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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  • Lakeside and Treetops

    November 14, 2017

    By: Chrissy Ludwikowski

    As the days become shorter (and the work days seemingly longer), it can be hard for families to make time to be together, and one’s mind doesn’t normally put colder days hand-in-hand with outdoor activities. Fortunately, we live in a city that has opportunities available year-round to invoke our sense of adventure, even during our daily grind (and don’t worry, these adventures will get your blood pumping to keep you mighty warm)!

    Thanks to Venture Outdoors and Kayak Pittsburgh, my family has adopted a love for everything that the outdoors has to offer,

     » Read more about: Lakeside and Treetops  »

  • Women In Nature

    November 7, 2017

    By: Sheila Stagnitta

    Women In Nature Hike

    Women in Nature (WIN) hikes are by women for women – all the leaders and participants come together and bond as only women can. The October WIN hike started off with a bit of adventure – the road to the starting point was closed for a charity run. Just by luck, three of the leaders arrived at the same time. Quick change to the plan – Sara started calling everyone to give them a nearby meeting point. Pauline stood at the corner before the closed road to flag down our participants. I walked to the meeting location and rounded up three people who were already there.

     » Read more about: Women In Nature  »

  • Searching For Fall – Photos by Nanci Goldberg

    November 1, 2017

    The start of fall this year was less colorful (and much warmer) than usual. Earlier last month Volunteer Trip Leader, Nanci Goldberg, drove up to Linn Run State Park in search of SOMETHING that looked and felt like fall. Below are some images Nanci would love to share with Venture Outdoors blog readers in the hopes that this makes everyone’s fall a little more colorful!


    Fall Photo 1 - Nanci GoldbergFall Photos 2 - Nanci GoldbergFall Photos 3 - Nanci GoldbergFall Photos 4 - Nanci Goldberg

     » Read more about: Searching For Fall – Photos by Nanci Goldberg  »

  • Hiking Toward A Haunting: Ghost Hunting

    October 31, 2017

    By: Ken Sikora

    H.P. Lovecraft once said, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”. Have you ever been alone in a quiet room and heard someone whisper your name? Maybe you were on a late-night walk through the woods, you see what could be a human-like figure standing still, looking back at you.  It’s probably nothing you tell yourself. Then it moves. Perhaps your mind is just playing tricks on you, or maybe these are experiences of the paranormal.

     » Read more about: Hiking Toward A Haunting: Ghost Hunting  »


    October 24, 2017

    Dog Hike

    By: Samantha Sektnan

    If you are an outdoor enthusiast and dog owner like myself, then you too may have considered ways to include your furry canine in your outdoor activities. A hiking trip is a great way to get some exercise, explore the world around us, and bond with your dog too. In order to bring your dog on a hiking or backpacking trip, here is a guide on everything that you need to bring and complete in order to prepare your dog for the trip.

    It is important that your dog has proper obedience training in order to handle the possibility of seeing other people and animals on the trip and to follow your commands and stay with you if you are able and willing to let your dog off-leash.


Kayak Pittsburgh

Sunset Paddle

Thank you for another great season!
We’ll see you on the water in 2018!


Featured Outing

Cedar Creek Walk

Cedar Creek Walk
Sunday, November 26
1 – 3 PM

Cedar Creek Park is the perfect fall destination. Located along the Youghiogheny River in Westmoreland County, the park trails follow Cedar Creek and include two suspension bridges. We’ll cover 2 to 3 miles at an easy pace.