weidert said. “Definitely a good core work out.”

Calais appeared to be right in his element. He enjoys fishing, hiking and kayaking.

“It was fun to be out on the water standing up instead of in a boat, which doesn’t happen very often,” Calais said. “It would be interesting to try and fish off one of these things.”

Rene’ Carroll and Lydia Stuart are the co-owners of Sweetwater SUP Rentals. They have six student guides, four from Washougal and two from Camas.

Business hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting, seven days a week, at Heritage Park. Rentals cost $25 an hour. The fleet includes nine paddle boards, six single kayaks and two tandem kayaks.

“We had such a great season last year that we’ve added more boards and kayaks to meet the demand,” Carroll said. “We are excited to see the growth of the sport.”

People interested in learning how to paddle board can sign up for a 90-minute clinic through Camas Parks and Recreation Saturday, July 16.

“This class is all about gaining confidence on the board, learning techniques in balance, paddle, stroke and more,” Stuart said. “You’d be amazed how quickly people pick it up. It is actually a fun and relaxing way to play on the water.”

Private and group lessons are available upon request. For more information, call 609-1212 or visit www.sweetwatersuprentals.com.

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