In Zurich and fancy a bit of out-door adventure after all the chocolate tasting and art galleries? You may have noticed the enormous lake just to the south-east of the city. The water is pure, the sun is shining and Lake Zurich is an ideal place to try the new sport of Stand up paddling. Well, I say new – the Polynesians have been doing it for centuries, but it’s only made its way to Europe recently. In less than ten years Stand up paddling has spread from the surf beaches of Hawaii to rivers and lakes around the world.
I had a lesson at Seebad Enge in Zurich with Lukas of SupKultur.ch. Luckily he is a patient teacher and speaks English, which makes learning a brand new sport much easier. SUP boards are lighter than you might think, and more stable, although it takes some inelegant wobbling before you can stand upright. We started off learning the basics on the jetty, including how to transfer the paddle from hand to hand, and how to gracefully stand up on the board. It seemed a simple manoeuvre, right up until trying it on the lake.
You start off kneeling down, but when we’d paddled past the swimmers we tried standing up. I like to think that I can stand up fairly easily. I do it all the time without even thinking about it. However doing it on a surfboard was tricky. I fell in twice, but I recommend not worrying about falling in – you can actually lean the boards quite a long way and the water was refreshing on a hot summer’s day.
Being the triennial Zuri Fascht, when 2 million visitors hit Zurich, the lake was packed with swimmers, pedalos, and boats, including some amphibious Cadillacs that just add to the experience – you stand up, wobble, almost fall in, look round and see a car coming towards you. If you’re not expecting it it’s a tad surreal. But once you manage to get a rhythm going and start moving across the water you’ll find it great fun.
SUP Instructor Lukas Fischer at Seebad Enge, Zurich
Stand up paddling is fairly easy to learn. I don’t mean that you’ll soon be saying to your teacher ‘Race you to the other side of the lake‘, but it’s easy to pick up the basics. It gives a whole body work out, lets you enjoy nature whilst you’re getting fit and is a great way to cool down on hot days.
Click for more details on renting a stand-up paddle board on Lake Zurich. Say hi to Lukas for us if you go!