If you’ve been swimming in Lake Ontario this summer you’ve no doubt shared the water with paddleboarders. I’ve certainly been greeted on early morning swims with the inspiring view of a lone paddleboarder gliding into the rising sun. It’s a pretty spectacular reminder of the many gifts of our city, but also of the alternative ways we can build our connection to, comfort with, and ability to read the lake.
Above: Jess Campbell as strong and steady on her board as she is on her bike!
Beyond the mindful moments, SUP is a fantastic way to improve core strength and balance while getting in some cross-training cardio. Paddleboarding engages your whole back chain including your shoulders, upper back, spine and core. Not only are these areas activated during swimming, but they are also important for getting into an aggressive aero position for long rides on your TT bike.
Furthermore, it’s an excellent way to enable the non-triathletes in your life to join in on your workouts. If you learn to SUP with them, perhaps you can also get them to paddleboard alongside you when you swim open water! Moreover, it’s a great option for days when you find the lake is too cold to swim in.
Kayaking is another excellent cross-training option with many of the same benefits. As TTrain cycling coach and owner of Toronto Beach Kayak, Jess Campbell says, “I’ll paddle anything! For destination paddling, I opt for my kayak. For Zen, I hop on my paddleboard. In fact, it’s my go to on off-days as it is so great for my feet, balance and core. Sometimes it’s the best floating yoga mat for stretching out in the lake!”
If you’re swimming at Kew/ Balmy Beach, stop by the WSUP and Toronto Beach Kayak booths to find out the many rental options, instruction packages and even yoga classes on offer. Or check out this video to see what it’s all about!
Our summers may be short in Toronto, but they aren’t short on Lake Ontario adventures.