Five Great Places to Learn a New WatersportPosted on Jul 9th 2010 1:00PM by Karen Asp
Courtesy of KSF
If you want to learn: River surfing
Travel to: Montreal, Canada
Not familiar with river surfing? It's sort of like ocean surfing with one major difference: Unlike ocean surfing where you're waiting for waves, waves in the river are created by rocks so they never move, giving you lots of hang time on the wave. And in Montreal, river surfing may be even more popular than the city's famous bagels (and they are yummy!). Take a lesson through Kayak Sans Frontiers, and you'll learn how to work the board, read the river currents, and then ride the wave, usually on your belly if you're a beginner.
Insider tip: Book the Surf's Up Montreal package at the luxurious Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, available Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 1, 2010. The package, which starts at $379 CND per night, includes two nights' accommodations, one day of surfing lessons with snack and daily buffet breakfasts.
If you want to learn: Stand up paddling
Travel to: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Stand up paddling, or SUP for all you groupies, is hip: Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey have been spotted doing SUP, where you literally stand on a board and paddle through the water. If you want to learn, visit Santa Barbara where people do it in droves. Check out Paddle Sports of Santa Barbara for lessons and rentals.
Insider tip: Bunk in at the cozy, ultra-chic Canary Hotel, just a block from State Street where you'll find trendy bars and restaurants (including more yogurt stores than you can imagine, like the super popular Yogurtland where giant-sized, create-your-own concoctions are the craze) and great shopping.
If you want to learn: Outrigger canoeing
Travel to: The Big Island of Hawaii
Outrigger canoeing is Hawaii's official sport, which is why it makes sense to learn it here. Just don't be surprised when you do a huli, or flip in Hawaiian, as this sport will test your balance. For lessons, head to the Fairmont Orchid where a quiet, secluded cove makes learning the activity easier -- and doing a huli not as embarrassing.
Insider tip: If you're staying at the resort, daily lessons are free. Otherwise, you'll pay a small fee. The Fairmont also offers an hour and a half outrigger canoe adventure, which explores the Kohala Coastline and includes snorkeling and snack.
If you want to learn: Whitewater kayaking
Travel to: Vail., Colo.
Vail might be best known for its skiing, but come summer, whitewater kayaking is the hot sport. Book a one-day intensive beginner lesson through Alpine Quest Sports, and you'll spend the morning in a pond to learn paddling techniques, boat handling and the wet exit (even though it's not as bad you might think, trust me when I say you'll do everything you can to avoid flipping later in the river). After lunch, you'll head to the river and suit up for a thrilling ride down the rapids.
Insider tip: Craving some dry land training? Hit the trails with the Vail Trail Running Camp July 18-21, 2010. The camp is led by Vail-based athlete Ellen Miller and running guru Bart Yasso. Registration, which includes three nights' accommodations, daily breakfasts, yoga classes, nutrition sessions and coached trail runs, is $975.
If you want to learn: Kiteboarding
Travel to: The Outer Banks, N.C.
Make no mistake: Kiteboarding isn't easy to learn. Not only do you have to learn how to fly the kite, you also have to master riding a board in the water. That's why you need to learn from Real Kiteboarding, one of the country's largest kiteboarding schools. Sign up for half-day lessons or enroll in a camp like Zero to Hero, a three-day camp for beginners. There are also camps for kids and women.
Insider tip: If you've craving more adventure, take hang gliding lessons at Jockey's Ridge State Park through Kitty Hawk Kites. You'll be flying off the dunes, so if you crash (and you will!), the sand offers a soft landing.
Check out these other underwater exercises when you can't run or walk.