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Outdoor Report: Poling, the original stand-up paddleboard

Each week this summer, CBC's Paul Karchut highlights a different outdoor adventure suggested by a Calgary Eyeopener listener. This week? Poling.

Lose the paddle and grab a pole to travel up the Bow this summer, no portage required

CBC's Paul Karchut explains the sport and its origins 1:33

There's more than one way to head up and down the Bow River this summer, and this one is so old you could call it new.

Poling, as it's called, is similar to paddleboarding, but done while standing upright in a canoe and with a pole instead of a paddle.

First Nations people originally did it for generations before introducing it to the voyageurs, according to historian and avid paddler David Finch.

Because the sport involves using a wooden pole to push off the river bottom and propel you up stream, it's best suited for shallow waters, less than one metre deep, Finch said.

As for equipment, you'll need a canoe, a life jacket, and four metre lengths of wooden dowling with a bit of hardware screwed onto the ends to protect the pole against wear and tear from rocks and debris that line the river bed. 

Finch recommends beginners test it out at Bowness Park, where the little eddies will help protect polers from the Bow's current.

Each week this summer, the CBC's Paul Karchut will explore a new outdoor activity, as recommended by a Calgary Eyeopener listener. (CBC)

With files from Paul Karchut