What’s SUP at North Park?

By:  Cheyenne Knight, Assistant Kayak Pittsburgh Supervisor

If you have visited our Kayak Pittsburgh North Park location in the past month or so, you might have noticed a new piece of equipment in the boathouse. It’s white, green, gray, and black, has quite a few straps running across the top, and is shaped like a surf board. You won’t be riding the waves with our latest toy, but you will get to paddle your way around the lake on one of the neatest stand up paddleboards (SUP) we have ever had at Kayak Pittsburgh.

The Outfitter by Body Glove is an 11-foot, 24-pound inflatable stand up paddleboard comes with everything that you would need to get out on the water—an adjustable aluminum paddle, a hand pump, a backpack, a dry pouch, a coil leash, and a repair kit. All you have to bring is a PFD and a desire to try something new.

The features that make this paddleboard different from our other two options at the boathouse are small but significant. With a 34-inch-wide body, the Outfitter offers a stable base for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. The board also features a Velcro carrying handle to hold the paddle, straps across the front to hold down shoes, bags, or anything else you want to bring on your next paddling adventure, and a hookup option for a Go-Pro. The board is also covered with instructions, suggestions, and warnings to remind paddlers of the necessary knowledge for stand up paddleboarding.

One of our supervisors at North Park, Brittany Fagan, and Venture Outdoors’ Equipment and Training Specialist, Mike Adams, were the first to test the board before allowing customers to take it out on the lake. Brittany led many of our SUP Yoga outings last summer, so she is very familiar with all things stand up paddleboarding from assembly to maintenance. She noted that Body Glove made it simple to get out on the water. “It was really user-friendly—the manual was clear and putting the board together was easy.”


She and Mike took the board around North Park Lake one morning before the concession opened. After taking only a few minutes to inflate the board, they zipped up their PFDs and headed out on the water to put the board to the test. They each paddled on the board and practiced a few yoga poses to ensure that the board was stable and durable enough for any yogi to practice on it. “I felt really comfortable standing on the decking,” said Brittany. “I can definitely see myself doing yoga on it because of how stable and wide it is.”

After staring at the board in the boathouse from across the check-in desk for a few weeks, I finally took it out after one of my shifts. I gathered everything that I needed, walked down to the dock, and got on the SUP with ease. The handle made getting out on the water by myself hasslefree, especially since there is the option to Velcro the paddle in.

Prior to this, I had only been on an inflatable board once before down in Rock Hall, Maryland. Although I found it to be comparable to a regular fiberglass board, I was still hesitant and figured that I preferred a hard board. Once I launched off the dock and paddled out far enough to attempt to stand, I pushed myself up with ease and was proved wrong. I paddled comfortably out across the lake toward the island and found that even when my board slowed down and eventually came to a standstill, I didn’t feel unstable like I usually do. I also found that when I sat down, the board was wide enough to sit comfortably without feeling like I’d topple over.

While my independent nature appreciates how easy the board is transport and assemble, my favorite part about the stand up paddleboard is that it is a great board to suggest to our customers at Kayak Pittsburgh. Although we always encourage people who are hesitant about paddleboarding for the first time to check out our Activities Calendar and register for a SUP Beginner Paddle, it is nice that we have the option to suggest they try out the Outfitter if they are comfortable paddling without a Trip Leader or on an organized outing.

The other day a customer looking to use a SUP asked if any of our boards have straps on it so that she could bring her speaker out on the water with her. I felt confident suggesting our newest Body Glove board to her, and after an hour out on the water, she felt confident on it as well.

All in all, I find the Body Glove Outfitter to be the best stand up paddleboard I have used. It is easy to transport and assemble, smooth on the lake, and great for beginner paddlers who are looking for a little extra stability on a board.

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OUTDOOR News

  • MY FIRST PROGRAM EXPERIENCE WITH VENTURE OUTDOORS

    September 19, 2017

    By: Samantha Sektnan, Communications Intern

    Attending the “Summer Tree ID” program was a great way to start off being a part of the Venture Outdoors community. Taking an easy stroll in Frick Park as we learned tips and tricks to identify the trees around us was something I never imagined myself doing before joining this organization, but I am definitely glad I did it. As someone with literally had zero knowledge on how to identify trees, local ecologist Henry Schumacher – who led the trip – had a lot of work on his hands in order to teach me the basics..

     » Read more about: MY FIRST PROGRAM EXPERIENCE WITH VENTURE OUTDOORS  »

  • Venturing Outdoors: How I Learned to Appreciate Nature by Working at Kayak Pittsburgh

    September 12, 2017

    By: Alexander Downing

    Since August 2014 I’ve worked as an attendant at Kayak Pittsburgh’s North Park location. This means I’m one of the smiling faces in the green shirts pushing boats into the water and handing out PFDs and paddles. It also means I get to look out on the beautiful North Park Lake for hours on end. As it turns out, that’s been the most memorable part of the job and the catalyst for a change in how I view nature.

    As a kid, the primary role nature played in my life was as the location for sports.

     » Read more about: Venturing Outdoors: How I Learned to Appreciate Nature by Working at Kayak Pittsburgh  »

  • Biking– It’s A Family Thing

    September 5, 2017

    By: Kenna Gubler

    To grow up in a family where everyone has the same love for the outdoors is something that can be hard to find these days. Luckily, my family loves everything that the outdoors has to offer. My parents constantly had my brothers and me outside starting at a very young age. We were first introduced to the outdoors through participating in a variety of sports that most of the other kids I knew played as well. As we got older, my brothers and I would push ourselves to try newer and more exciting things involving the outdoors.

     » Read more about: Biking– It’s A Family Thing  »

  • Meet the Fisherlady, LeeAnne Conway

    August 29, 2017

    By: Jacob Tumminello

    The 2017 summer season has been extremely successful for Venture Outdoors thanks to the help of hard working staff members, volunteers, and college interns. One of those interns who is also responsible for taking pictures and capturing memorable moments during outings is LeeAnne Conway.

    LeeAnne is currently studying Environmental Science and Photography at Robert Morris University and decided to take advantage of the various internship opportunities provided by Venture Outdoors. LeeAnne works double time as a photography and fishing intern for various outings. Although she enjoys taking pictures of many different types of outings,

     » Read more about: Meet the Fisherlady, LeeAnne Conway  »

  • Hiking With Your Tyke

    August 22, 2017

    By: Jacob Tumminello

    Venture Outdoors firmly believes that everyone belongs outdoors including young adventurers. To create a program specifically designed for children, Venture Outdoors introduced Tyke Hikes, nature walks for children up to age five and their caregivers. These walks create a relaxed learning environment and include activities, snacks, and interesting facts about the location.
    Venture Outdoors categorizes activities based on difficulty, and Tyke Hike programs are considered relaxed – a category requiring no prior experience. Trail locations are mapped out ahead of time to ensure an easy walk for children. Most of these locations are scheduled within Pittsburgh and Allegheny County parks.

     » Read more about: Hiking With Your Tyke  »

Featured Outing

Beginner Paddle – North Shore
Multiple Dates
6:00 – 8:30 PM

We’ll start with instruction and practice, and then head onto the Allegheny River to see just how easy it is to paddle. Bedazzled by the gorgeous Pittsburgh skyline, you won’t even realize that you’re suddenly paddling like a pro! Equipment, guides and instruction are provided. Solo kayaks are highly recommended for this outing.


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