Rough water!

Group paddle-boards Bella Coola River

Group of four paddle-boards the Bella Coola River from Tweedsmuir to the estuary

A group of stand up paddle boarders took on the mighty Bella Coola River last summer, paddling from Tweedsmuir Lodge to the estuary in two and a half days.

Beat Steiner of Bella Coola Heli Sports, was one of the members on the trip. “We were on the river two and a half days and spent two nights, it was a super fun trip.”

Garrett Newkirk, who rowed the support boat, accompanied them. Stand up paddle boarding is a relatively new sport that has taken off in popularity in the last few years. Stand up paddle boarding, or in the Hawaiian language, Hoe he’e nalu, is an emerging global sport with a Hawaiian heritage. The sport is an ancient form of surfing, and has reemerged as a way for surfers paddle longer distances.

The popularity of the modern sport of paddelboarding has its origin in the Hawaiian Islands. In the early 1960s, the beach boys of Waikiki would stand on their long boards, and paddle to the distant outside reef break using outrigger paddles.

In spite of its surfing origin the sport is gaining in popularity even in more protected coastal waters and lakes. Stand up paddleboards have been spotted around the globe, anywhere there is easy access to safe waters, as well as in the surfing lineups of the world.

Another reason for the rise in popularity of stand up paddle boarding is that, unlike surfing, paddle boarding is very easy to learn. Pretty quickly, most people become very comfortable in the water and on their boards. However, we don’t recommend taking on the Bella Coola as a first-timer!