What’s SUP? Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. It’s as close to “walking on water” as you can get! With an upright stance, you’ll use a paddle to propel yourself through the water while enjoying the scenery. Our paddle boards are bigger than a surfboard and made so you can easily find your balance and enjoy your trip through the water. Stand Up Paddle Boards offer an excellent workout and alternative to kayaking or canoeing.

We’re happy to create a trip for groups looking for a customized experience. To learn more about custom stand up paddle boarding, click here.

Getting Ready to Go

  1. Complete an Assumption of Risk Form.
  2. Check the weather forecast for the location. Set aside the appropriate equipment and clothing for the predicted temperature and conditions.
  3. Review the meeting location address and directions.
  • Synthetic, quick-drying shorts or pants. Jeans are not recommended.
  • Synthetic, quick-drying t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt.
  • Paddle boarding is mostly done barefoot, so no shoes are necessary.
  • A hat with a brim to keep the sun or rain out of your eyes.

Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time for check in. This gives the Trip Leaders enough time to collect Assumption of Risk Forms and start the trip on time.

Venture Outdoors provides multiple directions for accessing the meeting location including GPS coordinates, closest address, Google map link, and driving directions from Pittsburgh. Please review these directions in advance and plan your route to allow ample time for travel and onsite preparation. The Trip Leaders’ cellphone numbers are provided as a courtesy, but they may not be available by phone during check-in. Any necessary contact should be made at least 30 minutes before the trip begins. It is the participant’s responsibility to arrive at the meeting location 15 minutes prior to the start time. Please arrive early as trips cannot be delayed for late arrivals.

In general, leave them on land. When launching from a Kayak Pittsburgh site, free lockers are available. You can either bring your own lock or you may rent one for $1 per hour. If Kayak Pittsburgh is not open, there should be a designated area set up by the volunteer Trip Leader to safely store personal belongings. You can also use an official dry bag (NOT a zip lock bag) from a sports store to bring your belongings with you.

Trip Leaders make every attempt to plan routes that include bathroom stops at or near the meeting location or during the trip. The type and availability of facility depends on the time of year and location. Urban settings and many parks offer flush toilets or port-a-johns. Some locations do not have bathroom facilities and participants are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles when going in the woods. The Trip Leader will share specifics about bathroom facilities at the beginning of the outing, and details are often provided in the pre-trip information sheet.

What to Bring on the Trip?

  1. Signed Assumption of Risk Form
  2. Water (plan for one liter for every two hours of activity)
  3.  Food (snacks/lunch)
  4. Rain gear (jacket and pants)
  5. Small daypack
  6. Sunglasses
  7. Sunscreen
  8. Change of clothes especially pants and shoes.
  9. Waterproof/crushproof container or bag for phone, camera, etc.
See Stand Up Paddleboarding Checklist Here

About the Weather

No! We love paddle boarding in the rain! With the appropriate clothing you can be comfortable in a variety of weather conditions. We encourage participants to pack a rain jacket and pants on all activities because the weather in Southwest PA is variable. It’s smart to keep a towel, change of clothes, spare shoes, and a plastic bag in your car so you’ll have dry clothes for your return trip and a place to stow your damp or wet items. Umbrellas are a great option for urban hikes. Wear the appropriate footwear for the trail or street conditions.

If the Trip Leader determines that trip conditions exceed the group’s comfort level, the trip may be cancelled. If this decision can be made during regular office hours (9 AM -5 PM, Monday-Friday), participants will be called and emailed by staff. If the decision is made outside of regular office hours the Trip Leaders and on-call staff try to decide at least two hours in advance. Weather is variable and the Trip Leader may opt to cancel the outing at the trailhead or make modifications during the trip.

Thunderstorms are a potential cause for trip cancellation. If a trip is canceled due to the weather forecast, participants will be notified.

The Venture Outdoors staff and Trip Leaders monitor local radar and forecasts to assess when, where, and for how long a thunderstorm is predicted to occur and use this information to decide whether to cancel, continue, or modify a trip. For example, a Trip Leader may choose to delay the start of a trip to let a short storm pass, and then continue as planned. He or she may choose to cancel the trip if waiting for the storm to pass will make it difficult to return on time or otherwise negatively impact environmental conditions.

Venture Outdoors follows the “Rule of 100”. The water and air temperature must add up to at least 100°F for paddling trips to occur.

However, you know your body best and should dress to paddle comfortably. This applies to paddlers who do not wear specialized gear (such as wetsuits) or have experience with cold-water paddling. Water and air temperatures are monitored by the Venture Outdoors staff and volunteer Trip Leaders. Trip cancellation due to water and air temperature happens rarely; kayaking trips are typically scheduled when water and air temperatures are at or above the Rule of 100.

Gauges along the three rivers (Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio) measure how fast and strong the rivers are flowing. Venture Outdoors applies 30,000 cubic feet per second as the maximum for safe paddling. Visit the USGS website to see the real-time river flow rate.

Venture Outdoors staff and Volunteer Trip Leaders may also cancel a trip even when the river is flowing below the 30,000 cfs mark if the river speed is too fast for the experience level of participants, there is excess debris in the water, or for any other reason that a Trip Leader believes will make the water conditions unsafe.

Our Trip Leader was very experienced and knew a lot about paddle boarding. She taught us a lot about the area as well as great techniques for a beginner class.
- Women's Only Beginner Stand Up Paddle Boarding Participant