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SUP with Pup! A Guide to Paddleboarding with your Dog

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

Spending time with your dog is one of life's greatest joys, getting your dog on a paddleboard -now that's taking dog ownership joy to a new level. Paddleboarding with your pup will allow you to get outside and be active with your dog in a new and exciting way!

SUPGirlz instructor, Diana Lee, has been paddling with dogs since 2014. She started with her dog Rambo, who she describes as an ‘abnormally large golden retriever,’ and has taken several other dogs on the water since. She says that, “taking my dogs SUPing makes me so happy, because it means spending more time with them.”

So how does one start paddleboarding with their dog? Diana recommends taking it slow when you’re starting to paddleboard with your dog: “See how your dog(s) enjoy playing along the shoreline. Then, see if they like swimming and what kind of swimmer they are; while still playing in shallow water.” It's important to ease your dog into the water and the experience of being on a board, not all dogs are natural water-lovers or surfers. Diana also recommends investing in a dog-specific Life Jacket like the Ruffwear Float Coat: “it's a trusted brand that offers excellent floatation for little and big dogs that will also help you as their handler.” By providing your pup with a Life Jacket you're not only keeping them safer but your ensuring they don't get exhausted swimming or feel stressed in the water. After taking these initial steps, you can start taking your dog out on the water while still staying close shore to see how they respond to paddleboarding. Note, not every dog will love paddleboarding but with a few treats, safety gear, and encouragement, most dogs will be happy to SUP with you.

Meet SUPGirlz tech wizard: Matthew Arbeid. Matthew has been paddleboarding with his dog Quinn since he first moved to the beaches; “I saw people paddling with their dogs in the fall so I decided to buy a cheap inflatable board so that I could start in the spring.”

Matthew, a long time regular and reliable tech expert, describes his introduction to SUPGirlz: “I took my first class with Janna and I’ve been paddling ever since!” His favourite board for paddling with his pup is the Taiga 11’4, “I think it’s the perfect dog board for me. It gives me a lot of speed but it’s large enough for Quinn to really enjoy her paddle.” Matthew's advice for those looking to get their dogs out on the water is simple; “...relax, your dog will know if you’re stressed. If you’re having a fun time, your dog will have a fun time.”

If you’re looking to start paddling with your dog this summer, as a new Paddleboarder, we recommend you first attend one of our Beginner Classes without your dog. Once your comfortable on the water then bring your pup and rent one of our dog-friendly boards to work on getting comfortable with your dog on the board and in the water, working your way up to eventually getting further away from the shoreline and small coves. At SUPGirlz we prioritize safety and want everyone to enjoy their SUP experience, so your pup should too!

We hope to see you, and your dog(s), out on the lake this summer!

Thank you to Matthew and Diana for their SUP Pup tips!

You can follow both Diana @only1phoenixx and Matthew @matthew416 for more SUP content on Instagram. Be sure to check the @SUPGirlzTO instagram for more class info and future blogs.

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