Testing… The Standup Paddleboarding Workout

By CHRISTY DESMITH | Boston Magazine |

PART YOGA, PART KAYAKING, AND PART SURFING, standup paddleboarding first struck me as one of those overly clever, too-trendy sports. I dismissed it as the byproduct of bored athletes having too much time on their hands (dude, it’s from Hawaii). But then I met Peter Sleight, a trainer now offering the first standup paddleboard lessons in the Boston area. He claims the sport borrows from balancing exercises, and in fact it does feel like standing on a Bosu ball. But the rowing makes for a moderate cardio workout, too.

For my first lesson, we skip Hingham Harbor (the preferred location) and opt for the more placid waters of Lake Cochituate in Wayland. Sleight starts with a couple of pointers: Plant your feet wide on the board; if you feel yourself wobbling, don’t stand bolt upright — squat low to gain control. Then he hands me a surfboard and a specially made, extra-long oar. The first 20 minutes are grueling, since my thighs and glutes are working so intensely to keep me upright. Yet after a short break, I get my legs back, and I’m able to comfortably paddle the shoreline. And truth be told, I can’t help but think: “Hey, I’m walking on water!”

Private lessons start at $60; everactiveonline.com.