Nfld. & Labrador

What's SUP? It's standup paddleboarding, making waves in N.L.

A writer for Paddling Magazine wants to put the province on the map as a go-to destination for standup paddleboarding.

Paddling Magazine writer says Newfoundland and Labrador is an untapped market for SUP

Dan Rubenstein, left, is visiting Newfoundland and Labrador as part of an article he's writing about paddleboarding for Paddling Magazine. Next to him is Robbie Hickey, co-owner of Gros Morne Adventures. (Gros Morne Adventures/Facebook )

Standup paddleboards aren't a common sight in Newfoundland and Labrador — yet. If one journalist has his way, that will soon change.

Paddling Magazine writer Dan Rubinstein has spent the week floating around Newfoundland, on the island's west coast and in and around St. John's.

"So far we've been on Bonne Bay with Robbie from Gros Morne Adventures, I did a little bit of paddle surfing at Green Point campground in Gros Morne National Park where we were staying, and I've been out a couple times on Conception Bay around Bell Island as well," he told CBC Radio's On The Go.

Rubenstein sees potential in Newfoundland and Labrador for paddleboarding to become a high-priority hobby. (Gros Morne Adventures/Facebook)

"Being under the Tablelands on a sunny, warm day, just getting some good strokes in and getting a good workout, was fun."  ​

Rubinstein plans to use those experiences as the basis for an article for the magazine and thinks the water sport could find fans in the province, offering another way to enjoy the water during the summer months.

So far there aren't many people paddleboarding here, and it's not offered by many tourism operators or outfitters in the province. 

"But the potential is there, I think, for the sport to really take off in this province," he said.

"It could be something else that adds to the arsenal or adds to the fleet for people who are offering different types of tours."

All you need is a board and a body of water

The appeal of standup paddleboarding (or SUP) lies in part in its accessibility. You can float a board in all kinds of water, and those who can't stand up can kneel or sit. 

Rubinstein has been involved with the sport for only a handful of years, but the versatility of the watercraft and the ease of being able to launch the board into any body of water is the bonus. 

"I've never owned a watercraft of any kind before. I've done some canoeing and kayaking. I've always lived in cities on a river, lake or the ocean and never had access to the water like this before," he said. 

"It's such an easy way to get onto the water.… You can do pretty much anything on a paddleboard, and the easy access combined with the range of activities you can do make it a really unique sport." 

This trip to Newfoundland and Labrador had special significance for Rubinstein. He has now visited every province in Canada and a couple of the territories.

"I've seen the pictures. It looked stunning. The pictures don't do it justice though," he said of the province.

"We were blown away by Gros Morne and just having those sheer cliffs coming right down into the water, and the scenery you get when you're on the water has just been stunning."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


  • A prior version of this story incorrectly spelled Dan Rubinstein's name.
    Aug 13, 2018 5:41 AM NT