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What's SUP?

Photograph courtesy of Charleston Watersport

July 15, 2010

What's SUP?
The Shem Creek SUP Shootout makes a splash this weekend

WRITTEN BY Brian Sewell


Photograph by Jonathan Reiss  

Head to the beach this summer and you may witness what looks like someone walking on water. Miracles aside, it's actually an ancient form of surfing, with riders propelling themselves with a paddle while standing up. The method began in Hawaii, where surf instructors would mount the longer boards to increase visibility. Now that the sport has reached the Lowcountry, many are leaving the waves to pick up paddles. "Paddleboarding has been around for years," says Charleston Watersport owner David Clifford, "but the sport only moved east over the past decade." He's not surprised that "SUPing" has made such a splash here in the Lowcountry. "It's grown because of its appeal to a broad group of people. Whether eight or 80, anyone can learn how to do it in a short amount of time."

And for those interested in doing just that, Clifford has teamed up with Dean Watersports, Red's Ice House, Distressed Mullet, and SUP Nation to introduce the first annual Shem Creek SUP Shootout, including competitions and demonstrations. Charleston Watersport and Dean Johnson of Dean Watersports, Charleston's only commercial board maker, will be holding free demos at Station 30 on Sullivan's Island Friday at 9 a.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m.

If you've got a competitive streak, join paddlers of all ages and skill levels for 5K and 10K races on Saturday. Professional SUPers from North Carolina and Virginia will be in town to compete against locals for $3,000 in prizes in the 10K competition, which starts at noon at Red's Ice House and takes participants on two laps around Crab Bank. The 5K and a free kid's creek sprint kick off from the same spot at 12:10 and 12:20 respectively. Registration costs $50 for a spot in the 10K and $25 for the 5K, with a race jersey included.

Once all of the racers have crossed the finish line, stick around Shem Creek for an after-party at Red's from 6 to 8 p.m. with free entry for participants and a $10 cover for spectators. Proceeds benefit Surfer's Healing, a foundation that uses surfing as therapy for children with autism. Just one more reason to get out and find out what's SUP.

For more information or to register for the Shem Creek SUP Shootout, click here.

To find additional charitable events on our Charleston Gives Back Calendar, click here.



Thu, 07/15/2010