One foot into the chilly water of Fernan Lake was the motivation I needed: I would not be falling off that paddleboard. And I didn’t, which says more about the peaceful waters and the calm teaching of Kym Murdoch than my own poor technique. “You’re doing fine,” said Murdoch, the owner of Coeur d’Alene Paddleboard Company, who discovered the sport five years ago in Hawaii. She liked it so much, she was teaching the sport three months later. “I just fell in love with it,” Murdoch said. “It’s super easy, it offers serenity, and you’re getting a great workout and you don’t even know it.” She’s not the only one.
According to a report last year by the Outdoor Foundation, standup paddleboarding, or SUP, was the most popular outdoor activity for first-time participants, winning over 56 percent of the newbies among sports. Sales in 2012 totaled $15.6 million, or 22 percent of total surfboard sales, according to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association.