Sunday, June 21, 2015

First Timers: Stand Up Paddling in Taal Lake

by Shawi Cortez

A visit to Tagaytay is never complete without a view of the Taal Lake.

But have you ever tried being on the other side of the equation?

It's almost 6pm and my friend Nannie and I were rewarded with a view of Tagaytay ridge. We are standing on a paddle board in Taal Lake on the side of Tanauan, Batangas, exactly the opposite of Talisay. The sun has almost set and we see silhouettes of SM Winds' five towers.

sunset in Taal Lake,
our view is Tagaytay ridge

This different perspective is a refreshing take on what we're used to seeing.

The first time I saw stand up paddling (also known as SUP) was in Baler, but the paddler was roughing the seas. I googled about it and saw that a calmer alternative could be done on a lake. Some yogis even do yoga poses on their boards.

So when Nannie posted an article in Facebook about stand up paddle boarding in Taal Lake, I immediately bookmarked it for future reference.

Weeks before this SUP experience, we booked a Ridgeview tour with Tono of FiliSUP. He recommends this for beginners, and minimum 2 pax is required. I honestly had a hard time looking for a Stand UP buddy as the rate is P1750/person, quite pricey for most of my friends.

From Tagaytay, we drove an hour and a half to get down to the lake, and around Tanauan. By 3pm, we were already at the launch point at Brgy Wawa, where Tono was waiting for us at La Playa de Tanauan. The resort is home to the dragon boat team Sagwan Tanauan.

La Playa de Tanauan

The festive flags are screaming so you won't miss it

After changing into our rash guards and shorts, we did not waste any time and started our beginners' lesson by the platform.

Since it is our first time to do it, we began in the kneeling position to establish our balance. Left hand holds the center of the shaft, while the right hand is about a foot lower and nearer the blade.

To shift to the other side, just slide your right hand up the center of the shaft, while your left grabs the bottom of the shaft.

We took a few strokes on each side of the board, and when we were good, we slowly stood up and stayed in the middle of the board.

begin with the kneeling position

Tips for beginners:
. When standing, adjust your grip and place one hand on top of the paddle, while the other is on the centre of the shaft.
. As you extend forward, keep the paddle in a vertical position, and bend your torso if possible.
. Dip the blade fully in the water and feel your back muscles burn.
. When the blade is almost parallel to your knees, lift it sideways and repeat the stroke, switching on each side of the board.

Our Ridgeview Lessons / Tour took about 3 hours, as we started a little past 3pm, and were back at the shore around 6pm.

Tono, our SUP instructor
behind him is Napayung Island

From the platform, we paddled to the left, and enjoyed a view of Napayung Island and Taal Volcano. The shoreline transformed from coconut trees to a semi-jungle--something you'd see when hiking. I stopped paddling for a while to take in its beauty. It would've been paradise for those keen into bird watching. Various species abound, and I don't even know what they're called!

lush jungle and healthy ecosystem behind us
makes for a good home to exotic birds

An hour into paddling, and we turned around for a short break by the platform. The wind blew, and it was more difficult to paddle against the water. We had to put in more effort and care not to fall off.

Break muna. Kuya Joe gave us directors' chairs to sit on while taking a breather

locals taking in the view
finally getting the hang of it

After the break, the lake was back in its calm state. Tono was to show us wild ducks on the opposite side, but we never saw any. We just basked in the sun setting behind Tagaytay, and marvelled at how the view is different from the lake.

ominous clouds  signalled rain on the other side of the lake

Another break

"Walang wild ducks"

If you're looking for a good total body workout, while enjoying nature, then you should give stand up paddle boarding a try.

Contact Tono Legarda :

Photo Credits : Nannie Macalincag and Tono Legarda


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