Northern Michigan Stand-Up Paddle Boarding: 5 Things You Didn’t Know

MyNorth’s Adrienne Roberts swung into a Northern Michigan stand-up paddle boarding shop and learned that this once obscure sport is becoming an increasingly popular Northern Michigan outdoor activity. Enthusiasts of the sport can be seen along Northern Michigan beaches and rivers throughout the summer.


As you’re laying at one of the many scenic Northern Michigan beaches, calmly reading your book or catching some rays, you may have noticed an odd sight: people, usually donned in wetsuits or swimsuits, balancing on a surfboard, holding a paddle, and, well, having a good time doing so. Weird, right? Well, think again. As one of Michigan’s most outdoorsy sports, you can bet that stand-up paddle boarding in Traverse City is on the rise.

Adrienne spoke with John McNeil, the owner of Wet Mitten Surf Shop, located in downtown Traverse City, to get the scoop on this rapidly-growing sport. Here are his five little-known facts about stand-up paddle boarding:

  1. The sports has actually been around for hundred of years! Stand-Up paddle boarding may have ancient roots in Hawaii but it has just become more popular in recent times.
  2. Just about anyone can do it. We can put a 75-year-old on a board and a 5-year-old can do it, too.
  3. River paddling is really fun! I love paddling the Platte River and the Boardman River. I think this is the most fun style of paddling.
  4. There’s board for everything now: there’s a tandem board, a surf board, a racing board, an all-around board, plus many more.
  5. The sport has branched out in a lot of ways. People are going out with blow-up boards and going down steep rapids out in Utah and Colorado.

To rent a paddle board, or to get a lesson, check out WetMittenSurfShop.com or stop into their shop at 101 N Park, suite 2A in downtown Traverse City.


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