Looking for Something Different? Try Paddleboarding with Dogs

I recently joined PappaSurf (a paddleboarding excursion company based in Nassau) for a morning of paddleboarding with my dog. The event was charmingly called PUP & SUP (SUP is an acronym for "stand up paddle," and I'm sure you get the "pup" part). Contrary to when I lived in the US and dog-events abounded, The Bahamas does not offer a lot of options that include bringing your 4-legged canine friends along, so I was thrilled about the event when I saw it posted on Facebook. Many of the events I attend here in Nassau I find posted on business pages of Facebook. There really is a lot going on for such a small community - things like wine tastings, live music and festivals, educational talks, workshops, and triathlons and fitness events. You can maintain a fairly full social calendar if you prioritize effectively. 

I was contemplating which of my three dogs to take with me for the PUP & SUP, up until the morning of the event. Jackson, my 75lb Lab/Potcake mix, is afraid of almost everything and our one experience with the paddleboard didn’t go over so well, so he was quickly voted out. One-year-old Finley has shown some enthusiasm for paddleboarding and tends to get along great with other dogs. However, he is quickly getting into the big-dog category at about 50lbs, so I was wary of putting us together on a wobbly board with other dogs within an dangerously close proximity. The intrigue to meet and greet would be too appealing and I could foresee us going overboard rather easily. Twelve-year-old Barley doesn't really love other dogs, especially if they are in her face and full of energy. She's old and grumpy and can't see too well, but she’s always up for an adventure, and she’s much more portable at 25lbs.

 
Finley's first paddleboarding experience

Finley's first paddleboarding experience

 

I started to get ready by putting my swimsuit on and packing the paddleboard in the back of the pick up, still struggling with my decision as to which dog I should take. But Barley knew exactly what was going on, and she wasn’t going to let me go without her. Her excitability was contagious. She was bouncing around like a puppy as she followed me around the house. She was the only one who seemed to have a clue what was going on, so it was quickly settled and my decision was made. I picked her up and put her in the cab of the truck and she grinned with approval as she looked out the window down at the two boy dogs who milled around in the driveway, seeming to have no idea what was going on.

The event ran from 10am to 1pm. I arrived just prior to 10am and Barley hopped out eagerly and began sniffing around on the beach. Barley is a pound puppy that I adopted from the SPCA when I lived in Western New York. She’s been the perfect travel companion and adventure dog. Although she’s an old lady, she’ll never pass up an opportunity to go paddleboarding. It’s one of her favorite activities, so I was glad to have chosen her for this adventure.

 
 

Another woman arrived with her small Spaniel, who didn't seem too keen on being around other dogs either. Barley and the Spaniel kind of ignored each other and carried on with their attention directed towards the business of their humans. My friend Angela arrived with her small Potcake, Benny and another acquaintance Amanda arrived with her French Bulldog, Bojangles. We all hopped on our paddleboards with our pups and off we went! KJ was our friendly guide who made sure we didn’t venture too far out into the deep blue ocean and was also there to capture the moment with his GoPro. We spent about an hour paddling around the beautiful northern side of New Providence. Although traffic was barreling by on Bay Street, we were far enough away from the chaos of the city noise. It was peaceful and breezy. The sun was shining and we all chatted out on the water while our dogs attempted to settle into the scene. Benny sat glued to the front of Angela's board, frozen in fear, but seemed to relax eventually. Bojangles was fearless and rode on the nose like an old pro. Barley's old lady hips started giving her the wobbles and she eventually lost her enthusiasm for this sporting and all-to stimulating excursion, so that was my cue to start wrapping up and head back to the beach. It was just in time for the breeze to start picking up for the day, so our timing was perfect. 

We glided onto the soft, sandy beach and Barley hopped off and quickly migrated towards the tent to get some shade, a drink of water, and doggie treats provided by the lovely ladies at PappaSurf. Although PappaSurf had paddleboards for the event, I brought my own since Barley and I are both accustomed on it. So while Barley received some spoilage and star treatment, I packed everything up into the back of our pickup.

I said our thank yous and good byes and headed back home, just in time for the heat of the day to start to set in. All in all it was a great day on the water had by two legged and four legged beings.

Benny, happy to be back on dry land

Benny, happy to be back on dry land

Barley keeping a watchful eye for any trouble on the horizon 

Barley keeping a watchful eye for any trouble on the horizon 

If you’re interested in the outdoor adventure aspect of The Bahamas, but you’re feeling like there aren't a lot of options within the “big city” of Nassau, definitely check out PappaSurf for their regular events or paddleboard rentals. It's a great option if you are a seasoned paddleboarder and are just looking to rent a board while you are visiting, but they also offer full lessons and classes for beginners. They also have regular events such as  paddleboard yoga, full moon paddleboaring, eco tours, paddle fishing and snorkeling, and sunset and sunrise paddles.

Their retail shop is located on Cable Beach in the Henrea Carlette building just west of Sandals Resort. They typically do tours out of Goodman’s Bay beach and Deleporte Beach, weather dependent. For more information visit their website at www.pappasurf.com or follow them on Facebook