Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024
Killarney SUP Trip

Today’s post comes from enthusiastic photographer and paddler Grant Sutherland.

Any excuse to return to Killarney Provincial Park is a good excuse. So when my wife Heather and I got interested in stand-up paddleboarding, we thought it was a perfect opportunity to try something new.

Country trips with paddleboards? Sounds like a great adventure!

We started by trying to imagine all the logistical problems, from how fast we could travel to how we would transport our equipment and how we would transport it. The travel speed was the easiest to manage, as we simply planned for a slow travel speed and planned our trip with easily obtainable distances. We have a lot of experience paddling canoes in the backcountry, so we apply that to our equipment plans.

After spending the night at George Lake Campground, we took off from the Bell Lake access point and planned overnight stops at Three Mile Lake, David Lake, and Clearsilver Lake.

As it turns out; Good progress can be made (comparable to leisurely paddling a canoe), so we had plenty of time to have coffee in the morning, explore during the day, and relax in the evenings. It was a very pleasant mini vacation.

SUP George Lake KillarneyA warm-up paddle on George Lake

Of course, there is the wind. There were no problems the first day and most of day 2, but when we arrived at Lake David we were directly faced with a gale-force wind with large choppy waves.

trees near the lakeDavid Lago

We planned for this possibility by bringing folding kayak paddles. Heather sat on her board and I knelt on mine and off we went. A little wet but we used the headlands for shelter when we could and made it to our site safely.

See also  Why driftwood is important - Parks Blog

The team was the next challenge. We attached “D” loops to the boards with contact cement, selected some waterproof canvas bags with straps and with some bungee cords the problem was solved.

SUP loaded with equipment

Dry equipment, stable load, comfortable seat on the board if you pack well and comfortable for transport. We packed light (like backpacking) to keep the load small.

The boards themselves are another story. They are extremely light, but difficult to transport over rough terrain and long distances. Heather put together some harnesses with straps so we could carry the boards like a suitcase but with the weight on our opposite shoulder. It worked, but we’ll need some design improvements if we try it again.

SUP boards on land

The next step was takeoff and landing. Wilderness areas do not have convenient docks and paddleboards can be fragile due to their lightweight construction, so be prepared to get your feet wet to protect your board. We traveled in September, so we brought neoprene boots, but in the summer you could go barefoot, sandals, water shoes, or any old shoe.

lunch on land with SUP

It also became apparent that skegs could be a problem. They tend to get caught on rocks or weeds if you don’t pay attention. A board that stops suddenly when you are standing will cause a wet landing. That’s another reason to travel in good weather.

Next time I would remove the side battens from my board and if you have a shallow draft batten I suggest using that. We found that beaches, although rare, are a good place to board so you can walk from the front and stay dry the entire time.

See also  How our partners helped us protect our parks in 2019

Other lessons learned are that utility boards are more suitable than racing boards as the added stability allows the mind to wander with less risk of swimming.

sunset over wetlandBecause with landscapes like Killarney, you can be sure that your mind and gaze will wander…

Other than that, we had no major problems and recommend trying the SUP trip. After all, if it slows you down, you’ll have more time to enjoy Killarney.