Excelling at watersports, like aging gracefully or enjoying dried fruit, requires acceptance of pruny fingers. Outfit yourself for aqua play with today’s Groupon: for $75, you get a one-hour weekday paddleboard rental and introductory lesson for two at Great Lakes Board Company (a $150 value). This Groupon expires on September 16.
Great Lakes Board Company provides the knowledge and tools for standup paddleboarding, in which participants stand on a board and use a single-bladed paddle for rowing. Grab a friend or chemistry lab-mate to share in the experience, which features a picturesque view of the Chicago skyline. Great Lakes' enthusiastic instructors first spend 10–15 minutes going over basics and techniques, illuminating how to stand on the board, direct its course properly, and effectively bat away low-flying weather balloons. Standup paddleboarding strikes a balance between surfing and kayaking, using equipment that can be used for surfing alone, even on Lake Michigan or in a particularly forceful city fountain. After the lesson, pupils spend 45–50 minutes practicing their newly acquired skills, working out bodies from head to toe while occasionally pausing to restyle hair with wet sand.
Ian Jacobson, the founder of Chicago SUP and Wakeboard Chicago, grew up on the Lake, and started his board-top paddling program after his passion for the sport ignited during a trip to Hawaii. His love for the low-impact activity also feeds his interest in its safety; as he spreads awareness of the sport, he makes sure customers know when it's safe to venture out into calm or choppy water. His passionate team gathers a range of paddling certifications, such as ACA and WPA, and many staffers are equipped with official training in first aid and CPR as well as unofficial training in blowing bubbles. Some of the team honed their boarding skills on the waves of California and Hawaii, and several boast a background in stand-up paddleboard yoga and fitness instruction.
Dubbed "the epicenter for the paddle community in Chicago" by Chicago Now, Chicago SUP ignites Jacobson's passion for the sport of standup paddleboarding in others with rentals and instruction atop calm waters boasting sweeping skyline views. As shoulders, backs, and arms work to propel the boards forward under his instruction, the core engages to keep balance on the board, resulting in a full-body workout enlivened with the pleasure of sunny skies and the thrill of submarine sightings in Lake Michigan. The company was featured on NBC Chicago's 1st Look and in the Chicago Tribune, grabbing Jacobson attention for pioneering the relaxing full-body workout in the Midwest, as well as for their innovative board-top yoga classes (SUPyo) and SUPFit classes. In the 2013 Expedition Paddle Series, he and his team point paddlers toward attainable goals as they paddle decked in headlamps toward Navy Pier for fireworks, or simply take in the skyline at sunset or the full moon above.
1600 N Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, Illinois 60614Get Directions