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Exploring Our Backyard: Paddleboarding the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe

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Exploring Our Backyard takes us paddleboarding in Tahoe Vista. (Brian Kulpa/Skyvision)

Welcome back to another edition of Exploring Our Backyard, presented by Sprad's RV.

This week, we head to Tahoe Vista for a paddleboarding tour with Tahoe Adventure Company. Our guide, Lauren Rupp, showed us the basics of paddleboarding from learning how to put on our personal flotation device properly to the types of different strokes to navigating your paddleboard once you're in the water. The tour was 2 hours long and we paddled west toward Carnelian Bay with our group of five paddleboarders.

I've been paddleboarding once before in the Pacific Ocean, but this was a much different experience being able to cruise along Lake Tahoe and see the crystal clear water. One of the biggest keys to paddleboarding is staying balanced. It was a calm day, so it was great to be on the water for a beginner like myself.

"It's just kind of like when you learn to ride a bicycle the first day," Rupp said. "It was a little wobbly and tricky and you're not confident. But once you get that confidence, it's with you for life, just like riding a bike, and you can not paddleboard for months and come back and get right back in the groove."

While I was able to quickly get back into the groove and didn't fall, it was a reminder I don't have the best balance. After an hour or so out on the water, I picked up the hang of it with some help from Rupp reminding me of the different paddle techniques to move faster.

"To be able to stand up on a paddleboard doesn't take any special skills," Rupp said. "It just takes a willingness to try. And the confidence to say, 'The worst that can happen is I might fall in.' But the best that can happen is, 'Look, I'm standing up and I'm enjoying beautiful views.' And now I can actually motor more efficiently now that I'm in a good position."

The retention strap is a leash like you would have on your surfboard. And although it was calm the day we went paddleboarding, it's important to keep it on at all times, along with your personal flotation device.

"If it was windy, and you fell on your board, the wind might start taking that board away and then you have to swim for it," Rupp said.

While this is Rupp's first season with Tahoe Adventure Company, he's been in the area for more than 20 years and enjoys being able to introduce families to nature in such an easy and fun way.

"It's so gratifying because they've been a little intimidated sometimes because it's a new sport, it's a new area and they're not used to it," Rupp said. "When they have a guide, they realize they can come out here and have a good time and it's not scary. For me, when I see that light bulb go off and they have that connection with nature and they look down into that clear water and they say, 'Wow!' That's what does it for me."

Tahoe Adventure Company offers paddleboarding tours along the north shore in Tahoe Vista and along the east shore in Sand Harbor. If you're looking to get out on the water for most of the day, the Sand Harbor paddleboard or kayak tour may be the right fit for you as it's 5 hours long. Tahoe Adventure Company offers kayak, paddleboard and mountain bike rentals along with a variety of adventures and team-building activities. From water sports to backpacking and biking, multisport adventures and winter activities such as snowshoeing tours.

Click here to learn more about how to book a tour/rental with Tahoe Adventure Company.


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