Javier Placer, a seasoned kayaker, outdoor professional and whitewater enthusiast in Colorado was skeptical of paddle boarding and its potential as an enduring sport. A long time whitewater kayaking friend of his had been exposed to it in Mexico right before starting another season guiding on the rivers of Colorado. He insisted that he try it and Javier resisted. “He told me to meet him at the pond in the middle of Buena Vista, and to bring my 3 year old daughter, ” Javier said, and ended up doing so reluctantly. He fitted his daughter with her life jacket, sat her on the front of the board and began paddling around. “I was instantly overwhelmed by the glide, the perspective of standing on the water and my 3 year olds’ smile, ” Javier said.
Five years ago, when SUP was still in its infancy in Colorado, Javier acquired a permit for a perfect section of the Colorado river. The idea for Stand Up Paddle Colorado was conceived when the first wave of paddlers started attempting it on the rivers. Fast forward to this season, they are not only an established river outfitter that has taken thousands of families, couples and groups down the river but the sole concessionaire for SUP on Lake Dillon in Summit County offering tours, certifications and rentals.
“Being at the forefront of the SUP movement in Colorado, it is amazing to see how much it has grown and caught on, ” he says. It is not uncommon to see paddle boards on waterways throughout the state and on the roofs of people’s cars. “I think that the reason why the sport will prove to endure is because of its versatility and multiple health benefits, ” Javier adds. Not only can you use it on all types of water mediums (oceans, lakes and rivers), but it is a way to engage your whole body in a great workout. People place their kids and pets on the boards. The summer calendar is filled with reservoir and river events all over the state.
The SUP season in Colorado begins as early as April in the front range but realistically not till May in the mountains. Stand Up Paddle Colorado begins their river excursions at their Rancho Del Rio base camp in mid-May and it goes through the end of September. They have tours and crafts for people of all ages and athletic abilities. They even have a one-of-a-kind 6 person paddle board called SUPSQUATCH. For more information and details about their tours and offerings, visit their website at www.standuppaddlecolorado.
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