As the weather heats up, people on paddle boards are popping up on lakes across Saskatchewan including Wascana Lake in Regina.
Krystal McBain is the co-owner of Queen City SUP which sells and rents paddle boards and offers classes for people of all ages and skill levels.
She fell in love with the sport after her husband, Chris Bailey, convinced her to try. Now they found a way to share that love of paddle boarding with as many people as possible through their new business.
She also enjoys getting anyone out on the water, and answering questions from people who are curious about the water sport.
“Absolutely we get people going – you’re doing what? On what? Why?,” she laughed.
For her, the answer is simple.
“It’s peace, it’s my happy place. I get to go out and enjoy and love and try to share the paddling with other people,” she said. “Whether it’s on a calm sunset or a windy day down-winding it, it’s so much fun.”
McBain even runs a paddle board yoga class on the water at sunset.
“We paddle out, find a nice calm place and then we do yoga out on the board. It’s a fun challenge for people,” he said. “Even people that do yoga on land find it fun to go out and try it on the board.”
With classes on Wascana Lake, she says people are often surprised that anyone would stand up to paddle on a board and risk falling in the water where no one swims on purpose. But she says the man-made lake is perfect for paddle boarding.
“You have a few people that are skeptical of Wascana Lake but we just reassure people that honestly, it’s a beautiful lake to paddle on,” McBain said. “You get to see the city from a different view, you see the lake from a different view. It’s kind of taken for granted until you get out there and you fall in love with the city in a different way.”
McBain says it took her two tries to fall in love with the sport. Stand up paddle boarding (nick-named SUP) was invented a little over a decade ago. She says the water sport only recently started to spread from coastal cities into the land-locked prairies just a but now the popularity is taking off.
“It’s been great. We’ve had kids as young as six or seven trying it and taking a lesson up until 60s or 70s,” she said. “Just about anyone can get on and have fun with the right board for them.”
Once you get comfortable on a board, there are races at different lakes or opportunities to go on long-distance day trips. The boards are big and sturdy enough to carry a cooler.
During a mini-lesson on Monday afternoon, there were plenty of other people out paddling in kayaks and paddle boards.
“It’s too nice not to be outside,” commented Chris MacGillvray as he helped his dad unload two kayaks and an inflatable paddle board.
He says paddle boarding is the perfect way to cool off.
“It’s just something to do out on the water. It cools you off a little bit, it splashes you a little bit and hopefully you don’t fall in,” he said.
The love of water sports runs in the family. Jim MacGillvray says he paddles almost every day on Wascana.
“As long as you’re on top of the water, it’s cool. You get out there paddling and you’re never hot,” he said.
Ten-year-old Mikaela MacGillivray says she was nervous to try paddle boarding at first but she liked it.