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


  • Restorative Practices in an Outdoor Setting

    April 24, 2018

    By: Beth Zabiegalski   

    As an organization, Venture Outdoors does some really awesome and exciting things with local youth in after-school and summer programs, getting them outside for the first time or teaching them something new to do in nature. Most of our outings are a couple hours or less, but when we build meaningful relationships with our students, we create formative outdoor experiences with memories that last more than just that afternoon. 

    Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a two-day Restorative Practices Training through Venture Outdoors’ partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools. I’ll admit I had next to no idea what to expect,

     » Read more about: Restorative Practices in an Outdoor Setting  »

  • Spring Inside

    April 17, 2018

    A Day a Phipps 
    By: Sara Cardamone 

    Now that Spring is finally here, so is the rain! In Pittsburgh, sometimes it can be hard to find ways to be in nature when it is rainy and muddy. However, there are tons of fun alternatives if you look hard enough! Since I’m a student at Pitt, I pass Phipps Conservatory all the time but I always felt like I never had enough time to stop in. Fast forward to now, the first big rainy day of Spring was upon us and I was struggling to find a calming activity to take my mind off of school and then it hit me.

     » Read more about: Spring Inside  »

  • My Mirror is the Outdoors

    April 10, 2018

    By Stephanie Capilongo

    “Go Outside… amidst the simple beauty of nature… and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.” -Anne Frank.

    The outdoors, it appears, is complicated. But it’s not. It can free your mind and give you a new appreciation for beauty. It brings things and people together, whether it’s your best friend, significant other or your cat. The people you go with mean everything. And no matter who you are or what you do, you can find joy.

     » Read more about: My Mirror is the Outdoors  »

  • When Youth Find their Voices

    April 3, 2018

    By: Lo Hutelmyer, Ryan Singleton and Ty’Shay Thorton

    To an educator, few things are more rewarding than witnessing a student discover his or her own passion. More rewarding still is when they show their first glimpses of leadership by taking charge to teach others about their passion.

    For those of you who may know me, it’s sometimes a challenge for me to stay quiet. But when I had the opportunity to watch Ty’Shay and Ryan present at last month’s conference, I was speechless. Ty’Shay and Ryan, 7th graders from Manchester Academic Charter School, have been participating regularly on Venture Outdoors trips for two years.

     » Read more about: When Youth Find their Voices  »

  • Mount Ararat Community Activity Center takes on GASP!

    March 27, 2018

    By: La’Nell Pennington, Trip Leader SpecialistGASP

    Last October, youth group members at Mount Ararat Community Activity Center in East Liberty participated in an after-school workshop with Pittsburgh’s own Group Against Smog and Pollution. (GASP).

    What is air pollution? We started out by asking the children if they knew what air pollution was. All the kids raised their hands excited to give answers. After a short hike to the Larimer Community Garden, we took turns giving examples of different types of air pollution and where it comes from. The children identified pollution sources such as cars,

     » Read more about: Mount Ararat Community Activity Center takes on GASP!  »

Kayak Pittsburgh

Sunset Paddle

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


Featured Outing

Geocaching - CD

Cultural District Geocaching
Thursday, April 26
6:30 – 8:30 PM

Join us for a fun intro to the world of geocaching in the Cultural District. We will learn the basics of using a GPS (Global Positioning System) device to navigate between waypoints throughout downtown.