Stand-Up Paddleboarding, or SUP as it is known for short, is an emerging sport that’s catching on with canine passengers as well as the people who do the stand-up paddling.
Whether you own your own board or are a first-timer, you’ll find instant community at Stephen Pugh’s Bluerush Boardsports in Sausalito, which twice a month—every other Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.—sponsors a Dog Paddle event that draws, on average, about 16 people-pup pairs.
“We get a lot of first-timers coming with their dogs,” says Angela Gardner, a professional dog walker and SUP practitioner who provides instruction. “We launch from a small dock where it’s very calm. Basically, you put the board in the water, put the dog on first and just go. The boards are very stable and most people can do it right from the get-go; it seems to work pretty well.”
Gardner recommends that small dogs, especially, wear life vests for those irresistible jump-in moments. “Bigger dogs jump in more, because many of them are water dogs. But smaller ones do too,” she says.
After paddling around the Sausalito houseboat community, where many residents and dogs come out to say hello, the Bluerush Dog Paddle group retires to Fish restaurant, where salty dogs are welcome to pant it out on the deck while their people finish off the day with a meal.
The twice-monthly Dog Paddle session is free; board rentals are $20 and doggie life jackets are available for purchase.