First paddle down the St. Croix River 2016

Spring into summer, warm weather is finally here.  The peepers are out, dandelions are popping and the lawn can wait to be mowed until after the first paddleboard sessions are over!

First paddle of 2016 down the St. Croix
First paddle of 2016 down the St. Croix

Movie down the St. Croix

First thing is first – get the car relay situated.  One car at the end point and the other with the paddleboards at launch.
Launching from the Log House Landing, just outside of Scandia, MN we started our paddle down the St. Croix.  Although the wind was fierce (15 mile gusts) in some spots, we were not going to let that stop us.  The weather was ripe and there wasn’t a boat in site.  For a little over two hours we made our way slowly down the river, traversing into some flooded treed areas.  Typically the sides of the river are peppered with sandy beaches but not this time of year with spring’s high current.
But this trip, we even had to portage across a few downed logs.  Felt like a bit of modern day Huck Finn (and not a Band of Robbers ).  Oh there is really nothing like getting out and letting the flow of the water take you down stream, while the wind is fighting to parasail you back.  The balance you strike is in the strength of your paddle strokes, shield of the trees and the breathe to keep you going.  Exhilarating.

Paddle off to The Brookside
Paddle off to The Brookside

After about 5 miles, we docked right by the Mill Stream in Marine. Normally on a hot summer day, that is the siting of many an ice cream cone from ‘The Scoop’.  A little too early in the season for that. We hiked our paddleboards up the hill and had to settle for a nice cold Farm Girl from The Brookside before our car relay return.  Life is good.


SUP Yoga – Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

salamba sirasana

One paddle board and one paddle.  Just add water.  Paddle to the rhythm of your heart beat.  Mix it up with some flow yoga,  adding a dash of salamba sirasana .


Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years, Stand-up Paddleboarding floated centuries ago but SUP Yoga is still very much in the making  The Future is here.  The creation of SUP Yoga is still underway in most places.   And most definitely, it is evolving here in Minnesota.


Any given day (ah-hem between July – October) on the lake or river here in MN end in queries like this:


  • “OMG, I love this – I want to buy a board, which one is the best?” – starry eyed student
  • “When is your next class?” –paddler with a smile

    Balancing on the new cross-fit board – this one without a stringer


Rave Cross-fit SUP board

Keeping in mind that we are in the last throws of the lows being above freezing point and paddling will be limited over the next few months, I wish to offer a simple reply.. ‘the board that is right for YOU, keep practicing yoga on and off the water’.

Meanwhile… stay tuned for SUP yoga updates from the non-frozen parts of the world and the exciting new release Rave Cross-fit board I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of (releasing Spring 2016).


Rave reviews -the latest in stand-up paddleboards

Even thought Minnesota has more coastal line than California, Stand-up paddleboarding has been slow to market.  Not to mention the more sportier aspects such as cross-fit and yoga.  That’s why when I heard about Rave Sports, right here in my own back yard (White Bear Lake), was releasing a Yoga/Cross-fit board, I was all over it.

I am in love with my first born in the fleet, the Boga Yoga board.  Purchased over 4 years ago now, it still is my trusty touring and teaching board.  Since then, I’ve tried Starboard, ATX, Isle Soft and Pau Hana in the repertoire of yoga SUP.  Boga has been the swiss army knife for me.  I love to paddle out and warm up, then hit the yoga sequencing.  Not many of the boards fly with a paddle warm up and turn around to be as balanced as a manduka on hardwood lying on the surface of the water.

We spent a morning on White Bear Lake, prototyping a few concept Cross-fit Yoga boards from Rave.  Trying to put my midwest pride beside me(I really want to see them succeed) and the protective nesting nature of calling to your comfort (insert my first board – Boga) – I took a unbiased view on trying the boards out.  For me, it comes down to 3 elements to score: size, balance and glide.


Size – Size DOES matter. If you are above 5′ 5” (my un-expert opinion), you need a board that is over 10′ 5” and 34” wide.  Don’t ask me about the dynamics but just simply walk, nose to tail and find your center.  You will see where you dip in.

Balance – Gonna be perfectly honest here, I did not know how much importance a stringer had in the overall balance/stability of the board.  Let’s just call it the placebo effect, but I’m not convinced I need stringers all the time.

Glide- My good friend, Randy told me, once you get going, its all about keeping4K46GZCGNq9uYShHVzfRBPoBommwBRNJD9fOImPn2zI going.  Otherwise you have all this energy to start back up again.  Well it sure helps if your board is a positive glider.  That way when you switch grips for sides, you still have that momentum to keep you forward without having to build all that inertia again.


Here we are.  WhYmt8khOS9kABlDn_GrnCCuA7lykn42gwC-I-evt2ZO8at is the review?  Positive. Except that the board doesn’t hit the marketplace until April 2016.  My only hope is that, the board comes off the shelf with all these vast improvements where other aging boards have fallen shortEpHbn41i-WX9MC7JfXdT6-iayWJAU8MsMDwtof-heic.  I’m confident this local MN board will give those coastal glances a run for their money.  You will find me toting this one around next season.


Getting my mojo on…

There is this lovely little yoga studio I’ve been teaching at for this last year, Yoga Hus, in Scandia, MN. Tonight I was subbing for my dear yogini, Chris Coleman, when I was inspired to do something different. Skandasana. Perfect for Skandinavians, in Skandia. That’s when I happened upon Loretta Jo Schlatzer’s video on Mojo Yoga that included Skandasana in the sequence. I.AM.INLOVE!!! Loretta is amazing. She doesn’t know I’m a fan yet, but within minutes I incoroporated her sequence into the evening. Loretta runs Yoga Mojo. Perfect. Who doesn’t need a little mojo. I do!  The students I had in class tonight all did amazing.  It is as beautiful as a seamless dance.

I couldn’t get enough. I went home and did a little version on my own. Next up… mojo on the SUP board. Anyone care to join me?

Summer Summary: Finding balance on Independence Day, San Diego

July 4, 2015 we woke up in Sunny San Diego.  A bit of a pace changer from quiet, sleepy Minnesota.

View from my paddle board
View from my paddle board

Spent the am, literally running around Ocean Beach completing the run portion of our training for the Fat Cat Triathalon.  We could feel the energy.  People upon people were headed out to the beach putting their stakes in the ground for canopies and steaks on the grill for the big Summer Saturday party on the Beach.


By the time we got to our bike portion of the training, we could barely walk on the Mission beach boardwalk let alone bike there.  We have never seen a crowd like that before.

Santa Barbara Surf Museum
Santa Barbara Surf Museum


Ben, having lived there for 10 years, and I just a mere tourist, we could agree that this was a LOT of people.  I needed an escape.  We needed balance.  So we hopped on over to get a paddleboard and take off by the Catamaran on Mission Beach.   They offer a number of paddleboards by the hour, which is ultra convenient.


After just 5 minutes in the Bay, I could feel my heart beat return to normal and the zen pump through.  Taking a chaotic city and massive party perspective from a paddleboard is one of the most transforming experiences.  You really have to focus on your surroundings, your breathe and maintaining balance – which is very different from the claustrophobic feeling of being lost in the crowd.

A frazzled, crowded out girl
A frazzled, crowded out girl