What’s SUP? Non-motorized, freshwater watersports have long relegated participants to sitting down (canoeing and kayaking for instance), but there’s a new kid in town with one of the fastest growing sports around — stand up paddleboarding (SUP). SUP combines an extra-buoyant surfboard and a longer canoe paddle to deliver a fun way to explore flat water, while delivering core-strengthening benefits along the way. It’s growing so fast in the Berkshires, that there’s already a dedicated SUP division in the Josh Billings Runaground Triathlon this year.
Berkshire Outfitters in Adams offers a range of paddleboards with entry-level boards starting at around $500 and more advanced touring boards pushing the $1000 mark. But there’s no need to dive right in — beginning in June, Berkshire Outfitters will be hosting free SUP clinics, and you can always test the waters with a rental too. Check out Berkshire Outfitters’ website for more info on stand up paddleboarding clinics, rentals and product!
Another one of the fastest growing sports in America has found a home in the lush hillsides and fields of the Berkshires. Disc golf (not frolf, Mr. George Costanza) won’t empty your wallet either. You can stop by one of your local sporting goods stores (or used equipment stores) and pick up a mid range disc for $8-15 and have all the fun in the world. Played following the same general rule set as ball and club golf, disc golf challenges players to throw a weighted frisbee-like disc from tee-pad to goal (an elevated metal basket that acts as the “hole”) in as few throws as possible, while avoiding hazards along the way. Praised by the likes of Treehugger for its minimal impact on the environment, disc golf lends itself to serious competitors and fun-seeking families alike, and with many courses in public parks, your only investment is the discs themselves.
Named Editors Choice Best Disc Golf in New England by Yankee Magazine, Bousquet Ski Area in Pittsfield already has their 18 hole course set for the summer season. As a private area, there is a small fee for the course, but it’s well worth it. From challenging narrow corridors, to wide open meadows with epic views of the surrounding mountains, the Bousquet course combines a moderate hike with disc play as it climbs the ski slopes and surrounding forest. Once the rest of the summer operations open for the season, you can rent discs too.
While the sport is still growing in our immediate region, you can also check out courses on the greater-Berkshire area in Conway, MA and Bennington, VT.
Summer is arriving in the Berkshires, and it is the opinion of the BMR that it’s best enjoyed outdoors. Check out SUP and disc golf this summer and you might discover a new love.