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On the Water

Paddle out for some scenery and a good workout.


Benton Carroll

The 12-foot paddle board bobbed on the water, waiting for me. I crawled onto it, slowly climbed to my feet, dipped my oar into the glistening water, and began to glide into the Oakland Estuary from the shore of Jack London Square. I was eager to try the paddling craze that has spread from Hawaii to California and beyond.

Although the Oakland harbor is no tropical reef, it does have a unique beauty. The towering white shipping cranes welcomed me into another world, where seals followed me like puppies.

I quickly got the hang of steering my board, as I meandered past the colorful homes of the local houseboat community. Stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP to pros, is a great way to explore and work out at the same time. While I opted for a wet suit to avoid the chill of morning, that’s hardly necessary when the July sun is shining—especially if you have good balance.

Book your paddle-boarding adventure with California Canoe and Kayak, at Jack London Square. Rentals and classes are also offered in the Berkeley Marina with Cal Adventures and at Crown Beach in Alameda with Boardsports School, calkayak.com, recsports.berkeley.edu/caladventures, boardsportsschool.com.

For a roundup of activities around Jack London Square, go to diablomag.com/jacklondon.

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