Zoar to host paddleboard demo at Unity Park

TURNERS FALLS — Want to do yoga on the Connecticut River?

Zoar Outdoor is hosting a Stand Up Paddleboard Demo Festival on Saturday at Unity Park, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Events include, stand up paddleboard yoga with Jody Fontaine, from Pure Yoga Wellness Studio in South Deerfield.

But the main attraction here will be the chance to glide down the river on standup paddleboards. The hour-long stand up paddleboard sessions will give you the chance to get out on the water and try it out. Zoar staff will be on hand to help outfit you and get you on the water, as well as to give you pointers for a more successful experience. You’ll also be able to paddle at your own pace and for as little or as long as you want, within the allotted time.

The SUP Yoga sessions, on the other hand, will be more structured and yoga instruction will be provided to the group on the water. These will be like the yoga sessions you might attend at a local studio — except on the water.

The paddleboards are like a cross between a kayak and a surfboard; it holds one person, who usually stands astride the board, shifting the paddle from side to side to go straight.

Everything is open free to the public, but those attending are encouraged to make reservations. “Walk-ins” will be accommodated for the yoga and the demo sessions on a space-available basis.

Mike Simpson, a key speaker at the event, discovered stand up paddleboarding after having spent many years both kayaking and surfing. For him, it was the perfect combination of the two and has become a passion for him. In 2011, he set out with a friend to paddle from Key West, Fla., to Portland, Maine. They aimed not only to enjoy their adventure and introduce people to SUPing, but also to raise awareness and funds for The Wounded Warrior Project, which supports injured soldiers, and for SUP Cleanup, which works to protect oceans. In his presentation, Simpson will share with the audience his journey up the East Coast. Simpson will give a talk about his adventures from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Discovery Center. At 6:30, a 45-minute film, “A Stand Up Paddle Movie,” will be screened.

Hour-long demo sessions for the paddleboards will be held from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The yoga sessions are at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

For reservations, call 1-800-532-7483.

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