People hit the water to learn to paddleboard

Tribune Chronicle / Bob Coupland Cindy Orth, left, park naturalist at Mosquito Lake State Park, instructs participants Sunday on how to paddleboard at Mosquito Lake. Along with West Branch State Park’s Aaron Bartley, Orth taught three standup paddleboarding classes Sunday.

BAZETTA — Sanika Vemireddy, 8, came with her family from Cleveland to spend the weekend at Mosquito Lake State Park, where she was among a group who learned to paddleboard on the water.

Three standup paddleboarding classes were held Sunday at the beach led by naturalists Cindy Orth of Mosquito Lake State Park and Aaron Bartley of West Branch State Park.

Orth and Bartley led Sanika, the youngest participant, and eight adults out on the calm lake water for an hour.

”The goal is to stand up while on the board in the deeper water. That is the goal when you take the class. They can sit or kneel on the board while in the shallow water,” Orth said.

Orth said many people do not get wet unless they fall in the water. Participants wear life preservers.

”Most people do not fall in the water. If they do fall in they realize it is no big deal.” she said.

The water must be over the paddle before standing up.

Bartley said paddleboarding improves people’s balance and is a good exercise workout for the abdomen, back and core.

”The more you do, the better your balance gets,” he said

Orth said the key is to put the core of your body in the center of the board and make turning strokes in a rainbow shape with the paddles about an arm’s width at the side of the board to move smoothly.

Each board has a fin on it for better travel through water.

Bartley said people from age 5 to senior citizens can take part.

Jaydeep Cheruku of Cleveland was visiting the state park for the weekend with friends and family.

”None of us have done this before. We wanted to give it a try,” Cheruku said.

He was quickly able to stand on the board and paddle to the center of the lake.

Vemireddy said she was excited to be on the water.

”I wanted to see what it will be like to stand on the water,” she said,

Bartley said children have one advantage of standing up on the large board being easier to balance but may have more challenge in paddling with shorter arms.

The paddleboarding classes were added last summer at both parks and have proven to be popular.

He said the boards are provided, while people can wear regular clothing or beachwear.

Orth said they get as many as 10 to 12 participants per class which are held June through September.

”A lot depends on the weather. Some days, we get a lot of people out on the water,” she said.

Angel Llewelyn of Cortland said she often stops at the park to paddleboard. She brings her own board.

”I know Cindy and have seen many people on the board with her on the lake, so I will often paddle with them,” she said.