SUP y’all: Stand-Up Paddleboarding

By: Amelia Enberg

I’m all about the paddle sports: canoeing, kayaking, and the new favorite, stand-up paddleboarding!

I had tried it out for the first time as a Groupon with a teammate of mine last Labor Day and it was fun — and a great workout. This time around, I had to try it at a new beach that’s closer to my apartment up on the north side.

After some researching for the best rental price, I set upon Kayak Chicago up at Montrose Beach. Some other rental places like at North Avenue Beach were asking for $30/hr, but that’s out of my ideal price range.


For $20/hr, you get a lifejacket, paddle, and paddleboard. They give you a tutorial (or refresher) to get you started, but it’s pretty easy to pick up!

They also have a variety of kayaks at the same price: recreational, sea, or whitewater. If you want a double kayak, it’s $30/hr — great for couples or BFFs.

My Paddle Time

I leisurely biked along the Lakeshore trail from my apartment up to Montrose Beach on the Fourth of July, arriving around noon. After locking up my bike, the guys at Kayak Chicago had me all set up to go for a joyous paddleboarding time! I was concerned that they would be unavailable — because of the holiday — but they had plenty in their fleet. They have cubby holes for your things while you’re out and they don’t start your time until you’re in the water.

Being on the south end on the beach, I had a lot of room to paddle around. The lifeguards on paddle boats keep the swimmers closer to shore, so there is a good amount of room between the screaming kids and the speeding jet skis. And it wasn’t too windy of a day, so the paddling was much easier.

It was just so refreshing to be out on the lake on a sunny day — just hearing the waves is calming for me. I spent half of the time laying out on the board, letting the waves push me along.

Turned out, I was out on the water for 2.5 hours — I just lost track of time! The guys at Kayak Chicago were bit concerned, since the average rental time is about 1 hour, but I just told them I was really having a great time out there in the water!

The Tab

  • Stand-Up Paddleboard rental: 2.5 hours at $20/hr

Total Damage: $54**

**Even though I was over budget, you can have a great SUP session in 1 hour. Your arms and core will really feel it!

Have you had any outdoor adventures Chicago for under $25? Let me know, or write about your experience and submit for this publication!

Cheers, Amelia

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