Land Paddling

With five navigable lakes Madison is a perfect city for paddling. Before the ice settles in for the long winter, canoes and kayaks dot the waters on either side of the Isthmus right off the Capital Square. But lately there have been sightings of an adventurous few who have taken their paddling on to local bike paths and sidewalks. Riding skateboards instead of boats they’re trucking down the road using the Big Stick land paddle from Kahuna Creations.

“I’ve ridden skateboards for years,” said Brad Werntz, a local land paddler. “But the Big Stick makes it a lot more accessible and easier to get around. It’s like having your own moving sidewalk. It’s fun and puts a smile on your face.”

Imagine an extra long skateboard. But instead of kicking for propulsion the rider uses a long pole. The Big Stick land paddle has two round hard-rubber pads that connect with ground. Plant both feet on the board, bend your knees and drop your center of gravity. Take a few strokes like you’re paddling a canoe and it’s easy to pick speed.

“All you really have to do is stand,” Werntz said, “The Big Stick makes it so you don’t have to make that stand/kick transition that can make you unstable on just a skateboard with out it. I’ve gotten my 70-year-old aunt and my 3-year-old nephew on a board.”

The stability advantage of the Big Stick might get people who have steered away from skateboarding to give it try. The long board itself is a solid platform. But add in the Big Stick and you make it a reliable vehicle.LandPaddling_001

“It’s possible to ride with kids. I can take my 6 and 4-year-old all over town,” Werntz said. “You can’t do that and kick with a little one holding on to your back leg.”

The Big Stick takes skateboarding to a whole new level. While combining it with the fun of paddling it brings a childhood pastime back within reach of active adults.

“ It’s a gas. I stepped on that board and I was 14 again,” said Darren Bush owner of Rutabaga, a local paddling shop.  “ It the closest this I can think of to snowboarding or surfing on concrete.”

Going downhill it’s simple to carve wide turns. Use your hips, core muscles and the muscles of your lower extremities to steer.  The Big Stick not only reduces the risk of falling but it can be used as a break to control your speed.

“You’re having such a good time you don’t realize which muscle you’re using,” Bush said. “By the time you’re done you get off and discover you just had a great workout.”

Bush said land paddling is good cross-training for stand-up paddling. “You use the exact same muscles and you go lot faster,” he said. “And they’re not real expensive. You can get a stick and a board for about $300 and that’s all you need.”

A helmet is recommended, just in case. Kneepads might be a good idea as well. But with minimal instruction and an ounce of enthusiasm you can be off and rolling in no time.

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Author:James

I'm a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

21 Responses to “Land Paddling”

  1. November 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm #

    Thanks for to you and Vera for the picture

  2. November 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm #

    Thanks for to you and Vera for the picture

  3. November 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    Wearing a helmet while land paddling is DEFINITELY a good idea. I took a spill yesterday coming doing a long hill and wound up in the ER. Fortunately no broken skin and the brain bucket protected my noggin. Be daring, but be careful!

  4. November 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    Wearing a helmet while land paddling is DEFINITELY a good idea. I took a spill yesterday coming doing a long hill and wound up in the ER. Fortunately no broken skin and the brain bucket protected my noggin. Be daring, but be careful!

  5. November 26, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    This looks so fun. Where can you get the gear?

  6. November 26, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    This looks so fun. Where can you get the gear?

  7. December 14, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    Ha! Easily one of the better things I’ve read today. Thanks!

  8. December 14, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    Ha! Easily one of the better things I’ve read today. Thanks!

  9. December 17, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    Thanks thanks thanks! I was looking for something along lines of this for hours and couldn’t find it.Will definitely subscribe and drop a word about the site!Cheers 🙂

  10. December 17, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    Thanks thanks thanks! I was looking for something along lines of this for hours and couldn’t find it.Will definitely subscribe and drop a word about the site!Cheers 🙂

  11. Plus Size Corset
    December 18, 2009 at 12:36 am #

    Appreciate it, was looking for something along the lines of this for a while. Where’s the subscribe button? Ha 🙂

  12. Plus Size Corset
    December 17, 2009 at 6:36 pm #

    Appreciate it, was looking for something along the lines of this for a while. Where’s the subscribe button? Ha 🙂

  13. Lonny Dipaola
    December 20, 2009 at 6:58 pm #

    You’ve inspired me to start skating again! thanks!
    Skateboard Forum

  14. Lonny Dipaola
    December 20, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

    You’ve inspired me to start skating again! thanks!
    Skateboard Forum

  15. August 11, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    I just bought the Skatn Land Paddle and it’s way better than kahuna’s. This one is made out of bamboo and is super light and strong. Check it out at http://www.skatnskateboards.com

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