The Dog Daze of Summer

pet-friendly SUP, pet friendly paddleboard, ocean city nj pet friendly,
Our diverse team is part of the passionate Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) movement -taking our exciting sport to new extremes. At OC Paddleboard we race, practice PaddleYoga, get an amazing workout in our PaddleFit classes, and explore the waterways of the region on our boards. We believe in sharing the SUP stoke and Aloha with our families and with the community.

Four years ago I tried stand up paddleboarding for the first time with my Mom, I immediately fell in love with it. Growing up at the beach and partaking in all of the fun water sports, paddleboarding seemed so natural. A few weeks later, my Mom and I purchased our first paddleboard, a 10’6” Yolo eclipse. The turtle design with the ocean blue rails and wood teak finish seemed to be too perfect to not buy. Later that summer, I got my world paddle association certification (WPA) to teach paddleboarding and the next summer I started working at OC Paddleboard.

For quite a few years, I had wanted a dog. My Mom always said no, so of course when Mom says no, but who wants to listen to her. So, last May I went and bought a 10-week old yellow Labrador retriever and surprised my Mom. Of course at first she was in total shock, she actually screamed out of fright when she walked in the front door because she didn’t know what it was. But immediately she fell in love with his big brown eyes and floppy ears… who wouldn’t? I finally decided on the name Kona after the Kona Ice Company, which makes awesome snow cones, and also the Kona brewing company, which produces beer. Like most labs, Kona loved the ocean and beach immediately. We would sneak onto the beach after hours or right after he woke up every morning at 5:00 am.

Kona grew bigger everyday and became a strong swimmer. My thought, why not take him on the paddleboard? I love my dog and I love paddleboarding. I could combine my two passions and we will have a blast. Last summer in between one of our daily tours, my boyfriend brought Kona to 34th street and we all went out paddling. You would think that we would go out on two separate boards, but no. We decided to all go out on a 12ft board. So there we were paddling across the boat channel, Kona, Tyler (who is 6’4”) and myself. Kona was afraid at first and was trying to sit on my lap. We paddled across the channel into the marshlands on the other side and jumped in the water to show Kona what to do. At first he sat on the board and barked at us as we swam in the water and then he decided that he was going to jump in and join us. All in all the trip was successful and we found out that the Yolo 12ft boards are a lot sturdier than you think.

The second time I took Kona paddleboarding was with my Mom and sister. This time we each had our own board and Kona was with me. We went out of 34th street in Ocean City again and paddled across the boat channel. Kona grew familiar with things and wasn’t afraid at all. He jumped off my board and swam to Mom’s board and got on that, and then he would jump off and swim back to mine. Eventually he got tired and decided that he did not want to be on the paddleboard any more. So he jumped off swam over to the bank of the marsh and started running around on the marsh. When I tried to get him I immediately sank into the marsh knee deep. Here was Kona running around in the grass on the marsh and I am stuck in the mud and he was having a hoot of a time. Finally Kona came back over to me and we got on the board and headed towards land.

If you think that stand up paddleboarding is hard, then you are just doubting yourself. Yes, it does challenge some of your muscles but if two people and a dog are all able to balance on a 12ft board and not fall off, then that proves how sturdy the boards are. Paddling with a dog at first is challenging but it is such a blast. I would recommend buying a lifejacket with a handle on top so you can help your dog get out of the water and back onto the board if they decide to jump off. If you have a bigger dog it is easier if they sit between your legs so you can keep your center of balance. You should initially start off on your knees so you and your dog can get a feel for the board and then eventually try standing up. When I went paddling with Kona the first time this summer, he loved it and was very confident. He sat between my legs and every once in a while would stand up. I brought his floating toy and threw it off the board for him to fetch. He would jump off and then swim back to the board. It was easy to hoist him back up onto the board with the handle on the top of the lifejacket. Note: if you are throwing something off the board for the dog to fetch, you should probably sit down before throwing it or your body might act like a sling shot off the board. Happy paddling!

Sam and Kona