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All aboard the paddleboard

By Dale Rodebaugh Herald staff writer

Surfboarding has acquired new maneuvers and new names as it crossed the Pacific Ocean from Polynesia to the Animas River.

The evolution changed a Polynesian sport into a stand-up tool of physical fitness in Durango.

Paddleboarding as it’s called now offers an all-around workout, says personal trainer Ingrid Foutz, who uses a paddleboard in her instruction.

The boards, generally 9 to 12 feet long, can be solid or inflatable and are propelled by a paddle. The boards are stable enough, however, to allow exercises.

“Stand-up paddleboarding works all muscles and improves balance,” Foutz said. “It is particularly good for strengthening the core.”

Mary Ann Erickson, who had a year of paddleboard experience when she joined a Foutz level-3 class on the Animas River north of the 32nd Street bridge last week, agrees it’s a workout.

“I run, do spinning and lift weights, but I knew I’d used other muscles when I got off the board,” Erickson said. “I felt it, but it felt good.”

Erickson, 56, said maintaining balance on a paddleboard to reduce the risk of falling requires core strength.

She said going against the river current with Foutz is slightly more challenging than paddling on Lemon Reservoir where she and husband, Joe, exercised two or three times a week last summer.

Paddleboarding downstream is level-4, Foutz said. She leaves that instruction to Jon Krueger at 4Corners Riversports, which refers all basic classes to her.

Krueger, in his second year as instructor with Four Corners, is certified by the American Canoe Association.

“Paddleboarding is in an explosive growth stage now,” Krueger said. It’s big enough to provide certification.”

He mentioned that during the recent Animas River Days celebration there were four events featuring paddleboards.

Trey Knight, education and outreach coordinator at the American Canoe Association, said stand-up paddleboarding went mainstream in the U.S. about six years ago.

The association has been certifying instructors for about 2˝ years, Knight said. The association, which was founded in 1880, has 5,600 certified instructors in canoeing, kayaking, rafting, paddleboarding and swift-water rescue.

If a novice is intimidated by the thought of getting on the water, Foutz starts the student on a paddleboard resting on a pair of bosu balls (a half-sphere used to learn balance).

“It’s the same sensation as being on the water,” Foutz said. “When students feel comfortable they can progress to a body of flat water such as Turtle Lake.”

Foutz spent her formative years in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, a California beach community in northern San Diego County, where she learned to surf.

“There were tons of surfing races there,” Foutz said. “Now there’s paddleboard races up and down the coast.”

Foutz began a 22-year career in fitness training at age 16 when she taught aerobics at the YMCA in Encinitas, Calif. She later trained fitness instructors for several months in the Cayman Islands.

Paddleboarding is growing worldwide, Foutz said.

“There is wide interest because anyone can do it,” Foutz said. “Little kids and people in their 70s are doing it.”

Paddling or exercising on a board is a full-body workout, Foutz said. Maintaining one’s balance requires core strength, she said.

Breezy Hinojosa is new to paddleboarding, but as a personal fitness trainer and Zumba instructor she recognizes the value of the discipline.

“Paddleboarding is incredibly effective,” said Hinojosa, 28. “On the water you work not only the larger muscles but also the smaller interior stabilizers.

“This is beneficial in daily life,” Hinojosa said. “By strengthening those stabilizing muscles you help keep your balance and prevent falls.”

dale@durangoherald.com

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