Stand Up Paddleboarding On The Charles River


Give me any fitness challenge on an SUP and I’m game. I’m already hooked on downwinders, distance paddles, SUP surfing and SUP fitness. I didn’t know what to think when Luke Foley, Product Training Manager and Peter Casson GM of Eastern Mountain Sports Schools, said that I had to try white water SUP. I had visions of me battling rapids and it not ending well. Luke assured me it was nothing like the movie playing in my head and this would help get me ready for SUP surf season. How could I resist?

When we arrived at the Charles River I was glad to see we were paddling in class one rapids with flat water space. We geared up with our BIC Ace Tec SUP’s and Werner Paddles which I knew would be perfect for this excursion. The Ace Tec durability would no doubt withstand the rock and debris I envisioned encountering.

SUP Luke

Luke began explaining the dynamics of white water such as ferrying to an eddy, peeling out from eddy and how to use the river’s flow.  Sounded like something I could handle and it was a short distance we needed to travel.  After all we were just going to cross a river, right?  So I thought.


I began paddling and quickly realized that you needed to utilize every stroke available in the SUP language: draw, cross bow, sweep, and draw to the nose, to name just a few.   White water SUP also requires a quick reaction time, knowing when to switch your paddle, speed up and slow down.  The balance challenge presented when moving through the white water was incredible.  Shifting the right amount of  weight on the SUP rails became crucial and meant the difference of you being on the board or taking a dip. After moving up stream, I used the same techniques to move downstream.  However, this was at a much faster pace.  Turning into an eddy with speed requires timing and precision or you can end up half way down the river.


Yep, now I’m hooked.  After an hour and half on the Charles River, I certainly got my fit-on and can’t wait to come back and do it again.  If you are an experienced SUP paddler, this is a must try adventure and EMS sure has the right boards and gear to get you started.  EMS Schools is also in the planning stages of adding white water SUP to their future offerings. Stay tuned!

Casi Rynkowski

Since 2007, Casi has been living her dream training athletes, fitness enthusiasts and anyone wanting to live a healthier life style. She is a AFAA certified personal trainer who specializes in kettlebells and balance training to deliver powerful workouts resulting in increase in power, speed, and agility. Casi is also an ACA Level 2 SUP Instructor and teaches SUP fitness.