A Sunset SUP Trip
I love the weather in the desert. As a midwest native, I'm still getting used to the idea of (relatively) warm weather in February and March! Warm days and cool nights make for great adventuring weather, but you don't have to go far to have a great time, either.
The Rio Grande through Albuquerque provides a great place for quick paddling trips throughout the year. Last weekend I went with a large group (17 people!) to take a Full Moon Paddle from Bernalillo to Rio Rancho (4 miles).
I was the only one on a paddle board this time around, but the temps are still a bit cool, so I definitely don't blame those without a dry suit for wanting to stay in a boat!
Paddle boarding has definitely opened up a new way to play on the river for me. Its significantly more casual than climbing into my kayak, inflatable SUPs make for easy travel to/from the river, and a new style of paddling has made the same stretch of river feel entirely new. Another bonus is the high float of the board allows me to go over shallow spots that a few of the kayaks got hung up on (and allowed me to quickly hop on/off to help).
I'm going to be real honest here - this was my first time SUPing down-river. Going from flat water to moving water has some challenges - currents, eddy lines, sub-surface hazards, but the basics are all the same. Finding my balance was easy with these wide boards, and the couple times I did go over were definitely due to not paying attention! The bungee cords on the deck did a great job of holding my dry bag and throw rope in place as I climbed back on.
Standing up on a paddle board for long periods of time can cause some fatigue in your legs if you aren't used to it. Coming from kayaking, I definitely need to spend some more time on the board to build up my endurance. Collapsible SUP paddles allow you to shorten the shaft to make for easy canoe-style paddling from the knees as well.
The sun went down with about 20 minutes left to go, giving us a true moonlight paddle. The take-out in Rio Rancho is easy to find, so light wasn't too much of an issue. Overall it was a fantastic trip, and I look forward to many more in the future.