Learn Paddle Boarding at Don Carter State Park
The friendly folks at Don Carter State Park on Lake Lanier happily offer you the opportunity to learn paddle boarding along the Chattahoochee River.
I took a bullet for you and called Don Carter State Park to ask questions about paddleboarding. I asked for the person in charge of stupid questions. That didn’t go well. “OkayPLEASEhold.” After lingering on hold long enough to pay my pennance, a kind lady informed me that their classes are for stand-up paddle boarding.
Stand-up paddle boarding is also known as SUP, which is a pretty cool acronym.
Online dictionaries describe paddleboarding as a sport where you kneel on a surfboard-ish board and you paddle with your hands using a kind of butterfly stroke. That kind of paddleboarding was born in Hawaii.
Please don’t confuse that type of paddleboarding with what is being taught at Don Carter State Park, although it’s fine to confuse the park’s beauty with equally lovely sections of the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.
The Lake Lanier kind of paddle boarding is really stand-up paddle boarding — not to be confused with stand-up paddle surfing, which is also native to Hawaii.
Stand-up paddle surfing is traditionally defined as when a perfectly tanned person with a perfect body sits perfectly still until the perfect wave appears. Then the surfer dude or dudette, stands up and uses a paddle to perfectly navigate the world’s most gnarly wave, before doing all over again. Perfectly.
Now that we have that cleared up, the classes conducted at Carter are perfect for learning the basics of stand-up paddle boarding near the boat ramps. It’s a fabulous spot. No giant houseboats with wakes that could topple firmly planted trees. No zippy motorboats to chew you up, if/when you fall in the water. It’s perfect.
If you are at least 16 years old, you can swim and you want to know what’s up with SUP, you’re in, as long as you pre-register.
Pay the $5 daily parking fee at the front gate. Turn left and drive to the end of the road. That’s where you can either rent a SUP, paddle and life preserver for $20, or use your own for $10 for the training. Everyone is required to wear a personal flotation device.
Please also bring these essentials: water, sunscreen, water shoes, quick drying pants and a sense of humor, in case someone asks dumb questions.
Such as, “What is wind surfing?”
You would have so much fun doing this with old and new friends wherever there is water.