Well we finally got the word that the crew would be putting our docks back in at Nereid Boat Club as the Passaic River ice is gone and we are expecting warmer temperatures. At this point after 90 days of indoor rowing, I was relishing any opportunity to workout on the water. As part of the “learn new sports” philosophy I started to learn stand-up paddling (SUP) last summer, so I grabbed my Werner Advantage SUP paddle and headed for the boathouse.
One of the funner jobs at dock put-in is being the guy who jumps out onto the floating dock sections after the crane lowers them into the water, and steers them into place against the current. I volunteered right away! These things are 16 feet by 8 feet and weight well over 1000 pounds each. We hook 4 or 5 of them together, and the flotilla has to be kept in position until it is complete and ready to be tethered to land.
It was awesome! Normally SUP is about balance and I find it requires a lot of isometric lower-body work. But this was different – a ripping core workout, trying to overcome the inertia of several tons of dock, jumping from side to side to steer it, and taking long, deep power strokes against essentially static resistance in the water. Because the paddle is taller than your body height and it is held across your body, I was essentially doing a push-up on one side of my body and a pull-up on the other, simultaneously and with huge resistance.
I found that the amount of power you can apply with an 86-inch stand-up paddle is amazing – I could start moving 80 feet of dock after about 5 strokes, and I could easily hold it steady in the current with short intervals of intense paddling.
If any of you are into SUP and are looking for a way to keep it fresh during the winter, try standing on a static dock and digging deep with max effort for intervals of like 1-3 minutes per side. After about 30 minutes I guarantee that every muscle in your torso will be fried.