You’ve probably seen them: people standing on what looks like a cross between a boogie board and a surfboard, using an oar to paddle around whatever body of water they can find around Houston. It always looks like a pretty precarious balancing act.
But stand-up paddle-boarding is—we promise—a lot easier than it looks. And it’s surprisingly simple to modify the sport, which those in the know call SUP, to any level of strenuousness. Maybe you want a vigorous workout; maybe you want to paddle out, kick back on your board, and watch the clouds roll by. No matter your SUP speed, there’s a place around town for you.
And during this never-ending Houston summer, remember: If you fall, it’ll only cool you off.
Below, a ranking of SUP spots from easiest to toughest:
SUP n’ Sip, El Lago
Gather some friends for an hour-long intro class at Pinky’s in El Lago, near NASA, and finish out with a half-price bottle of wine at Chelsea Wine Bar next door. $25 for 60 minutes
Beachfront SUP, Galveston
If you want to try paddling with the added challenge of navigating the tide, try SUP Gulf Coast, parked on the sand along Seawall Boulevard, where you can rent boards and get a lesson before you hit the waves. $45 for two hours
SUP Yoga, 288 Lake
Take your tree pose to the next level with BIG Yoga, which has locations in Montrose and Memorial, and its weekend paddle-boarding yoga classes at 288 Lake, a small, private spring-fed lake off Highway 288 and Beltway 8. $40 for two hours
Bayou SUP, Buffalo Bayou
Rent a board at the Lost Lake Visitor’s Center and experience the bayou from a new perspective. This is one time you may not want to take too many dunks into the water; although our bayou’s pretty, it’s also a key piece of the city’s drainage system. $30 for 60 minutes
SUP Fitness, Sugar Land
For non-beginners, Surf SUP offers a fitness class that’ll have you breaking a sweat while working on your balance. $35 for 90 minutes