Happy summer, everyone! Here's hoping you're all out enjoying the hey-day of August here in northern Michigan. It's clear that YPs John and Emily Petrovich (both of NewEra Social Marketing) are making the most of these warm, sunny days by enjoying their time on stand-up paddleboards out on the water. Check out John's article for more on this great sport!
Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is a peaceful way to get out and enjoy our local waters without noisy motors. It can be a relaxing session or a more intense work-out experience – it’s really whatever you want to make it!
A paddleboard allows you to float right on top of the water and can take you places that no boat can go. The views of underwater roots and trees through our crystal clear local waters make you feel like you’re on the Pirates of the Caribbean movie set. During SUP adventures, we’ve explored shipwrecks, paddled among flocks of rarely-seen birds hanging out in rivers and streams as a stop along their migration paths, and even performed a rescue for a small dog that was tangled in a river marsh area. For awesome photos and videos of paddling local shipwrecks, check out Lena Olmsted’s Instagram account and this Instagram video of one of our recent discoveries in Torch Lake.
TC and the surrounding areas are an “unsalted paddle paradise.” With sandy lake beds, crystal clear waters and breathtaking shore line views, our area is truly unique here in the great Mitten state. If only northern Michigan summers were never ending! But I guess this is what we brave the winters for – and it makes summertime that much sweeter.
Travel West from TC on the beautiful M-22 route into Empire, paddle out of Empire Beach on Lake Michigan, and head south for jaw dropping views of the dunes or north to check out the pristine beach at North Bar Lake. If conditions on the big lake aren’t ideal, simply walk across the parking lot to paddle the smaller, warmer waters of South Bar Lake, or head toward Glen Arbor and check out Little and Big Glen Lake.
Travel East from TC and you'll find yourself surrounded by the teal blue waters of Torch and Elk Lake. There are numerous launch points but the 'Kayak' launch just south of the bridge in Elk Rapids is always a favorite. Paddling through the shallow waters of Elk River, you'll be awestruck by the natural beauty that surrounds you. Plus, if you feel like enjoying a pure northern Michigan sunset, you can easily pluck your board out of the water, head down the street and drop right into East Bay for a sunset paddle that never disappoints!
There are a number of local places to get your SUP gear. Wet Mitten Surf Shop and 231 Outfitters are two great brick-and-mortar SUP stores in Traverse City and you can find a handful of other dealers in the area, too. Craigslist is a helpful source for finding an affordable SUP board, both new and used. We have had our SUP ATX paddleboards for years and we love them! The company recently featured SUP’ing in the northern Michigan area in their Urban Paddle Guide with SUP Magazine. Check it out: Traverse City, MI: Urban Paddle Guide
There are also many local paddleboarding groups on Facebook that you can get involved with, both right in Traverse City and in the surrounding areas, like Elk Rapids. Some are ladies-only, some are co-ed, and all are a guaranteed opportunity to connect with both nature and fellow nature-lovers on the water.
We still have lots of summer left. Get out there and enjoy every last minute!