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.

Posted in Uncategorized


  • Why Do You Volunteer?

    January 23, 2018

    By: Sara Cardamone

    Whether Trip Leaders, interns, or event volunteers, we have many dedicated individuals working alongside us. We appreciate all of our volunteers and we couldn’t do it without them!

    For today’s blog, we asked the question, “Why do you volunteer with Venture Outdoors?”. Here are some of their answers:

    “Why do I volunteer for Venture Outdoors? Mostly for my eight-year-old daughter. I want Mollie to know that women can be bold and adventurous and just as cool and daring as men. We can hike and kayak and swim and geocache.

     » Read more about: Why Do You Volunteer?  »

  • Getting to Know Our Staff: 14 Questions with… Vanessa Bashur

    January 16, 2018

    There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into planning your favorite outdoors adventures! Learn about those who work inside to get you outside.This week we’ll be interviewing Vanessa, our Kayak Pittsburgh Director.Vanessa Blog 2

    1. Briefly tell us about your background: where did you grow up, where did you go to school, and what brought you to Venture Outdoors?

    I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and received my Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Sciences with a concentration in Geography & Mineralogy from Montana State University in 2005. I have been with Venture Outdoors for 5+ years and currently serve as our Kayak Pittsburgh Director.

     » Read more about: Getting to Know Our Staff: 14 Questions with… Vanessa Bashur  »

  • Safe Routes to Parks

    January 9, 2018

    By Kevin Hurley, Trip Leader Specialist

    A few weeks ago I had the exciting opportunity to work with two of my favorite groups located in the Hill District: The Jeron X. Grayson Community Center (JXGCC), with 6th to 8th graders, and the Center That C.A.R.E.S. (CTC), with 3rd to 5th graders. I was excited to see them as always, but this time we were going to do something pretty important. We were going to work with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and audit the routes with their program called the “Safe Routes to Parks” initiative. At CTC we worked with Gavin White and provided the children with chalk to mark areas that they deemed unsafe on the way to the park.

     » Read more about: Safe Routes to Parks  »

  • Best Boot Forward

    January 2, 2018

    By: Grace Groeger

    Venture Outdoors is fortunate to have many outstanding volunteers. This year we wanted to find a new way to say thank you to our exemplary volunteers and show how valued they are to not only the Venture Outdoors staff but to our Members as well. We came up with the Best Boot Forward Award. The Venture Outdoors community had the opportunity to nominate one volunteer they believe stands out above the rest, someone who is always putting his/her Best Boot Forward. Our FIRST EVER Best Boot Forward Award goes to SHEILA STAGNITTA!


    Sheila grew up just outside the Pittsburgh area in the Mon Valley.

     » Read more about: Best Boot Forward  »

  • Getting To Know Our Staff: 12 Questions with Ian Brown

    December 12, 2017

    There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into planning your favorite outdoor adventures! Our staff questionnaire series allows you to learn about those who work inside to get you outside.This week we’ve interviewed Ian Brown, our new Program Director.

    1. Briefly tell us about your background: where did you grow up, where did you go to school, and what brought you to Venture Outdoors? 

    Ian Brown Blog 1I grew up in Chillicothe, Ohio, located in the foothills of Southern Ohio. For those who don’t know, Chillicothe is home to the outdoor drama Tecumseh and was Ohio’s First Capital.  

     » Read more about: Getting To Know Our Staff: 12 Questions with Ian Brown  »

Kayak Pittsburgh

Sunset Paddle

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


Featured Outing

Volunteers Are Vital

Annual Volunteer Meeting
Sunday, January 28
4 – 7 PM

All current and prospective volunteers are encouraged to attend our Annual Volunteer Meeting! The meeting will include presentations on the Venture Outdoors and plan for 2018 and a chance to meet and socialize with other volunteers. Dinner will be served. RSVP is requested by January 24.