SUP the Grand Canyon | Riot Stand Up Paddle Boards

SUP the Grand Canyon

The first SUP winter descent of the Grand Canyon!

25 days in the Grand Canyon in the middle of December, good or bad idea? As soon as somebody heard that I wanted to go down the whole way on a SUP board they mostly proclaimed me as crazy. Well, I thought it was a great idea. And now in retrospect, after 25 days of standup paddling through the Canyon I have to say, it was one of the best ideas I´ve ever had so far. I knew of 2 guys who have done the descent on a SUP in the summer but of nobody who has tried it in the winter. And I knew that the water would be nearly the same temperature as in summer, as it comes out of the bottom of a dam and therefore is already quite fresh, also in summer times. But the air would be much colder in December, which means a good drysuit is a must-have for the trip, as it was quite probable, that I would take some falls in the big rapids and therefore might swim the one or other minute in the refreshing Colorado. And yes, I had some swims, but as I always chose the most deep line through the rapids, with the least possible rock contact, I was fine when I was ejected from the board, as the Colorado is a rather high volume river. As I did not have a leash on me this time, I think I would put one on (not too tight), on a high volume river like the colorado, next time. Because I was separated from the board twice on the trip, where either me or my board got stuck in an eddy and my girlfriend Maria (big thanks for her safety-boating!) had to re-unite me with my board. On all other occasions I was able to get back on the board in the rapid myself. So why do I think that a SUP is such a great idea in the Grand Canyon? First of all, if you are a solid class IV or V boater you will not get very much excitement in the Canyon and with a SUP on the other hand, every harder rapid, i.e. class 7-9 (the Grand Canyon scale goes from class 1 – 9) gets very exciting. And even if you don`t want to run the harder rapids on the SUP, you can always jump on a raft for the harder rapids and “just” do the easier rapids on the SUP, as even the smaller riffles are exciting with the SUP-board, because you have to keep focused to keep your balance. Even if you say, I don`t want to run any rapid at all, I still would recommend to take a SUP along, as the Grand Canyon is probably 90% flatwater and I loved to paddle those flat stretches on the SUP and everybody on your trip will have a blast when you can take turns on the SUP and thereby get more variety into the raft- or kayak-flatwater paddling or oaring. Last but not least my two cents about the craft I used for this adventure. I really liked the Tahiti Corran SUP on the trip, as it was really stable in the rapids and still long enough, to have enough speed to get nicely forward on the flat parts. If I get ever the chance to go again on the Grand Canyon, I would love to try out the Streetfighter board or the Combat. Because trading in some whitewater performance against some speed on the flatwater would be ok as with the Tahiti I was always way faster than our raft on the flatwater. All in all I can just say, get on a Grand Canyon trip and take along a SUP- board!

Happy paddling!

© 2010 Rockwell - Business and Portfolio Wordpress Theme by freshface