Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01

As you may recall, I fell paddle over board in love with a hot new sport called Stand Up Paddling on my very last day on Kauai. As soon as I booked my ticket to Florida to participate in The Color Run, I started searching for places where I could practice my new hobby.

Stand Up Paddling Tampa

Stand Up Paddling Tampa

Turns out, Tampa is a hotbed of SUP activity. and were two of a handful of companies in the area that specialize in the sport, but both caught my eye thanks to a palpable passion for paddling and hey, I’ll admit it — great design!

Although I had been on a board before in Hawaii, I was curious to see what I could learn from a . After hearing me blab on about paddling after returning from my last trip, my dad and friend Paula agreed to come along.

Stand Up Paddling Tampa

Stand Up Paddling Tampa

The lesson started with our instructor Mike — who is also one of the business owners and founders — briefing us on the relatively short history of Stand Up Paddleboarding, and his personal love affair with the sport. Then, while still on the beach, he taught us proper stance and paddling technique — the latter he promised would be both the greatest challenge and have the greatest impact on our performance.

SUP Tampa
SUP Tampa

Soon, we were paddling around Harbor Island as a group. While it’s certainly not brain-surgery-level athletics, it was nice to have someone critiquing my form and giving suggestions. As we paddled, I remembered everything I loved about SUPing — the great low impact workout, being in the sunshine and on the water, and laughing and chatting with friends while at it.

Stand Up Paddling Tampa

I was about to go around for a second lap when I saw my dad standing on shore, gesturing out to the water. He had taken a tumble and lost his glasses — leaving him very vision impaired. I cut my lesson short so I could free dive in the murky waters looking for them but it was a lost cause. Thankfully a very efficient national glasses chain came to the rescue later, but it did put a damper on the day. I recommend that Urban Kai and other paddling companies provide glasses straps for lessons — we didn’t know better, so I think they should warn newbies.

So while my Dad set off to deal with his unexpected vision impairment, Paula and I stuck around for my favorite part of the day, and one of the highlights of my trip to Florida. What drew me most to Urban Kai was their — I love the idea of working out on the water! I tried to attend a Warrior Zen Workout class earlier in the week, but unfortunately it was cancelled due to poor weather. Luckily, the conditions were much improved in time for Yoga On Water.

Stand Up Paddling Tampa

I’ve loved yoga for a long time — flexibility is one of my strengths and balance is one of weaknesses so it seems to be a rewarding challenge for me. I was so curious to see how it would come together with paddling — how would we not fall off the boards? How would the boards not float away?

Stand Up Paddle Yogaphoto via Urban Kai

Stand Up Paddle Yogaphoto via Urban Kai

Our impressively sized group paddled out into a clearing in the bay while instructor Mike answered both those questions for me. If you fell off the board — no problem, get back up; if your board drifted away — no problem, we’d all drift together.

I could not have loved this hour long class any more. We went through simple vinyasa poses, ones that I might normally go through on total autopilot normally but in this class were a fantastic challenge. Occasionally we heard a boat go by, a seagull crying in the distance or the distinct plop of someone falling off their board, but otherwise I zoned out to the instructor’s calming voice.

Stand Up Paddle Yogaphoto via Urban Kai

Stand Up Paddle Yogaphoto via Urban Kai

I promise you this: if I lived in Tampa, I’d be here in this class every Sunday. If you’re a Stand Up Paddle enthusiast, a yoga lover, or just plain curious — you’ve got to try it.

Stand Up Paddle Yoga

SUP Tampa
SUP Tampa

photos via Urban Kai

Unfortunate glasses-losing incident aside, I really enjoyed my day on the water with Urban Kai! I recommend them highly to anyone looking for a new fitness routine or fun activity on the water in the Tampa area.

I’m not sure where in the world I’ll get back on a board again — but I do hope it’s sooner rather than later!

Stand Up Paddle Yoga

Stand Up Paddle Tampa

Any other SUP lovers out there? What are your favorite on-board activities?

Note: Urban Kai did not pay or perk me to write this review. I simply wanted to share my travel experience with you!

3-devide-lines
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
27 Comments...
  • Breanna Mansell
    February 6 2013

    Wow! As a lover of Yoga and an urge to try surfing and paddle boarding I am quite sure I would love this… A LOT!!

    • Meihoukai
      February 7 2013

      Do a search in your area Breanna! Unless you are totally land locked, you might be surprised what your turn up… this sport is on fire!

  • Caroline
    February 6 2013

    Ah, that looks great! I love how you post so many pictures on each of your posts, makes it much more interesting and easier to “understand” 🙂
    This has gone on my mental want-to-do-list, thanks!
    Caroline recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 7 2013

      Thanks Caroline! I think it slows down my site a bit but I can’t help it… I’m a photo addict 🙂

  • Erica
    February 6 2013

    Ahhh, I will definitely need to check this out!! Can’t believe I never knew about this lol. I’m over at Davis Island all the time, one of my favorite places in tampa.

    Hope you enjoyed your stay in Tampa 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      February 7 2013

      Glad I could share something new with a local! Definitely check them out Erica!

  • Angela
    February 6 2013

    I’ve been wanting to try stand up paddling but so far I haven’t found a place to do it yet! It looks like loads of fun.

    • Meihoukai
      February 7 2013

      It seems to be popping up absolutely everywhere! Definitely check it out as soon as you can… you’ll be hooked!

  • You are so beautiful!!!!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..

  • Dad
    February 7 2013

    Thanks for not making me sound like a total goof….it was fun in spite of the glasses mishap.

    • Meihoukai
      February 7 2013

      You’re not a goof…. I think most people must be impressed with the way you keep up with your kids!

  • Shaun
    February 7 2013

    Still need to try this, looks like a lot of fun! yoga + balancing on the board? nice!

    • Meihoukai
      February 7 2013

      It’s SO MUCH FUN! I need to find a place in Thailand soon so I can get my fix…

  • Annie of TravelShus
    February 7 2013

    I am also a huge fan of SUP and did it for the first time in Hawaii too. love that you did yoga with the board!
    Annie of TravelShus recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 7 2013

      Awesome Annie! Which island did you try it out on? Wish I had done it on all of them now!

      • Annie of TravelShus
        February 8 2013

        I did it on Maui. There was a cool session that was coupled with snorkeling while we were out on the boards. I LOVED it. I think my husband fell down about 50 times and was so mad at me for not falling once. good times! cant wait to do it again in costa rica and mexico this spring.
        Annie of TravelShus recently posted..

  • jill
    February 7 2013

    Saw so many of these in Hawaii – it looked so easy until I saw someone got knocked off by the tiniest swell.
    jill recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 8 2013

      It’s definitely one of those sports that looks harder than it is! Some people do Stand Up Surfing with the boards, which looks kind of fun 🙂

  • Camels & Chocolate
    February 7 2013

    You should be a yogini! You look like a natural out there on that board. I love SUP and I love yoga, but I wonder if my balance would be good enough to handle this? (Then again, I WAS a college tennis player…) So you didn’t fall once?
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 8 2013

      I didn’t fall, but that says less about my balance and more about me being a weenie when it came to really going for the challenging poses! Balance is definitely my greatest weakness in yoga, so I liked how this challenged me!

  • So cool! Who would’ve ever thought about yoga on a paddle board?! I’ve heard that paddling is great abdominal workout. Looks fun!
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 12 2013

      It really is! It’s nice and low impact though, so you really only feel the burn the day after. Love it!

  • Arianwen
    February 18 2013

    This is massive in Brazil right now too. I love the paddle board yoga! Great pics. I’d have fallen in.
    Arianwen recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 19 2013

      Yet ANOTHER reason I need to get my butt to Brazil NOW!

  • Kate
    May 20 2013

    I am also bitten with the stand up paddle boarding bug! I’ve don SUP yoga a few times and it is incredible, glad to see more people getting into it!

    • Meihoukai
      May 20 2013

      Thanks for commenting Kate! I haven’t been on a SUP in ages… need to rectify that sometime soon!