SUP in the Mountains: Rivers of Life


Rivers are fickle yet predictable. Teasing you with their perfect eddies and beautiful ripples. You are standing above a rapid, floating at the edge of the drop calculating your next move. The feeling of knowing that you possess the skill to continue standing as you move down the rapid is empowering.  Then, sometimes, you hit a rock with your fin and go flying over the nose into the water!

These things are what motivate me to keep going back to the river. I want to try again and again and again.

Green river

I love reaching the bottom of a rapid and looking back at what I have just run to analyze and determine what to do next time. Views of the river from standing up high are magnificent and my most favorite. I like the water propelling me forward toward the waves around the next bend.

The idea of doing anything more than goofing off on the river or on a lake didn’t even cross my mind when I first began SUP. Now I think it’s sooooo cool to be standing and maneuvering past people in tubes floating their way down the river.

Living in Asheville we have the French Broad right here. There are several different sections to choose from that can be as long or as short as you want. Plus there are breweries and restaurants along the way so you can refresh yourself and keep going.  Its a win win!

One caution, rivers do mean rocks and SUPs have fins so you have to be aware. Fin hits can be rough, even in flat water where you aren’t moving very fast. In a kayak you don’t have to be as concerned with it, but standing up and falling into the water from that height can feel scary. As you learn to read the river and maneuver around rocks in the river bed, it gets easier. Before I began SUP I was not river savvy. I had never kayaked, barely canoed, and had always done it with a more experienced person. The river taught me to be brave, take risks, and think better of myself. I CAN do this. I AM brave. I HAVE worth. If I set my mind to it, I can do anything! The river will help and in return I am grateful.

I look forward to posting more about my SUP adventures!!

Holly is an ACA L2 SUP instructor and guide who lives in Asheville, NC. If you’re interested in custom or private SUP or SUP yoga classes in Asheville click here! To learn more about our upcoming SUP camps for women click here!