Participants receive free admission to the park that day with no membership required.
“Get outside and enjoy the lake and waterfall, hike the trails and bring a picnic and stay for lunch,” said O’Dell Banks, Chewacla State Park manager. “Spend some time on the new beginner mountain bike trail, or the other 15 miles of new trail.”
Stand-up paddle, or SUP, boarding began in the early ‘60s when photographers in Hawaii surfed out to open waters, standing up and facing the beach to snap pictures of tourists learning to surf.
Paddle boarding has developed into a sport that involves leisure as well as competition, and the boards come in a variety of styles that includes touring and racing.
This is the first event put on by James Bros. Bikes owner Danny James, and he hopes to continue hosting similar events featuring the sport that is growing in popularity.
People often gather for group paddling and experiment with the sport.
“Depending on the board, your head is really high off the surface of the water, so if you go down it’s a rocky situation,” James said. “That’s not something that appeals to me at all, but there are some people that are really into it, so they go find a river with some crazy rapids to go down as if they are in kayaks.”
It has gained greater appeal throughout the decline and plateau of the economy due to the sport’s lacking the need for gas or insurance.
Also, there are several health benefits of paddle boarding, including a core workout and balance training.
Paddle boards are a more practical watercraft than large boats and boats with engines because they do not sit deep in the water, are easy to maneuver and can fit into smaller waterways.
Paddle boards, as well as kayaks, are also beneficial in that there is no need for a big boat or the toting associated with big boats.
On Saturday, participants will be able to choose from three different styles of boards as well as sit-on-top kayaks of the Cobra brand.
The boards that will be made available are Bote brand boards, which is a company based in Destin, Fla. and was started in 2009 by Auburn alumni Corey and Magda Cooper.
Magda is a former Auburn swimmer who participates in paddle board races, often placing fourth or better.
The Coopers were the first to create a board specifically designed for fishing.
These boards range from 10.5 to 12.5 feet and are lightweight for easy transport, weighing 25-38 pounds.
James Bros. Bikes also hosts free weekly group bike rides with beginner or intermediate options Wednesday nights at 6:15 that begin at the bike shop.
These rides are led by James and James Bros. Bikes employee and recent Auburn graduate in elementary education Grant Chaffin.
“The beginner group ride is an eight mile ride and is extremely beginner-oriented,” Chaffin said. “Everyone is welcome and the pace is totally dictated by the group.”
The intermediate group travels 22 miles round-trip on a well-lit route into downtown Opelika.